Ibanez JEM Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always used D'addario 9-42 (EXL 120) on my jems and also my other Ibanez guitar, but I find that something is wrong... I have a Jackson Kelly that I use 9-42 on, but the riffs sound and feel much, much better, and why this is, I don't know because it's the same neck scale (25.5).


For some reason when I play riffs and strum/tremolo pick riffs on my Ibanez guitars, it's extremely sloppy and there's more of a 'thonk' in the sound -- there's more loose string noise than distortion coming through, and not to mention the worst part is the way it feels. For some reason, that isn't the case on my Jackson because it feels and sounds perfect... When I'm playing riffs or tremolo picking on the low strings, it's kind of like the pick grabs the string and the string comes along with it/stretches, so it's not like a clean and crisp strum that I'd like to get out of it -- it's just..... THOOOONK!!!! in the strings.


So, my question is if I should maybe try some 10 gauge strings on my Ibanez guitars and see if that helps with the tension problems for playing extremely fast riffs. I'll of course use 9s on the high strings because using 10s makes it impossible to do vibrato, so I think I might try some 9-46 strings. I also think I'm going to take the back off of my BRMR and put the springs in the diagonal or 'triangle' formation instead of the regular straight formation -- I've heard that it adds a bit more tension.


What string gauge would you use when tuned to standard E (which I always tune to) for playing riffage?


I don't know why, but this has always been a problem on all of my Ibanez guitars. Maybe there's something else that I could try? Or maybe Ibanez just isn't the brand to go with for playing riffs. I'm not even sure if tension is the problem or if it's something else. Hmm...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,813 Posts
perhaps the springs in the back of the guitar are ringing out and causing that noise you're talking about.

As for tension and feel, every guitar will feel different, maybe Ibanez isn't your scene or maybe you just don't like the particular guitar that you have right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
226 Posts
the riffs sound better. are you using different pickups, different guitars into the same amp? so which JEM you using vs the Jackson Kelly? that may be the answer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,373 Posts
I use 9-42 Exl120's on all my Jems and have never had a problem with "riffage" :)


Is the action set correctly on your Brmr?? You really shouldn't have to switch up the springs. If you go to 10's you may have to though ;)

How's the trem angle??

Hate to say, but if it is just IBANEZ guitars that cause you this pick sticking "thonking" problem then it would appear that it's all in your head mate ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
402 Posts
I use 10-46s on a standard tuned guitar, they are hard to do fast bends, by that i mean a bend in a small amount of time, 10s also give a little more resistance when you pick them.
If your doing just rifting with 10s theres no problem but when you start to do vibrato and full bends then it gets a little more difficult so you need pretty strong fingers. Also if you ever decide to drop tune 10s can be good for that as well, they also sound a tad bassier than 9s.

I reckon give 10s a go and see what happens if you don't like them go back to 9s.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
402 Posts
Yes JJemmer :rolleyes: , a new gauge means a new setup :) . But really all you have to worry about is the bridge and the neck when you throw a new set of strings on :).

Put the 10s on it'll only take at most, 2 hours :mrgreen:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Whoa, hey guys, thanks for the quick replies.

I was away for about 4 hours setting up my Jem with 10s on bottom and 9s on top. I always buy 10-packs of EXL 120s, but I looked around and found an old pack of 110s in my dresser drawer, so I used the 3 bottom ones from the 110 set and the 3 top ones from a 120 set.

I'm using my BRMR (my main guitar!)
The action is set fairly low (not AS low as it could go, but damn-near close) and the trem angle is dead flat

The setup isn't 100%, but I just got done with putting the strings on and fooling with it a little bit. I had to take the back off and drive the screws deeper into the body to compensate for the 10s on bottom, and man, if I were to have used 10s on top as well, it'd have to be time for new springs -- I drove them to exactly the point where you can't see the threading on it any longer, but luckily the trem angle fell dead flat with this setup. I'll have to fool with the trem height and probably adjust the truss in a day or two when the neck adjusts, but those will only be minor adjustments since it wasn't that big of an adjustment.

Now, onto the results....

I believe that this has helped and that my problem is possibly solved; however, and I mean HOWEVER, I'm going to give myself a few days to a week testing out this setup to see if it's maybe just my mind fooling me, but I have to say that the riffs do indeed sound much better -- clean and crisp, without the 'THOOOOONK' string noise. The thing is that when I would strum or tremolo pick, the bottom strings were very spongey and it basically sounded like using 8-9 gauge strings on some old Strat with a short neck scale -- not much tension and it just felt and sounded very sloppy. For the 15-20 minutes that I've been playing riffs on it now, I play a power chord and the sustain and crispness of the 'chord' really comes through without you hearing 3 strings vibrating at different intervals... I think this was the problem.

Now, about why I think the Kelly does a better job.

I think that when I play my Kelly, my hand sits further back and is nearer the bridge which would give me more tension, because there's less of a gap between where I'm picking and the trem. My hand has always sat further back toward the bridge on my Kelly than any Ibanez, so that may have something to do with it.

So, I think I may have rectified the issue and was just too stubborn for too long to try 10s on my Jems; it seems to be working out just fine now, but as I said, I'm going to give myself time with it and make sure that it isn't just my mind that's fooling me.

All I have to do is make a couple minor adjustments and my BRMR will be back 100% very soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,373 Posts
make sure that it isn't just my mind that's fooling me.
The only way you will be able to make sure of that is if you put back on the 9-42 set :razz:

Right on ~T-33. :) I hope ya get things working they way you want them. All comes down to what makes it work for you my friend ;)

Even if it is all in your mind :lol:

~ROCK~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I forgot to mention that I also put the springs in the back with the /|\ formation instead of the ||| which is was before, so that may have had something to do with it.



As far as the pickup thing that nikster mentioned, I actually really, really prefer Duncans (I have a Duncan in the bridge on the Kelly) for riffs. My BRMR has Breeds, and the comparison I'll give the Duncan (I don't even know which version it is) to the breeds is that I prefer the Duncan for riffs, and prefer the Breeds for leads (that rhymed!)


The Duncan just SCREAMS when I do harmonics and has more of a 'metal' sound to them, but the Breeds definitely, by far have a much better thick lead tone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
JJEMMER,

I went into this knowing that I could have just fooled myself into thinking it sounds and feels better, so I'm going to give myself a good while before I decide anything (probably until I completely forget which gauge strings I'm using). I'm into shred, of course, but I'm also into playing things like black metal (man am I having fun with Emperor riffs right now!), so the 10s on bottom will probably suit me better in the long run. I'll give myself a while before I make the 'official' change to EXL 125s instead of the normal EXL120s.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
i use a regular 10-46 but i buy a 9 for the high E and a 49 for the low E

it's by far the best set i've ever used, plenty of tone and tightness yet slinky where it needs it. this is also a more equal tension set than a standard 10-46
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just curious, what amp/rig are you playing through??
If I tell you... You cannot laugh at me... :sad:

I'm playing through a Line 6 Spider II HD150, for the most part. I also use my first amp which I got 10 years ago (a Peavey Envoy 110), and to be honest, even though the small Peavey amp has so many things wrong with it and sounds terrible, I actually prefer the tone on it to the Spider II. The only, and I mean ONLY reason I have a Spider II is because it's the cheapest halfstack for what it can do, and I bought it with me getting a new amp in the future in mind.

I've got my heart set on either a dual recto or a Triaxis, but I don't rule out Engl either. This is going to cost me a fortune -- especially since I'm a poor 22-year-old starving artist :mad:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,514 Posts
Gauge: 9-42 Standard Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

E: .009" [PL] = 13.13 pounds
B: .011" [PL] = 11.01 pounds
G: .016" [PL] = 14.68 pounds
D: .024" [NW] = 15.77 pounds
A: .032" [NW] = 15.77 pounds
E: .042" [NW] = 14.77 pounds

Total Tension = 85.13 pounds

* Notice that the low E and B strings are lacking tension which can lead to a slightly mushy tone and sloppy feel. This gets worse as string sets get heavier, with 7-strings and basses suffering the most.

________________________

Gauge: 9-44 Custom Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

E: .009" [PL] = 13.13 pounds
B: .012" [PL] = 13.11 pounds
G: .016" [PL] = 14.68 pounds
D: .024" [NW] = 15.77 pounds
A: .032" [NW] = 15.77 pounds
E: .044" [NW] = 16.10 pounds

Total Tension = 88.56 pounds

* This is the custom set I use. I noticed an improvement in tone and feel after switching from being a 9-42 user for 20 years. With the custom set, string to string balance is better, picked runs feel smoother and easier to pick, chords sound slightly fuller and more resonant because of the heavier E string. It's a small enough difference so you don't feel the need to re-adapt to your guitar, but large enough to be noticeable. I only wish this was the standard 9 set. It could be better, but they don't make a .023.7" gauge D string, etc. :) Only thing is, you gotta put this set together from single strings. No manufacturer appears to have the common sense to make optimized / progressive tension string sets available, which is completely stupid. Instead, we stick with the regular sets that don't work well enough. The math is wrong, simple as that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,514 Posts
i use a regular 10-46 but i buy a 9 for the high E and a 49 for the low E

it's by far the best set i've ever used, plenty of tone and tightness yet slinky where it needs it. this is also a more equal tension set than a standard 10-46
That's a good set, only I would change the top E for a 9.5. Here's how I worked it out:

Gauge: 9.5-49 Custom Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

E: .009.5" [PL] = 14.60 pounds (approx)
B: .013" [PL] = 15.38 pounds
G: .017" [PL] = 16.57 pounds
D: .026" [NW] = 18.41 pounds
A: .036" [NW] = 19.54 pounds
E: .049" [NW] = 19.68 pounds

Total Tension = 107 pounds (approx)

*NOTE: An alternative to a standard 10-46 set? This is close, only it switches the high E string for a .009.5" instead of the .010". In a regular 10-46 set there is almost as much tension on the high E string as there is on the G. For the sake of better string-to-string balance, my suggestion is to try a 9.5 (available from D'Addario as a single). There is still plenty of tension on a .009.5" -- it should be approximately 14.60 pounds. Unfortunately, I don't have a way to calculate .5 gauges, but...

.009" = 13.13 pounds
.010" = 16.21 pounds

...my guess of 14.60 pounds of tension should be close enough. If your mathematics are better than mine, go ahead and correct me. :)

At the low end there is a .049". The standard 10-46 set has a low E string that's several pounds lighter in tension than the A, which seems slightly backwards. Using a .049" corrects this, having slightly more tension than the A, as it should.

Dislikes: The almost 2 pounds difference between the D and G. This cannot be avoided because no-one makes .025" gauge strings, to my knowledge, so the best compromise might be to keep the D and G from the original 10-46 set. I think this would be better than fattening up the G as it would upset the balance of the B string.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
haha funny you say that Dee, i figured the same thing and so ordered a 5 pack of d'addario 9.5s..
and they all snapped, some within 2 days, some over a week, all lasted not even a 1/4 the life of a normal 9, so i went down to 9 and it's all good again..

that was just a workmanship flaw or something...
but actually i like the extra slinkiness of a 9 on my high E as the B is already a slinky string it feels even and nice, i like it more than the 9.5 on the set..

and good guess :) 9.5 = 14.63
http://www.pacificsites.net/~dog/StringTensionApplet.html

you can input a .5, just remove the dot (E: .0095)
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top