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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey! Excuse the lack of brevity, I'm a wordsy fellow sometimes.
TLDR follows the dotted line which is precluded by, and identical to this one.
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Just bought an AZ prestige and I was madly in love, until I had it set up.
I liked everything about it. Sold to me in E with 10's, but I always play with 13-56, tuned down to C# Standard. I had it setup totally different than either of these (against my instinct) by who I imagined would be a professional at guitar center, out of convenience, and also a degree of ignorance. Like they wouldn't just randomly hire anybody to do this stuff right?

While it was left there a day, I began to research because I had no issues setting up my own super sturdy epi, gibson, and fender acoustic, exactly how I like. I wanted to know more, but was really unsure of how to work with the trem. Also, the tech there made it seem like it would be more involved and need more "springs", and the "claws" adjusted. (new stuff to me, Never heard the terms before, new expensive gear, always had hard tails, and so did all my buddies) I thought the pro should at least get it setup so I can get going right away. screw around with it later knowing I bought the protection plan. The tech seemed really skittish about doing 13-56 on that guitar and said i would lose tuning stability and the trem might not be able to take it so he talked me all the way down to 11's... setup ended up being ~$70-80.

So in my research, I called sweetwater and asked what needed to be done to an AZ to get it down to C# with 13-56 strings, he stated nothing, I asked about the extra, or even "High tension" springs the tech went on about. He said it would be fine.

Emailed a dude who has a trippy ass ibanez fansite thing, and seemed to know a lot, who was kick ass enough to even answer my question. and did so expediently.
he also said that I didnt need to do anything, and even said that 13-56 tuned that low is pretty dang close to 10's tension wise.

so im sketched out and nervous already.

get my guitar.

he didn't ask me to check his work.

I open it there, and stum through each string and fret a little, theres more buzz than I expected but he said it wouldnt translate to an amp.
and the b sounded weird but I attributed that to it being unwound.

anxious because hes kinda standing over me since theres no counter so im sitting on the floor with it.

I get out, take it home, and I hate the strings because the feel just as sloppy as the 10's to me and i'm accidentally bending them, just fumbling around and feeling drunk, but willing to adapt.
Then I keep hitting that b and cringing, the string has this ugly sharp bend in it ~1 cm from the saddle. "YIKES!"
It looks like it was tightened over the saddle and then slipped up afterwards, if this was prior to me receiving it, then he did some pretty sloppy and rushed work. not worth $68 plus strings which are now damaged goods.

As I'm moving around I can feel tons of buzz, so I switch to clean, and holy heck it sound like a dirty little clean channel. every bit of buzz I felt came out of that amp.

And I still miss playing with 13-56.

totally willing to settle back to 12's.

I really liked the dude, and I hate confrontation, and bad attitudes, and being out in the world, not just because of covid but because of the way that the world just is, I'm nervous about going back or complaining at all... especially because it seems like he did such a rush job. but I could be totally ignorant and that's as good as it can get buzz wise with 11's at C# standard.
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TLDR
What the heck should I do? (guitar center didnt set up the guitar the way I like, and its worse to me than when I gave it to them.)

1. screw it and accept it the way it is, he knew what he was doing and I'm ignorant. (totally willing to accept this)
2. set it up myself, or
3. find another tech?

if so how the heck do you find a reputable tech?
or
How do I set this up or at least a trustworthy resource.

and whats the freaking truth about 13-56 in C# on this beast? can it be done, done well, and with buzz that doesnt come through with low enough action? (I dont need it crazy low, but im up the frets past 12 often enough to care.)

to those who read any of this,
thank you for your valuble time.


-S
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
okay that posted, I tried adding a poll for those who want to respond quickly, but I guess it doesnt work for me.
sorry folks.

-S
 

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That's one hell of a story haha. The gauge isn't an issue except for maybe the nut slots them selves would have to be widened for the larger strings to sit in it properly. In your situation with the tuning being dropped so far the tension would be close to using 10's in standard like the guy you mentioned had said. This has been a recent reoccurring issue on the forums... Setting up a floating trem system that is... It's best to learn how to do it yourself. It will require you to have an understanding of balancing string tension and spring tension of the trem. If you apply more tension with the strings, to counter that you need more tension added to the trem springs as well, that way the trem angle is flat, not leaning far forward or back.

As for going back... I am not sure I would have them try to fix it, unless there is a... Senior head tech there that can assure you it will be done correctly. If anything I would demand my money back. And either take your business elsewhere or take the time to learn the process.

Widening a nut slot can be tricky... But it's definitely doable. Just do your homework. There's plenty of techs on this forum that have more experience than myself on widening a nut slot. I've done it for a friend but he was only going up one gauge. It's easy to widen it that small amount. Though this was a fixed bridge setup that I worked on. Widening a nut for trem setup is a bit of a different situation because it requires a bit more finishing to allow the string to slide smoothly in the slot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey thanks jsxline6 !

Definitely gave me the confidence I needed to just look it up on you tube and start digging into it with my own grimey paws.

I almost took this guitar down to Ann Arbor guitars, lol. Its close to an hour away but my parents live there so no big deal really... Says he's "world class" on his website, but I'm not privy to what credentials someone has to have to legitimately call themselves that. But since its Ann Arbor, I bet its crazy expensive.

Anyways, thanks man!

Hey by any chance (asking secondary to your handle) have you worked with IRs on a helix device? I just would like to know what other people use with similar guitars or pickups.

Actually, Ill just see if there's a thread for that and start a new one when I get tired of searching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Aw dang, no worries! Definitely a gear question for somewhere else. Line 6 makes helix which can model effects, amps, and cabs pretty accurately. Tone hunter talk really.

But I just finished adjusting the height and fixed my fret buzz! Action Is sweet now. But... Then I noticed my H pickup was cracked, and I definitely didn't do it...
Can this affect it? Should I bother?

No wonder they pushed that guitar insurance plan so hard... I think they knew It was messed up. They discounted everything I bought so I could break even and afford it... Definitely a reason to go back tomorrow. Is GC known to be this bad?
 

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Not all guitar centers are created equal. Some are fantastic, some are crap. The one in my town is really great. They have a quality guitar tech thats actually a local luthier that builds decent stuff. The guitar center a couple hours away from me is GARBAGE. Bad people, bad service, and I havent heard nice things about their "tech". Probably some dude they pulled off the floor honestly.

If a 54 strat with vintage saddles can handle 13s in Eb, the prestige AZ with its roasted neck and premium gotoh bridge can certainly handle it in C#. The tech there screwed up. As mentioned, the only thing that would need to be changed is the nut, and well.. thats part of the job. He talked you out of it because its just extra work for him. Its not even that hard, you can be lazy and use the string itself as a "saw" to widen the nut lol. (Yes this works fine lol).

Holy crap I just noticed you mentioned Ann arbor! THATS THE BAD ONE I WAS TALKING ABOUT!!! Dont EVER go there! Im friends with the GM at the one on this side of the state, would you like me to speak with him and ask what you should do? I hope you have the receipt for your service? Lol if you were a bit closer, I'd just offer to help out but thats kind of a drive. Small world lol.

Oh yeah, pm me a link to this guy youre talking about in Ann Arbor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dude I'd be so stoked to take any help or advice I can get. I wasn't trying to drop that many bones to be bummed out and making like 4 separate trips to GC. Yeah its actually the mom and pop the live in A2, as for myself, I live in Davison right next to flint.
I'll pm you the link, my mom actually took me there for lessons when I was 5, but I hardly remember it. I can still play the Flintstones theme though. lol.:grin2:
 

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So the crack.... It shouldn’t affect anything though. As much as GC aggravated me this isn’t their fault.

Unfortunately Seymour Duncan has a problem with their pickups developing cracks around the polepieces. Pretty much every non-butyrate bobbin or non-custom-shop pickup of theirs I’ve had for over 2 years developed cracks. I’m not certain if it’s the bobbin material, or too much tension from their machines winding the wire.

Luke
 

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So the crack.... It shouldn't affect anything though. As much as GC aggravated me this isn't their fault.

Unfortunately Seymour Duncan has a problem with their pickups developing cracks around the polepieces. Pretty much every non-butyrate bobbin or non-custom-shop pickup of theirs I've had for over 2 years developed cracks. I'm not certain if it's the bobbin material, or too much tension from their machines winding the wire.

Luke
Wow, that's strange, I've got a number of Duncan pickups, and had quite a few come through my collection over the years, and I've never seen cracked bobbins.
 

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So the crack.... It shouldn't affect anything though. As much as GC aggravated me this isn't their fault.

Unfortunately Seymour Duncan has a problem with their pickups developing cracks around the polepieces. Pretty much every non-butyrate bobbin or non-custom-shop pickup of theirs I've had for over 2 years developed cracks. I'm not certain if it's the bobbin material, or too much tension from their machines winding the wire.

Luke
Wow, that's strange, I've got a number of Duncan pickups, and had quite a few come through my collection over the years, and I've never seen cracked bobbins.
I have a theory...

SD uses the Leesona for PAFs and CS humbuckers and it winds 2 coils at a time, whereas they use auto-winders that were made in the last 30ish years for the others. I'm guessing that the tension from those "newer" winders are part of the problem.

The SDs with Nylon and Butryrate bobbins don't have the problem. I haven't had a lot of trembuckers but since they are slightly different I'm wondering if they don't either.

If you go through the used threads on the forum there you'll see some guys are very good to disclose it.

My experience with those cracks, I call them "spider-cracks", is one of the reasons they are no longer my go-to pickups.

Luke
 

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^^ Hmm, that's curious about the bobbin cracks. I put some SDs in my guitars nearly 10 years ago (the pups were used also, so who knows how old they were at the time) and they don't have cracks (one is a tb, fwiw). Just regular models - Jazz, '59, Custom 5 - with which I was making some hybrids. At first thought, it seems like the plastic formula is such that after some time it loses elasticity and cracks, seemingly quite fast if a new guitar like an AZ has this issue.

Regarding the OP's issue, yeah, there's nothing more frustrating than paying to do a job and receiving a sub-par work. With things like setups, I think it's something every guitarist should endeavour to get a handle on - saves $$ and headaches. It can be daunting doing some work (like widening a nut slot), but there's plenty of good information out there these days about how to do it. You're fully in control of the situation, can go as slow as you need (something techs in bigger shops don't have the luxury of), and get it to your taste.
 

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^^ Hmm, that's curious about the bobbin cracks. I put some SDs in my guitars nearly 10 years ago (the pups were used also, so who knows how old they were at the time) and they don't have cracks (one is a tb, fwiw). Just regular models - Jazz, '59, Custom 5 - with which I was making some hybrids. At first thought, it seems like the plastic formula is such that after some time it loses elasticity and cracks, seemingly quite fast if a new guitar like an AZ has this issue.

Regarding the OP's issue, yeah, there's nothing more frustrating than paying to do a job and receiving a sub-par work. With things like setups, I think it's something every guitarist should endeavour to get a handle on - saves $$ and headaches. It can be daunting doing some work (like widening a nut slot), but there's plenty of good information out there these days about how to do it. You're fully in control of the situation, can go as slow as you need (something techs in bigger shops don't have the luxury of), and get it to your taste.
Yeah, I don't expect you to remember what I said on the forum but I did bitch about it years ago when the forum was blowin-n-goin and was a cool spot...I also bitched about the JB's specs changing and dishonesty. But that's neither here nor there. 🤣

I had to learn to do the lions share of my tech work because most are SOOOOO awful. I remember paying 40 for a setup and telling my bassist I could've done the same thing at home.
 

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I remember the JB thing, it was around the time they released the antiquity version of the pickup? I remember reading something about 59s as well - the 1980s ones, for instance, are built quite differently to current ones; and there have been discussions about old Super Ds also differing from newer ones, afaik. It might be one of those 'matter of course' things - suppliers of wire, magnets etc. go out of business, or change the alloys without notice, become more expensive so the pu manufacturer changes to a different one. In any case, though the cracks in the bobbins are mostly cosmetic I imagine, still not a good look. How often does one see cracked PAF?

Yeah, I've never taken my stuff to a tech, partly because I never lived close to any and heard too many horror stories, ha. My view was, 'well, how hard can it be to do X?' Having a crappy guitar to practice on helps too.

There are good techs out there, of course, but they're arguably less common than average ones. In the midst of the soul searching (for the time when one will need to have more serious work done), it's not a bad idea to up one's tinkering skills in the meantime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey just a friendly update!
I ended up ballsing up and returning it. they refunded the guitar and protection plan, but did not refund the setup, strings, or springs used in the setup... oh well. lol.
I then turned around and grabbed up an RG5170 from Rich, who was very thorough and mindful to let me know everything I should about the purchase itself as well as the guitar. Hes got a pretty sweet rep around here so I'm pretty excited. I was 12th in line when I ordered it, so I have no idea when its gonna be in my hands. though I'm sure I'll show it off here as soon as it arrives.
thanks for all the help dudes!
and yeah im 90% sure the tech cracked them adjusting the poles. they werent cracked before screw that place. and I'm 100% learning how to setup my own trem this time around.
 

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I did it at 4 this morning, after I did a 565. I needed to get the light work out before the heavy stuff this weekend.

I ended up having to use high tension springs. Some routs you get away with it but it only had 1mm of adjustment left so that wasn't going to work.
 

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Hey just a friendly update!
I ended up ballsing up and returning it. they refunded the guitar and protection plan, but did not refund the setup, strings, or springs used in the setup... oh well. lol.
I then turned around and grabbed up an RG5170 from Rich, who was very thorough and mindful to let me know everything I should about the purchase itself as well as the guitar. Hes got a pretty sweet rep around here so I'm pretty excited. I was 12th in line when I ordered it, so I have no idea when its gonna be in my hands. though I'm sure I'll show it off here as soon as it arrives.
thanks for all the help dudes!
and yeah im 90% sure the tech cracked them adjusting the poles. they werent cracked before screw that place. and I'm 100% learning how to setup my own trem this time around.
Congrats on getting something you're proud of!!!

I did somewhat misunderstand the question/timeframe on the busted bobbin. I didn't understand you thought the tech over tightened the screw. I've never seen that before...but I'm sure GC could figure out how!
 
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