All About Flo – History

An Iconic Guitar

Together with Evo, Flo has been at the forefront of Steve’s arsenal of guitars. Equipped with a Fernandes Sustainer unit, the guitar inspired new musical directions and possibilities. Its construction, which for Jem aficionados obviously differs from normal Jems, has sparked a lot of discussion over the years. Here we present the opportunity to delve into the gritty details and explore its colorful history.

 

The Genesis

Back in 1992, Steve and Ibanez decided that the next iteration of the Ibanez Jem should have a classic look and feel to it. A design, which eventually turned into the Jem7VWH we now all know, was done and incorporated a few new attributes Ibanez had been working on, such as the All Access Neck Joint.  At the same time, Steve and Dimarzio were working on various pickup prototypes. This resulted in guitars like Evo and Pogo, which were among the first pre-production models of this new design. Other guitars that were created at this point were the original Ash Bad Horsie (Build by Ibanez luthier Mace Baily), and Bad Horsie II.

Flo at this point was still a Jem 77 FP. Steve had used various Floral Jems, mostly because of the sound. One particular Floral Jem was a favorite and used as backup and warm-up guitar.

vaiflo

As far as we can tall, this is the guitar that became Flo

“Perhaps it’s because the bodies were wrapped in cloth that the tone of the floral pattern Jems had something to them that the others didn’t. Sort of a warmth and richness that is more felt in the inner ear than objectively identified in the external audio sound of the guitar. I was very attracted to this sound”

In order to promote the new white Jem, it was decided that for the coming shows and tours, only the white jems would be played. In order to be able to continue to use the Floral, the Ibanez Artist Shop had painted it white, included gold colored hardware and adjusted the build of the body in such a way, that it could accept the newer All Access Neck Joint Necks.  And thus Flo was born. According to Steve’s tech at the time, Roger Bell, the conversion was done by Mace Bailey.

necks

Converted Neckjoint on Flo. On The Original Bad Horsie, a similar conversion was done.

“Flo was my favorite go to guitar as an EVO back up. But once we put the sustainer in her I started playing her a lot more. Besides some new songs I was writing on Flo with the sustainer, I started incorporating it into older songs too. Because of this I was using Flo perhaps as much as EVO and to this day (January 2015) that’s still the case. She’s quite a warm place to call home.”

 

Sustainers

For the first five years, Flo was used as a regular guitar and indeed we do still have some images of Flo before the sustainer was installed.  Around 1998  Steve took possession of a Black Fernandes Sustainer guitar and started experimenting with the possibilities of this device. Eventually it was decided that Flo would be fitted with a sustainer, which happened in 1999.

“Sometimes I will see a new technology and know instantly that I can make use out of it within my style of playing. When the Fernandez sustainer hit the scene and I had one installed on Flo I knew that it was going to be a game changer for me. “

Specs

Flo’s specifications varied from time to time.

  • Body:  Basswood, white, perloid 7vwh pick guard
  • Neck: First a prototype 7vwh Neck, then a customized 555 neck, then a custom 7vwh neck and lastly a True Temperament neck
  • Hardware: Ibanez Lo Pro Edge, Gold, With backstop device. Custom Aluminum Bar
  • Pickups:  First Paf Pro, white with gold pole pieces. Later Evo 2 bridge. Fernandes sustainer FSK401, with white driver