Ibanez Backstops

Discuss Steve's guitars, set-up and equipment here. This forum is not for discussing general guitar topics.
trackm
Newcomer
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:43 pm

I've been studying Vai's music for a little while now and I'm trying to figure out which of his guitar's have the Ibanez Backstop (tremsetter) in them. I know that Evo and some others of his do, but I've also read that his 7-string guitars do not. If that is the case, how is he able to do unison bends on songs that he's using a 7-string for (i.e. Liberty)? How often does he use them, and why does he use them? Is this also how he does drop tunings?
Patill
Member
Member
Posts: 1096
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:54 am

Evo had a Backstop because of the big crack I think. Floyd Rose trems are stable while bending and pushing the arm down. If you pull the arm up it´ll go out of tune fore 2-3 cents usually. So not that dramatic. Though I don´t like it, too. If you raised the trem and detuned your guitar that way, you can simply tune it back to normal by pushing the arm down again.

So detuning only occurs when you raise the trem to a guitar that is tuned to a down pushed trem, or when you tune your guitar to a previously raised trem and push it down.

Also, when he played Liberty with the 7 String it was in studio, so even if some problems occured: copy/paste ;). Today he´s using more 6 strings, that´s why I say it like that.
User avatar
Jeroen
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2624
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2003 12:34 am

Steve has backstops in Universes also, see for example this one:

Image

He uses backstops because it's easy to push the trem out of tune while resting your hand on them - he has big hands and stuff just gets in the way. That's the only thing they are used for.
It provides extra resistance for pulling up (or pushing down on the tail piece).

Since bends and unison bends will cause the trem to move forward (equivalent of pushing down the bar), this will work normally as any floyd guitar, since the Backstop doesn't interfere with that action.

The backstop in Evo hasn't got anything to do with the crack - the device has been in there pretty much since he got the guitar.

J
Patill
Member
Member
Posts: 1096
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:54 am

ah ok, didn´t know that.

I also put some into my guitars, one backstop and the others are BackBoxes from Goeldo, they´re just the same. I never had problems with pushing the trem down when resting the hand on it, but I didn´t like the detuning with the Floyd ;).


I never thought Steve pushed his hand so strong onto the Floyd so it bends up...I mean this is a force you can´t hold a whole show^^.
trackm
Newcomer
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:43 pm

Thanks Patill and Jeroen, I really appreciate the responses. I just had a few more questions though...

For Jeroen: I thought the backstop stabilized the entire bridge, not just when it was pulled up, so I still don't understand how he is able to do unison bends (or play any other string in pitch while another one is bent, for that matter), could you please explain that for me?

For Patill: I've heard the same thing about the BackBoxes from Goeldo. How did you get yours and how much does it cost to install?
Patill
Member
Member
Posts: 1096
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:54 am

cost to install? Nothing, just do it yourself^^.


The idea of the Backstop is that you tighten your trem springs into the body so the trem would go into the body (and the strings go sharp). The backstop pushes it back to normal, so there is a tension on the trem. If you now bend a string this tension gets lower, but not low enough to raise the trem and make the other strings go flat.

You can adjust that how you like. Strong or low tension. The stronger the tension, the "harder" it is to pull the trem arm up because of the force the backstop is administrating to the trem to stay in line. But it is actually not hard ;). You get used to it after minutes.

Backboxes are available on Thomann. I recommend to get two for each guitar, just like the back stop looks. It´s just that the forces are nearly even in the guitar and you can do finer adjustments.
User avatar
Jeroen
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2624
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2003 12:34 am

I think that's not the way Steve's backstops are setup though it's possible to do it like that (just read the brochure that came with it) - I think Steve's jem's are tuned and setup normally, and the backstop is then setup to act only as a buffer - and that's from what I've seen up close.

I'm gonna try it that other way in bit though and see how that pans out, that one is new to me.
Patill
Member
Member
Posts: 1096
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:54 am

Jeroen wrote:I think Steve's jem's are tuned and setup normally, and the backstop is then setup to act only as a buffer - and that's from what I've seen up close.
well, that´s what I said. You can only set the backstop one specific way. So it is how Steves Backstop is set.

What I do see at the All about Evo pics is, that he set it around the tension to buffer a high E string break completely. That´s how I set mine and they look about the same lengthwise.
Last edited by Patill on Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
trackm
Newcomer
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:43 pm

Thanks, but I'm still not sure how he does the unison bends or bends one string and plays another in tune...
Last edited by trackm on Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Jeroen
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2624
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2003 12:34 am

Patill wrote:
Jeroen wrote:I think Steve's jem's are tuned and setup normally, and the backstop is then setup to act only as a buffer - and that's from what I've seen up close.
well, that´s what I said ;).


You can only set the backstop one way.
No, 2 ways:

1 - buffer only => tune and screw the buffers until they touch the tremblock without affecting the tuning. This is how Steve has it (I think) and this is how mine are.
2- buffer in tune => screw the buffers until they touch and push trem out of tune, then highten the spring tension until equilibrium (tuning); this will help with bends and keeping in tune if a string breaks (although for that it needs to be so high strung that any flutter is impossible and really limits any real whammy work).

J
Patill
Member
Member
Posts: 1096
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:54 am

Jeroen wrote:
Patill wrote:
Jeroen wrote:I think Steve's jem's are tuned and setup normally, and the backstop is then setup to act only as a buffer - and that's from what I've seen up close.
well, that´s what I said ;).


You can only set the backstop one way.
No, 2 ways:

1 - buffer only => tune and screw the buffers until they touch the tremblock without affecting the tuning. This is how Steve has it (I think) and this is how mine are.
2- buffer in tune => screw the buffers until they touch and push trem out of tune, then highten the spring tension until equilibrium (tuning); this will help with bends and keeping in tune if a string breaks (although for that it needs to be so high strung that any flutter is impossible and really limits any real whammy work).

J

I wrote it before (you quoted me before the edit^^). Look at the All about Evo pics, you can see the adjusting screws on the back don´t touch the unit. That means the trem tenses the countersprings of the Backstop.
User avatar
Jeroen
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2624
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2003 12:34 am

Patill wrote:I wrote it before (you quoted me before the edit^^). Look at the All about Evo pics, you can see the adjusting screws on the back don´t touch the unit. That means the trem tenses the countersprings of the Backstop.
I'm not sure what you mean. The adjustingscrews on the back? Take a good look at your own backstop...
trackm
Newcomer
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:43 pm

I'm still not sure how he does the unison bends or bends one string and plays another in tune..I'm sorry for asking so many times but I'm really curious :)
User avatar
Jeroen
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2624
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2003 12:34 am

trackm wrote:I'm still not sure how he does the unison bends or bends one string and plays another in tune..I'm sorry asking so many times but I'm really curious :)
Sorry about that :) Obviously the best way, without any tools, is having proper intonation. I've seen Vai play plenty of guitars that don't have backstops and he's just in tune.
With unison bends, when you bend a string to pitch and the second string will go flat a little, if it isn't an open string, you'll have to bend that one just a smudge as well.
With half step bends though, the rest will be practically in tune, hardly noticeable. For the rest: Proper use of cover ups: Vibrato (perhaps with the bar) - speed, etc.

This is all theory though - I don't remember him discussing any of these techniques anywhere.
J
Patill
Member
Member
Posts: 1096
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:54 am

Jeroen wrote: With half step bends though, the rest will be practically in tune, hardly noticeable. For the rest: Proper use of cover ups: Vibrato (perhaps with the bar) - speed, etc.
that means the trem needs to push against the backstop, otherwise that won´t work :).
Jeroen wrote: 1 - buffer only => tune and screw the buffers until they touch the tremblock without affecting the tuning. This is how Steve has it (I think) and this is how mine are.
btw, I forgot, this way the backstop will have no effect at all?!
Post Reply