Old jem, rediscovered

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calos
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This might not be the right forum to post about this on, so mod please move if need be. ;)

Lo all been a long time since I posted, nice to see the site so busy still and good to see so many new people finding Steves music.

Long story short.

I own an 1988 jem floral, has the floral patten fabric under the final gloss finish. the old original paf pro pickups, (still pink but faded)

It's old now I guess hehe, but it still sounds sweet as can be and has always delivered the goods as an instrument from reading from a few sheets of music in caberet gig, to wailing (hopefully) like steve on some of my own creatations, must have used this guitar for over 1k gigs (live perfomances).

Anyhow I did say long story short so..

I've always fell the original trem system, though very effective as a trem system was, intrusive for my right-hand, I knew they released a lo-edge-pro version, but familey commitments etc pc upgrades prevented me from ever exploring the possibility of changing the old-faithful in any way.

Recently I was at a friends' birthday, they are originaly from Thailand and married to a great and longstanding friend of my'n (for about 20 happy years now), but this particular friend has a very uncanny knack of seeing the truth of things, she watched us all after the cook-out as we all got drunker and talked over our various glory days, as always birds of a feather we are as musicians/fathers/friends/couples out came the guitars and various other instruments, and the evening rolled along very nicely, so much joy really.

I'd taken old-faithful along and a little 5wtt practise amp, and as the evening progressed, I put down old-faithful and picked up someones acoustic, the music and fun continued, as in "oh-no, we've run out of words, anyone know the third verse of..?" much laughter some musicaly special moments where it just all came together from nowhere (always love those)

During a pause, that is time to refresh the drinks, eat some more food etc.
My old Thai friend and I started to chat much like we always have, she said something that struck home and really left me with my mouth a little open in awe, "when you make music with that garden-guitar, one hand is happy but the other is sad" not her exact words but pretty much what she said.

We laughed about it, and didn't really persue it moving on to more pressing issue of the evening such as wich of the fabulous dishes of food to try next .. oh yeah I forgot long story short.. sorry oO.

So some weeks later, I was playing quite happiley noodling around really, and what she had said came back to me, I looked at how I was playing went and looked at my reflection in the window and suddenly saw what she had seen clear as day, my right hand was at a very awkward angle and up in the air was my right shoulder. The top portion of the old-style trem unit was completely in the way of where my right hand and wrist "wanted" to be.

I tried a local store, sure enough they could get new ibanez parts, together we narrowed it down to the latest trem system, and I ordered one not even sure if it would fit the cavity on my old jem.

Few days later, it came, I looked at the newley enginered trem system and saw some brilliant changes and refinement over my existing one, all excited I took it home.

It didn't fit.

Simpley as I can explain it, the old-style guitar has been routed to work with a trem system that isn't symetrical after the bridge/upper portions, the socket the trem arm sits in on the old system is given more room by a larger cavity than the "top" bass side of the unit. The new trem system has a larger and symetrical underside, that underside is the same symetriacal shape that could be used on a left or right hand trem system.

The only way this was ever gonna fit was to remove wood from the guitar.

I think I sat for an hour thinking about it, taking the unit back and forgeting it... somehow it just didn't feel right, then I rememberd reading that at one point many moons ago, Steve him self took power-tools to a guitar to get it the way he wanted it, (pre-jem days of course) And I thought to myself that action was risk that spawned a generation of guitars, remove as may obsticles as possible from what your trying to say, musicaly spiritualy etc.. that could be as simple as changing your finger technique or finding a better place to rehearse, to what I was thinking about doing to a guitar that was more or less and "old friend" .. so to speak.

I made the choice and set about planning mechanics of how to get it to all work.

Took just over 6 hours end to end to get it to fit, several sections of routing had to change after analisys, after getting the width right, the unit wouldn't rock smoothley back and forth in the normal fashion as the brige post sites where a few mill "further-in" ( closer to the neck) than the trem unit was designed for.

Anyhow _finaly_ the unit was in and it was time to string it up and see if I'd either killed a perfectly good instrument or created a new one.

_VERY_ luckiley it had worked I spent another hour or so setting the action the intonation etc etc, but end result was a guitar I've always wanted.

It's difficult to explain in a text format, but perhaps saying I was so happy with how the guitar played I continued to play it for 6 more hours end to end none-stop might suggest how happy I was with end result.

What I will say as a responsible adult is, "kids don't use power-tools on your _expensive_ musical instruments, unless you have a clear and precise idea of what you are doing and exactley _how_ you are going to do it"

Anyhow that long story short I promised.... yeah sorry about that folks, I really am just so happy with my "new" guitar. both hands happy now he he.

peace
cal
Shamrocks
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good story :)

i hope you have fun with it!
slash89
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Hey, good for you! You can be proud of your guitar man! :)
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calos
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Image
overview
Image
close of new trem
Image
12th fret action
Image
24th fret action

Little pics of the reborn Jem.
Still hougley happy with the result.
peace
cal
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brentm
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That sure is an interesting discovery of the issue and an even more interesting solution.

Did you have any assistance on this, or did you practice removing wood from scrap pieces prior to the work?

Have you ever played with a palm rest like the ones that shipped with early LNG's (Balducci uses a 3rd party repro on his gits). Were you more uncomfortable resting your palm, or was it just the protrusion of the older trem?
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calos
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brentm wrote:That sure is an interesting discovery of the issue and an even more interesting solution.
Yes sometimes people with a different world view due to culture and background can "see" the simple truth of things we haven't, glad that she mentioned it.
brentm wrote:Did you have any assistance on this, or did you practice removing wood from scrap pieces prior to the work?
One of my Fathers hobbies was wood woork, he bcame very good at it, even built a pendulem clock out of wood the gogs and everything, it kept pretty good time too. I asked him about it and explained the type of wood etc he gave me some advise, but sugested that he do the job himself, I figured if it went wrong then I didn't want to be able to blame anyone but myself so I that's part of why I did it myself.
brentm wrote:Have you ever played with a palm rest like the ones that shipped with early LNG's (Balducci uses a 3rd party repro on his gits). Were you more uncomfortable resting your palm, or was it just the protrusion of the older trem?
The latter, the higher back of the floydrose type edge trem affected the position and angle I was pick/strumming at and I'd never conciderd how for me personaly how un-natural it felt, I guess as my first guitars where lespaul and strat copies I'd gotten used to how my right hand relaxed onto the bridge a little. I don't think it affects everyone but as soon as I'd changed the bridge and set the guitar back up it just felt so much better it was truley stunning, guess my next project will be to change the pickups for some evos, heh maybe if I keep going I'll have a new jem oO ... NAH.

Peace
cal
dex
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Next time you are about to undertake something like this be sure to stop by jemsite.com and projectguitar.com.

There is a low profile tremolo system that would have been a straight swap - called Lo-Pro Edge funnily enough.
Not as low profile as the one you ended up with but it would have fit straight out the box.

Here's both trems for comparison

Since 2003 all Jems and Japanese made guitars (appart from K7) have been fited with the new uber low profile Edge Pro
Image
And all the Korean made Ibanez guitars have been fited with the Edge Pro II trem system until 2005 when the new Edge III was introduced.
Somehow in all this confusion you ended up purchasing and installing the Edge Pro II bridge.
Image

Good thing you managed to shoehorn it in but a quick look around on Jemsite and/or projectguitar would have made your life much easyer.

ilia
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calos
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Well can I say !DOH! yeah had the underside been no bigger than the edge trem that the guitar came with the whole job would have been easier, I frist tried this trem unit on a much newer jem at a music store and loved it, so that's why I did all that I did.

Guess research is all in this sort if thing, but hey I still ove how my guitar sounds and plays now, perhaps it would have been less painfull though oO.

It's all good.

peace
cal
StoleN GuitaR
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too bad you had to actually alter the guitar body though.,
RAR!
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Why didn't you simply by a new-old-stock Lo-Pro Edge from www.ibanezrules.come before bastardizing your FP with a tremolo that doesn't fit?
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calos
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RAR! wrote:Why didn't you simply by a new-old-stock Lo-Pro Edge from www.ibanezrules.come before bastardizing your FP with a tremolo that doesn't fit?
Well honest answer would be I really liked the new style trem even after over 10 years with the orginal edge trem, I thought that I'd orderd that trem but as already said, in the confusion, got the wrong one.

I guess by the time I realised it didn't just fit right in, I knew I couldn't sell that guitar and just buy another to get what I wanted, I wouldn't even swap it for evo sounds crazy I guess seeing as I then cut into it. but I thought wich is better a little mod and a guitar I really love, or a guitar that had beome something I love but can't love to play.

peace
cal
jonnyboy mills
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AH HA!!! just let me tell ya. i once had a jem777vdy this had the old edge trem on it and just like carlos i found it got in the way. and it was in very poor condition. At the time i also had an RG550 blue with black hardware and yep you guessed it a LOW PRO EDGE trem fitted (oh happy days) :lol: So after drinking a few cans of lager i set about swaping the hardware from one guitar to the other . now my tatty yellow jem looked 100 times better. i was well pleased and set about restring it (and drank more lager in the process) any way the next day i began to sort the intonation, action and other stuff to my horror the trem didnt flutter at all as something was in the way underneath. so out came the wood chisels and i began to chip away after about an hour or so and a touch of pink paint (although i dont know why i botherd with the paint as it was under the base of the trem and completely out of site) the trem worked perfectly! however it would of been a different story if i would have attemted this drunk!

I realy would not have fitted an EDGE PRO 2, HAD A jem555 just as a knock about guitar and the quality of the trem is poor ,compared to my low pro thats on my 7v. needless to say i got rid.
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