Quantcast Ryan's Guitars: April 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Gretsch Power Jet Gets a Setup

After playing her for a little while it was time to get the factory strings off, clean the board and get some fresh strings on it so I could do a proper setup. With these guitars you have to be careful when removing all the strings at once since the bridges "float" on the guitar's top... meaning that there is nothing anchoring the rosewood bridge foot to the guitar except string pressure and a couple of small "pins" screwed into the body under the foot itself. However, the bridge does not fit tightly over these pins and, therefore, some deviation from the original position is possible. So, if you remove all the strings at once for maintenance or repair, you must first tape off the edges of the bridge so you can have a reference of where it was before you removed it; that way you can put it back in the precise place it was when it's time to re-string. This is important since scale length and intonation are both affected by the final placement of the bridge.

On my Power Jet, I have since had the bridge permanently "pinned" (or in this case, attached with wood screws) to the guitar top. I had master luthier Rick Hancock do this work (as well as a fret level and a few other details) so that the job would be done as perfectly as possible. As I mentioned earlier, final bridge placement is critical to proper playing feel and intonation so I didn't want to chance it by doing the work myself. Rick counter-sunk the screws into the bridge foot right underneath the thumbwheels so they are practically invisible. Now the bridge is stable for string changes and, more importantly, under heavy playing where the bridge would sometimes move around causing tuning problems.

I polished the frets and cleaned the board with 0000 steel wool, cleaned and polished the body with extra fine carnauba wax and re-strung with Ernie Ball Skinny Top/Heavy Bottom strings. This is another hybrid string gauge (I seem to love these hybrid gauges). They are 11s on the wound strings and 10s on the unwound. At first I was thinking about going to a lighter gauge than the regular 10s that came on the guitar... but I have since discovered that the Bigsby tremolo soaks up a lot of the string tension, so, the guitar actually needed a heavier gauge to compensate for this. The hybrid 10/11 set balances out the Bigsby nicely, while still keeping the treble strings pliable for easy bending.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Guitar!! 20th Anniversary RG

It finally came in! I ordered it from Rich Harris of Ibanez Rules who is awesome to deal with, by the way, and knows pretty much everything about Ibanez guitars. This thing has the brightest paint job I have ever seen! ;) It's so bright and unique that it is actually very difficult to photograph well.

Fit and finish is excellent. I have noticed that the fret ends are a little prickly, but due to the flat radius (and, at least, the way I play) I don't feel them when fretting. Other than a couple of design improvements by Ibanez, this guitar is almost exactly like the ones they made back in 1987... they have the same neck profile, pickup config, maple board, crazy color ;) and original Edge tremolo of the original '87 models! In fact, they are making exactly 1,987 of these guitars (mine is #946 - see photo bottom right).

The Edge trem is so smooth and works beautifully. I find it more comfortable than the newer Edge Pro and wish they had never stopped making it. Pickups are crap (as usual) in these guitars and will soon be replaced with the pink PAF Pros I ordered and a pink SDS-1 single... as well as neon green knobs and a pink selector switch. Other than that, the guitar will remain as is. ;)

More to come as I play it and do the PU mods. So far it feels great and seems destined to be one of my favorites!