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Someone help me with my Ibanez?


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So, I have a problem with my Ibanez with an Edge III trem (RGT42DX). I thought the trem was to blame for the issue, but after fixing it with a piece of wood I jammed through the back of the guitar, and the same problem was still there, I'm thinking it has to be something else.

Here's the problem - when I play the low E string, it sounds like it's out of tune with itself. Watching a tuner, the string drops in tune as it rings, even when I don't touch anything. Like I said, I've locked the trem with a wood block so it's completely stuck, and it doesn't help. Also, when playing on a fret, depending on how hard I press the string down on the fret, it changes a semitone or so in pitch. This means it's nearly impossible to play in tune. Add to this the fact that the there's a shitload of fret buzz, and it doesn't seem to matter how high I raise the trem. Note that none of this has to do with intonation - with the right amount of pressure, the string is in tune on all frets, though it's slightly higher in pitch just as it's being played and then drops.

However, when I jammed the trem with the woodblock, the low E string was tuned into an A (because I jammed the trem all the way down), and playing on it then, the problem went away, even the fret buzz, despite the fact that the strings were a lot closer to the frets now than before I jammed the trem. But I can't have a guitar tuned to an A, it'd be impossible to play along with anything. So I was thinking, maybe the low E string needs to be really tense in order not to fret buzz or get out of tune when playing on the frets? And the only way I can think of doing this is replacing my 42 gauge low E string with an even thicker one, so that when it's tuned to an E, it's really tense, and thereby should not buzz or get out of tune when pressed. But how thick strings are there, and is there a risk I break something if I put too thick a string on the guitar? I didn't notice the neck bending when I jammed the trem, so it seems the neck can take a lot of force, but still.

I would like some input on this.

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I've never used an edge 3 but here goes.

Ibanez guitars have very tall frets; if you push down on the strings there is a fair distance you can push it that will pull the string over the fret stretching it and raising the pitch. I've never heard of it going up a semi-tone, but it if its just a little bit it is kinda normal... Dunno what to suggest if it is a full semitone other then get smaller frets :S.

The thing where a note starts high and gets a bit flatter over time is a fact of life. I can't remember the physics behind it, but it's always there I'm pretty sure. It usually only happens if you hit the string pretty hard though, and is more noticable on larger strings. It's only noticeable at all on my low E, and the gauge shouldn't make too much difference. Maybe find a smaller block of wood if its changing the position of your blocked bridge too much.

The string buzzing could be a lot of things. Could be a loose part somewhere vibrating, could be the string touching other frets, could be a problem where the string touches the nut or the tremolo itself. Hard to say without looking at it. I would also suggest maybe checking out the profile of the curvature of your neck, it might be bending forwards or backwards a bit. It sounds to me like you should be taking it to a shop to have it looked at, as there are clearly lots of things to look at and I wouldn't reccomend going anywhere near a truss rod if you don't know what you're doing with it.

Just out of interest, sounds like you can't be arsed with the problems tremolos can be (they can be bloody annoying I'll grant you). Why not get a hardtail if you've ended up just blocking the trem anyway? Unless you're really into whammy tricks (like me, woo) even I don't think they're worth the bother.

EDIT: wut neko says too, but bear in mind that can be a BITCH to adjust on some Ibanez trems, dunno about the edge 3.

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Actually, like I wrote, the neck is fine. And the intonation is as well.

Yeah, I should probably take it to a shop, or get a hardtail. It's just, I'm not a rich person, this guitar I bought used because I liked the way it looked, more than anything else, but it also felt very nice to play when I did in the store, and it didn't seem to be suffering from the above mentioned issues (unlike my brother's cheap and crappy squire junk), and when I took it to the store they told me all guitars are like this and that there was nothing they could do. They did offer to tune it, fix the intonation and stuff, but it would cost me, like, 80 bucks. I didn't realize then a trem was going to give me this much trouble, but you're right, I don't use it. And that's why I didn't think much of what the guy said in the store when I bought it - that the guy who sold it to the store did so because he thought the trem was too much trouble. Since I wasn't going to use the trem, I didn't consider it a problem. I didn't realize you use the trem all the time just by playing on the guitar, even if you don't use the whammy bar.

I just don't understand why ALL the cheap guitars have trem.

Anyway, I could sell this guitar and try to get a new, hardtail one, but I don't know what this thing would sell for, and even though a hardtail would give me less trouble, how do I know it won't give me THIS kind of trouble? I really like the sound and feel of the guitar though, so is there another Ibanez with lower frets? And could I afford it?

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If I were you, I'd return it and allow me to pick out the perfect fixed-bridge Ibanez in your price range. It would be used, and have to be purchased online, but I have the hookup when it comes to these things.


For example, the following:

Ibanez SZ520 - I owned one of these (in green) and it was great. This is definitely a mid-to-upper range Ibanez, falling somewhere in between those categories. Your guitar you have now falls in the low range. Price on this: $311


RG2ex1: I owned this in white (which was called the 2ex2) and while it was a lower end guitar, it played very well and I enjoyed it. It is the equivalent of what you have in quality. $259


Edit #2: Oh, sweden. Shipping might be a problem. eBay'd be your best bet.

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What kind of pickups does this black one have? Never seen those in real life.

I browsed around on Ibanez's website, and I have to say, I'm a sucker for looks. I found this awesome blue one with yellow pickups. Sweetness. But that one has trem, too.

Anyway, I'll try to visit a few shops and see what they have. It's strange how expensive everything is here.

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The nut could be slotted too low for the E string, plus a combination of blocking your trem lowering the strings.

The initial problem sounded like a machine head issue, with the intonation slipping only on one string, but that would have actually gotten worse tuned up to A (or are you drop-tuned to A?). It could also just be the string breaking in, as you didn't say how new the string was.

My suggestion is unblock your trem, add a few more springs and crank the claw all the way down to the wood. Tune from the outside, moving in (E-e-A-B-D-G), and any time you use your trem, jerk up on it after you go down (it's a stupid simple trick, but it's worked for me for years).

Or, you know, take it to a tech and see what he says.

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Won't adding springs mean I have to move the claw out from, not in towards the wood?

I just restrung the whole thing, but it was like this before too. The new strings are brand new.

And yeah, it's tuned UP, not down.

EDIT: I ordered a tremol-no at the shop in... September, and it still hasn't arrived. Anyway, do you think that would help as much as adding springs and stuff? Seems to me the guitar doesn't work the way I want it to even when I block the trem, but I've heard good things about the tremol-no... at least it'll let me tune the strings individually.

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