#1
  
Hi guys,

I recently bought an (almost new) RG321MH (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/RG321MH
), it looks great, it plays great and it sounds great. The reasons that I bought this guitar were because a needed a guitar with 24 frets and a fixed bridge (I had an old Rocket Special HSS with 21 frets and 6-point tremolo). Another reason to buy it was in order to have a guitar to play while I was modifying one of the two.

These are the ideas I have in mind in order of priority and ease:

1. Remove tone control: 
Why? I never use it and it’s always on 10, plus I can change the sound with the EQ of the amp if I need it, which I almost never touch. Moreover, I’ve read that removing the tone control gives a better sound and you can hear each note better while using distortion. Read here: (http://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?169773-Removing-tone-pot-WOW
!) I’ve noticed that when I use a lot of gain the notes kind-of get lost, with my other guitar (where the humbucker is not connected to the tone) the notes sound a bit more clear. Therefore, the tone is going! The question is what to install there?
I could either leave the pot disconnected as a dummy and to cover the hole.
Or install a kill-switch, just for fun, because I may not use it much.
No coil splitting, as I don’t like the sound of single coils alone.
Or install a second volume but only for the neck pickup, leaving the other as master.
This last one just occurred to me as a friend once showed me that lowering the neck volume on his Les Paul and keeping the bridge volume high allowed him to clean and soften the sound for chords on neck position while having volume and gain on the bridge for soloing.
Since I play mostly lead and am picking all the time, I don’t want separate controls. I need a master volume (close to pickups, so I can operate it with my pinky fast enough) to be able to regulate the volume on any switch position. And then the second volume (away from the pickups) may be useful to clean up the sound if I’m ever playing chords and suddenly need to solo and need volume and gain. Something like my pal showed me. What do you think?

2. Rewire pickups:
Why? This is pretty simple, as most HH passive RGs the 5-way switch act as follows (from neck to bridge)
1. Neck humbucker in series
2. Neck humbucker in parallel
3. Both humbuckers in parallel
4. Inner coils in parallel
5. Bridge humbucker in series
I don’t really like the sound of two humbucker together, as four coils at the same time gives a lot of sound, which is neither bridge nor neck. Therefore, I wanted to keep positions 1-2-5 as they are, move 4 to 3, and wire the bridge in parallel for position 4. Therefore:
1. Neck humbucker in series
2. Neck humbucker in parallel
3. Inner coils in parallel
4. Bridge humbucker in parallel
5. Bridge humbucker in series
What do you think? Have you done something like that? I will look up some diagrams, but it shouldn’t be too hard.

3. Direct mount pickups:
I know there are many different opinions as whether it gives more sustain and/or sounds better. I think it looks nicer and if I notice an improvement in the sound, great. If not, it will still look as nice and may not affect negatively. What do you think?

4. Relocate output jack:
Why? I never liked the jack position of the RG, Tele, Les Paul or anything that goes straight down. It gets on the way if you’re playing sitting down, as Vai said “if you step on the cable you pull the plug from your guitar”, and even if you pass the cable through the strap, the plug is bent and will eventually break. I am aware of an invention called the L-shape (or angled) plug, but I don’t like it. Strat’s or S series type are good, but Steve Vai or Satriani’s guitars have them best.
I saw a guy that already did it (probably many have), and it looked great and did not seem too difficult. Read: (http://homerecording.com/bbs/equipment-forums/guitars-and-basses/ibanez-switch-vol-pot-mod-277421/

http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f21/can-i-move-my-input-jack-108512.html
)
Basically, all that is needed is to drill perpendicularly to the actual jack, with different drill bit sizes to make room for the guide, cables, jack and plug and have this this slightly stepped-down shape. Thankfully, I have access to a drill press and I can try to fix the guitar in position and slowly drill through the side, right at the center and at 90deg from the jack. (Easier said than done.) What do you think?

5. Replace bridge:
Why? Maybe will feel/play better? Perhaps more sustain?
The version that I have comes with a Fixed Bridge (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/Fixed_Bridge
) which is fine, simple and does the job ok. However, I think the Gibraltar Standard (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/Gibraltar_Standard
) or the Tight-End R (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/Tight-End_R
) look better (IMO) and may sound better. Since the Tight-End R has a lot of mass and a tighter contact with the body, it may also increase sustain a bit. I know these are OEM, but I saw them on eBay new from Indonesia for about $50, which seems ok. I know a lot of Ibanez are made in Indonesia, so these may be spares, hopefully not defects that did not pass the QC.
What do you think? Have you played all three (or two) bridges? Have you noticed a difference in playing/feel/sustain?

6. Monkey grip
Stupid? YES
Unnecessary? YES
Total rip-off of Steve Vai’s signature? YES
WHY DO IT? Because I like it! I still remember the first time (almost 20 years ago) when I saw a beautiful all-white JEM with the monkey grip and I was completely amazed. I tried a used JEM-JR (black) at a local shop the other day and holding the guitar from the monkey grip felt extremely cool! Why not buy a signature? There is only ONE (01) JEM model with a fixed bridge (discontinued). I found one on eBay for over $1300, which I cannot afford, nor need/want. It will be cheaper to do it (if I ever) and with the money I save I can do many very nice upgrades. I saw a tutorial on how to do it (http://www.projectguitar.com/tutorials/instrument-building/jem-style-monkey-grip-handle-r41/
) I will try it on a piece of wood and see how hard it is, how good it looks and feel and maybe then try it on the guitar.
7. Custom paint
Why? No real reason needed here, just to make it look nicer, different, and unique; and after all those holes, she will be grateful to get a new paint job! I was thinking in a multi-coloured pattern. This is very ironic, as all of my guitars and basses have always been black AND I am colour-blind. Nevertheless, whenever I see a guitar with many colours, I feel instantly attracted. I was thinking something like the John Petrucci JPM100 (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/JPM100
).
I know that for this I need to completely strip the body and sand the paint off, prime it, paint it and then reassemble carefully not to mess up the new paint job.

Well, that is a lot longer than I expected… (That’s what she said!) Sorry, pun intended.
Now seriously, these are my ideas for my guitar, which I think, will look good and may improve the sound. I’d really appreciate your opinion and comment on my ideas to see if they a good or stupid and your experience on similar mods.

Thanks a lot for reading and for your advice,
Sorry for the long post!
Cheers,
Walter

Note: I’m not planning on installing new pickups yet. I want to try this mods first, and when I really feel that I need new and better pickups, I’ll do it.
P.S. If you live in Zürich and want to get together and jam, send me a PM.



#2

1. Remove tone control: 
Why? I never use it and it’s always on 10, plus I can change the sound with the EQ of the amp if I need it, which I almost never touch. Moreover, I’ve read that removing the tone control gives a better sound and you can hear each note better while using distortion. Read here: (http://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/showthread.php?169773-Removing-tone-pot-WOW
!) I’ve noticed that when I use a lot of gain the notes kind-of get lost, with my other guitar (where the humbucker is not connected to the tone) the notes sound a bit more clear. Therefore, the tone is going! The question is what to install there?
I could either leave the pot disconnected as a dummy and to cover the hole.
Or install a kill-switch, just for fun, because I may not use it much.
No coil splitting, as I don’t like the sound of single coils alone.
Or install a second volume but only for the neck pickup, leaving the other as master.
This last one just occurred to me as a friend once showed me that lowering the neck volume on his Les Paul and keeping the bridge volume high allowed him to clean and soften the sound for chords on neck position while having volume and gain on the bridge for soloing.
Since I play mostly lead and am picking all the time, I don’t want separate controls. I need a master volume (close to pickups, so I can operate it with my pinky fast enough) to be able to regulate the volume on any switch position. And then the second volume (away from the pickups) may be useful to clean up the sound if I’m ever playing chords and suddenly need to solo and need volume and gain. Something like my pal showed me. What do you think?


Changing your pickups is gonna do a lot more good than getting rid of your tone control, which really is a pretty minor change. stock Ibanez pickups are usually pretty dire.

2. Rewire pickups:
Why? This is pretty simple, as most HH passive RGs the 5-way switch act as follows (from neck to bridge)
1. Neck humbucker in series
2. Neck humbucker in parallel
3. Both humbuckers in parallel
4. Inner coils in parallel
5. Bridge humbucker in series
I don’t really like the sound of two humbucker together, as four coils at the same time gives a lot of sound, which is neither bridge nor neck. Therefore, I wanted to keep positions 1-2-5 as they are, move 4 to 3, and wire the bridge in parallel for position 4. Therefore:
1. Neck humbucker in series
2. Neck humbucker in parallel
3. Inner coils in parallel
4. Bridge humbucker in parallel
5. Bridge humbucker in series
What do you think? Have you done something like that? I will look up some diagrams, but it shouldn’t be too hard.

Should be possible. Go for it.

3. Direct mount pickups:
I know there are many different opinions as whether it gives more sustain and/or sounds better. I think it looks nicer and if I notice an improvement in the sound, great. If not, it will still look as nice and may not affect negatively. What do you think?


The routing on a guitar with rings isn't meant for it. It's gonna look really bad.

4. Relocate output jack:
Why? I never liked the jack position of the RG, Tele, Les Paul or anything that goes straight down. It gets on the way if you’re playing sitting down, as Vai said “if you step on the cable you pull the plug from your guitar”, and even if you pass the cable through the strap, the plug is bent and will eventually break. I am aware of an invention called the L-shape (or angled) plug, but I don’t like it. Strat’s or S series type are good, but Steve Vai or Satriani’s guitars have them best.
I saw a guy that already did it (probably many have), and it looked great and did not seem too difficult. Read: (http://homerecording.com/bbs/equipment-forums/guitars-and-basses/ibanez-switch-vol-pot-mod-277421/

http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f21/can-i-move-my-input-jack-108512.html
)
Basically, all that is needed is to drill perpendicularly to the actual jack, with different drill bit sizes to make room for the guide, cables, jack and plug and have this this slightly stepped-down shape. Thankfully, I have access to a drill press and I can try to fix the guitar in position and slowly drill through the side, right at the center and at 90deg from the jack. (Easier said than done.) What do you think?


This is gonna be a very easy way to fuck up your guitar. Avoid.


5. Replace bridge:
Why? Maybe will feel/play better? Perhaps more sustain?
The version that I have comes with a Fixed Bridge (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/Fixed_Bridge
) which is fine, simple and does the job ok. However, I think the Gibraltar Standard (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/Gibraltar_Standard
) or the Tight-End R (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/Tight-End_R
) look better (IMO) and may sound better. Since the Tight-End R has a lot of mass and a tighter contact with the body, it may also increase sustain a bit. I know these are OEM, but I saw them on eBay new from Indonesia for about $50, which seems ok. I know a lot of Ibanez are made in Indonesia, so these may be spares, hopefully not defects that did not pass the QC.
What do you think? Have you played all three (or two) bridges? Have you noticed a difference in playing/feel/sustain?


I'd greatly suggest getting a Hipshot flat mount bridge. You'll likely need to redrill some holes, however.

6. Monkey grip
Stupid? YES
Unnecessary? YES
Total rip-off of Steve Vai’s signature? YES
WHY DO IT? Because I like it! I still remember the first time (almost 20 years ago) when I saw a beautiful all-white JEM with the monkey grip and I was completely amazed. I tried a used JEM-JR (black) at a local shop the other day and holding the guitar from the monkey grip felt extremely cool! Why not buy a signature? There is only ONE (01) JEM model with a fixed bridge (discontinued). I found one on eBay for over $1300, which I cannot afford, nor need/want. It will be cheaper to do it (if I ever) and with the money I save I can do many very nice upgrades. I saw a tutorial on how to do it (http://www.projectguitar.com/tutorials/instrument-building/jem-style-monkey-grip-handle-r41/
) I will try it on a piece of wood and see how hard it is, how good it looks and feel and maybe then try it on the guitar.


Same as before, very easy way to fuck up your guitar big time, and really kinda pointless.

7. Custom paint
Why? No real reason needed here, just to make it look nicer, different, and unique; and after all those holes, she will be grateful to get a new paint job! I was thinking in a multi-coloured pattern. This is very ironic, as all of my guitars and basses have always been black AND I am colour-blind. Nevertheless, whenever I see a guitar with many colours, I feel instantly attracted. I was thinking something like the John Petrucci JPM100 (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/JPM100
).

Go for it. It's hard, but why not? Consider doing a swirl paintjob.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#3
oneblackened Thanks a lot for your detailed comments. I'll try rewiring the pickups and removing the tone control, and maybe removing the capacitor from the tone poti and use it as a slave volume for the neck pickup. As for the paint job, I still need to learn a lot about how to do it and more important make up my mind over the many design tha I have in mind.
Cheers
#4
I would just put new pickups in there and leave it at that. oneblackened is right on all accounts.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

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alright "king of the guitar forum"


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nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



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