I have been owning the Ibanez Prestige RG2570E since 2005 and I have always considered it an excellent guitar. Perfect in everything, the hand of Team J Craft can be seen and, in my opinion, it is one of the best guitars from an engineering point of view. The only thing that I have not always liked at 100% are the Pickups.
The original pickups of my RG2570E are the DiMarzio / IBZ. I never felt bad, it was always a love and hate relationship, and it depended a lot on the genre I was playing and the effects and amps used. However, when I bought the Gibson SG Standard, I was no longer able to appreciate the sounds of this Ibanez: too cold, not very versatile.
So I decided to try my hand at this modification hoping to get better sounds and, with the opportunity, I decided to redo all the electrical parts and more.
- DI MARZIO DP155FBK THE TONE ZONE F SPACED (BRIDGE)
- DI MARZIO DP193FBK AIR NORTON F SPACED (NECK)
- DI MARZIO DP175S TRUE VELVET MIDDLE WHITE
- FREE-WAY 5B5-02 - Switch with 10 positions
- CTS BRASS A500K LOG REGULAR SHAFT (Tone)
- CTS BRASS B500K LIN REGULAR SHAFT (Volume)
- CONDENSATORE ORANGE DROP .022 mfd
- ALUMINUM ADHESIVE TAPE FOR SHIELD 1MT
- DI MARZIO SINGLE-COIL COVER BLACK
- SCHALLER SURE CLAW
- SCHALLER S-LOCKS Ruthenium
About Pickups, I chose to use those mounted on the high-level Ibanez, hoping to be able to obtain pleasant sounds even if the wood used in this guitar is the American Basswood, which, according to many, is not one of the best woods for sonority.
The CTS potentiometers are really more solid and well made than the originals, but require a little work on the holes because they have a slightly larger diameter. Nothing to worry about: I solved it with a little sandpaper rolled up on a wooden stick with a round section. A few turns inside the hole were enough to widen it to the required diameter. Fortunately, there was no need to change the knobs.
After widening the holes, I coated the inside of the cavities with aluminum tape (only the two rear cavities with the electronic components) and, subsequently, I made the wiring. I do not recommend shielding the cavity for the springs as well because that part is already completely connected to ground, so it doesn't make a technical sense, contrary to what I saw on the Internet. Even more I do not recommend shielding the slots for the Pickups, because you also risk changing their sound, as when you insert a metal cover on an uncovered Pickup, and the benefits are negligible.
The used scheme is the following:
Pay attention to the True Velvet Middle wiring, which has reversed polarity, so the wire that goes to ground is the white.
The FREE-WAY fits perfectly and requires no modification. I was very impressed with this component, well made, solid, compact, and also makes wiring very simple. For more information https://www.freewayswitch.com/
This is the final result:
Finally, I also installed the Schaller Sure Claw, so you can easily adjust the springs, and the S-Locks for the safety of the shoulder strap. For the Sure Claw you have to be very careful because with the central Single Coil there is very little thickness, so I took shorter screws and blunted the tip to shorten it further, but without damaging the entry thread. To connect the Sure Claw to ground, I inserted the stripped wire into the screw hole and screwed in. No complicated welds or absurd solutions seen on the Internet.
Here is the result:
It is possible to notice in the recess of the central Single Coil the swelling of the paint created by the screws of the Sure Claw. The thickness available is 5mm at the thickest point and 3mm at the thinnest point.
Schaller Sure Claw
Well made, solid, heavy, also very expensive, but it does the job and, pleasant surprise, it has increased the sustain of the guitar. I can say this because I installed the Sure Claw before disassembling all the electronics, and I can therefore say that the merit of this improvement is certainly the Sure Claw. After all, the metal part in contact with the wood is much greater, so the vibrations are transmitted with greater intensity.
About its functionality, I think that having a single nut to rotate makes setting the springs faster and more accurate. Furthermore, it is possible to mark the position so that it can be easily recovered.
I also use it for quick string changes in the following way:
- I put a piece of wood cut to size between the bridge and the body of the guitar (It must not change the inclination of the bridge at rest when inserted and must maintain it when the springs are released. It requires a lot of patience with the sandpaper, but it can be done);
- I loosen the springs in order to make the bridge integral with the body;
- I change all the strings;
- I tune all strings;
- Reset the Sure Claw to the correct position;
- I remove the wooden block.
In this way I get a quick and precise tuning.
Already used on other guitars, I consider them the best, and the new version is more solid and less noisy. I didn't have to make any changes because the standard screws (which are the medium one) were perfect for the holes of this Ibanez. The Ruthenium finish is very beautiful, similar to the Ibanez Cosmo Black, but slightly lighter.
One word: amazing.
I'd put it on any guitar.
- It is mimetic, as if I had not changed anything, except for a slight inclination of the lever;
- It allows 10 positions: all combinations with Single Coils and all combinations with Humbuckers, especially the one with both Humbuckers (HH), central position, which is the position I prefer.
- Easy to use: on the right the combinations with Single Coils, on the left those with Humbuckers;
- No background noise.
If you need to change the Switch, I highly recommend installing the FREEWAY Switch. Now the guitar can be easily used in SSS, HSH and HH configurations.
I have heard many audio and video tests on youtube where they made the comparison between the DiMarzio / IBZ and DiMarzio Tone Zone / Air Norton / True Velvet, and they never convinced me to change them because I didn't appreciate the differences. Now I can say with certainty that it is better not to watch those videos. The differences cannot be grasped through a recording. These Pickups make an incredible difference in dynamics, sonority and versatility. At low, high, medium volumes, the response changes significantly and it is always excellent. With the previous configuration I always used the volume at maximum and never the combination with the central Single Coil. Basically I had two sounds, Bridge and Neck, and they didn't always go well.
Now any combination is nice, and they make the guitar far more versatile.
Basswood is a slightly overly denigrated wood; probably it also depends on the cut and the quality, but, when coupled with the right Pickups, it has a very pleasant sound. From the comparison with the Gibson I can say that now the difference in the sonority has reduced considerably. The sustain is greater in the Gibson SG, but this is also due to the type of joint of the neck and above all by the fact that the Gibson has the neck obtained from a single piece of mahogany. The Ibanez has a much more "studied" neck. The ensemble of cleverly combined woods make the neck extremely stiff and resistant, unlike the Gibson one which is more flexible.
Both guitars have peculiar characteristics that make them unique and "best" for certain genres or styles. The Ibanez wins in comfort (it is very balanced), versatility, precision of the work, both aesthetic and technical, tightness of the tuning, speed and comfort of the neck, resistance of the paint (which however makes it colder). Excellent for sounds ranging from Blues to the most extreme Metal through Hard Rock. The Gibson wins in sustain, softness of sounds, warmth, pleasure to the touch (while the paint lasts). Excellent for sounds ranging from Blues to Hard Rock, and, at most, a light Metal.
DiMarzio Tone Zone
Big sound, rich in bass, but with the Basswood, at the bridge, it still remains balanced and always pleasant. By adjusting the volume you can get a lot of sounds, and, with medium volume, it is very similar to the DiMarzio FRED and PAF Pro (compared to Ibanez JS 2000).
Splitted, whether in combination with True Velvet, or alone, it never disappoints.
DiMarzio Air Norton
Very soft, warm, harmonious, less aggressive sound. This, too, always remains pleasant with any adjustment. By adjusting the volume you can get a lot of sounds, and, when split, the sound is always very pleasant. In central HH configuration, with the Tone Zone, the sound becomes soft, warm, powerful and rich in harmonics.
DiMarzio True Velvet
This Pickup is absolutely not comparable to the original DiMarzio / IBZ Single Coil. Clearly superior, it allows you to obtain additional sounds without ever disfiguring in front of the Tone Zone and Air Norton.
DiMarzio / IBZ are not bad pickups, but they are not very versatile. The DiMarzio Tone Zone / True Velvet / Air Norton, are excellent on every occasion, they manage to be valid both on clean and distorted, from melodic sounds to pushed Metal. They are rich in harmonics and have a great dynamics, clearly superior to the DiMarzio / IBZ.
If you also install the Freeway Switch, you will gain additional versatility.
They are expensive components, but they worth it.
I hope this my new experience can be useful if you are not happy with the sound of your guitar.
Good music to all.