The reason I chose the JS over say a JEM or an RG was due to a couple of reasons, firstly the neck profile is like nothing else Ibanez make. I used to own an early 90’s RG550DX which had a wizard neck which while I liked at the time doesn’t feel as comfortable in my hands as a Fender style of neck. My Patrick Eggle Berlin which I’ve had since ’94 always felt quite small in my hands whereas the JS feels a little wider and fills my hand. The second reason was because of the body profile, it is so incredibly comfortable and seems to wrap itself around your body. It is also quite light in weight even though the tone from the Basswood body is very thick in my opinion and almost has as much bass response as my Eggle which is solid Mahogany with a set Mahogany neck! I’m also a big Satriani fan and have always thought that they look really cool when Joe plays them, they always sound amazing both on record and live and you don’t see a lot of people playing them which is strange considering how versatile they are, but I suppose some people like a nice figured Maple top instead, the very reason I may get a J-Custom at some point ;)
As you are probably aware Joe Satriani is a big fan of Whammy bar antics and most of his signature models over the years have had a Floyd Rose style trem on them. The Edge Pro on the JS is perfect for his signature divebombs and flutters and yet is also capable of very subtle vibrato and bends a la Jeff Beck. I remember the RG500DX had an Edge Lo-Pro which was my first guitar with a double locking trem and I loved it, finally a guitar that stayed in tune no matter how much whammy abuse! Ever since I sold that guitar I have wanted that tuning stability and control back, my Wilkinson VS100 just doesn’t cut it on the Eggle, in fact I might block it because it kind of sits somewhere in between a floating and fixed bridge when I think fixed would suit better. The Edge Pro is a little more OFR looking than the Lo-Pro which was a very sleek unit and I’ve already rubbed off the black paintwork in places where my palm rests but that just adds character in my opinion! The good thing about the Edge Pro is that you don’t have to cut off the ball ends on your strings if you don’t want to, something that bugged me with the Lo-Pro. I do like the fact that you are supplied with little plastic clips that go on the whammy bar to adjust the stiffness, you can go from Eddie Van Halen style swinging loose bar, to Steve Vai style point the whammy bar backwards for crazy reverse flutters and it stays there!
The tonal range from this guitar is amazing, the neck humbucker is a DiMarzio PAF Pro a medium output pickup which is incredibly musical and almost inspires me to play blues licks similar to my Eggle’s Seymour Duncan SH-2, but it also sounds great when you add some overdrive and retains the clarity you sometimes lose with the neck position pickup. I don’t think I had noticed before how much Joe uses this pickup, but it is a major part of his recording tone. The bridge pickup is a DiMarzio Fred which although replaced recently on the JS1200 by the Mo Joe which is slightly higher output the Fred humbucker has been a part of Joe’s sound for many years and records. I always wondered when I listened to “Flying in a Blue Dream” how he got that incredible sound where every touch of the pick seemed to produce amazing harmonics, apparently this was an accidental discovery when creating a prototype for Joe. The Fred started out as a PAF Pro with boosted midrange which maintains its precision and articulate tone when you add some distortion, as if Joe Satriani would want anything less? Some people don’t like this guitar because it is really tailored to create Joe’s Solo sounds so has less bass response than say a Les Paul but I have my Eggle if I ever really need an extra bit of depth to my rhythm sound.I personally feel that I can get a very wide range of Rock and dare I say Metal tones from these pickups and yet with the flick, or should I say pull, of the tone pot I have very usable Single Coil tones. This is further enhanced by the high pass filter which you engage by pulling the volume pot, I actually never split the coils without also engaging the high pass filter it cleans up the sound by cutting out some of the muddy bass frequencies inherent in Humbuckers.
If you are into extreme Metal then I would have to say this guitar may not be for you with the stock pickups, but a set of Actives and a hi-gain amp would no doubt change the character of this amazing instrument, I mean it has more wood in the body than an S Series and I’ve just seen a photo of Chris Broderick playing one of those! If you don’t think that this guitar is suitable for blues I beg to differ I have managed to get everything from BB King cleans to Tube Screaming Stevie Ray Vaughan, if you don’t believe me check out my YouTube channel! I think that this is a guitar than can do almost everything which makes it a very good investment!
CLICK HERE to buy the Ibanez JS1200 (Candy Apple) from Guitar Center for $1799.99.
CLICK HERE to buy the Ibanez Joe Satriani 20th from Guitar Center for $5999.99.
CLICK HERE to see Ibanez Joe Satriani models on eBay.