REVIEW: Ibanez FRM100 ‘Fireman’ Paul Gilbert signature model

Paul Gilbert’s first Ibanez Fireman was a custom model which he designed by flipping over the beloved Iceman (Fireman, geddit?). It was available in two configurations – rare and super rare – and they were pretty damn pricey guitars. But the fans loved ’em, and when Paul appeared on the cover of his Fuzz Universe album with a shiny new red Fireman, fans went understandably nuts. What was this beautiful guitar, and could we get our hands on one? Affordably? Please?

That day has come! The FRM100 is a Chinese-made version of Paul’s red Fireman. It features a solid mahogany body (if you look close you can see where separate pieces of wood are joined together, but this is pretty much standard practice). The three-piece neck is made of two pieces of mahogany flanking a slice of maple, with a rosewood fretboard featuring simple, elegant pearl dot position markers. The neck shape is huge if you’re used to more shred-friendly designs: 22mm at the first fret and 24mm at the 12th. The frets are tall mediums, which works well with the chunky neck profile. The fretboard radius is 305mm. The neck meets the body with an intriguing joint which looks a lot like an Ibanez All-Access Neck Join (AANJ), but minus the bolts.

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]Click here to buy the Ibanez FRM100TR Fireman from Musician’s Friend.[/geo-out]

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REVIEW: DiMarzio Injector Paul Gilbert signature pickups

Paul Gilbert has been using DiMarzio pickups for, yikes about 25 years now, but in all that time he’s never had a signature pickup. Instead he’s preferred to use various humbuckers such as the Tone Zone, PAF Pro and PAF Classic. DiMarzio pickup designer Steve Blucher even told I Heart Guitar in 2009, “It would be difficult to do a pickup for Paul, because he goes between a large number of guitars with different pickups. I don’t think he’d care to be limited to one model.” So it came as some surprise late in 2010 when DiMarzio announced that not only was Pablo Gilberto getting a signature pickup, but that it would be a – gasp! – single coil. Gilbert uses his Injector set all over his most recent solo instrumental album, Fuzz Universe, and the new Mr. Big CD, What If. Both albums feature a more earthy, attack-laden Marshall roar than the hi-fi ADA MP1 and trebly Laney tones Gilbert has used in the past.

Gilbert had been using DiMarzio Area 67 single coils in one of his Ibanez Fireman models for the past few years, and the new Injector neck and bridge single coils are still paired with an Area 67 in the middle position in his Fireman. The bridge model (DP423) is one of DiMarzio’s hottest hum-cancelling single coils, with an output of 185mV and a DC resistance of 11.35k. It’s built with six individual Alnico 2 magnets and about 40% less magnet pull than a standard single coil. The tone chart on DiMarzio.com puts the treble at 6.5, the midrange at 7 and the bass at 6.5.

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