Current Guitar Lineup

Jarick

Rock Star
Messages
2,675
Thought it would be fun to talk about my current lineup of guitars, what I've modded, and where I may go in the future.

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#1 - Ibanez AZ2204N (2021)
This is more or less my #1 guitar due to it's high quality and versatility. I bought it late last year after selling my Kemper and having some extra cash. It's just killer out of the box in nearly every way. This particular guitar has more vintage output Seymour Duncans, likely close to SSL-1's in the neck/middle and something close to a lower output 59 in the bridge (it measures under 8k). It has jumbo stainless frets which are awesome to play on a medium thickness roasted maple neck. Lots of pickup switching options as well.

Currently it's mostly stock, except I had to replace the pots as they started cutting out. I'm considering getting a new pickguard though to try a different pickup layout. The single coils sound great but they are a tiny bit bright and obviously noisy, and the bridge pickup sounds really good but it can be a tiny bit warm. I'm thinking about trying some Dimarzio Area single coils in the neck and middle and either a Dimarzio PAF 36th in the bridge or maybe an uncovered Duncan 59 in the bridge.

#2 - PRS CE-24 (2016)
My former #1 guitar and I still really love it. The first guitar I owned in over 20 years of playing that I have always loved. The tone is really balanced, it has the snap of a Fender but isn't overly bright, and it has some of the warmth and sustain of a Les Paul without the excessive low end. I have tried a bunch of pickups and they all sound great, but my favorite are Suhr Thornbuckers. It's a little hi-fi and not as rock and roll, but sounds killer. Awesome flame top on it too.

#3 - PRS S2 Standard 24 (2018)
This one surprised me...I traded for this guitar last year when I was getting rid of my Charvee nel DK24 Pro Mod. It's loud acoustically and has a lot of sustain, plays great, and avoids major sonic issues. I had a PRS S2 Mira before which was all mahogany and that was overly warm/dark/bassy. This one is a touch warm but not overly so, and is not overly bassy either. I've had several pickups in this one and mostly they sound good. Right now I have Dimarzio 36th PAF in the bridge and Bluesbucker in the neck, which kind of overpowers but when you drop it low it's fine. I'm torn if I want to keep vintage hot pickups in it or swap in some low output PAF's. I also have some humbucker sized P90's but tend to get bored of those quickly.

#4 - Gibson Les Paul Tribute (2018)
When I had the PRS Mira, I wanted that to be my Gibson style guitar, but it was always a little dull sounding. One day I test drove a Les Paul Tribute and was shocked how good it sounded and played. I started shopping for a good Gibson, looking at SG Standards and Les Paul Classics and Standards, but they were all pretty hit or miss. And then I played another LP Tribute and it sounded and played great again, so I bought it.

I have a little love/hate thing with Les Pauls...sometimes they are awesome and sometimes I find them way too bassy in the neck or bright in the bridge. I've tried a bunch of pickups in this thing to counteract that and have even swapped out the electronics multiple times (I have bad luck with CTS pots). I just rewired everything again last week with fresh pots and currently have some BYO Blizzard of 59's which are budget Seth Lovers...they actually sound good but of course I have a set of Friedman Classic pickups coming in to compare.

#5 - Fender Telecaster Special (2012)
Telecasters, like Les Pauls, aren't my favorite guitars. But I have found that if I don't have one, I GAS for one and end up with one. So I've determined that I'll keep both the Les Paul and Tele as long as I can.

This was the budget American Tele and is pretty decent overall, but could use a good setup and some fret/nut work. It originally came with super hot pickups. I swapped those out a couple times and currently have Dimarzio Area Hot T in the bridge and Area T in the neck. I would like to try a Firebird or mini humbucker pickup in the neck at some point. Also I put Fender locking tuners on it (drop ins), and I swapped out the bridge for a full stainless plate with Gotoh brass grooved saddles. The standard stamped bridge is microphonic with noise canceling pickups. I also have a set of standard single coil pickups but I don't love them as they're a bit bright and noisy.

#6 - Fender Stratocaster California (1997)
My longest owned guitar, one I bought new. It's had dozens of different pickups in it and nearly every part has been swapped out. It also really badly needs a refret and new nut. I'm hoping to bring it in soon and get jumbo (or medium jumbo) stainless frets put in and a bone nut. Currently I have Dimarzio Area pickups in it, and have a few other ones in the mail that I will try. I'm thinking Injector bridge and maybe some combo of 58 and 67 in the neck and middle. I also have a couple loaded pickguards with standard single coils that I'll swap in sometimes, but I try and keep it noiseless as much as possible. Other than that, I put a Gotoh 510 6-screw tremolo in with Highwood saddles (improvement over vintage style), and Gotoh locking tuners on the other end.



I'm not GAS-ing too had for anything else at the moment, but I've wanted a semi-hollow guitar for quite a while. I can't afford a full USA Gibson and have not been impressed by any of the Chinese models. At one point I really wanted an Eastman but it seems like prices have gone way up for those. Maybe I'll check out a Sire again...they have a good reputation.

Oh, and for acoustics, I don't play them much but I have a Taylor GS Mini Mahogany and a very low serial USA Tacoma which is basically a Martin D-28 clone. That guitar sounds amazing, big warm low end and crisp strings, and it's so well intonated up and down the neck.
 
Those AZ’s are really nice, love em. I had the Tom Quayle Prestige for a period. Awesome guitar, had to sell it sadly but didnt loose a lot because luckily people wanted that guitar when it wasn’t available.

You have a awesome lineup there, beautiful guitars!
 
Update from the weekend: swapped out pickups on the Strat and Les Paul.

On the Strat, I put in a set of Dimarzio Injectors (Area 67 middle), which I snagged off Reverb for $125. Price was way too good so I jumped. I put them in the original pickguard I had for the guitar which fits better than even Fender aftermarkets, and used the original knobs too. The pickguard and knobs have yellowed nicely and it looks much better than bright white. I had some aged white Dimarzio covers sitting around and they are a near perfect match. Looks and sounds great. I had one of these sets in this guitar before and ended up taking it out, but this time around for whatever reason I'm liking it more.

Now I have the following Area pickups:
  • Area 67 x2 - these are fairly bright but seem to work well in the middle position to help the 2/4, especially if you remove the tone knob from the middle
  • Area 58 - sits in between the 67 and 61, it's a pretty standard sounding Strat pickup, good for the neck position
  • Area 61 x2 - a little hotter and fatter than the 58, like an overwound "Texas" Strat pickup
  • Injector Neck x2 - works well in the bridge position if you want a warmer and hotter pickup that's still got some zing to it; in the neck probably depends on the guitar, can be a little hot and warm but set low it sounds good to me
  • Injector Bridge - sits right between the Injector Neck and Virtual Solo, it's a really good pickup for someone like me who doesn't like traditional Strat pickups in the bridge spot but doesn't want a full humbucker
  • Virtual Solo - a little hotter and warmer than the Injector Bridge, it can be a little dull at times though
On the Les Paul, I put in a set of Friedman Classic pickups, with the Plus model in the bridge. I had these previously and really liked the bridge as it had a nice slightly hot PAF sound, but the neck seemed to hot and fat which is trouble in a Les Paul. Snagged these off TGP for a good price used. The old set measured closer to 7.8k in the neck and 8.2k in the bridge; this set measures closer to 7.5k neck and 8.5k bridge and seems better balanced. The neck is still fairly full but has more clarity to it and isn't as bassy. The bridge sounds great, can be a bit bright but roll off the tone a couple notches and it gets in line. That's pretty standard for a PAF. The middle position has a pretty decent amount of clarity to it, not quite Jimmy Page but not as warm as Seth Lovers for instance.

To me it seems like the Friedman Classic pickups are right in the middle of the Dimarzio 36th PAF set and the Duncan 59 set. The Dimarzios are more mid forward where the 59's are scooped. The Friedmans seem pretty balanced, but still have that alnico 5 fullness in the lows and little more aggressive or forward in the highs.
 
Oh, one other thing. I moved from 9's to 9.5's and now to 10's on the Strat. Each time I go up in string gauge, the guitar plays and sounds better. Both my Fenders seem to really prefer 10's over 9's, and I may try and move to 10's across the board.
 
Love that AZ - always wanted to try one since they came out. Glad that Ibanez finally made an alternative that's a little more strat-like with 22 frets.

It's really good. I haven't had many high end guitars, and this is probably the most expensive one I own, but it just feels super premium. Where a good Fender American feels like a solid guitar, this one just feels a notch or two above.

The neck is a bit odd feeling, it's like a thicker D shape. Think a Gibson slim taper but a little thicker in the hand. It take a minute to adjust if I come from a Fender or my PRS that has more of a C shape.
 
That's interesting, I normally don't like D-shaped necks personally - but that one sounds like it could be up my alley.

I recently tried one of the newer Charvel San Dimas (pro-mod) guitars and I was pretty bummed out because of the neck shape.
I was hoping that it would be a nice C shape like my friend's old Jackson Dinky, but the huge shoulders on the Charvel were a big turnoff. :(

It felt like the base of my index finger was the only thing making contact with the neck, and it just felt really off.
That's the problem with these 'shredder' guitars for me - I want humbuckers and a floyd, but with a normal Fender-feeling neck shape and radius and 22 frets.

Will definitely need to try an AZ to see how it feels!
 
That's interesting, I normally don't like D-shaped necks personally - but that one sounds like it could be up my alley.

I recently tried one of the newer Charvel San Dimas (pro-mod) guitars and I was pretty bummed out because of the neck shape.
I was hoping that it would be a nice C shape like my friend's old Jackson Dinky, but the huge shoulders on the Charvel were a big turnoff. :(

It felt like the base of my index finger was the only thing making contact with the neck, and it just felt really off.
That's the problem with these 'shredder' guitars for me - I want humbuckers and a floyd, but with a normal Fender-feeling neck shape and radius and 22 frets.

Will definitely need to try an AZ to see how it feels!

I actually had the Charvel Pro Mod DK24 before the AZ. The Charvel looked on paper like a poor man's Suhr Modern, with Duncan pickups and jumbo frets and Gotoh hardware. I didn't like the neck at all...it was way too thin and flat and wide feeling. The AZ neck is substantially thicker, but it is more D shaped than C shaped. I have two Fender necks that are C's, one a little thinner and one a little fatter. The AZ is about the same size as the fatter one but more D than C, a little more shoulder and flatter on the back. But it's not super thin and flat feeling.
 
Good shout, I've never actually played one. I remember when Joe moved to 24 frets on his personal guitars and I (probably incorrectly) assumed that the JS guitars would all follow.

edit: just checked the Ibanez website, looks like all but one model are now 24 frets. lol
 
Good shout, I've never actually played one. I remember when Joe moved to 24 frets on his personal guitars and I (probably incorrectly) assumed that the JS guitars would all follow.

edit: just checked the Ibanez website, looks like all but one model are now 24 frets. lol
They were all 22 frets for almost 30 years and only switched recently, so you can find a used one quite easily.

I picked up a used JS1000 for only $1k (Canadian) earlier this year just to try it out of curiosity and I love it.

I read that the neck is modeled after a vintage Strat that he owns. The rounded body is also very comfortable.
 
Oh yeah, I know they all used to be 22 - never seen one in person but I'd love to try one. :grin
Definitely don't need any more guitars for a while, though. Big purchase in recent years has essentially eroded all guitar GAS.

But amps on the other hand.....
 
That’s a great set of guitars. I’ve thought about adding a CE22 for years. I have a McCarty I love, but I would like to have a prs with a trem and I think the extra snap of a bolt on neck would me for a killer guitar that’s super versatile.

What you are missing is a Gretsch with a bigsby (B3/6/11)….

D
 
Decided to order some String Swing wall mounts and hang all my guitars up on the wall. Frees up some floor space and now I have something fun to look at in my home office.

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Ever cents @la szum commented “wall hanger”, I’ve been thinking about doing similar. Wife loves the idea. Me, I’m really used to guitar stands/rack.
 
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