Intonation of JEM's with EVO's

Problems resolved.

After 15 years of setting up and strobe intonating JEM's the same way, during 2011 the new VWH's would not intonate on the low E string, the low E saddle pushed all the forward, and the A and D further forward than usual, but would intonate, all throwing wicked wolf tones especially the low E over the 12th fret. I alerted Ibanez, nothing changed with successive batches. I setup an experiment here at Hoshino in Bensalem and the guitar specialist and I swapped around parts from a VWH that would not intonate and a VWH I had borrowed back from a customer [in exchange for a clean and setup] to be able to swap the parts around and try and diagnose how 2 guitars setup exactly the same way, one intonates, the other doesn't. The issue was in the body. I asked if we should swap the pickguards to rule that out and he didn't want to, and since this was a loaner I really didn't either. We should have. Mid 2013 the guitars started to intonate again, half the run on VWHL's would not, the last batches would. No answer from Japan when asked what it was. Year later the JEM70's go off. I don't really care so I'm not checking batches to see when/if they fix them, I just took them off the menu., like I did the VWH's when they would not intonate.

JEM777 30th's come in, and will not intonate. This time they put me with Mike, the lead tech in Bensalem and who I have taken my head scratchers to for years. He should have been there when we we swapping parts around. Within 5 minutes it hits him, he hears it, electrics, lowers the bridge pickup to just over the guard, it's cured. It was that simple, something is different about the pickups and it took Mikes ear. It is counterintuitive that the stronger magnetic field of a closer pickup would drive the string flat. Logic would tell you the closer the magnetic field the harder it would pull on those larger wound strings and it would drive the intonation sharp. But it drives the intonation flat, extremely flat to where there is not enough saddle adjustability to compensate.

The commonality in all these guitars that would not intonate, they all have EVO's.

Guitars that setup exactly the same way for 15 years, all of a sudden wouldn't, then would again, then wouldn't. The ones that won't, wind the bridge pickup all the way down so the top of the pickup is 3mm over the guard and they will. If you'd like to experiment as I did about every mm of pickup height converted to a mm of saddle movement on the low E to keep intonation, the wolf tones getting worse the closer you get.



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Revised: September 03, 2017.