My Ibanez Jem 555 switch-job: out with the Lo-TRS II – in with an original Floyd Rose Tremolo as replacement

So, about 8 weeks ago I saw a used Ibanez Jem 555 in my music shop and as luck would have it I was actually looking to buy one.
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It looked old, had some stains on the hardware and the original Lo-TRS II tremolo didn’t stay in tune face with ‘regular’ abuse, but it played like a dream and the sound was overtone-rich even without amplification, the neck resonating beautifully with the body.
The status of the trem wasn’t enough for my playing though so after I bought it I immediately researched options on jemsite.com: there was a Dremel solution to make an Edge tremolo fit but I wasn’t kidding myself to believe I had the skills to do this mod. However, an Original Floyd Rose supposedly was just a swap, out with the old, in with the new. Not thinking much further I went on ebay and bought one.

Out with the old was not a problem and I took the opportunity to clean it too…
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As you can see: quite some use on the old parts, the edges jaded very bad, no wonder it didn’t stay in tune.
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Putting in new strings with no springs and then noticing that my new strings had higher pull than the previous ones took some adjustments and time (as you probably have figured out: I am not a pro guitar tech) but the end result is worth it. The new all black block looks great, stays perfectly in tune, and sounds great as well:

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Review: Black Country Communion – Afterglow

This is a review I didn’t expect to write. Not that I don’t mind writing bad reviews or anything but I’d rather write about records that trigger some kind of emotion. And I didn’t expect Black Country Communion’s (BCC) Afterglow to do that for the simple reason that I am not such a big fan of the late 70s rock sound unless everything falls together. In addition, I had listened to the first two albums and thought, nah, not my cup of tea.

Long story short, Afterglow (Spotify link) is a hell of a record. Very moody but the perfect fall release. If you don’t know, Black Country Communion is Glen Hughes on bass guitar, Joe Bonnamassa on guitar, Derek Sherinian on keyboards and Jason Bonham on drums. Yes, one of these supergroups. What really surprised me most is that the vocal melodies and timbre of Hughes voice appeal to me. I wonder why he has never popped my horizon so far. He brings a big range to the table and is able to go very high which complements guitar and bass lines very nicely.

What also separates this release from similar sounding material e.g. Led Zeppelin (hey, I said similar, not the same. It’s just so you have a hunch of what this could sound like) is that the long instrumental passages are missing which makes it much more listenable in my opinion. While I appreciate a great guitar riff probably even more than anybody it serves the song when it’s not overdone.
Thumbs up!

Here is a snippet from the title track Afterglow:

And here a snippet from my favorite The Circle: