Parts List for this Build
Ibanez JEM JR
DiMarzio Crunch Lab
DiMarzio True Velvet Middle
Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb
Licensed Floyd Rose Special
Created by the Guitar Chalk Editorial
Using the Ibanez JEM JR (the HSH Steve Vai signature model) we're doing a hypothetical pickup upgrade suggestion with two unique humbuckers and a single coil middle pickup. We'll also recommend a swap of the existing locking tremolo for a licensed Floyd Rose system.
Here's what the final product will look like:
First we go to the Guitar Configurator and select the Ibanez JEMJRWH with separate HSH options (non-pair humbuckers), which produces the following parts options:
Since Steve Vai uses DiMarzio pickups we're using the Crunch Lab at the bridge position, which will give us a hot, high-output pickup with a built in rail that will pair nicely with our middle single coil. It will also give us some extra bite on higher notes and lead runs.
Middle Single Coil
For the middle single coil pickup, we'll pick from a selection of Stratocaster middle rails, looking for something on the softer end of the output spectrum to balance with the heavy output from the bridge. Again, the True Velvet by DiMarzio is a good fit, with a bluesy response and a white casing that matches the bridge design.
For the neck position, we're breaking ranks from DiMarzio and going with the neck humbucker from the Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb signature set.
The output of Holcomb's neck humbucker is softer than the Crunch Lab, giving us some smoothing out and thickness on the lower end of our tone.
Just for fun, we throw an actual licensed Floyd Rose Special into this build, since the JEM JR's bridge is just a stock Ibanez mimic.
- Guitar: Ibanez JEM JR Steve Vai Signature
- Pickup Configuration: HSH
- Bridge Humbucker: DiMarzio Crunch Lab
- Magnet Type: Ceramic
- DCR: 11.03
- Polls: Beveled and Rail pair
- Neck Humbucker: Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Neck
- Magnet Type: Ceramic
- DCR: 8.02
- Pickup Width: 3.050"
- Pickup Depth: 1.435"
- Middle Pickup: DiMarzio True Velvet Single Coil Middle
- Magnet Type: Alnico 5
- Wiring: 2 Conductor
- Bridge: Floyd Rose Special
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Your Questions or Comments
If you have questions about this guitar, the parts we selected, or comments about the build in general, feel free to drop those in the comments section below. We'd also love to hear about your own upgrade experience, particularly if it sheds light in any of the parts mentioned in this article.