Late NGD - Ibanez S2120X-AV

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by odibrom, Jun 14, 2021.

  1. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Hey fellows, this is a late new guitar day of this now safe Ibanez S2120X.

    She's a Saber model from 2002/3 that features 2 humbukers and a Lo Pro Double Edge from factory, meaning it has piezos, much like the RG2027XVVs from early 2000s. But let the pics flow first and I'll tell the story in a few minutes...

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    So, the story...

    Last February/March I bought an Ibanez S2120X-AV guitar that was screaming HELP ME. She wasn't working at all, pots were "floating" so their wires were all broken inside, its EQ pot was even broken and the previous owner didn't even know that, so you get picture. I bought it on sight to foreigner (I live in Lisbon, he was from Congo, I think) without bag nor trem arm.

    As said earlier, these guitars are loaded with LR Baggs Piezos and preamp from factory, so, since I already have a nice relation with their tech department because of my other guitars, I immediately sent them an email asking for help. This preamp is different than those on my RG2027XVVs. After a few email exchanges, they sent me for free (postage only) a new preamp, it was their last one and since they're no longer building these specific preamps, they couldn't offer any warranty, so they were super kind and I just payed shipping. In the waiting time, I discovered an electronic repair shop that could replace the broken EQ pot and left it there (and a few other things) to get it fixed. This way I will have 2 preamps just in case... these ladies are getting old...

    The preamp came from LR Baggs and I jumped upon installing it. Drawn the schematic, it seamed OK, confirmed it with LR Baggs and of I went for the soldering iron. I obviously got myself some schematics from the web on these guitars (and similar RGs from the same era and with the same specs). I found one schametic with an error on the jack connections.

    If you know these guitars, you'll notice that they obviously don't come with the Tripleshot rings from Seymour Duncan nor these pickups. The Tripleshots allow me to get 4 sounds from each humbucker: North single coil, South single coil, both parallel and both series (the regular humbucker sound). The pickups were custom made to my specs by Gorilla Pickups in Italy. They are Alnico 5 loaded and have the following DCRs with AWG43 Polysol wire:
    • Neck North 3,3 kohm
    • neck South 4,0 kohm
    • Bridge North 5,7 kohm
    • Bridge South 6,8 kohm
    The guitar's main 5way switch delivers:
    1. Neck
    2. Neck+Bridge Parallel in phase
    3. Neck+Bridge Series out-of-phase
    4. Neck+Bridge Series in phase
    5. Bridge
    Due to the combination of the tripleshots and main switch, the guitar can have 56 different coil combos. With the possibility of joining the piezos to the mix, it totals 113 different tones not counting with tone and volume knobs' variations.

    :::::

    So, this is a late NGD thread because I had lots of trouble solving the wiring puzzle. Part is on me, because I thought the piezo/mag switch was an ON/ON/ON and didn't even confirmed it, because the one that came with the new preamp sent to me by LR Baggs was also an ON/ON/ON switch. We were wrong... It's on them the faul for not having enough documentation on these preamps. When I asked them for help they found one preamp but was missing a switch, so they assumed an ON/ON/ON and here it goes.

    The first time I installed the circuit I checked if every thing worked and only the mix between mags and piezos was off line from the main jack. from that moment forward it was all down hill to the point that I screwed the preamp (busted one small PCB track) and gave up. It was time to get professional local help. So I contacted a local repair shop and left the guitar there for them to fix it to its well deserved glory. The guitar was ready last Friday so there I went fetch it as well as some other things I had left there to repair.

    What a fucking disappointment. Although the guitar was working OK-ish (both mags and piezos sounded ok), she was not as I intended:
    1. Main jack didn't put out piezos when selected
    2. Piezo/mag switch was inverted
    3. The previously well designed main switch schematic was busted and positions 3, 4, and 5 all sounded the same.
    4. They must have given a WD40 bath to my pots and switch and doing so, they busted a completely the tone pot (which was new and working fine). WTF? WD40? :mad:
    So I naturally opened the cavity to rotate the switch and that's when things went down hill again, all the way to the bottom, wires started to break on the preamp's PCB and I started to get really pissed of. So I said to my self, F**K IT, I'll redo this all from scratch, since I learnt in the waiting times that the switch was an ON/OFF/ON. I replaced ALL the wires coming from the preamp board, either to the jacks, to the switch, vol pot or EQ board. All new wires and solid soldering. I redid the main switch wiring and everything as intended and, to my surprise, everything was working perfectly... well, except that when using both jacks and on piezos, both jacks are delivering the piezo sound and I think the main jack shouldn't...

    Nevertheless, the main jack works as desired and I don't process piezos independently, so I don't care about it for now and am just digging on the guitar. I've already composed some new tones with it in this weekend.

    I'm never ever going back to that shop again. EVER! what a bust... :mad:

    :::::

    The blue one is an S540 from 1993, bought new in 1995, also loaded with tripleshots and Gorilla Pickups, but these are "The Revenant" neck and bridge and "The Blacksmith" in the middle. This guitar also features 113 sounds. The main switch works the same way as the S2120X's and instead of a tone pot, this one features a 500k Ohms Blend/Stereo pot with center dettent (Bourns brand I think). Both guitars have a 1M Ohm log pot for volume (CTS brand I think).

    :::::

    Last but not least, the back covers were lazer cut and etched at a local store, all design by me. I had to trace the covers to size, then project the drawing to be etched and all that. I think it worked ou pretty awesome.

    Cheers!, That's all for now, hope you like the pics and the story. :)
     
  2. IbanezDaemon

    IbanezDaemon Raptus regaliter

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    Great score. A very cool Saber model!!
     
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  3. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Yah, I would have preferred the previous model (S2020X) because it has the same preamp as my RG2027XVVs, so it would all be the same spare parts and all that, but one can't get these of the supermarket shelf, so when this one popped up locally at a really fair price, I said... you know too well how this song ends... I picked it up by hand the day next...
     
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  4. CovertSovietBear

    CovertSovietBear Lord Bagel Supreme

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    Ibanez: How many different P/U configurations would you want?
    Buyer: YES

    Nice buy!
     
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  5. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Originally, the guitar only had 5 pickup combos + piezos, 11 in total... I multiplied that by 10? :D
     
  6. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    The Saber is the coolest Ibanez shape ever. Congrats!
     
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  7. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Shameless Contrarian

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    Dude I love these 2120s, the Sabers as a whole don't get enough love, let alone the interesting ones. Apparently they've got to be players too because I've never seen one that wasn't a bit chewed up.
    Sounds like a hell of an ordeal! I applaud your patience :lol: hope you at least got a good deal on the thing.

    PS those cavity covers are super cool.
     
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  8. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    The guitar itself cost me about 550€, then all the rest on top. In the end, and not counting with that f**ked up trip to that pseudo repair shop, I just added the PUs, the rings and the 1M pots...

    I was more concerned with the state of the trem and saddles, because with my experience with the RG2027XVVs, I was confident that I could make her sing... which I did, although it took waaaaaay too long...

    EDIT: yah, I think the covers came out pretty cool. I'll have to do the same to my other guitars... in time...
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021
  9. nickgray

    nickgray SS.org Regular

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    Damn, congrats. What a rollercoaster of a story though - a rare Congolese S with 72658252364 switching options gets molested with WD40, but it all works out fine in the end. Directed by Michael Bay :lol:
     
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  10. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    LOL... She had 2 stickers on it that were kind of... odd, with the faces of 2 different men, like those kind of stickers given at political shows, and their faces were not from my country, really weird... So, only contacting Ibanez and ask them if they know were this guitar was sent to /sold...

    This to say that I believe the guitar has some knowledge and has seen some things already...
     
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  11. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Of course they are, those how don't know it it's because they haven't tried a good one yet. When they're good, they're super cool...

    Just for curiosity, the neck shape and feel on these 2 is substantially different: the S540 has a thinner and flatter neck profile/feel than this S2120, but the neck binding and the inlays make it a bit hard to follow the fretboard if I'm playing the other for longer periods of time... and I'm used to not getting visual interference on the fretboard with the RG2027XVVs...
     
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  12. Neon_Knight_

    Neon_Knight_ SS.org Regular

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    You're not wrong about them always being a bit "chewed up". I'm really fussy about only buying guitars in very good condition, but relented to buy a used S2170SE with a few dings and buckle-rash. The swirled ebony top still looks beautiful though. :D
     
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  13. Neon_Knight_

    Neon_Knight_ SS.org Regular

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    Sorry if this is a stupid question but what's the second output jack socket for?
     
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  14. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Not a stupid question. Ibanez designed these guitars with the possibility of outputting piezos and mags for different amplification systems. They could have opted for a stereo output but eventually there aren't stereo barrel jacks WITH a battery swich? Stereo jacks have been used for battery on/off switching, but only delivering mono signals...

    Nevertheless, the bottom jack outputs both mag and piezo pickups when used alone and only mags when both are used. The top jack outputs only piezos when in use and needs the bottom one to be plugged.
     
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