Ibanez GRG121DXWNF Guitar like new with electronics rebuild and pickups upgrade

$ 310.00

This Ibanez guitar is basically new. I’ve played it for an hour or so. The tone is great, especially for a guitar anywhere near this price range. The setup is just like it came to me, from new. It plays just fine. But you’ll need to set it up or take it to a luthier to get the setup the best it can be for you. The “shred-style” neck is thin, like other Ibanez models, and similar, IMO, to Jacksons. The overall finish is basic, and the neck’s satin finish feels very nice. The fret ends are rounded and comfortable. The frets are like new, but if you had them shined up a little they’d be even better. The balance is nice and the body shape good, so you can just sit down, grab it and play.

When I bought this guitar the it was about half as loud as any of my other guitars. The tone was disappointing. Clearly a problem. So I installed these new Slick Rocker pickups. But they had no volume just like the others! So I removed the rest of the electronics to hunt for the problem. The wiring, pots and caps tested good, but the switch…Hmmm, that cheap switch had something wrong with it. So here’s the guitar as you’ll get it:

The Slick Rocker pickups are F spaced. See the DC ohms on the GuitarFetish website. They have Earl Slick’s relic treatment. Go to the GuitarFetish website, hover over “Catagories” and click on “Slick Brand Products”. Under “Pickups” find “Wood Boxed- Aged Alnico Humbucker Zebra 8.6k “Rocker” Neck” and “Wood Boxed- Aged Alnico Humbucker Zebra 11.6k “Rocker” Bridge”. I was surprised to hear how much “chirp” or high end attack these pups have, especially the bridge. Great for harmonics. If it’s not enough for you, than add a treble bleed cap! I left the pickup wires long, in case you’d want to install them in another guitar in the future.

The switch is a new 5-way 4-Pole “superstrat” type. On the GuitarElectronics website, find “Oak Grigsby | Sku: SWL54 5-way 4-Pole Lever Switch-Oak Grigsby”. The wiring of the 5-way blade switch gives you some meaningful tone options:

Position 1: Bridge pickup, great. Play clean or Rock with Dirt!
Position 2: One coil (S) from each pup, with reverse phase. This sounds like the Peter Green tone many people pursue, and sometimes has such quack that it sounds almost like a Strat!
Position 3: Both pups in series. Typical, like the middle on a Les Paul, only stronger than many.
Position 4: A better sound than you’d expect. Almost as loud as a single pup, but with a lush tone.
Position 5: Neck pickup, also great. I think it has more middle and top definition than a lot of other neck humbuckers, which can get too much bottom end and lose note clarity!
To get the wiring diagram, go to the guitarelectronics site and search on “WD2HH5L11_03” and click on the first entry.

The Slick pups may not be up to the level of exotic vintage DiMarzios, Duncans or PAFs, but for the price on the website they are stunning! Then you just have to get the signal out of the pups and into your amp without being ruined by shoddy electronics!

Both Pots are CTS mini 500 Ohm Audio Taper. These are quality stuff, but small enough to fit in the route where the originals were without modification. You might want to change the tone pot to linear taper, because of how much the audio taper can be heard.

Some photos show the pots shafts with the knobs off, just to show that the pots are good quality with brass shafts.  The will come to you with the knobs on!
After testing several caps with my trusty cap tester (where I can alligate in and switch to different caps), I thought the regular Orange Drop would sound best. Other caps imparted a mellower, more round sound. The cap is wired in the Gibson “Modern” style.

I kept the original output jack for looks, and also it is decent quality. I soldered in the vintage-style shielded wire to help eliminate noise. It seemed to work.

This guitar has a string-through-body hardtail bridge, which is the main reason I bought it! It sustains better than many guitars. The through-body bridge, like a Telecaster, more than counteracts any loss from the bolt-on neck. And the bolt-on design from Ibanez is better than many!

This Ibanez has no dents or scratches, except a small scratch on the control cavity cover, which I show. The bottom edge of the body is “shined” slightly from my guitar stand. Please see the photos. The guitar has the original nut. I didn’t do anything to it. The strap pegs are also original. The tuning machines are stock and original also. They’re average and serviceable, but not great. The original strings are on the guitar. AFAIK they’re the normal .010-.046.

The scale length is 25.5in and the fretboard may be purpleheart. The radius is flatter than many guitars, at 15.7 inches. The mahogany body is stained in Ibanez “walnut” color. The guitar feels light, at around 6 pounds.
I’ll ship the guitar to you detuned, for less stress on the  neck.  It will be well-packed and double-boxed. 

In total, this will be a great starter or full-size student guitar, or maybe a backup. Or, you can shred and gig, and wear it all night because it’s light.  Please buy it and enjoy! Plug it in, turn it up, and marvel at the tone that comes out. My guess is you’ll be happy you did!