Tuesday March 20, 2012

Ibanez Edge PRO

The Ibanez Edge Pro tremolo or whammy bar comes from a long line of Floyd Rose variants dating back to the orignal Edge Pro still used by Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. In 1977 Floyd Rose invented the double locking tremolo and changed the electric guitar forever. Since then early adopters such as Eddie Van Halen broke new ground performing insane and wild whammy bar tricks while still keeping the guitar in tune. Only a double-locking Floyd Rose tremolo can allow for the flamboyant sudden pitch changes and whammy craziness.

Ibanez Edge PRO Whammy Bar

The Ibanez Edge Pro whammy bar is a licensed variant of the double locking Floyd Rose tremolo system. It’s back routed and floating. The first thing that you’ll notice is the whammy is oh so light and easy to depress. Dive bomb away. Vintage tremolos systems are a lot stiffer to dive and you need to fight them to stay down. They also usually don’t pull up in pitch. On the Ibanez whammy bar going up to screeching pitch is a breeze and you can raise it anywhere up to three full tones.

Ibanez Whammy Bar

Ibanez Whammy Bar

The Ibanez Edge Pro provides some fine tuners at the end of the tremolo unit and also individual sliding saddle lock screws for micro intonation adjustments. All Allen keys are provided. At the back, the tremolo cavity houses three parallel springs. The Ibanez Edge-Pro uses a block lock mechanism to fasten the tremolo springs to the block. I’ve found the factory defaults settings are pretty good. 

Issues with the Ibanez Edge PRO

The Edge-Pro tremolo does have its inherent problems:

  • As with any double locking system stringing is a real chore. You must remove three locking nut screws first at the headstock. Then unscrew the locking screws at the whammy bar end. Cut the ball joint off the string (recommended, however you can leave them on). Screw back in and tune to pitch. Stretch the strings as much as possible and/or wait overnight. Then bolt the locking nut screws back on and hope to hell that it keeps in tune. I’ve resorted to using Teflon coated strings to increase the time between string changes.
  • The Ibanez Edge-Pro system is also very sensitive to its setup. Out of the factory it’s configured for 009-042 Super Slinky type strings, any deviations in string gauge or alternative tunings may throw out the intonation or pitch. A vintage type tremolo can be a lot more forgiving.
  • As stipulated in the manual you should change one string at a time and not remove the whole lot. Words of wisdom as the whole Ibanez Edge Pro unit will flip back otherwise. See the eraser trick here to get around this.
  • You cannot adjust each individual string height. There are only two screws on each side of the unit. So you are pretty much stuck with having the bass strings at about one height and the treble strings at another.
  • I’ve found the paint on the whammy bar arm is wearing off too. It’s only cosmetic but luckily it’s black underneath the black paint.
  • The tremolo arm also requires a bit of tweaking. Ibanez provides four replaceable Teflon brushing. You insert two around the grooves of the arm. Once the pop-in arm is pushed into place on the tremolo unit, the Teflon brushings prevent any movement of the arm. Unfortunately after that honeymoon period (which is less than a wife), the brushings wear out and the arm flails around loosely and even starts making some truly annoying creaking noises. There is however a Teflon tape trick that will sort this out.
Ibanez Whammy Bar Arm with white Teflon brushings

Ibanez Whammy Bar Arm with white Teflon brushings

Having said all this, once the Ibanez whammy bar is setup correctly it really is a joy to use. Still I’d be really hesitant to do any Herman Li horizontal overhead whammy abuse. I can picture myself still holding the whammy bar arm as the rest of the guitar falls brutally to the ground. Herman Li swapped out the production Edge Zero on his Ibanez EGEN and routed in a Ibanez Edge PRO. Thats a pretty good testament to how good they are! It should be noted that Ibanez is steadily replacing the Ibanez Edge-Pro tremolos with the newer designed Edge-Zero. At least the ZR Edge Zero the arm can be locked in. Still a lot of players prefer the Ibanez Edge-Pro and the original Edge bridges.

Ibanez Whammy Bar tremolo spring cavity

Ibanez Whammy Bar tremolo spring cavity

String retainers at rear. You can cut these or leave the ball ends on.

String retainers at rear.
You can cut these or leave the ball ends on.

Current Ibanez Edge Whammy Bars

Ibanez current line of whammy bars are:

  • Ibanez Edge Pro (RG series)
  • Ibanez Edge Zero ZR (RG and S series)
  • Ibanez Edge III budget range e.g. RG Tremolo series

The Signature range includes:

  • Original Edge
  • Lo-Pro Edge bridge

Return to the Ibanez Prestige RG1570 Main Page


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