I’m a big Joe Satriani fan. In fact, most of the guitar players I know share some sort of appreciation for what he has done. Personally, “Satch” was one of the biggest influence on my playing while growing up. I spent countless hours, sitting in my bedroom, playing an old B.C. Rich over “Surfing With the Alien” and trying to make it sound like the recording. Needless to say, I’ve been playing for twenty years and still can’t do most of what he can. Joe is the man!
Anyways, being the fan that I am, I decided to pick up one of his signature-series Ibanez electric guitars a few years back. I love his tone and thought that playing that guitar would be one step closer to achieving that sound. I was not let down. The second I plugged it in, I could tell that this guitar was definitely something special.
I’ve owned many guitars. From a 70′s Gibson Flying V, to a 50′s Sears Silvertone, I’ve spent a decent amount of time paying a wide variety of instruments. The Ibanez JS100 has one of the warmest tones, and silky smooth fretboards of any guitar I have ever played. I mean it, this thing is awesome.
The rounded body style makes the JS100 very comfortable to play either standing up or sitting down. The light weight construction also reduces the fatigue I’ve felt from playing heavier guitars – such as a Gibson Les Paul (that’s a heavy guitar). I also love the look of this thing. I bought the black model, and when all polished up it reflects light around its body in a very cool sort of way when playing on stage.
I’m not certain what electronics are installed on the JS100 models, but I can guess it’s probably entry level stuff. Ibanez, I would assume, saved the top shelf pickups and hardware for the higher JS Series models such as the JS1000 & 2000. Regardless, this thing has a very, very warm tone through almost any amp I’ve used it with.
I did choose to have mine set up with a bigger string gauge. The JS100 ships with light electric guitar strings (9s) and I had my guitar tech change the setup for a higher gauge (10s). This included adding springs to the Floyd Rose tremolo and adjusting the guitar’s intonation. At first i really liked the change, I’ve always found 9′s to be a little to “thin”. Now, after playing with the new setup for a few months, I think I am going to go back to the original setup (9s). The fretboard just felt a little more “fast” with the lighter strings, but the tone was not as “thick”. All said, I can adjust the tone with my Boss GT8, but would prefer the faster feel.
Another reason I really love this guitar is that mine has a little bonus feature that most don’t – mine was autographed by Joe Satriani himself. Shortly after buying the guitar, Joe was doing a CD signing at a record store about an hour from my house. I drove down, waited in line and got him to autograph the back of the fretboard. For this Guitar player, owning a Joe Satriani Ibanez JS100 that was handled and autographed by Joe himself – is completely effing awesome!
How does the JS100 rate?
8.5 out of 10.
I love the feel and the tone, but I have had trouble keeping it in tune. I’m not sure if the bridge needs to be adjusted, or if the nut is getting worn, but it seems to loose it’s tune after playing for only a few minutes. That said, I’ve never had much luck with floating tremolos – so it may just be me.