|December 17, 2010 | Gear, Ibanez Iceman, Photos Of J.Yuenger, White Zombie
Here’s a mid/ late-90s photo of my 1994 Ibanez IC500 Iceman ( referred to by fans as the Right On! guitar ), the Japanese factory-made set-neck guitar that I recorded all the ” Drop C# ” ( low to high, C#, G#, C#, F#, A#, D# ) tunes on Astro Creep : 2000 with ( Creature Of The Wheel, Real Solution #9, the rhythm parts for More Human Than Human, etc. ). I also played it in the More Human video.
There’s an article here that features some photos of this model as it came from the factory, and you can see that the body and neck aren’t modified in any way. The first thing I did was toss the pickguard, of course. The bridge and tailpiece are standard-issue, as are the tuners, although these guitars came with white plastic tuner knobs and there are chrome ones here — I can’t say for sure, but the Ibanez custom shop had a stock of vintage parts that I raided from time to time, and these may be NOS knobs from the 70s. Anyway, I think the chrome looks a lot cooler.
The bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan Custom, and the neck’s a Duncan 59 – my standard setup at that time. I’d read an interview with Eddie Van Halen in a guitar mag where he explained his idea that anchoring pickups directly into a guitar’s wood body ( as opposed to mounting them in a pickguard or plastic pickup rings ) results in more tone, or harmonic richness, or something — which sounded plausible to me, so I had the guys at Ibanez ( specifically this guy, who is a wizard with all things stringed ) do that. I don’t really know if it makes much difference, but it gives a guitar a utilitarian, ” chopped ” look that I dig. I had all of my guitars wired with push/ pull coil-tap pots. Since I was 99.98% of the time playing loud, grinding heavy metal, such a thing might seem a little silly, but it’s a high-performance/ all-the-options feature that I like to have if I can. All of the rhythm guitars on Astro-Creep were played with the bridge pickup, volume and tone knobs on 10, but the are some lead and textural parts that were done with various humbucking/ single-coil combinations.
The More Human Than Human video shoot. Note #1 : We rented an old Kustom tuck n’ roll blue sparkle-vinyl amp as a prop, and I plugged it in and discovered that it was in full working order. I brought cables and pedals with me because I have a pathological dislike of videos where the band is pretending to play but don’t have their instruments plugged in — don’t ask, I don’t know, that’s just me. Anyway, video shoots are long, and they are boring, but at least I was able to play guitar to amuse myself. The two pedals you see here are a Roland AF-60 Bee Gee fuzz, and an original MXR script logo Blue Box – both were manufactured around 1975. Note #2 : Rob and I both showed up that day wearing old Sam Hain t-shirts. Weird, right? Also in the photo : my custom shop-made ICJ100WZ, and a selection of Ultraman toys given to me by kids in Japan.
Studio trick : in an effort to get a heavier tone, I took a D-string from a pack of Sean’s bass strings ( we both used Dean Markley Blue Steels, and I still do : that ” cryogenically frozen ” deal seems like bullshit, but they do, in fact, sound a little better .. and they wear out faster. Choose your battle. ) and used it for a bottom string. I had to notch out the slot on the nut a little, but that fat bass string actually did give the guitar a slightly more substantial sound. Also, If I was trying to do a part where my sound wasn’t working and something completely different was needed, I would patch my entire rig into one of her Ampeg SVTs – several lead parts on the album were recorded that way.
Back in the early 90s, you could still find vintage, unused stickers of the biker-skull-devil-blacklight-headshop type, and I covered everything I owned with them. I don’t remember where I got the 1970s Right On! bumper sticker, probably at a flea market .. the DROP DEAD one, I think, came with a zine – I don’t remember which, possibly Jim Goad’s Answer Me! ( that sounds about right, right?) ? There’s also one of these, which I got from this excellent store.