Whether you like his music or not, Joe Satriani is one of the few living masters of guitar. In simple terms, there are those who know how to play an instrument, and then there are those who take that instrument to its very limit keep going. Satriani falls within the latter category. You could argue that he isn’t a guitar legend, but the evidence will certainly be weighing heavily against you…(cue: “Made Of Tears” live)
Often dubbed the wizard of electric guitar, Satriani’s style, and technique has been admired by millions, including some of his peers. An artist of his talent doesn’t go unnoticed for too long. Back in 1987, Ibanez got in touch with Joe and offered a deal. Satriani was to get his own line of signature guitars, and Ibanez would be allowed to use his name.
Usually, when guitarists make signature model guitars, they are inspired or close to what that guitarist is using. That was not the case with Joe. While there are definitely some Joe Satriani models which he probably wouldn’t use on stage, most are built up to his spec and can be seen in his hands. The best example of one such model is the Ibanez JS2400.
Here is a video with Joe playing the famed guitar.
Joe Satriani is the type of person who knows exactly what he needs in order to achieve his goals. When it comes to guitars, JS2400 is his go-to ax. He worked with Ibanez for a long time in order to fine tune the design and bring the specs up to a standard he would deem acceptable. His JS2400 is the same one you can pick up at your guitar shop. Just how awesome is this guitar? Let’s find out.
The body of the JS2400 is made of Basswood, which is probably the only time you will see this type of tonewood being praised by the snobby critics. The body shape is a type of Super Strat with rounded edges and slimmed down horns. Joe kept the Ibanez tech crew busy with slimming down the body as much as possible. JS Prestige neck made of Maple is joined to the body using a tilt joint and features a Rosewood fretboard with Abalone dot inlays.
An interesting thing about this neck is that it’s the first 24 fret neck in JS series of signature guitars. This new neck is partially why the body needed to be reworked. Joe wanted to reach those higher notes with ease, and the standard JS body shape wasn’t really allowing that to happen.
Hardware was handpicked by Satriani, as it was expected. The bridge is an Edge tremolo unit with Ultralite Tremolo arm. This bridge has shown to more than capable of withstanding frequent tremolo use.
Electronics are where things really get interesting. Because the neck got extended for two additional frets, there was no room for a standard humbucker. You’re probably wondering why they didn’t just move the humbucker position a bit towards the bridge, but Satriani was explicitly against that. Since there was no room for a standard humbucker and Joe demanded one to be there, Ibanez engineers had their work cut out for them. The solution came in form of DiMarzio PAF Joe.
At a first glance, it looks like a single coil, but that tiny pickup is a full-fledged humbucker. At the bridge position, we have a DiMarzio FRED humbucker. Both of these are controlled by one volume knob and one tone knob. Each knob has a push pull function. When you pull the volume button, you engage a high pass filter, which is definitely not something you see every day. The tone knob is the standard coil tap push-pull design.
There are two things that define the core of Ibanez JS2400 – playability and the tone. When someone like Satriani sits down to design a guitar, you know it’s going to be optimized for speed. In this case, Ibanez delivered a surgical too. Everything about this guitar is performance oriented. The neck is just the right profile for fast runs all over the fretboard and the action is set towards that goal as well. If you the type who likes to walk the neck at crazy tempos, Ibanez JS2400 will probably be the one guitar which will grant you flawless experience.
The tone you can expect is pretty hard to define. Not because it is odd in terms of color, but because its range is so wide. You can play anything from the most aggressive metal to jazz on the JS2400. DiMarzio pickups Joe selected for this model simply have that kind of range, and when you combine it with Basswood’s soft nature, the possibilities are endless. A nice way to really understand the scope of this setup is to plug the JS2400 into a vintage tube amp and roll down the volume. The clarity you’ll get will speak volumes about how sensitive and clinical the pickups are.
Satriani’s input is evident not only due to the type of electronics he chose, or the specific profile of the guitar. It’s small things like that high pass filter that you can activate by pulling on the volume knob that tells you Joe had something to do with this guitar.
If you were to compare guitars to cars, Ibanez JS2400 wouldn’t be a luxury Maybach or something similar. It would be the angry rally car whose every bolt is built for performance. Seriously, this guitar is a tool for those who value finesse and near perfect craftsmanship. Speaking of which, when you closely inspect the JS2400 and start recognizing these small changes, you really start to appreciate Satriani’s talent. This specific model is also one of the most expensive members of the JS series you can get.
Whether or not this guitar will be what you’re looking for depends on what your requirements are. However, chances are that a guitar which is good enough for Satriani will also be good enough for you. For Satriani fans who are trying to replicate his tone, Ibanez JS2400 is a must-have piece of kit. Without it, you can’t even start cloning what Satriani has been using so far. This guitar is the key to his tone, plain and simple.