The FRM100TR is the Chinese manufactured version of the new FRM100 signature model that Ibanez have designed with Paul Gilbert. However given this signature model’s excessive price tag, Ibanez have wisely chosen to produce a cheaper model for general release that includes many of the same great features.
It’s a unique design featuring a distinctive reverse Iceman body. The FM100TR’s also have a mahogany body which gives it a more solid tone than many standard strat based guitars. The Ibanez Tight-Tune bridge and tailpiece also promote what Ibanez call “superior transfer of string vibration without unwanted movement” and is a great feature on the guitar giving an incredible level of tuning stability.
“The neck of FRM100TR is different than the previous RG shapes in the Paul Gilbert signature series. It’s thicker and fatter – 22mm@1st fret and 24mm@12th fret – for a classic feel. The 3 pc mahogany/maple/mahogany neck offers the player a fat and tight sound with a solid grip for comfortable playability (something which Paul demanded). It’s slightly less fat than the high end FRM100 model.”
In addition to the new neck, Paul’s new signature guitar features taller and narrower frets than on his older PGM models. These allow you to physically bend the notes more easily, especially in those higher positions. This is something that will appeal to many guitarists who employ a lot of string bending and vibrato in their playing.
In a similar fashion to his previous signature models, the FRM100TR features a specific layout to keep the volume knob location in ‘Paul’s favourite’ spot. This might not suit all players but it’s not radically different to many guitars so shouldn’t take too much getting used to. As well as the volume knob the guitar also features a pickup selector switch and an added tone control which allows you to roll off the treble and achieve a tone more accustomed to traditional humbucking pickups. In the demonstration video Paul rolls down the tone knob to around 3-4 to achieve this type of tone.
“Burning tones scream out of this guitar! The FRM100TR is more shocking proof that Ibanez listens to what guitar players want. In this case, the guitarist was ME. It all started when I flipped their Iceman body upside down, renamed it the FIREMAN, and created a guitar that looks like an electric brontosaurus. I demanded a beefy set-neck and a Tight-Tune bridge for maximum sustain and solid feel. Big, natural tones come from the DiMarzio® Injector™ pickups on the outside and an Area 67™ in the middle. I chose tall frets to make bending and vibrato easy and the intonation accurate. The knobs are out of the way, so I don’t bump into them when I attack the strings. And most importantly, the Fireman inspires me to play ALL THE TIME. You know what to do. Pick one up and ROCK!”