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SZ520 SZ1 and SZ2 Humbucker Height Screw SIZE???
CauseAndEffect
#1 Posted : 8/17/2013 5:12:59 AM

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Hello all,

To save time for those of you that don't want to read my sob-story, What is the size of the stock humbucker height adjustment screws on a 2004 SZ520QM with the original SZ1 & SZ2 pickups??? Or how do you find replacements (preferably in black)??? They are definitely an irregular size - 30mm long, but wider/thicker than both US and Metric common sizes...

For those of you that want more information, here you go:


I have a 2004 SZ520QM that has been neglected too long, and that I am finally getting around to restoring. Keep in mind that the older SZ520 models have the Ibanez SZ1 and SZ2 pickups. I have always loved this guitar but after taking it down to Florida for 2 years it needed a lot of work, partly thanks to humidity and salty air. And it doesn't help that my hands sweat a lot too.

After cleaning up the bridge, knobs, and pickup poles themselves, I was replacing the heavily corroded chromed-plastic humbucker mounting rings. These things looked awful, especially the bridge ring, which my hand rests against a lot. However through replacing these I feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole - because this has sent me off on an adventure I was not expecting... Let's just say this has been way more complicated and frustrating than I had hoped.

I ordered some DiMarzio replacement rings in black to replace the 'chrome' stock rings. Along with those I ordered both neck and bridge DiMarzio mounting hardware kits in black. All the chrome hardware on this guitar had taken a beating too (required some PB Blaster and cleaning the screw heads just to get them loose), and for reasons of both style and function I wanted to replace all the stock chrome mounting screws with black screws, which are usually more corrosion resistant - and would match the black rings I had just ordered.

Well I should have thought a little more before I ordered DiMarzio sets to replace Ibanez hardware. I do want to clarify that I was already aware that there are two sizes of humbucker height adjustment screw sizes. As soon as my order arrived and I saw the screws my immediate thought was "crap, I ordered US size screws". However, the DiMarzio sets came with two pairs of screws, so I thought maybe they contained both sizes. No luck... I opened the first pack and what they gave me was a choice between phillips or flathead pup height screws, but they were both the US size screws, and much thinner than what was required for these stock Ibanez SZ1 and SZ2 pickups. Just wanna mention that both DiMarzio rings, and the actual mounting screws were all great aftermarket replacements for the SZ! The problem is only with the height adjustment screws.

Well I guess I need METRIC pickup height screws then... So I go to the hardware store. Just trying to match the screws became frustrating, and I spent way too long reaffirming that I need a metric screw size. Unfortunately, their selection of metric machine screw sizes was too limited. Even if they had the correct size my choice would have been limited to chrome only. I sized it as a M3 0.5-30mm Phillips Pan Head Machine Screw, but was unsure of the threading.

Later, while I was researching an online dealer that had metric screws I kept seeing their length listed as 25mm or sometimes 26mm. There was no mention of the other dimensions of these screws. I figure that the 25mm long metric screws will still fit, but seeing how my stock height springs were longer than the stock 30mm screws to begin with, it would make mounting the pups a bigger pain - trying to depress the springs while I first tighten the screws. My pup wires are short enough already that it makes it a pain to get the pickups away from the body of the guitar enough to easily attach the mounting rings. After a long search I was becoming frustrated. It was WAY too difficult to find replacement metric screws in black that were the proper length. However, I end up running across a site called GuitarElectronics.com that lists their metric screws as 30mm long and come in black, so I decide to buy them... Just under $10 for 4 screws and 4 springs (that I don't even need) shipped.

So far I am out nearly $20 between screws and shipping. The metric screws arrived today, and were still too small for the Ibanez!!! Yes they were the proper 30mm length (so were the DiMarzios), but they are still too thin and slide right through the eyes on the SZ1 and SZ2 base plates... It should not be so difficult to find the proper screws for these pups! It is not even worth sending these newest screws back, because with return shipping I'll still be out the same amount... I have thought about trying to find a local specialty fastener retailer, but I'm sure my only option will be steel because these stores cater to builders, not guys restoring their old guitars... Even online fastener retailers are catering to builders, selling the steel screws by the hundreds/thousands. It seems impossible to find the correct screws...


Then finally a revelation - I'm just going to replace the stock SZ1 and SZ2 pickups! I never really liked them anyway... I was upset years ago when they reintroduced the model with the Duncan design pickups - I felt liked I got jipped, and considered contacting Ibanez to see if they would exchange the new pickups for my original SZ pups. I never did, and not long after this guitar suffered some debilitating injuries and has been in hibernation until very recently. But more and more I am remembering why I bought this guitar and loved it for so long. Yeah it's not your typical Ibanez speed-machine mounted with a Floyd Rose. The SZ's are about an array of tonal possibilities and pure sustain, which lended itself well to my style when I was doing a lot of experimental stuff, and a lot of progressive/alternative lead guitar work. And aside from Ibanez upgrading the pickups on later models, I never really thought the original stock pickups truly suited this guitar to begin with. So I am taking it upon myself to finally correct these wrongs, and make this beauty sing again... And all this because I couldn't find the correct height screws!

I haven't completely decided on replacement pups yet, but I have a couple of DiMarzio combinations in mind that will open up tones that never existed with the SZ pickups. I'm even considering different wiring possibilities, although blending the pickups with independent volume controls attracted me to the SZ model from the very start. I want to preserve that feature in my SZ, but ultimately perfect its sound (to my ears anyway). I will still have some work to be done after pickups, including having two fret wires replaced... But it is worth it, and I can't wait to be playing my SZ again!

And on the bright side, I will already have the matching screws to fit my replacement DiMarzio pickups!
Bill@Ibanez
#2 Posted : 8/19/2013 1:47:30 PM
Bill@Ibanez


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Hello,

Sorry to hear about your issues with the screw sizes! When you bought the 30mm screws, what size were they listed as? M3's? Most pickup height screws I've seen for Ibanez guitars are listed as 4x30 and I'm wondering if it could be bigger than an M3. Let me know what size the ones you ordered were and I'll see what I can find on my end.

-Bill
CauseAndEffect
#3 Posted : 8/20/2013 6:01:26 AM

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Thanks for the response Bill.

I had typed up a response as a 'quick reply', but seeing how I just finished a 13 hour work day and am new to this site, when I went to post it went bye-bye...

The jist was that 4x30 could mean TWO things:

- My SZ is Korean, so 4x30 is likely metric. That would mean 4.0mm x 30mm, also called M4x30mm screw. That is much larger than both 'common' US and Metric humbucker height screw sizes. Well that is true - the Ibanez screws are clearly larger than both the DiMarzio US screws AND the aftermarket 'metric' screws I bought. The site I purchased the metric screws from lists them as "Metric threads (2.5x30mm)". It also lists the US size as "#3 USA threaded screws (48x1/14" long)", which is a typo. The US size is "Standard #3 with US 3-48 Thread. Phillips Head. 1-1/4" Long." Those are both too small, and clearly 4.0mm, or M4, is larger than both - so I am on the right track...

Still with me? Okay then.

- Number Two. It seems unlikely, but 4x30 may refer to USA #4 screws, which have a diameter of 0.120 inches. If you do the math a #4 screw is almost equal to 3.0mm (0.120 in. = 3.048 mm), which means it is basically the equivalent of an M3 screw! That means that a metric M3x30mm screw is basically the equivalent of a USA #4 x 1 1/4" screw in diameter and length. However, these are machine screws so the threading can also differ. I ran across a post on another Ibanez forum that said the V2 pickups required M3x30mm height screws... So will I need M3 or M4 30mm screws???

So I don't know what to try... I can try to purchase them all, but how much am I willing to spend on 4 screws? And my original intent for black color is a dream! At least I could paint the replacement screw heads if I had to... But I am already down almost $20, and really not willing to spend that much more time or effort on this... That is why I am just going to replace the pups, and then I'll never have to deal with this problem on the SZ again. I'm not made of money, but that seems like a better investment into my old and loved guitar at this point anyway...
Bill@Ibanez
#4 Posted : 8/20/2013 7:52:32 PM
Bill@Ibanez


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The screws should be an M3x30mm. The ones that I mentioned before may not work. Unfortunately, we aren't quite sure of the "pitch" of the thread, but the sizing should definitely be M3x30mm.

Hope this helps,
-Bill
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#5 Posted : 12/19/2013 8:16:31 AM
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#6 Posted : 12/19/2013 8:53:06 AM
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slick5066
#8 Posted : 5/16/2014 11:00:06 PM

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Hey CauseAndEffect, I've had the same problem with my 1980 Ibanez Blazer. I'm not saying that I have the same size screws as you do but mine are 3.0 x 24.5 philips head. I found some replacements on this website http://www.grguitars.com/ good luck!
avianoguitarist
#9 Posted : 5/17/2014 2:20:55 AM
avianoguitarist


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Originally Posted by: slick5066 Go to Quoted Post
Hey CauseAndEffect, I've had the same problem with my 1980 Ibanez Blazer. I'm not saying that I have the same size screws as you do but mine are 3.0 x 24.5 philips head. I found some replacements on this website http://www.grguitars.com/ good luck!


Pretty sure he figured it out by now--check the date of post.
Just another Ibanez freak!
slick5066
#10 Posted : 5/17/2014 9:07:50 PM

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OK so if you know an answer to something on this site you shouldn't bother posting it? I'm sure people could use this info in the future.
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