Ibanez Jet King 2 BS electric guitar review

The Ibanez Jet King 2 (JTK2) has been produced between 2004 and 2007. It really is a versatile and classy looking guitar. Many people say and it’s often advertised this way, that Ibanez wanted to make it look like some pawn shop electric guitars in the ’60s, but the truth is, the Jet King has a real predecessor; the 1830 model, from 1961:

The predecessor – Ibanez 1830 Rhythm Maker

ibanez-JTK2BSIbanez had a whole series of this particular shape, including the above mentioned 1830, the 1850 with three pickups, the 1860 with two pickups and a whammy bar, and the 1880 with three pickups and a whammy. They also had a bass, called the 1950 model. In some sources this model series is called the Ibanez Rhythm Maker. This body shape looks familiar; must have been influenced by the Fender Jazzmaster, that came out in 1958. Note that the Fender Jaguar model came out in 1962, one year after Ibanez started producing the Rhythm Maker.

The face of the headstock on the JTK 2 BS (it stands for “Brown Sunburst”) is black, and it sports the vintage Ibanez logo. The tuning keys are sealed and chrome plated, without any markings. They work well, without any sloppiness. There are two string trees, one for the D and G strings, and one for the B and E strings. They are the roller kind, so they don’t affect the tuning stability like the “butterfly” style ones.

Stability – your neck needs it

The nut is 43 mm wide, which is 1 mm more than on a regular, usual Fender guitar, and equals what Gibson usually uses for their guitars. The 22 fret neck is made out of three maple pieces – it adds for stability -, with a rosewood fingerboard on top. The fret markers are unique looking, pearloid triangles.

The true predecessor of the Ibanez Jet King 2: the 1830 Rhythm Maker model
Ibanez 1830 Rhythm Maker (click to enlarge)

Long scale beef-and-quack machine

The scale length of the JTK is 25.5″, which is the same what most Fender guitars have. The body is made of mahogany, and it’s probably the reason why the guitar is quite heavy. The two humbucking Super 58 pickups work fine, they are proper PAF clones, with low to medium output and mellow tone. You can shunt one of the coils of each pickup to ground, with the help of two so called rocker switches. You’re getting real single coils this way, with the additional hum, but resulting in a thinner, Fender-like tone. In this case, the middle position is still humbucking, and gives you a believable Strat-quack. The guitar has a master tone and a master volume knob. The latter is in the right position to reach for when you want to make volume swells or tremolo sounds. The pickup selector switch is behind the tone knob, it’s not in the way of your picking hand, but you can reach for it quickly.

The bridge is a regular tune-o-matic one, but instead of a stop bar, they made the guitar string through body. The only problem with the tune-o-matic design is you can run out of intonation depending on the string gauge and your particular guitar, because of the short saddle-travel.

There are two pickguards on the Jet King, the smaller one on the top is just an ornament, the lower one covers the whole (graphite paint shielded) control cavity.

Comments (2)

  • Joe Walsh

    I own this model and love it although it is rather heavy (9.6 lbs)
    There is also a variation of the jetking 2 the early ones had one piece necks and super 58s in neck and bridge, the one I have has the 3 piece neck and a super 58 in the neck and an axis in the bridge.

    • Roland Czili

      It is heavy indeed, and the mahogany wood is rather soft. Could have benefitted from chambering under the top pickguard.

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