In a perfect world, I would include the comments in the Guitar Gallery. The entire gallery would load in a few tenths of a second as well. We would have clear video of some of us playing these works of art also. Something to look forward to, but for now I've put the comments for each JEM and Universe guitar on this separate page.
Jemsite has listed commentary for each JEM and Universe guitar. Also featured are second opions from friends of Jemsite. To see how everyone ranks their favorites go to the "Visitor Guitar Ranking" page. If you submit a full suite of collector comments they will be added if suitable.
Last update: 4/24/2000 updated commentary by Jemsite.com
JEM 555 Series
JEM555BK/WH - Baby JEM
I've included this for reference only. Overall don't bother with these unless you're lefty or seriously cash strapped. Included in the Jemsite Worst-5. Click here to read the commentary from the Hits & Miss pages.
- If you own one of these, don't go 'round tellin people you gotta JEM. God'll get ya in the end. - by Larry Larsen
- These guitars discredit the other JEMs. Although they have some features of the better ones, when I played it, I found a dramatic difference in playability and sound. Just say no! - by Dave Weiner
- The jem555. Oh Dear Oh Dear (notice lack of Capitals) the JEM Jr. when they first came out they didn't even have a pearloid pickguard!!! which apart from the grip and pickups is now the only cool thing. However, hope is NOT lost If you can find a PGM300 (one of the original issues) these have wizard necks + maple boards and a Cosmo Black LoPro Edge Bridge. These also have White REVERSE headstocks so a little cannibalisation and you've got all access neck joint, Wizard neck. Maple fretboard and LoPro Edge Bridge, monkey grip pearl pickguard, or isn't that the point? - by Jono Dale
- It looks all right with the mother-of-pearl pickguard. A good value if you don't have megabucks. A good second (but not last) guitar. And it has Evolutions! - by Kyle Clark
- I had one of these for about a week till I sold virtually unplayed. Its okay except for that cheap shit tremolo. Oh well maybe they made some money off it. - by Worth Davis
- These JEM Jr's have many features of their grown-up brothers. With the Monkey Grip, the Lions Claw route, Dimarzio Evolution pickups, and the partial Vine neck; these are a good place to begin your journey into JEM country and not spend a fortune. Only real complaint is the tremolo system. - by Larry Menshouse
- The second year of production of these presented this model with a black pearloid pickguard which I think spices up this guitar a bit plus it looks better than white with white pearloid does in my opinion. The overall feel of this isn't too bad but the Lo-trs tremolo doesn't even compare to the look, feel, response, and durability of either of the Edge trems. - by Mike Haug
- As much as I liked the Desert-sun yellow finish, it was in fact a color that grew stale fast compared to the other evolving models. White in this series is becoming stale, also, in my opinion. At this point of rank, the plain white and pearloid are tied in the aesthetic accessory department. - by Mike Haug
JEM555LWH - Lefty JEM
A new guitar released in the summer of '97. Lefty JEM fans can sit tight and finally play a JEM! OK, I know it's a 555 but it took Ibanez 11 years to release a lefty JEM so did you really expect a 777? Thought not. In all honesty Lefty guitarists can now have a quality guitar with that Vai flair. I would have to put an Edge tremolo on this one but since these are Korean made, the factor is not equipped for the different routing. Ibanez made several lefty RG series guitars so some body routing and the swap to the better Edge tremolo should make this mule kick!
- Johnny, I did not know that. Nice idea for our south pawed friends, but many would probably prefer a 777. - by Kyle Clark
- Learn to play like Jimi or something this was probably a big loser all said and done. Thanks for being P.C. and making a guitar for lefties I guess. - by Worth Davis
- Finally our south paw friends can share the JEM experience. It is however a shame that this is the only model to be made as a Lefty. But if you give Herc Fede a call, he can beautify this one so that the right handed friends in your life are jealous. - by Larry Menshouse
- Although I am not left handed, I rate this the highest of the 555's. The lefties should not be deprived of the Jem or Universe experience. Kudos to Ibanez and Mr. Vai for thinking of the lefty folks. Do to the fact that lefties make up a small percentage of guitar players-and probably half of the lefties learned to play right-handed- I can understand Ibanez' decision to go with less costly, Korean labor and materials. It's the thought that counts - by Mike Haug