This is the place for feedback to Jemsite.com. In recent months entries have been limited due to the popularity of the Jemsite.com Forum. Available here is some interesting commentary and questions delivered via e-mail. Note Some e-mail is paraphrased and/or condensed where necessary.
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JEM vs RG Hands on Report Rebuttal
I ve been a frequenter of jemsite.com for about a year and a half now. I ve used it for not only curiosity about one of my favorite instruments but also as a handy reference. To your credit your information is almost always 100 percent accurate as well as being easily referenced and conveniently available.
I ve spent a decent amount of time exploring your site and soaking in everything from reviews to opinions and tips and tricks. But it was an article comparing the Jems to the RGs which I have taken an exception to and feel that it demands some form of rebuttal.
While many of the points made by the author are wholly true I feel that there are others that were conveniently ignored which should play heavily into the debate.
Of these the value of the instrument is something I take exception to. I will admit that the numbers and references to cash values are correct. But there are other aspects musicians need to be concerned with when it comes to playing. A used RG can be had for short money. Additionally with them being widely available it makes them easily replaceable. While in a perfect world I d be able to play out my prized possessions at each and every gig that just isn t the case. Anyone who has gigged even moderately knows that things happen: guitars get dropped, damaged and broken. Anyone who has gigged knows that it isn t a question of if² something is going to get stolen it is a matter of when². While many folks may have the money and time to replace an instrument of stature such as the Jems a lot of folks do not. Since they are collectors items they are even more attractive to thieves than the typically low-scale RG series.
I also take exception to comments made about the tremolos. Tremolo units are usually only as good as they are set up and cared for. A decently set-up tremolo will almost always be capable of adequate to excellent performance. Your suggestion that the RG tremolos are vastly inferior due to the sheer volume of wood used in the production of the neck is almost completely baseless. With proper truss rod adjustment and proper tremolo set up an RG series guitar should stay in tune just as proficiently as a properly set up Jem will.
And while the fact that the RG series has never been equipped with DiMarzio pickups as a stock option they have had a multitude of different pickups which do sound different. And while the usual preferences of what players typically want in a sound from their pickups exists I defy the author to prove this statement as a hard fact rather than a projection of his or her own personal preferences. I believe that if the authors statement were indeed true Ibanez would of outsourced their pickup production years ago.
The sheer elitism and arrogance exhibited in this article just seems out of character for the site. And while many facts were dead on accurate I think that the slant taken is undeserved and inaccurate. Both the Jems and RGs serve a purpose and have co-existed for an exceptionally similar amount of time. If RGs were as bad off as the author would lead us to believe Ibanez surely would have discontinued the line by now.
I thank you for your time.
After playing an Ibanez RG770 for two years and just getting by on a squire for the previous 4 years, my parents, for my eighteenth brithday bought me my dream guitar the Ibanez JEM 7VWH!!
I can't thank Steve Vai enough for designing this guitar, words can not do the beutiful nature of the beast justice. Ibanez's craftsmanship is second to none. It is the finest produced guitar that I have ever seen (although I've owned few guitars I've played many). And all this comes before the sound of it.
The evolutions just blew my mind (compared to ibanez's own pickups in the RG770), and the responce and playability of the guitar is incredible. For such a light guitar the sustain is amazing.
For me the JEM guitars are the most flexible guitars in the world, on the neck pick-up there is plenty of mellow bass to play solo Jazz standards, whilst on the bridge pick-up the the tone just screams in your face. Which is the ultimate thing about the jems. The contrast of their nature they are brutal yet beutiful.
A very proud and happy JEM owner
RG7 - Man's Guitar
Subject: dis this
Dude, why the hell do you always dis RG7s, the JEMs are they gayest things on the market, with there celebrate diversity paint jobs, and fucking handle? what the hell is this for? I mean my strap works fine I don't need a fucking handle to grab, play a mans guitar, My RG costs more then your life and is prolly one of the finest custom shop guitars ever made, RG7s are no different from those, minus the gay paint job and the fucking handle, anyway I think you should stop saying how much they suck and belong in the hall of shame because they are great guitars and have helped bring me to the top......but hey your sites pretty cool and I goto it all the time when I want news on Ibanez while we are on the road.
See the vendor list for manly people who can route a handle in your RG. I believe it will still be a man's guitar but you better check with other homophobes to be certain. Feel free to visit www.ibanez.com for news and please and send your next inspired e-mail to them instead. - Jemsite
dennis d whitney
Subject: JEM stuff
Hello Glen, I have been really interested in JEMs for quite a while and much to my dismay, have never been able to afford one. Its nice to have a good place to see the variety that Ibanez offers within the JEM line. I have been trying to get my friend Jim to get me some scans of his 1988 Floral Pattern JEM with Steves Signature on the front in Metallic gold permanent marker, I told him about your site and he said he would get some pictures for your site. We also might be able to get pictures of a special swirl Universe. The Story is surrounding the guitar caused Steve to do more that sign it. My Friend Jim Edward McCarty(JEM) is a huge Vai fan and his sisters boyfriend was as well, His name was Warren, Warren purchased a Universe with a Swirl(mostly yellow pink and lavender) and only owned it about 6 months I believe before his car was struck by a drunk driver and killed.
When Steve played in Seattle during the S & R tour we were just trying to get an autograph, but Steve's PR rep was asking people why they wanted to see Steve after the show to control the groupie thing(small club), so soon we witnessed Steve write a whole paragraph on the back of the nect in permanent marker, it was amazing to see the compassion and concern on Steves face as he wrote, pictures were taken by the PR rep and I got my P & W CD signed. Steve is a one of a kind human being in a place where coldness seems to rule in general. Jim played in a rock band for 7 years with his Floral Pattern Jem with only one set-up ever, he sweats alot, he thrashes the whammy, he plays the snot out of it, and never deals with warping of the neck or other problems some people complain they have, and out in the Pacific Northwest its pretty wet and cold outside and hot in the clubs.
I always doubt the intellect of JEM bashers who are almost predudiced against asian people, would these same people bash Fender if the found out a Japanese guy worked in final assembly. There are so many variables in manufacturing guitars between wood types, finishes, pick-ups and the set up quality that its difficult to make a generalization. Every JEM I have ever had the pleasure of playing has always been top notch. I have played Gibsons(which each model is different in its own right)Fenders, PRS, Valley Arts, Jacksons, Charvels, Gretches, Kramers and Rikenbackers. They are all different but do not have the comfort, sound and playability of the JEM. My personal guitar is a Roadstar II with $900 of custom work done by John Steffan and John Fitzgerald, its sounds pretty good but it doesn't play like a JEM. Someday I will own one!!! I will try to get the pictures soon if I can get Jim to use his camera....
Sorry for the length, Awesome site for the Deprived
Dennis D Whitney
F-22 Wing Tip Design
"Jealous little piss-ass trunk Gypsy types"
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 1997 13:35:42 -0400
From: Ed Roman <email@example.com>
Organization: World Class Guitars
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.0Gold (Win95; I)
Subject: PRICE INCREASE
All MY JEMS WILL BE INCREASED BY 20% as of October 10 1997
PLEASE POST THAT ON YOUR TOP RIPOFF SECTION
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 03:51:12 -0500
From: Ed Roman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Organization: World Class Guitars
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01C-KIT (Win95; U)
Subject: Comments on your site.
I have been chuckling a little about your little site and all your little piss ass comments.. No problem it's a free country.
However I am told that you have called me "a dick" and that you are slandering and libeling me regularly. This is a personal attack that I do not appreciate.
If you don't like my prices fine. I am asking you nicely to cease and desist from talking about me.
Be aware that my prices raise the viability and credibility of the Jem guitars, Be aware that if you want to classify them along with Peavey and all the other low end shit then they will be available at Pawn shops like every other cheap japanese guitar.
So maybe you should rethink your immature attitude about pricing. The higher the price is the more value someone will put to it. When the value goes up then the rich Yuppies will be interested in buying them. Just like PRS and Gibsons. But I guess you would rather see the Ibanez guitars classified down with Aria Pro's and the Samicks etc etc.
I make my living selling guitars, and as you probably have surmised I do quite well. I am able to command a pretty good price for these guitars because I work hard at it. You seem bent on causing me problems.
I suggest you think about completely removing the section on your site that denigrates me and my company. And I suggest that you never mention my name again in a good or bad way.
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 03:32:17 -0500
From: Ed Roman <email@example.com>
Organization: World Class Guitars
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01C-KIT (Win95; U)
To: "glen g. cianciulli, dc" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Comments on your site.
I looked at your page
It disturbs me that my name is still on it, On the credits of the page it lists your name as the designer (This means YOU are the legally responsible party)
I am asking you nicely one more time to remove any references to me on any of your pages. Some of the quotes on your page are blatant lies.
If You print Blatant lies you are the responsible party (check it with your attorney if you like)
I never told anyone I paid 2400.00 for a pink Jem I sell them for between 1100.00 and 1400.00 depending on condition. How could I buy one for 2400.00.
Some of the other quotes are obvious Bullshit and people who flame people without signing their name to it are cowards. Usually Jealous Cowards.
In case you are interested in why I am selling Ibanez Jems for the prices I am this might be of interest to you.
One of the people that you mention on your page repeatedly (WD) tried to sell me a purple multicolor about a year ago for $2,000.00. I made a few exploratory calls and I found at least 3 takers at 2500.00 within 3 days. So I called him back and attempted to buy it. He informed me that I had missed it and that he had sold it for more. Until that time I had not taken notice of the Jems and this little episode fired my interest. To make a long story short I found out a couple of months later that the guitar he sold to yet another person was actually a Herc Paint job and not an original Ibanez (Talk about Ripoff's).
I have had dealings with many of the people whose names that are mentioned on your page. No one seems to be signing their name to any of the flames.. Hmmmmm
I was looking at your price guide and I think you are sadly misinformed. I have NEVER once come across prices like what you list. If I could buy anywhere near those prices I would be able to sell for a lot less, I routinely pay 2000.00 for real UV 7 Swirls. I had a guy offer me a mint LNG 777 without the original case for 2500.00 just this morning (maybe you better wake up and smell the coffee)
I don't rip anyone off and I never will. I post a price if you like it you buy it. If you don't like it you offer less or you just don't buy it. I didn't hold a gun to Larry Landis's head last week when he paid me 3000.00 and a Brand New Faces Satch guitar for a swirl UV7. I sell about 2 jems a month for approximately $1200.00 give or take depending on condition, I perform a valuable service to Jem enthusiasts (I HAVE THEM IN STOCK)
"My baloney is cheaper than your Baloney ooops Sorry I'm out of Baloney today maybe I'll get some tomorrow"
All those other Jealous Dealers who talk about me behind my back (as you say) may quote low numbers but they never have the goods. COMPARE MY SELECTION TO OTHER DEALERS NO ONE HAS MORE... It costs a lot of money to stock that many guitars. I am not a public servant like you are purporting yourself to be. You try investing $20,000.00 in Ibanez guitars alone and see what you would do. All those other Schmucks don't have anything in stock.. they have no investment.. They could quote 5 cents over cost it wouldn't matter. The Bottom line is HE WHO HAS IT IN STOCK SELLS IT... Sorry but that's the law of the retail jungle.
BTW when I sell these guitars the necks are completely redone (they look new) The electronics are cleaned and noisy pots are replaced, It is very common for me to install new Trems, or at least a new set of saddles, I am not selling shit like one of the other dealers who I see mentioned on your page.
I go to the guitar shows and sell 15 to 25 guitars while some of these other Jealous little piss-ass trunk Gypsy types maybe sell 2 guitars. Of course they are Jealous so what else is there to do but flame who they are jealous of.
The guy leading the pack always has a bunch of people right behind him trying to stick a knife in his back. (the operative word here is "behind")
For your information No one in the WORLD has lower prices than me on new Ibanez Guitars... Look at my site... New RG7's 799.00 New BSB jems 1250.00 New Jem 555 749.00 Make a few calls and compare my prices.. Also compare my selection NO ONE HAS MORE!!!!!!
The only time I have higher prices is when something is no longer manufactured.. That's my game.. But I will sell the NEW ONES CHEAPER THAN ANYONE.. I say this to you as I say it to everyone.
Check out my website !!!
I add a new page or article every week.
E-mail answered only on Thursdays
ROTFL. Any of you "piss ants" want to buy something from this guy? Hahahaha. Didn't think so. There are many, alternate and authorized dealers who can provide better service, price and customer support. Without insulting the customer, either right to their face or behind it.
Ibanez has terminated his dealership status so be warned that he is not authorized as an Ibanez dealer. - Jemsite
Gentlemen A term you do not deserve. Please be advised that I will make it a priority to inform all the personal and business acquaintances that I may encounter either through the net or any other possible communication that your site is misleading and is actively conducting false advertising. Your less than competent people, who are laughing what little brains you have out, are most unprofessional. To some people in the real world guitars are a serious occupation. You should be ashamed of yourselves for misleading the public. The fool you phonies is you. - EK
All I can say is lighten up. Laugh a little sometimes... even on April Fools Day! - Jemsite
Disturbing Trend - Romanitis
Dear Sir, thank you for the opportunity to use your site to try and trade/sell my guitar. I have just recently "discovered" your site, and I must say it is one of the finer ones on the subject. I must ask you to please discontinue my ad early as I have found there to be a big difference between what people think these instruments are worth (selling/trading), and how much they are willing to spend (buying). As a player, and not a collector, I find it interesting how much some individuals believe these instruments to be worth as collectable items, after all they aren't even twenty years old yet...this inconsistency, along with dealers such as Ed Roman, only to artificially drive up prices for instruments that should be worth less than they were new, in most circumstances. After all, they mass produced most models, and not were totally 'made by hand', and you can get a similar, brand new, for way less than some of these used instruments. Anyways, sorry about my babbling on and thank you again for the use of your helpful service, if nothing else much of your site is very useful with regards to tech info and the like, and keep up the good work! Sincerely - name withheld
This is a very disturbing trend. "Romanitis" seems to be spreading. While I endorse selling and buying for "fair price" it seems that people's expectations and reality has been altered by a few online dealers and price inflaters. People want to sell for top dollar yet purchase for dirt cheap! You can't have it both ways - Jemsite
Glen- For the 2 weeks before Christmas, my girlfriend, Rachel, has been teasing me about my Christmas present. My boss knew what it was as well; she was no help. It got to the point where I was playing "Wheel Of Fortune" with my boss ("Is there an 'R' in it?" heh heh). As usual, the boss was no help at all; I was just going to have to wait for the big day. I stopped by the local guitar shop (Royal Music in Merrick, NY) to make sure all the guitars were still there...esp. the JEM's and Universes'. Whew! They were all still there- the VWH in the locked case to the left and the UV777BK secure in the case to the right (the JEM555's were marked "1/2 off!" *giggle*).
So, now I'm POSITIVE that it's not a guitar that she's got for me. I got home on the 23rd to find an enormous wrapped box (4'H x 2'W x 2'L)in the living room of our new place. It was the only present with my name on it. The card said, "NO SHAKING, TILTING, OR OTHERWISE DISTURBING THIS BOX!" The gifts I bought for her were at the base of it. I was shocked! One of our online friends who's building me a custom Telecaster, knew what it was too, but was no help to me: "It's a new shop vac, Kev! An upright!" I'll kill him later. LOL
I woke up early (5am) on Christmas day and went into the living room and pondered the big box. I thought for sure that it was the custom guitar from our friend in Texas; "Yeah...that's what it's got to be! I know it! It's got to be the Tele from Texas!!" Again, I was wrong (nothing new there...) After she woke up and opened her presents, which included a set of diamond earrings (triangle shaped, of course!), we decided it was time to open the monstrosity in the corner. I was shaking. She had told me that she used my 30-below-zero sleeping bag to pack it, so I expected that; but the guitar case I didn't. It had an "Ibanez" logo at the bottom of it. I began to get teary-eyed. I pulled the case out and layed it on the floor. Undid the latches and, very slowly, opened it. I saw before me...the new crown prince of the Universe guitars....my Ibanez Universe UV777BK.
I slapped my hands up against my face in the "Home Alone" pose and went right over to Rachel and kissed her. Her expression with the earrings must have been my expression as well; shock mixed with happiness, or vice versa. When I regained consiousness, the facts finally came out: She had instructed the guys @ Royal to keep the BK in the case until the 22nd. On that day she'd come by to pick it up, and it would keep me from wondering, or realizing, what she'd gotten me for Christmas. When I stopped by that day, they had begun to pack it up; she called after I left the house and told them that I was on my way up there. She's good like that.
Rachel used JEMsite to read up on the UV777BK as well...checking out the pictures, reading the feedback, and studying everyone's favorites list- which I now need to update!!! She and I agree that your commentary couldn't be more dead-on: It IS the multi-color killer. Every square millimeter is perfect. I looked for flaws yesterday to no avail. It's so damn easy to play as well. Switching from my JEM to my Universe is more mental than physical- the necks are very close in feel. The AANJ makes it SSSSOOOOO nice for all the upper fretboard work...Good job, Ibanez!
It's one year and a week to the day since I picked up Eve (my FP). I feel so damn privlidged to be part of her life. It was the perfect gift. Coincidentally, the earrings match the inlays! That made it all the more special! As you can tell, we had a GREAT Christmas. We hope you and all the JEMsite visitors did as well. We'll be bringing the JEM and the Universe to the JEM FestUVal. In the meantime, I'll send you some pics to update my collection in the JEMsite Guitar Gallery. Thanks, and have a great New Year! I will! Kevan
Congrats on all accounts... WOW!!! - Jemsite
I see a lot of bashing the UV7 on your site. Maybe the black and green doesn't appeal to some people, but I recently bought one, and it plays great. I value quality and playability over looks.
Personally I don't want a multicolor if it plays like a piece of shit. I know they don't, but it's just a statement. Nevertheless, the UV7 is STILL an Ibanez quality instrument, and maybe more slack should be given to the guitar.
Maybe more criticism should be given to the OTHER companies that try to copy the Universe guitars, or even the Rg7's. Those things suck. Thanks, I love the site, keep it up, Kyle
I can understand why JEM and UV fans/players are turned off from the UV7BK (black and green model) in regard to cosmetics and "boringness". I think it stems from the guitar being "out of place" with the other original UV models which far outshine it in regards to looks and detail. I've stated over and over, aside from the 555s there is no "bad" JEM/UV. Each UV built is a fine, quality instrument. I don't think you'll find an Ibanez Universe that plays bad barring a defect of some sort as these are built to strict standards. When you realize this baseline of excellence you can understand why some are very critical of certain JEM/UV appearances. For the same reason most people prefer multicolors or a more unique finish on their Universe because it is a given that the Ibanez UV will play great - Jemsite
UV7BK Bashing 2
Hello I would like to say that I am very disappointed to hear you bash on the black universe model with green dot fret markers. To me it sounds like you people are more interested in the flash of the other models and not that overly concerned with the sound and play ability. This guitar I feel is perfect for the person who wants a great 7 string that does not scream Steve Vai. Im not saying the other models are not cool they are but they all have the same components and they all are equally satisfying to play.
Think about it looks are not everything would you choose a multi colored uv that sounds like shit over a plain black green dot model that sounds good. Think about it and if you can change some of your wording on your site about the black uv.
Thanx for listening to me ramble on Ed
See above commentary - Jemsite
Hello there! I've just finished searching around your most excellent site! Wonderful! Keep it up.....PLEASE! But it does seem as though I may be able to give you some extra info regarding the fabled "Monkey-Grip Universe"! I actually had the pleasure of playing it for a few brief minutes just prior to the official release of the UV7BK in the UK! Steve had given it to little (as he was then) Thomas McRocklin as a thankyou for his appearance in the "The Audience Is Listening" video. Thomas had brought it down to FCN (the UK distributors of Ibanez at the time) in Kent, England, to show it off. I received a frantic phone call from the director of FCN that he was there with the Universe and that if I could get there quick enough I could try it out!
The reason for all of this preferential treatment was that,apart from having owned about 20 Jems and RG's by that time, I had pre-ordered a UV7BK and a UV7MC months beforehand and they wanted me to be sure that I liked playing one! Stupid question! I loved it! The "Monkey-Grip Universe" was a little rough around the edges by the time that I saw it... It was very obviously a prototype and something of a "work in progress" as there were visible modifications that had been done after final construction. Things like the apparent re-shaping of the neck that had made it narrower than the neck pocket which had then been shimmed to make the fit snug again! None of these things could take anything away from the guitar though...it played wonderfully and sounded great too.
Although it didn't sound the same as the production UV's that I played soon after. It had a slightly less agressive and gritty tone that I can only put down to contribution of the Monkey-grip etc lightening the body a little and taking a little of the mid-range away perhaps. Or maybe D'marzio tweeked the pickups one more time for the production models...who knows? Still it was great fun to actually play the very guitar that Steve had played for the album and various videos...(I checked the "Fool For Your Lovin'" video and the swirl was exactly as I saw it! It was interesting that, as the relationship between the distributor and I had grown to this point, it wasn't long after that that they approached me to join their technical staff servicing and setting up Ibanez guitars for all their domestic endorsees and some of the big names too! This was at the insistance of their head tech who couldn't believe the setups that I had on my own Jems and RG's! (I've been a pro tech for many years now) I did actually get to set one up for Mr. Vai...a Jem7BSB that was to be used for an interview/cd demo track for GUITARIST magazine in the UK. It was signed by Steve and later given away as a prize by the mag as I recall. So, as I say, your site is great and I'll be visiting it often!!! Keep up the good work! I do hope that you don't mind my writing in and I hope this was of interest to you. Have a great day! - Steve Brand
Great story. Thaks for sharing it. Next time please bring along a camera! - Jemsite
JEM's... What Else Is There?
Hi there... F*&^in great site... wow! I have been an Ibanez lover for the past 2.5 decades.... (yep 40 at last) and I have had my 88 JEM77FP for the past 6 years. I picked it up second hand for just under a $1000 (Australian) and it has been love ever since. It took me about a week to get used to the soft touch, but now it's like playing a stealth bomber!!!! I use it in combo with a JCM800 50w half stack when I'm feeling "ANGRY" :-), and use my little JCM900 50w 1x12" combo.... sweet ;-)
I have played a shit load of guitars over the past thirty years of playing, but nothing has come even close to my baby! Every other guitar has just been "slumming it". Some friend will bring his new toy for me to play and "appreciate".... how do you tell them that it plays like crap, and sounds worse..... :-) I hope your pages last forever.... It was great to check out and compare mine against the pics, and to find others on the net that appreciate the best guitar made! I'm from Alice Springs, and this guitar has followed me through desert hell and back.... 43 degree celecius outdoor concerts and all.......... It has done hours and hours of very hard work, and yet plays like new.... thats good! Cheers, Peter Gordon
No dispute here that there is no other guitar like a JEM ;-) - Jemsite
Here is some humerous commentary from Usenet geniuses...
Subject: does Ibanez make any GOOD guitars?
From: "Jason Harris" email@example.com
I played a 1,300 dollar JEM and a JS1000 a while back .......They dont seem to play any better than the worthless RGs........Ibanez can't possibly be so large a company for selling crap......and why would Satch and Vai use them if they were?......do they have a shop where they make real guitars and then sell the rest of us normal people mass produced crap?.........Has anybody played a Ibanez they really liked and where did you find it?.....i bet all the real guitarists get their axes from the custom shop........or something...... jason
Subject: Re: does Ibanez make any GOOD guitars?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (GtarGeorge)
Im an Ibanez fan and while that last post is totally true..let me say this: I lost alot of interest when Ibanez began that whole Jem-period. Granted, they made alot of money on them...I just don't "get it". The guitars they made previous to that stressed as good a wood as they could offer and an instrument trying to vibrate in a way any good instument does (as an instrument). The competition was tough at that time and I don't think its any mystery as to why Gibson personally sought out Ibanez for it's Lawsuit. (Hence Lawsuit guitars)...its because they were truely superior...Gibson couldn't easily compete.
But since the Jem series, and the like...it seems Ibanez has focused on paint jobs and pickups....neither makes the instrument really worth aduration (like a vintage Strat or whatever). So to answer you: Do they make good gits? Yeah, they used to...and now occasionally (the Talmans are quite good...a good sign for the future?) BTW: I Do NOT have a anti-metal bias so don't sling that stuff in a reply....I think the Jems could've been great if they had put more emphasis on the basics of a good guitar (good wood, focusing on ability to work as a vibrating instrument, etc..) IMHO, naturally.. GtrGeorge@aol.com
It seems to me odd that players fight over how "innovative" a seven string guitar is, or who the mastermind is behind the whole idea of the multi-stringed guitar. As Vai, Petrucci and most other talented, learned guitarists know (Korn and Limp Bizkit are a far cry from talent!), the multi-stringed guitar finds its origin in the classical Spanish guitar.
Much of the music of Dowland and Weiss was originally composed for an instrument called the lute...so many varieties of which existed that exactly how many strings a lute actually had is still in debate. These instruments were set up with a series of "courses" or string pairs tuned to complement one another...much like a modern twelve-string. One theory of the origin of multi-stringed guitars is that they naturally evolved from the lute. Another claims that the music simply demanded a wider tonal range. Many classical guitarists/composers, such as Nikita Koshkin, utilize the larger, deeper range as a very effective tool.
Perhaps the most influential composer who ever lived, J. S. Bach, himself the composer of several well known lute works, could inadvertently be the father of the multi-stringed guitar...or at least the reason anyone, whomever it may have been, came up with the idea. His music is some of the most beautiful and challenging ever written, which caused many of his contemporaries to flat out steal his style. His music so greatly effected the guitarists (or lutenists, to be chronologically accurate) of his time that they logically developed "bigger" sounding guitars to explore the demanding, exhilarating breadth of Bach. Even today, Bach's most popular guitar piece, the Chaccone (originally written for an instrument other than the guitar, I think solo violin) is played either by a seven string (or more!) guitar or a standard six with the low E dropped to D.
You see, contrary to popular belief, Soundgarden was not the originator of dropped D! As an avid lover and player of rock music (Jimmy Page is the KING!!) and an Ibanez owner, my point here is not to come across as a pretentious classical music snob...exactly the opposite. I have found an entirely unique world in classical guitar music, and I whole-heartedly recommend any other worshipper of the guitar explore and embrace what it has to offer. I just hate to see rock/progressive (die Yngwie!!!!!!) guitar so overshadow the rich classical world when in fact ideas and principles practiced in modern technique are basically classical methods simplified and played with a pick! Hell, you might find out, as I did, that modern guitar shredder music is not as "progressive" as it appears! My two cents, Aaron Orsak.
Great commentary. I hope others appreciate it as much as I do - Jemsite
Wish List - No "Collecting"
Hello, Great site, very informative! My one and only wish for the perfect Jem is that all these "Jem Collectors" sell there damn guitars to someone who will Actually play them! Who cares if so and so has 47 Jems and a LNG... Congratulations guys, consider yourselves lucky and then shut up and make some damn music will ya! It just pisses me off hearing from a guy who owns "collectable Jems" how the 777DY is such a bad guitar... I own one... Ever tried playing "Sisters" on a 777DY through a clean amp? The damn thing sounds amazing! And before you even start I own a Jem7VWH too... I could care less how many were made of each model! it's what you do with the damn thing! Some of you seem to have forgot that!
One last thing... quit wrecking 777DY's with the swirly's (No offence to Herc, he does great work) but christ sake! Just BUY a freaking Real swirl, if ya can't afford or find one then just keep looking and saving your cash! To claim that all the 777DY is worthy of is a swirl job is pompous and ignorant. Talk about being a poser! Swirl an RG550 if your that desperate! (I own one of those too and the Wizard neck may play great but it's a pain in the ass to keep stable) What the hell is wrong with having a bright yellow guitar that stands out if the music you play STANDS OUT too??? Isn't the that the whole damn point?
FYI: Steve put a truly wonderful autograph on my Jem777DY, one of the best I've seen yet... I suppose I should Swirl over it huh guys? Or sell it for top dollar? (I'll never sell a Jem and I'll never buy one simply because it's collectable... and if Steve didn't sign it personally for me then whats the point? excluding the LNG of course)
Lastly, I'm not some Jem Snob, I play the guitars I own, aside of that I also used to be Steve Stevens Webmaster and I had one of the first few unofficial Steve Vai web sites. (Neither of which still exist since I am too busy) Sorry for seeming bitter at some of the comments on this site but the Jem was meant to be played and played well, Steve didn't design the thing to sit in some case gathering dollar value... Listen to PAW and you'll remember why he had the thing built! Peace! Gary
Hi, Glen, I hope you took no offence to the comments I sent... I do enjoy your site and have been visiting for a long time... I dug deeper into your site and saw that you yourself own a swirled 777DY but I didn't see any place where you made comments knocking the 777DY... I think after reading a couple of DY knocks I just got pissed because to my way of thinking judging a guitar on it's color seems idiotic... I just believe that guys who buy and never play Jems are going completely against the reason Steve had them built in the first place. It's Justifiable to keep guitars in mint condition, maybe even to look at them as investments... to each his own right... But what about those of us who play the shit out of them?
Another interesting observation I had was this... If in fact Ibanez made thousands of 777LNG's and Steve didn't sign them I would bet good money that the same people who advocate swirling DY's would advocate swirling LNG's... Kinda shallow isn't it to advocate something based soley on color? Thats almost as bad as the snobs who knock or make fun of people who buy 555's... Sure it's a far cry from the 7VWH but not everybody can afford to buy top of the line... So why rub the less fortunate persons face in it? The 555 maybe be shit compared to the 7/77/777/10 but compared to alot of other axes I'd say it holds it own nicely. (I wouldn't buy one myself but I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford what I want and like)
As for the Swirling of any JEM... I can understand a guy wanting "His" guitar to look as he pleases but for individuals who seem to hold some position of respect on your site (warranted or not) to advocate buying 777DY's or any other JEM Just to get it swirled seems irresponsible to me. I'm old by rock and roll standards (35) but I can just imagine some 19 year old buying a DY just to get it swirled becuase so and so has one... I have no idea why this issue bugs me so much but it does. Maybe it's because I specifically went looking for a 777DY a while back (before the internet JEM hayday) and had a hell of a time finding one in decent shape. Also as Steve himself so aptly put it years ago... He doesn't play vintage instruments nor does he collect them... He buys guitars so he can PLAY THEM! (I don't remember the exact wording anymore but thats the jist) The attitude of Jem Arrogance and pomposity that seems to exsist among some members of your site just doesn't seem to fit well with the whole Vai attitude and approach to music... Do you know what I mean? I Guess I wrongly assume that everyone here is as big of a Vai freak as I am... Anyway... Excellent Site Glen! You have my complements. Gary
Thanks for the commentary. It certainly is interesting to read viewpoints of all guitarists. For some reason the word "Collector" seems to be taboo to some people. I think alot of that is misplaced anger at seeing so many guitars (of all types) bought and sold like stocks and bonds. I know you can be both a player and "collector" as these are not mutually exclusive. Much like you can be a baseball player and baseball card collector. That said Jemsite visitors might have noticed several weeks ago I removed "Collector" from Jemsite's name as it's simply the "Ibanez JEM and Unvierse Site". Too many people mistakenly identify "Collectors" as non-players and to me that is presumptious.
On a different note, as recent Forum posts suggest, one mans "wrecking" a JEM is another's creating a work of art. If someone wants to modify their guitar who are you or I to criticize them? Swiring an RG550 is a mediocre solution becuse they are totally different guitars than the 777DY - notably the neck, pickups, and overall quality. Saving $ for a real Multicolor is not a practical suggestion because these are tricky to find and often look no better than a custom designed Herc swirl. How about if you find Green Multicolors ugly and prefer instead a 6-color abalone swirl instead? Should that person not get his "dream guitar" built?
Sadly the original 777s are outclassed by newer breed of production JEMs (VWH, BSB and anniversary models). I can relate to something you touch on - some younger JEM/Vai fans probably don't appreciate the history of the original 777. I witnessed it firsthand owning/playing a JEM77DSY in '88 but I get email from teenagers owning JEM7VWHs and others who have never owned a JEM before and bought a 7VWH! It is hard for these people to really appreciate the DY when they thier first JEM is the 7VWH! For sure the LNG would be a joke if thousands were produced but that is the LNG lure... 777 build makes them a "Vai Tribute" to the Green Meanie he played.
I don't think there is such a true elitist attitude - it just makes for fun and good comparisons. Judging by email from Jemsite I can tell you there is a serious interest in custom work. Vai himself (pre-Ibanez contract) often played custom axes (as seen in the Gallery). He had a new one each month it seemed before Ibanez locked him up! It seems lots of Vai fans just dig custom guitars and the DSY and SKs are the easist and cheapest ways possible to get their "dream guitar". The DY makes a custom JEM accessible to the masses I'm afraid.
Check another "Feedback" entry on the 555 subject. Compared to the 7VWH the 555 is a dog but it's probably better than 85% of the axes hanging on Sam Ash or Guitar Center's rack. My opionion is "buy a used DY or Floral instead of the 555 when possible".
Finally, yes, Vai is self described as unconcerned with "collections" and more with being an artist. I have interviews where he says that. In a way though Vai has inspired many to customize their guitars. Vai has played some wild axes, some of which were strictly for looks. Notably the flame guitar which he proclaims plays horribly. Odd that he used such an instrument during his solo break with B. Sheehan during the first DLR tour. - Jemsite
JEM Steal - For the Naysayers
Hi Glen. Just wanted to let you know of the great deal I got on a 7VWH. I live in Sarasota, FL. and was in a pawn shop looking for scuba equipment when I saw what looked like the back of a Jem. When I went to the guitar rack I saw a beautiful 7 VWH staring at me. It had a price of $1350 on it but I bargained the guy down to $630!!! Man, I practically STOLE the damn thing. Needless to say, I am one happy guitar boy. I have wanted a 7VWH for years. I almost had one last year but you beat me to the one you got from the guy in Atlanta. Check out my page. No pics of the Jem yet though. Anyway, I love your site. Chuck Black
Commentary on Jemsite Commentary
I've been checking out your web site for about the last four months and I've gotta say it's a pretty good piece of work. But (and there's always a but, isn't there) like all things there was stuff on it that really bugged me.
First of all let me defend RGs for a second (if for no other reason I own a 570 FM). How can you hate the Wizard neck on RGs (in your JEM v. RG review) for the exact same reason you love them on JEMs (more Wizard necks was a wish list item)? I know you run a JEM fan site, but let's call a spade a spade here. Also, the reason RGs come with so many pickup combinations is that's what people want. If you want a three pickup RG you're in luck, not so much a two pickup JEM (and a bajillion Les Paul players as well as guys like Richie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen are perfectly happy with two pickups). Anyway, I can always put Evolutions in my RG, but you're probably never going to have a JEM with a Flame Maple top...;)
Secondly, someone wrote to you about putting Korn-sized strings on their Universe, your response was that those strings are just TOO BIG. Actually, it's a matter of perspective. First, the guys in Korn tune down a whole step and (I believe) block their trems. Secondly if you're going to use manly-man strings (I, like Korn and sometimes Vai use Dean Markley Light-Heavies, .10 - .53 on my strings) you're going to have to make some sacrifices. Bigger strings need more room to vibrate and that means higher action. I use four springs on my trem, at first I was hatin' life, but you get used to it. Now a guitar with less than four springs on the trem feels like a toy (to put things in perspective, Stevie Ray used *FIVE* springs. He also used .13 - .60 guaged strings). Actually, if you put your springs in an "arrow" formation you get a compromise between the tension of three and four springs. Whatever you do, you're not going to get that big stringed tone without working for it.
Finally, I don't believe that Ibanez produces the LO-TRS trem. I believe that TRS is actually the brand name. I have an old GTX 33 which has a TRS bridge on it and mid-level Jacksons (the Performer Series) are equipped with LO-TRS trems. I think it was just easier to order a bunch of inexspensive trems with "Ibanez" stamped in the side than to put the more exspensive Edge in the mid-priced model. I don't know about the LO-TRS but the TRS on my GTX does a good job of keeping the guitar in tune and is still in pretty good shape after seven years. Feel is subjective, but it gives me more "wiggle room" for the bar (which sits higher off the face of the guitar) which I like.
But again, that's all subjective stuff. Anyway, overall you've got a very good site and ev'rybody's got their own opinions. Hopefully you won't ridicule me publicly for mine. Peace, G. Edward Jones ATL
Great feedback. It's always nice to hear from others, especially when they have a different slant than are represented on Jemsite (Sefstrat's excluded :-). Hopefully others will share ideas & opinions in the Jemsite Forum which was just launched!!! Here's followup on a few items.
According to Jim McClosky of Hoshino USA, "The EDGE and LoPro EDGE are made by Ibanez. The LoTRS II is made by someone else exclusively for us. The LoTRS is stamped with "Ibanez" on it, but we only know of one other guitar maker who uses the exact same version of the LoTRS as we do (Yamaha). There are other, similar versions of the LoTRS out there, as it's almost a 100% accurate copy of a Floyd Rose. Jackson used a unit similar to the LoTRS for a while, but I don't think they're using it any more. -Jim"
Having played original '80s Floyd guitars (Kramer Pacer USA anyone?) the Edge tremolo was an obvious improvement in many ways. With the advent of the Edge tremolo it's my opinion that the TRS is not fit for a JEM. I also believe that the cost savings is negligable; i.e the TRS is more a marketing ploy to distinguish guitar lines than true cost saver. Ponder this - if the JEM555 had an Edge tremolo would it take away sales of JEM7s priced twice as much? I tend to think so. Ibanez, like all other manufacturers, needs notable ways to accomidate all buyers.
In regard to the RG neck I don't hate them, but I have changed my mind... I believe it's best to keep the Wizard RG neck on the RG, and not on a JEM. At the time I had played the 7PBK alot and UVs less often. This comes in retrospect, having the experience of playing an RG565 for several years, a JEM7PBK at weekly band practice/jams for 18 months and owning/playing many JEMs and Universe. In 1998 I would be disappointed if Ibanez put the Wizard neck on any new JEM7s. To put my $ where my mouth is, I recently had a custom JEM neck made - modeled after 2 necks --> my favorite 777DSY (Herc swirl's) neck and my 7BSB neck to create an AANJ 777 neck. Pics in the Gallery. The thought to make it a wizard never crossed my mind.
Finally, I much prefer a well-broken in tremolo that provides lots of flutter. Adding 4 springs and thicker strings will not help that cause for those in standard tuning. Obviously the tremolo is a personal touch but these are JEMs... let 'er rip! - Jemsite
UV777BK - No Substitute
Hey Glen, Just received my brand new UV777BK yesterday, and I cannot believe how excellent it is! It plays like a dream, sounds perfect, and looks 100x better than it does in any photo. I bought the guitar without seeing or playing it, the only info I had on it was obtained through your web site, and let me just say - you are 100% on the mark. There is no substitute for this Universe. Thanks a lot, Glen. Take it easy, Ed Mullins
Good luck with it!!! - Jemsite
Vai & Korn?
Regarding the "disappointments"- Steve Vai w/ korn. OHMYGOD!!! I think I'm gonna be sick! To add on dry heaves- "The 7-String Summit"? HEYZEUSDEKRISTO!!! Those jackasses would have to run out and get last names after watching Steve SLAY them with his playing. Forget about them playing ONE SINGLE Vai LICK! It won't happen. I'm so hurt. They shoulda called it "7-Strings for the Homeless", cause there is NO way those guys have girlfriends! Ugh...this kinda crap drives me crazy. It's like Rembrandt helping Yoko Ono open her new 'gallery' only because they both use the same name in paint. Sorry about the delay- had to flush the toilet and send Munky home. Bye bye Munky! Have a nice trip, say "hi" to the fat groupies- you piece of sh..... Kevan
Hm I am sure you have heard this one O mighty Lord of the Jems. I recently purchased a JEM7V previously owning a Gibson Hawk. And me being the inexperienced fool I normally am I took the strings off the wrong way. Realizing this after the trem fell into its cavity. Now heres my question how do you readjust the trem so it doesn't fall into its cavity I know you have to do something with the springs (from friends) but if you could so kindly enlighten me as to solution to this problem I would be MOST appreciative. By the way I love my JEM I swore I would never get a guitar with a Floyd Rose and the monkey grip... but after I played it I was a convert! Amazin! Sincerly, The fool who didn't know how to restring his guitar properly Thank you By the way, one of the BEST guitar sites I have ever been too nice Photos! - SpceTiger@aol.com
Check the Tech Section under Mandatory Mods. I've added a section for this. Makes life a lot easier to never remove all the strings though ;-) - Jemsite
Crossroads Red Jackson
I happen to own an original copy of Crossroads. I bought it from www.CDNow.com It was around $20 with shipping. You might suggest that/them on your page. They also have Alien Love Secrets on video (as well as the D.L. Roth Video [Holy Spandex Batman!] w/Steve's Green Meanie, the Swiss Cheese Guitar, the Eye-ball Jackson, & the ever-popular, unplayable(?) Flame Guitar). Question about Crossroads: Whatever happened to the red Jackson (ack!) - Kevan
Thanks for the tips. Rich Pike at GKS informed me that the whereabouts of the Red Jackson are completely unknown. Apparently he was never in posession of it. - Jemsite
Is there a source for used JEM or UV necks ? This site rocks!!!!!!!!!! Thanks - CR & others.
Officially you cannot get a replacement JEM neck from Ibanez unless you provide them with a defective, well-worn or broken one through an authorized Ibanez dealer. At that point and $375-400 later you can get a replacement neck, with the original returned. They will only give you the exact same neck, unless for some reason they have none available at the time. You can't return a green vine for example and request a neck from a PMC or 7PBK.
I've discussed this with Ibanez on several occasions and their position is unwavering. They do not want a flood of Ibanez necks on the market for custom work. Please do not e-mail Hoshino on this as it will fall on deaf ears. Furthermore Jim M. and others at Hoshino are inclined to favor our position, however the decision makers disagree :-(
Finally, Ibanez claims that they have a their trademark shape trademarked. This surfaced after seeing my one-off custom neck (see Guitar Gallery). It is unknown if this in fact is true but again you will not see Ibanez JEM/UV style necks mass made or marketed as such in the USA for legal reasons. There is no law against building a custom made JEM neck for yourself however. - Jemsite
Another JEM Experience
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for putting up such a GREAT site, your tribute to the Ibanez Jem and the Universe is wonderful, very informative and always up to date.
I would also like to share with you my first Jem experience, first of all my name is Christopher Chen, I'm an overseas player who lives in Singapore (somewhere in the far east), I'm currently 16 years of age. This story dates back to the time I was about 12 years old, I used to hang around this music store called Swee Lee Music, it's pretty well known for it's fine quality instruments,my guitar teacher who works there gave me a call saying that some really cool guitars had just arrived in their new shipment, I immediatly rushed down to the store. . . .
What I saw were the most beautiful guitars ever! There were quite a few Jems blue florals, 77fp florals,and some 777s. . . the one that really hit me was the blue floral, it's beautiful body pattern,the monkey grip!, the tree of life inlay on the fretboard,everything even those cool blue volume and tone knobs! My teacher saw me admiring these guitars and being a really nice guy, he let me play whichever one I wanted to. I decided to give the blue floral a go. The moment I held it in my hands,a tingling sensation went through my body. I then proceeded to plug the instrument into a Fender Twin amplifier,with every note I played I was rewarded with super long sustain and a beautiful tone. . . the guitar was everything I ever dreamed about,the neck felt super everything felt so fluid so smooth, it was as though there was this connection between my soul and the guitar. . . as if the guitar was meant for me. . . I told my teacher about how cool the guitar was and he told me it was designed by this super guitarist, Steve Vai, me being an ignorant 12 year old little shit,did not even hear of that name at all,being too busy playing Page and Hendrix on my Les Paul all the time. But nevertheless those guitars played like a dream. . .
It was on that very day that I decided that one day I would own that blue floral guitar, but unfortunately for my it got sold in about less than a week. . . I was devastated the dream instrument, the thing that made me drool everytime I flipped the Ibanez catalogue, slipped away from me just like that. The guitar was so hot that the whole shipment of blue florals were out of stock in about 2 weeks, Swee Lee Music brought in about 4 of them.
Well it's been about 5 years now and I recently completed my 'O'levels (a major exam in Singapore,similar to the SAT test), I did pretty well and was accepted into a junior college in Singapore, my parents being very happy decided to reward me with a new guitar, I was totally HAPPY!!! I rushed down to the store but there was no blue floral JEM, instead there was the 77fp in stock, it was a beautiful sight, like love that was lost and now found again, true beauty! Once again a sort of deja vu feeling began to set in,that same tingling sensation when I held the guitar, same chime like sustain and who can forget that super smooth and fluid neck. My dream had come true, the guitar was mine it was like a reunification with a first love, those FLOWERS!!! I stayed up the whole night just staring in awe of it's beauty. . . I feel really proud of my new instrument, I will treasure it as long as it's with me, I feel really hounered to join the group of Jem owners worldwide I now understand why they call it a Jem. But as for the blue floral, we all know that it's out of production, I really do hope I'll get to own it one day, hope you can give me some advice on that too. Anyway that's my Jem story. - Chris
I can't thank you enough for the Martian Love Secrets scans. I vaguely remember these. I can't even remember what mag they were in. It's nice to have them once again. I must also give thanks for the '91 Ibanez catalog. I was 16 years old. I kept it with me for months before my parents got me my Universe. It was a combination Christmas/birthday gift. Most kids would've probably wanted a car, I wanted that guitar. Seeing the catalog (the only section I cared about in '91 and today) brought back memories and the same old feelings. Keep up the excellent work on the site. I very recently discovered your page after finding Harmony Central. I guess I was compelled to write to say "thank you". 'zanka' - AAH
Durham Rock Hard Water Putty
I have a suggestion- Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty. I use it all the time for my custom laminates- they're made from clear casing resin about 3/8" thick (weekend projects for friends- I'll send some pics), and sometimes there's little imperfections in the trem cavity or around the heel joint. A little Water Putty, let it dry overnight, paint it, sand it, whatever. It's seriously rock hard- like ceramic- when it's dry. You can even drill it!!! You might mention this stuff to Herc...trust me...he'll thank you. It works like a champ. another note: 1) The Water Putty is the closest thing I've found to "liquid wood". It's resonance is a touch brighter than wood, due to it's almost ceramic feel, but it's effect on the guitar would be minimal. Plus, you're not making the whole damn thing out of it...wait...that gives me an idea...LOOK OUT!!! Kevan
Another great tip... thanks
Hi, First my compliments for this great site. It must have been a lot of effort. Now the story:
I own a Jem7RB since '88 and it's been my main instrument ever since! (Despite of owning a Les Paul and a Strat). Now I wanted a new Jem and went to the shop for a try on the 555 (cheap) JEZUS! What a mistake.... A fake Ibanez-tremolo no scalloped fretboard, fighting the instrument's play ability. Having lost an illusion I realized I have to spent more money so went to a bigger store. There I played the 7VWH. This is HEAVEN!!! To bad I have to save for another month before I can buy it but I will own it for sure!! There are still a few 10th ann. for sale in Holland but I would be one of those people that would save it behind glass.
Regards, Fred Vreeswijk
A day or two later...
Hi Glen, thanx for your reaction. Last night we spent with some friends in The Hague. While the girls where doing their shopping I was goin' to go to the music store as this friend wants to buy a Ukelele (is that the correct English word?). Of course I showed him the 7vwh hanging high in the rack. At that point he pulled the bank-pass of my wife and told a sales guy he wanted this guitar. I was completely nailed to the ground!! While he was putting it in the box the girls came in laughing and my wife told me that she couldn't stand it any longer hearing me talking about that guitar all day and that it was a present for our 1 year wedding anniversary (which is in June..) All this on the very same day that I send you the mail of wishing I owned one. Life is great isn't it?? (and so is my wife) This will cost me a diamond ring in June. Also the guy who sold me the instrument is a bass-player in a band that supports the Golden Earring (A Dutch band that had a number 1 hit in the US called Radar Love..) and arranged backstage passes for tonight as they play in our town. Kind Regards of a new JEM7VWH owner!! - Fred Vreeswijk
Tremolo Spring Stretching
Glen, I can't seem to keep my 7VWH in tune after changing to a new set of strings. It wants to go flat all the time. I've read your tech/setup over and over and double checked everything on the list. I can't seem to get it to stabilize. - GL and others
This sounds like the 3 tremolo springs are stretching. I had to tighten up the 2 claw screws 1/2 turn on my new UV777BK twice already!!! The telltale sign is all strings going flat. You'll probably notice the trem angle increase slightly. I'd unlock the nut, remove the rear trem cover and tighten each trem claw screw 1/3 to 1/2 turn. Keep the cover off, and retune. Adjust the claw screws as necessary. These springs stretch and cause the bridge to flatten.
Broken in springs = less spring tension = flat strings. - Jemsite
First JEM Experience
First off, thanks for a great site!!! I had NO IDEA that when I purchased my JEM that I'd be part of such an elite, respected crowd. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside- much like playing my JEM!!! Anyway, my story goes like this:
- I saw a 1991 Ibanez catalog and fell in love with the JEM77FP (not highly reviewed by you guys, but beautiful nonetheless!). I told myself that one day I'd own a guitar like that. "Oh yes; it will be mine".
- Fall 1995- A friend of mine's house was flooded a couple of years back. He asked me if I'd buy his RG550DY for $150- just to help him with some bills. He's a classical player and owned the RG as a last-resort back-up guitar. I officially joined the ranks of Ibanez Owner/Player in 1995.
- Summer 1997- At this time I was living in Denver; just bought a house. Received an awesome job offer here in NY (Long 'Vai-land'). Tendered an offer from my new neighbor to buy my RG - Hey, he's a Frank Gambale fan! 4) Dec. 19, 1997- I sold my house in Denver & made a killing; went out and picked up my JEM before I picked up my new car! I sat in the store for two hours playing & drooling (when I really get into playing, I tend to drool... I'm wEiRd). I love it like...well...certain parts of my body. Anyway, that's my story - Kevan
Custom Guitar Work
I finished @ 2AM this morning & the guitar actually works (what a relief)! I did a complete electronics rebuild on a clear pick-guard (from Jeannie of course!) with new pots, jack, switch & new DiMarzio PAF Pro's (plus an upgraded single coil -- higher output DiMarzio FS-1). It took a ton of patience & some luck to get wiring right. By the way, thanks again for sending & posting the close-up of your wiring. While mine didn't turn out half as neat as yours, the "black magic marker trick" hides some of the sloppiness. Anyhow, to complete the wiring mystery, I never could find the hole for the 2nd ground wire, so I just attached the loop portion to a small wood screw under the mess of wires (location chosen randomly & by ease of access). Result: all the pickups work (yes!) without any ground problems or excess noise. Maybe the next time I change strings I'll disconnect the 2nd ground wire to see if it actually does anything. Thanks again for the great site, without your help & the coordination of others ideas, I would never have even attempted the project. Well, tonight I'll do the fine adjustments (intonation, lowest action without buzz etc..) or maybe I'll just play it FINALLY! Have a great holiday. - R
Glad to help. Hopefully this will encourage others to customize their guitar to their liking. Good luck!!! - Jemsite
The Rodney Dangerfield of Guitars?
Look, I take a lot of heat from other guitarists I know in regard to Jems. Below are some comments I hear and get. These guitars don't get the respect I think they deserve, as being high quality guitars that play extremely well and have incredible tone. I'm interested in your comments and this might be a good discussion for us Jem nuts. Granted, this is not the only great guitar made, but I believe it does rank as one of the greatest guitars made. Not many guitars can play and sound like a JEM. Please share this with any other Jem nuts that might have an opinion.
Your thoughts.... I just get tired of justifying why a JEM guitar is a quality guitar. People, just don't get the fact that Gibson and Fender are not the only guitar makers capable of manufacturing a quality guitar. I have both and love them both for different reasons. The part that really fractures me, is that you ask these people if they ever played a JEM and they'll say no. Yet, they're so quick to put them down. I guess you just can't please these purists. Maybe there scared these guitars are more than they could ever handle. This ain't you Dad's old guitar..... Gary
- It's a cheap guitar because it's made by Ibanez not Fender or Gibson. It's just another copy of the fender strat. The Strat started it all.
- No pro's other than Vai seem to use them.
- You never see write-ups or reviews on them.
- They're limited in use and sound as only being a rock guitar.
Excellent commentary and observations. Your thoughts???
Collector Commentary Rebuttal
Just a couple comments on some stuff I've read in the Collector's Comments section...
In the last Editor's note, you mention that Steve Vai doesn't like the RG 7620. Of course not, he doesn't get any royalties from it!!
I think you should recommend that people try a specific RG in your RG vs. Jem comparison. I've played RGs that are much better than Jems and vice versa. There is a big variety of quality available in the RG series and a big range of prices as well. It all depends on the model and specific guitar. I'm a big fan of the new 7620. I agree that the pickups on this aren't that great, but the other features are identical in utility to the Universe series. I can't tell the difference really other than the bizarro Mama Vai drapery finish or pyramid inlays. I'm a simple person and don't want any of this.
Also, the "flaws" of the RG series that you mention in your comparison aren't applicable to the 7620. It has the Lo-Pro Floyd which hasn't had any of the problems you mentioned. Maybe the 7620 is an exception to this review as it is "almost" a Universe. But I just wanted to state my opinion. Great work on the site though... I find that I visit yours and 7th Heaven weekly. Matt G
Great Commentary. A few notes for clarification. The JEM vs. RG review pertains to 6-strings only if this was not clear. The RG7620 absolutely has a great tremolo... the same as the UV guitars. As far as the RGs 6-strings go their quality is substandard to any JEM7. That said they are a fine guitar, just not of the same quality as the JEMs. This has nothing to do with looks, rather with quality of materials, wood, construction, attention to detail, etc. As far as royalties go put yourself in Vai's shoes... would you really endorse a copy model of your dream? The UV was built to Vai's specs... necks, pickups, etc. The RG-7strings are a low cost, compromise of his idea. Luckily they are great guitar - Jemsite
Write In Tips
Hi Glen, Just a couple of quick notes:
Thanks Gary... great tips!!!
- I noticed the Buzz Fenton mention. Eastcoast Music in CT is currently licensed by Buzz for those on the east coast here (or anywhere else) willing to get this modification.
- I don't know if your guitars get scratched by the bottom plastic fastener of the DiMarzio strap, but mine always catches there plus is in the way when putting the guitar into the case. So I contacted DiMarzio and they do sell a longer fastener (only in black). The part # is DD2202. Anyway, those having this problem may be interested. - Gary LeDonne
I was in a guitar shop [in Finland] and I saw a three Jems: Jem10th, Jem7bsb and a Jem with a orange body, maple neck, no monkey grip and a yellow head stock. What is it??? - S
It appears that orange guitar is an Ibanez RG550 with a JEM777DSY neck. I've heard from others in Europe that JEM necks were often sold to dealers. Due to this, it is not uncommon to find RGs with JEM necks. The Orange RG550 was introduced in 1987 with the JEM line. Quickly killed due to it's horrible color and changing times. These bring back memories as the Orange RG is the first RG/JEM guitar I ever touched. A local store had these at the time the 777s were introduced. They play great! - Jemsite
7-String Thick Strings
I read the section you have on the Lo-Pro Edge Bridge. I own a RG series 7-string. I read an article with KoRn in Guitar World in which they stated the string gauges they used, which are: 1st:.010 2nd:.013 3rd:.017 4th:.030 5th:.042 6th:.052 7th:.060. So, I decided to string my guitar with this setup. What happened was that my bridge went way up in the air, making my action really high. I tightened my claw springs as much as possible, yet the tension from strings makes my action much too high and my bridge angle is still wrong.
My question: Are these strings just TOO BIG? Or is there something I can do to keep the phat tone I'll get from these and still play comfortably? Any information you can give me will be very helpful.
You just demonstrated that those heavy gauge strings are too thick for the standard setup 7-string guitar as designed to be used with the tremolo. From my viewpoint you have two alternates to using standard strings (009-042 w/ 053 low-B)
- Add one or two springs to the tremolo claw, to make the tremolo have enough counter pressure to level the bridge. This will make the tremolo near the point of being useless IMHO due to it's extreme stiffness.
- Block the tremolo from pulling sharp. There's a section in the Tech/Setup page that shows this on a JEM. This would allow you to use heavy strings and not fuss with the tremolo.
Both methods will likely require an adjustment of the neck bow, since the thicker strings (and increased tension) would increase the neck bow and thus raise action. Any other suggestions are welcome. - Jemsite
JEM EV-II Story
Hey there, my name is Tommy Tannenbaum. I love your site, it's very well done and interesting. Well I would like to share a story with you about the very generous Steve Vai. A while ago I edited his video for Alien Love Songs and got to work with him closely for about three weeks. As a kid I used to sit with my guitar in hand, mouth wide open and listen to his music trying to figure stuff out. Well anyway, you could imagine how cool it was to work with him for me. So then the project is over and its time to say good-bye and Steve walks in and hands me his guitar (JEM EV-II) signed to me and I almost faint. I had done the project for free, just wanting a credit on the video and maybe some quick guitar tips and he goes and gives me his own personal guitar. How about that? That guy not only rules as a guitar player but also as a person. We became friends but now we've lost touch a bit. There that's the end of my story. If you would like me to send pictures I will. If you see him again, tell him that Tommy says hi. Thanks, talk to you soon.
Hey Glen, great I'm glad the pics worked. Yes, the axe is the one he used for the whole video shoot and what's even cooler is that it still has some of the silver paint they covered Steve with for Bad Horsie on it. I don't think I'll ever wipe it off. Anyway, please feel free to post my story and use any pictures you'd like. Hope to talk to you soon. Tommy Tannenbaum
View Pictures - set 1
View Pictures - set 2
Serial Numbers Revisited
Today (10/13) you said that the serial numbers on the headstock were worthless, they aren't. They are actually very easy to read. If the guitar is an 87 or earlier the first two digits are the year ex: F871234. <-that would mean that it was an 87. For guitars made after 87 they take the decade away ex:F312345. <-that means it's a 93. the "F" is supposed to be the month, so "F" would be June, but I'm not sure because most of the numbers I've seen started with "F". - Phil C.
Great stuff Phil. The numbering does make sense. The real problem with the serial numbers from Ibanez is that they are untraceable. Basically they tell you the approximate creation date or model year, however Ibanez has no way of tracking models by serial number. They cannot tell that "F312345" is a JEM or a bass guitar. You cannot trace the JEM777LNG number of a guitar by it's serial number. For some reason that Ibanez cannot pinpoint, many serial number are incorrect in respect to the model year. Often RBs have 87xxxx stampings when they are '88 models and PMCs have 91xxxx designation when they're a 1992 model. JEM/UV guitars deserve a better serial numbering system that what Ibanez has implimented. - Jemsite
updated - Ken Burtch writes in - "Regarding Serial numbers. The first digit of ones that start with F do indeed indicate the year made, but the "F" is not a month. It indicates that the guitar was made at the Fugijen factory in Japan, or so Jim [McCloskey of Ibanez] tells me."
Serial Numbers Re-Revisited
Hi, first thank you for this great site incredibly full. I am owner of Ibanez JS1000BK? bought it November this year, with serial number F9723730 Japan (not "made in Japan" as usual written on Ibanez Japanese guitars). What do you think about this? Why? Do you see this on JEMs made this year?
Yes, apparently Ibanez changed around the neck serial numbers. As you can see by the picture, the new late 1997 serial numbers have "Japan" written in, with the 2 digit model year designation after "F". This makes sense to accommodate 2000 and eventual confusion with a one digit year identifier. "F97xxxxx" signifies the guitar is made in Japan as a 1997 model. - Jemsite
View Comparison Picture
Body Cavity Routing
Glen, I see that you had Herc Fede swirl a 777DSY. How did you fill in the body cavity (that allows room for all the wires, tone & volume pots) under the original solid pick guard? I'd like to get my 777SK swirled but didn't think it possible given the hole! Thanks, - R
I considered filling in the body cavity myself. This experiment is just too difficult unless you have lots of wood working experience. I took a more realistic approach... make the cavity look neat. What I did was blacken the underside of all the controls and wires with a black permanent marker. I then tidied up the wires by shortening them where necessary. I twisted the wires connecting the volume and tone knobs to make that look more presentable. Overall it looks great. - Jemsite
JEM7VWH Inlay Darkness
The inlays on the 17-24 area on this on "not very white/visible" In your photos I noticed the same on yours...what gives? Did you notice the same thing?
The small leaf inlays (of the tree of life vine) on the JEM7VWH are real abalone. The larger leafs are pearloid (fake mother of pearl). The abalone is indeed darker, by design. These have more of a curly, 3D appearance with many colors when viewed at different angles. Only the JEM10 has the vine that is all abalone! - Jemsite
Your Tech Tips
Glen, thanks for the great web site, especially the Tech/Setup section! I own a 7VWH but still love those old maple board JEMs. I got sick of waiting for Ibanez to put out a new maple model (I think the BSB with blue/black/white Pyramids would be nice) so I went out & picked up a faded 777SK as a "project guitar". Your suggestions were most helpful especially the neck / fretboard refinishing techniques. I just finished cleaning up the neck, reset the action / intonation & it now looks / plays great, so good that I'm holding off on doing the rest of the work (new wiring & paint job). Anyhow, I discovered some things along the way & thought I'd share them with you (& the web if you think it's worth it).
In cleaning the neck & board; 1) lighter fluid is far better than pure rubbing alcohol, 2) I used 3M Sanding Sponges (Fine & Extra Fine) which took away the old finish & build up much quicker without leaving any gouges (using the extra fine pad last, I finished the frets by rubbing in a circular motion which left a clean even surface).
I always use a short cut when setting the intonation (forget fancy tools!): 1) check /set the tuning as noted, 2) depress the bar to create slack in the strings, 3) loosen & adjust the saddles accordingly. Granted it's a quick & dirty method which provides perfect intonation on a trial & error basis only ... but it works! Thanks again, I'm taking pictures throughout the restoration, let me know if you want any copies for the web site. - Rick Aurilio
Thanks Rick for the great feedback. I'll add this into the Setup/Tech section over time. Anyone else with tips or alternate ideas are welcome. - Jemsite
Evo & Pogo
Do you know the difference between Steve Vai's guitars EVO and POGO?
Great question. Fortunately Greasy Kid Stuff Issue 7 speaks about this. "Evo is his main guitar, a white Ibanez JEM7VWH, so named because of it's pickups. When Steve was designing his new pickups with DiMarzio, he had a JEM guitar outfitted with the prototype for the new Evolution pickups, and another with the prototypes for Pogo pickups, and these guitars were named Evo & Pogo. (The Evolution pickups are not widely available but the Pogos were never marketed)." The issue also informs us that Pogo was given to Steve's former guitar tech Roger Bell & EVO-II has replaced Pogo. Pogo is no longer one of Steve's guitars. It would be interesting to find out the details about Steve's JEM(s) with the "Breed" Pickups, which DiMarzio is currently promoting. He has helped design them too. - Jemsite
Edge vs Edge Lo-Pro
I want to buy a used JEM to play daily with the Edge Lo-Pro tremolo. I am not interested in the older Edge tremolo. Do you have a tremolo preference? (paraphrased from a few e-mailers)
The tremolo would not be a deciding factor in which used JEM guitar to purchase (555s w/ TRS not included). When buying used I would go for model, condition and price first. The Edge vs Lo-Pro would not even be a factor. Both tremolos have the same, identical feel and action. The Lo-Pro has a few subtle "improvements" that probably go unnoticed by most. Most notably the Lo-Pro has the fine tuners further back, allowing slightly more space for your pick hand. Overall both tremolos are a huge improvement over the original Floyd Rose. I think of the Edge and Edge Lo-Pro as being one in the same. Either one is great. - Jemsite
Business 101 - Investment Pitfalls
This entry is too funny for words. It was forwarded by a Site goer for your viewing pleaure.
"If you want you can buy the Marco's Jem # 460 because he wants to sell it. He's a guitar player and also have another Jem guitar and he said to me that he bought the Jem 10th because he thought it was an investment. I can inform you that I know that Marco will sell his Jem only for a cashing of about 15.000.000 Italian Lires (about $ 8,350 U.S.Dollars ) **the investment, you know**....The guitar is perfect and it has been used with all the cares this guitar deserves.. I can say that it's like new , it just lose a little of paint on the neck pick up where the pick picks to obtain some pinch harmonics ( more than normal ). You can think about this investment and contact Marco as I wrote before to make your best offer because I know that he's waiting for another one reply." - name withheld to protect the absurd
Lefty 555 !?!?!
I have a lefty JEM555 on order and was quite excited until reading comments on the 555 on your Site. I am a bit worried... is the 555 that bad? Do you recommend a lefty 555? (paraphrased from a few e-mailers)
There must be several 555 players visiting the Site in addition to guitarists considering the purchase of a lefty 555. First, while not a JEM555 fan or player, I will have to say that for the price range, the JEM555 is a very good guitar. New, a 555 is half the price of a JEM7. For those with limited budgets who want a NEW JEM, there is no alternate. For lefty guitarist, there is no JEM7 available. Considering that it took 11 years for the lefty JEM to arrive, I would not hold my breath for a lefty JEM7 series guitar. In all honesty being lefty there are very few choices of guitars in general. The lefty 555 has nice features such as DiMarzio Evolution pickups, good neck, all-access neck joint, JEM feel and styling with the monkey grip and partial vine inlayed neck. The flaw of the 555s are the lo-TRS tremolo and fact that they're made in Korea. Again, since there are few options to southpaw players, I think the Lefty 555 is certainly a worthy guitar to own and play. A righty 555 still makes no sense to me with the many, many used JEM7s available, but this does not help lefty players. With the introduction of the 555LWH, left handed guitarists can get a chance at owning a JEM. - Jemsite
Lefty 555 part II
Thanks for a Great site! Having been a Vai fan and desperately wanting a Lefty Jem, I had one made by a very good local builder in Orlando FL in 1991. It's a swirl, but the swirl is like the ESP swirls made for Vernon Reid. But other wise it would take a pro to tell it was a copy. I even managed to get a Lefty Edge from Hoshino (no longer available]. It Looks and plays great. But when the 555LH became available, I could not resist. The guitar looks so classy! I was stunned at how good it plays! I paid $850 with a SKB case. I fixed the trem arm with some nail polish. Try replacing the single coil with a gold lace sensor. Sounds more like a Strat than a Strat! Clearly the Jem7 is a superior guitar (a floral jem is my dream], but try to encourage other Lefty's to try the 555LH. Sincerely, Kevin Paradise Orlando FL
Sure thing!!! - Jemsite
I recently bought the "Passion And Warfare" tab book, and I was wondering about the way the Universe guitar is supposed to be tuned on the song "I Would Love To", because in my tab book it says that the universe is tuned (from low to high) B, E, D, G, B, A, E. IS THIS REALLY CORRECT??? All the other Universes on the record are, according to my book, tuned in standard universe tuning (B, E, A, D, G, B, E, ) Is the book printed inaccurately or what?
The PAW TAB book has a typographical error it appears. This song seems to be played in standard 7-string tuning B-E-A-D-G-B-E (low-high). Most of this song can be played on a JEM although a UV would be best. - Jemsite
White or White?
How're things going? I was wondering about the yellowing of the JEM7VWH... How does it hold up? Is there any precaution that I should take to prevent it from the premature yellowing? I noticed that your UV7PWH is starting to turn. How long have you had your 7vwh? Just wondering. Thanx a lot for all your help. You've been a great help. Thanx again.
Great eye! After getting my UV7PWH the first person I e-mailed was Ken from 7th heaven. This is because my UV7PWH was more of a a vintage white (my description), much duller than the JEM7VWH. Seems we're not alone, as Ken informed me that Jon, another JEM7VWH owner, asked him the same exact thing when he got his UV7PWH! Fortunately the White UV is not yellowing at all. While nearly impossible to discern from the Ibanez Catalogs and previous pictures published online, it is now somewhat possible to see in the Gallery that these two guitars use a different color white. The UV has a more "Vintage White" dull color whereas the JEM7VWH is quite bright and vibrant. It is interesting to note that the Vintage white of the Universe goes better with the plain white pickguard and Cosmo Black hardware. In person it looks dynamite! On the other hand the bright, bright white 7VWH looks incredible with the gold trim and pearloid guard.
I wouldn't worry about the 7VWH yellowing. Ibanez claims to have finished these with a method to prevent just that. Of course since 7VWHs were only made since '94 we won't know until well after production stops if they will yellow and to what possible extent. Like all guitars, I would keep these out of direct sunlight, as UV rays and heat can damage any paint. I would make sure the guitars are protected even indoors from sunlight shining through open curtains, vertical blinds, etc. - Jemsite
UV7PWH vs. JEM7VWH - White or White? Revisited
I've received several e-mail's about the UV7PWH's "dull" white paint finishing, and the "improvements" implemented by Ibanez on the white paint for the JEM7VWH. This subject can be laid to rest once and for all. Ibanez did not paint the UV7PWH with the same vibrant white as they use for the 7VWH. If you feel the UV7PWH color has "dulled" over time, I refer you to Guitar Player May, 1990. On the cover, Steve is holding a UV7PWH. It is exactly the same "vintage" color as my UV7PWH is, almost eight years after the photo. So, if the white has "dulled" or "faded" then apparently it happened on the way over from Japan, because Steve's PWH is the same color white. There may be a few isolated instances of certain PWHs dulling to a severe off-white hue, however the paint was intended to be that color. - Jemsite
Tremolo Swaps & Disappointments
The Lo-TRS Tremolo on the 555 does not get rave reviews on your Site. Can I replace it with the LoPro Edge? (paraphrased)
I knew the tremolo studs were the same but e-mailed Jim McCloskey from Ibanez on this. I submitted these questions to him: "Can the Lo-Pro Edge tremolo directly retrofit a guitar with a Lo-TRS tremolo? For example can you put an Edge or Lo-Pro Edge Tremolo in the JEM555? Also, is there a lefty model Edge or LoPro Edge Tremolo available from Ibanez?"
"The answers to your questions are: NO and NO. The LoTRS trems have a different size baseplate than the Edge and LoPro Edge, and therefore cannot be called "pop-in" replacements. If you wanted to do some routing and refinishing, THEN they would fit. Left-handed Edge and LoPro Edge systems were available in the past, but as of today, I think they are only available in Japan (if even there)." Jim McCloskey, Ibanez
Sadly, to put the real Edge tremolo in a 555 body routing would be required. It is insulting that Ibanez would go this far out of it's way to create the inferior TRS tremolo since distinct body routing is required for the guitars that contain the TRS. - Jemsite
Tremolo Swaps pt-II: JEM 555 Project
Okay: most of the "real" JEM owners are going to hate me for this, but I have one wish regarding the JEM series. (I'm not a universe-man, so I'll leave those out of it) I want to see a model like the JEM555, with a lo-pro edge. I have played several JEMs, and strange as it may be I like the neck on the 555 better that on some 777's I've played. As far as I can tell the only real difference between them, aside from the feel of the neck, is the TRS-trem. I agree with the common notion that this system is inferior to the Lo Pro Edge, but if that's your only argument to not purchase this guitar, THINK AGAIN!! I just bought a JEM555, which is about the finest guitar i've ever played. I hated the trem, so i bought a separete Lo Pro Edge+ toplock set from Ibanez. I had my guitar fitted, and now i've got it all: a great neck, good pickups, and an amazing trem. Here's the catch: This has costed me less than buying an actual JEM7! I see no reason why my guitar should be inferior to any JEM in the 7+ range (exept the 7vh, of course). Anybody wanna prove me wrong? To the JEMsite: great page. I have been looking for something like it for a long time. Keep it up! Bart
This was submitted as a "Wish List" but I think it's better left in the Feedback section. The reason is because of the heavy modifications necessary to install the Lo-Pro Edge on a 555 as discussed in the Feedback section. It will leave a unsightly router marks near the bridge and requires skill to perform - not recommended for the average person. At the price of used JEMs in the USA you'd be much better off with a real JEM 7, 77 or 777. Finally I think (know) the quality control on the Korean made 555s is far inferior to the other JEMs that we all know and love - Jemsite
My JEM case is not pink lined. It has the gold hardware, combo lock and same compartments and size as other JEM/UV cases, but the lining is a burnt orange color. It's not faded, rather in perfect condition, just not pink.
This question was one I e-mailed to Hoshino. I am well aware of the new burgundy lined JEM/UV cases, but have never seen a burnt orange lined JEM case. Jim McCloskey from Ibanez replies - "I've been told that we sometimes get a UV1000C with a slightly different-colored interior. Usually, we return these to the manufacturer, but they have been known to "slip out" of here. I don't know that that would make them collectible or anything, though." Anyone else have non-pink and non burgundy JEM cases. Pretty cool if you ask me. - Jemsite
JEM/UV "Seconds" - Update
My JEM has a "2" stamped on the rear neck plate (very bottom of the plate with respect to the other stampings) and on the fretboard above fret 24. I am curious what this may mean. (paraphrased). I've seen JEM/UVs with an "S" stamped into the back of the headstock. What does the "S" mean? (paraphrased)
View "2" on the fretboard
View "2" on the neck plate
Jim McCloskey from Ibanez informed us "the '"2" means that your guitar is what we call a "factory second" - an instrument that, due to some flaw, could not be sold as a brand new instrument. Usually this was something minor, such as a finish flaw. Unfortunately, we do not have a record of what serial number/model number had that made it a second guitar." In response to the "S" Jim had this to say: "Usually, an "S" stamped into the back of the headstock denotes a factory second guitar, which would have been sold to one of our dealers at an extra discount due to some flaw in the guitar (usually cosmetic)."
Jim e-mailed that the "2" and "S" are used interchangeably to designate the seconds. These markings are useful when buying new to ensure the dealer is giving you the correct pricing for your JEM/UV. Jim said that "the Discount currently varies between an extra 10% and 20% from their "normal" discount" so don't pay new prices from a dealer on any Ibanez guitar marked as such. The "second" designation is irrelevant once the guitar hits the used market in my opinion, as often these flaws are simply a 1/4" paint crack at the heel that develop in a few years later. Many of my JEMs have irregularities in the monkey grip or "Lion's Claw" and are not marked as "seconds" so use the term loosely. - Jemsite
I found an old JEM777 I was considering buying. I am wondering about the old heel joint and if I should eventually replace the older PAF Pro pickups to put in better Evolutions? (paraphrased from several e-mailers)
While the all-access-neck is a definite upgrade over the older heel joint, it by no means obsolete the older JEMs. Since the all-access-neck only improves play ability of 2-4 frets above fret 17 it might not even effect your playing significantly. Some of you might prefer the smaller frets found on the older JEMs too. Keep in mind that Passion & Warfare was recorded with a Universe with a klunkier heel joint than found on the older JEMs.
My opinion, shared by several regulars here on the site, is that the Evolutions are not necessarily an update over the PAF Pros nor are they "better". In fact, I much prefer the PAF Pro pickups overall to the Evolutions. While we all love the sustain and harmonics of the Evolutions, many dislike their colder more abrasive/harsher sound compared to the warmer PAF Pros. Jono Dale puts it well... "I love the sustain the Evo's give, but the PAF Pros have such an open quality that I don't think any other pickup has".
I would not replace perfectly functioning PAF Pros with Evolutions but others would. The point is that there is no reason to "update" the PAF Pros on older JEMs with the newer Evolutions unless you really like the way they make your JEM sound. - Jemsite
Pink Vines Confirmed = JEM777VSK
The AMS (American Music Supply) Spring 1991 catalog had listed for sale a Pink JEM with Pink Vine inlay. It has pricing for this model, listed as "JEM-777 Vine Neck, Shocking Pink #IB777VSK, list $1499.95, sale 879.00. Pictures of a few other JEM/UV guitars are in the catalog, but not for this model. I'm surprised your Site and other online do not have reference to it.
See the "News" section for more details, but in short this Model's existence was confirmed 8/11/97 by Ibanez... JEM777VSK. - Jemsite
Overseas JEM10 Cases
My JEM10 case is very different to the one on your site. I have a black Ibanez flight case with the anniversary plaque glued on the outside. Mine did not come with a shroud inside either. I am not located in the USA.
Update - The official explanation from Ibanez is in. Two different JEM10 cases were used. The "JEM10C" is used only in US. It is the silver tweed one with shroud, In other countries the JEM10 is put in an "M100C-type case." The overseas M100C case is the black, molded SKB-style case. The overseas case lacks the inner shroud and has the JEM10 plaque on the outside glued to the center of the case, near the handle. All JEM10 guitars came with the JEM10. While not as cool as the USA Jono, our overseas JEM expert writes in that the JEM10 cases, that actually is made by SKB and that they are much more protective of the guitar. It's a tradeoff... cool vs. practical! - Jemsite
I have looked at the tremolo springs at the back of my JEM10 and there are 3 of them in an 'arrow' configuration (like the picture in the instruction leaflet). Is this correct as I have seen pictures of Ibanez guitars with all 3 springs in a straight line configuration.?
See the Tech/Setup section for details and pictures on this. In short the springs should be straight. - Jemsite
Multiple Multicolor Choices
How can I get my JEM or UV swirled into multicolor?
There are two choices for multi colors that I am aware of:
- About Time Designs - Advertised as one of the painters originally hired by Ibanez to do the PMG/GMC/UV77MC swirls. Larry Larsen from greenjem.com is the contact person, as the painter is off-line, but resides in Florida. See my links page for the URL and go to the "For Sale" section of greenjem. To summarize cost is $500 which includes stripping the paint. Larry told me they charge $500 even if the guitar is stripped of paint so that seems to be the final price. Pics of Larry's swirl is on his site & here in the "Guitar Gallery" under "Privately Owned Customs". My personal opinion is that while high quality, this is just way too expensive. For that price you can sometimes buy another used JEM. I've chosen the next option.
- Herc Fede's Custom Shop of Multicolor Wonders - I've come across an artist named Herc Fede that has just swirled my JEM777DY (along with two others for other guys online). He did mine in the PAW type colors. Pricing is about $100-250 cheaper than ATD depending on the number of colors used and if you do the paint removal prior to sending the body. The swirl arrived 7/22/97 and many others have since arrived. Herc is online, very accommodating and has done some great work already. Mention that you saw his info here for great service! I can honestly recommend his work from swirling to painted vine necks.
Herc Fede's Custom Shop of Multicolor Wonders
I'm considering the purchase of an Ibanez RG-7620 seven string and I would like to tune all strings down one step. I was wondering if this will be difficult to do because of the double-locking tremolo system on the RG-7620 since I've never owned a guitar with a locking tremolo before.
This will apply to all 7-strings and 6-strings. Tuning down one step is simple to do, but takes a bit of time on a floating tremolo. You simply have to loosen the tremolo claw screws in the tremolo cavity to compensate for the decreased string tension of the detuning. You need to make small changes at once in with the claw screws, then tune the strings to pitch. Repeat as necessary to get the floating tremolo in a neutral position for the detuned guitar.
Once you set it up and let the springs & strings stabilize, the guitar should stay in tune perfectly. You might want to use a thicker gauge of strings to tune down so low with the 7-string guitars however.
If you want to rapidly detune from standard open-B on the 7th string to open-A on the 7th string this is NOT possible with the floating bridge. To do this you have to block the bridge from pulling sharp or from moving at all. I have one of my Universe guitars' tremolo blocked totally to allow for quick detuning of one string or a half step down from on all strings (to accommodate Eb tuning or to play along with other guitarists tuned down a half step). - Jemsite
Crazy Dealers w/ High JEM & UV Pricing
I've received lots of mail recently regarding the high prices online from dealers. Many of you have seen my Rant in the Want Ads section and so far no one has written in disagreement. I'm going to have to start naming names, because these salesmen are ripping people off and they are never going to sell overpriced guitars to me. Let's face it... these guys need US more than we need THEM. Without customers the dealer's inventory piles up. I receive several e-mail's a month from serious JEM/UV buyers; the Want Ad section is also loaded with serious buyers who want used instruments. I'll simply send them to more honorable dealers.
Below are excerpts from e-mailers.
- "Way to slam those idiots who are ripping off people with overpriced UVs! ...I think we'll see a drastic drop in UV prices again." - name withheld
- "I just read your paragraph on used Jem/Uv sellers that think they will fool us. I couldn't agree more.... They will never sell for those prices but they don't really care. They are hoping to find some idiot that has no clue to buy them. Oh well... Ed Roman is a different story. His pricing is soooooo ridiculous... They need to price those things where they should be. Every used Jem in a decent condition should sell at the most 650-700. - name withheld
- "This is just getting WAY out of hand. I don't care how nice of a swirl that guitar has, it's not worth 3k! There's a disturbing trend in the guitar market as a whole, and I don't like where it's going... I think I'll just sit back and watch all the fools waste their money, then take a bath when it comes time to sell."- Ken Burtch
- "Thank you for using your (very cool) page to properly rant about the problem of greedy dealers who over price our beloved guitars. I want a universe MC, but am unwilling to spend insane amounts of money for the thing... Since the new UV777BK is out, however, those greedy greaseballs can kiss my butt. I am buying NEW!!" - name withheld
My question is if you have the booklet that came with the Universe, that had tablature, chords and scales for 7 strings... I believe it had the Passion and Warfare picture on the cover.
For this I had to refer to 7th Heaven's resident expert Ken Burtch (see Links page for the URL and bookmark the site) & Hoshino. Neither of my UVs came with it, but they were both purchased used ;-)
Here's the deal. The booklet 12 pages and is described accurately above. Ibanez printed up the initial batch of these and sent them out with Universe guitars in 91-92. They were never reprinted so none were left after the initial ones were distributed. Ken has sent me his copy and I have scanned it. To avoid ISP hassles and large download traffic here, I have zipped the booklet for download and off-line viewing. the .zip file contains 12 JPGs and is just over 1MB in size.
Go to the Download Section Now!
I'm considering the purchase of a JEM7BSB. I saw your comments on it and want to know if it's a good JEM to buy new. (Paraphrased)
Yes! The JEM7BSB is an excellent guitar, like all other JEMs. If you want a BSB, you'll probably have to buy them new, as they're tough to find used since they've only been produced in '96 & '97. The comments referred to are that they scratch easily, but probably look great worn out. Just realize that if you play the BSB daily it will not look pristine, as the stained finish will scratch easily. Painted JEMs that are taken care of well will hold up much better. Personally I would buy the 7VWH before the 7BSB hands down. However the BSB is $100 less and also has the all-access neck. I surely want to own a BSB before they're finished making them! - Jemsite
An Idiots Point of View - Pt II
From: email@example.com (SEFSTRAT)
Subject: Ibanez JEMS
Date: 22 Jun 1997 21:18:12 GMT
<< Why do you cut down Jems so much? This isn't a flame, I'm just curious".>>
Because IMHO, they are poorly-built, toneless pieces of overpriced crap. If Vai wasn't endorsing them, they'd have vanished from the Ibanez line a long time ago. The necks, although comfortably slim and flat for shredding, are extremely unstable. Fact is, they're TOO thin (ask any luthier who was adjusted one). If you're a touring pro and travel from, say, Phoenix to Minneapolis in the winter, you're screwed; the necks MOVE. Truss rod adjustment city--WAY too often. I live in Rochester, NY, a place with four seasons...and when I had a JEM, the neck was a pain in the butt. I had to constantly tweak the truss rod to keep the neck in position. Maybe Steve Vai and his ilk have the advantage of a guitar tech at their beck and call every gig, so he doesn't have to deal with it...but for the rest of us, it would be nice to have an instrument that doesn't require truss rod adjustment every time the weather changes. Mine didn't get any better over time, either; it was just as unacceptable in that respect when I sold it as when I bought it.
In addition, the sustain on a JEM is lousy....the trem, coupled with that ultrathin neck, takes care of that. Most floating double-locking trems detract from tone for two main reasons. First, the amount of contact from the string to the wood is very attenuated once you start balancing the bridge between string and spring tension on a knife edge. Second, there's just less wood: a lot more routing is required for this type of system than for a stoptail or even, say, a Wilkinson VS100.
Without exception, the only JEM guitars I've heard that sounded decent did so with a ton of processing. Straight into an amp, or with maybe only one or two analog pedals, I've never played or heard one that could cut the mustard. I know you disagree, that's why you have one (or maybe you use a ton of processing to, get your sound, like Vai). But you're welcome to drop by and A/B your JEM against my Strat Ultra, My PRS CE, or my PRS Swamp Ash Special any time. No processing; let's HEAR the guitars. You choose the amp. You play the guitars. I'll sit and watch and listen. I won't have to say anything; it'll be immediately apparent that the JEM isn't even in the tone league with those others.
The JEM's great if you live in a stable climate, like a flat, "shreddy" neck and use a lot of processing. But stacked up against a decent, toneful axe, it stands not a chance.
Editor's note - I've received a few e-mails about this clown already, so I figured you all can benefit at once.
Here's my perspective... I have several JEM/UV guitars. My first one was purchased in '88. Personally I have never had a problem with warped necks, rotated necks or any of the other symptoms these wackos mention. All of them play well, and most of them were bought used. A friend and fabulous guitarist, bought a 7VWH after playing mine, because he is so impressed with it. Our drummer's brother has me searching for a used 7VWH to buy. He loves my 7VBK too, which is also an '88. I have taken the neck off several of my JEMs and never had a problem reinstalling them as the necks did not rotate.
One thing everyone must realize is that if this is true, then every RG and S series (and derivatives (JS, PGM, JPM, etc.) Ibanez has the same problem, because these necks are thinner than the JEM neck by a significant amount, and have the same truss rod support. This is a ludicrous and irresponsible accusation.
Having spend hard earned $$$ on JEM/UVs to PLAY, I highly recommend them. They are fine instruments. I've always preferred strat shaped guitars with tremolos. A few of my JEM/UVs have the tremolo blocked (fixed) for easy tuning, and I cannot notice a difference in the sound. I did not, however, buy JEMs thinking I was getting a neck-thru-body guitar with a fixed bridge. If you're in this category along with me then I'm confident you'll love the JEMs for a long time.
Swirls = Walt Disney Puked
Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 12:06:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Question:Is anyone into Vai's Multicolored Axes???
"Insofar as the Vai JEM axes are concerned, if your adolescent tastes are shared by others, terrific. I think they look like Walt Disney threw up. I'll take the look of real, quality wood, not something with a lot of tone-wrecking junk thrown on top to conceal a substandard piece of alder.
And before you embarass yourself further, I used to play for a living, including touring. I once owned an Ibanez Jem. It was a decent shredding guitar with an unstable neck and virtually NO inherent tone at all. It was reserved for highly processed stuff, because plugged straight into an amp, it sure sounded like shit. Pickup changes made no difference. I played other JEMs, too. Same thing. If those guitars are your thing, you're either a speed metal freak (it's a good guitar for that) or you have no ears. The seven-string JEM is hilarious; they started with a piece of crap, tone-wise, then they added a string. Guys, it doesn't resolve the problem. I'd rather hear two strings that sound good than seven that sound like an electronic keyboard.
Me? I play Paul Reed Smiths, A Custom Shop Strat Ultra, Matchless and Marshall amps. I've played for 30 years. I have project guitars that have had their frets, hardware, pickups, wiring, and paint replaced or changed"... diatribe snipped by editor.