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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Another question to the JEM faithful

In my quest for the ever-cool "swiss army knife" I stumbled upon an idea based on a pair of unfortunate incidents. Let me preface by letting you all know that I have a cool Steinberger GS with a Sustainiac in it, my Bernie Rico Jr. has a piezo bridge with coil-tapped EMGs, I have a Suhr on the way with a similar setup, a Carvin with a guitar synth in it, a JEM with a double edge bridge and a McNaught with passive pickups and piezos.

For some time, I have been wanting to get a Fender VG Strat, but, I don't care for Fenders at all. Not that their quality is that bad, its just that I don't care for 22 frets and a more rounded fingerboard like they have. Well, I bought one - and of course I don't like it except for the VG pickup in there with the tunings. So, naturally, I am thinking - "what guitar can I tear into"... Then, chance happened upon me. At my local Gee-tar Center, they had a "problem". Seems that a new JEM7VWH took slight knock to the back of the body when an amp fell over on it. Gotta love those folks for putting a $2100 guitar right on the floor instead of hanging it. Well, it has two nice gashes in the back, one about 1/4" deep. The neck is perfect still. the only marks are on the back... wheels were turning....

I thought about gutting my VG and putting them into the JEM. I mean, hell - I would have to route the back of it anyway! They would let the JEM go for $1200 brand new. Thoughts on a VG JEM anyone?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 03:45 PM
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

Id try to talk them down a little on the Jem since you can probably get a near mint new one for not much more. Just dont tell them you are routing the back. If the absolutely wont budge and you can swing it, it would be cool to do even at $1200.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 04:03 PM
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

Shred, if you do it, let me know if you part out the strat, I'd be very interested in the neck.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

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Originally Posted by elcid View Post
Id try to talk them down a little on the Jem since you can probably get a near mint new one for not much more. Just dont tell them you are routing the back. If the absolutely wont budge and you can swing it, it would be cool to do even at $1200.
Not a bad idea... this just happened yesterday too.

I was doing some research on the Fender VG site as well.. Man! Those folks over there are just as passionate about their Fenders like we are about our JEMs and UVs!! Maybe a little more so.... in their opinion, every other guitar sucks and their Fenders rule. Well, okay...

Anyway, considering the plate that has to be routed on the back, this is a prime opportunity to do something like this. I still have my JEM7SPBL for sale because I just couldn't in good conscience, cut into that guitar for the VG guts.....

I'll try getting them down to at least a grand and take it from there.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

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Originally Posted by elcid View Post
Shred, if you do it, let me know if you part out the strat, I'd be very interested in the neck.
Will do - I'll let you know. I don't care for the neck at all but it considered a "Fender American" and it doesn't play all that bad. Frets are too small for me though...
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 04:35 PM
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

I honestly don't see a downside here. Plus, the Evo pickups are so average anyway, you could put in a nice set of single coils and get one of our sponsors to custom make you a new pickguard as well. Then you could get your Strat pickups, Strat sounds and VG system, and still have the Jem neck and trem. Selling the Fender parts you don't need will definitely cover a new pickguard and a set of Fralins.....
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

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Originally Posted by jim777 View Post
I honestly don't see a downside here. Plus, the Evo pickups are so average anyway, you could put in a nice set of single coils and get one of our sponsors to custom make you a new pickguard as well. Then you could get your Strat pickups, Strat sounds and VG system, and still have the Jem neck and trem. Selling the Fender parts you don't need will definitely cover a new pickguard and a set of Fralins.....
Jim,

I don't see the downside here either. I went and made an offer on the JEM to get it for $1000. One of the guys I deal with wasn't there but he's a manager so he could override the pricing. I think that they would rather just get rid of it rather than send it back damaged. I played for a bit tonight and it plays just amazing. I like the neck on this JEM better than the one on my 7VSPBL.

Now - I didn't plan on keeping the the Strat pickups from the start though when I got the VG. I planned on at the very least getting a humbucker for the bridge and then possible a "Lil 59" for the neck or maybe even another humbucker. Either way, the VG guts are going to come out and I may just do an upgrade to my JEM pickups.

The new pickguard is a must though - that's for sure!

I will be selling the VG Strat parts - ALL of them to whomever would be interested.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

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Originally Posted by clubshred View Post
Not a bad idea... this just happened yesterday too.

I was doing some research on the Fender VG site as well.. Man! Those folks over there are just as passionate about their Fenders like we are about our JEMs and UVs!! Maybe a little more so.... in their opinion, every other guitar sucks and their Fenders rule. Well, okay...

.
I hate those opinions, my guitar teacher is like that, he owns a LP custom and I remember the first time I showed him my prestige ibanez, it was brand new, he said "oh it looks pretty, too bad that ibanez guitars sound like nothing, I mean if you play hendrix on an ibanez it sounds bad, if you play acdc it sounds bad, not like in my gibson that I can play anything and it sounds great, like I mean it sounds great for everything!" that day I felt like kicking him in the balls


for 1200 its a great deal
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 12:15 AM
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

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Originally Posted by clubshred View Post
Now - I didn't plan on keeping the the Strat pickups from the start though when I got the VG. I planned on at the very least getting a humbucker for the bridge and then possible a "Lil 59" for the neck or maybe even another humbucker. Either way, the VG guts are going to come out and I may just do an upgrade to my JEM pickups.

Dont you have a bridge humbucker as an option on the VG strat? I would think if you replaced the strat pickups you would actually lose out on options. I wouldnt imagine the VG would have 3 single coils and a modeled single coil sound too. I'd keep all the original Fender electronics.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 01:30 AM
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

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Originally Posted by elcid View Post
Dont you have a bridge humbucker as an option on the VG strat? I would think if you replaced the strat pickups you would actually lose out on options. I wouldnt imagine the VG would have 3 single coils and a modeled single coil sound too. I'd keep all the original Fender electronics.
Cid - ex VG Strat owner here... not a bad guitar, but very much a Standard American - it converted nicely to a Custom Shop Flat Head though .

Switching options are a bit strange... the Roland kit has a three single option as well (!) to emulate an older strat. I can't remember what tonewood they're emulating, but it's not the alder the underlying guitar is made of. Options are: Strat, Tele, Twin HB (sounds more like PRS than LP) and various acoustics. Tunings standard, drop D, DADGAD, open G, 12 string and acoustic tweaking (I think that's the lot). The primary pups are SCNs and are very good indeed.

Clubshred, two things: 1) you'll need to rout in a new battery compartment as well. Should fit, but will be a bit of a squeeze. 2) I'm inclined to go with Cid here... wouldn't it be possible to modify the Strat pickguard to fit the body?

Interesting project.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 04:39 AM
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

Picked up a VGA amp on **** does everything the VG strat does but is an ampwith a pickup that gets put under the bridge looks pritty silly but is amazing and the best thing is I get the best effects, tunings etc with my favourit guitar without the $4000 price tag, yes $4000 for a VG strat in aus its a disgrace! Im a roland convert and for the price I payed even vai him self would be blown away!
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 05:23 AM
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

I have the roland gk3 pickup stuck on one of my jems which I use with a VG88 (virtual guitar floor unit). What you're suggesting sounds like it'll give you the best/most useful options sound wise and a great playing guitar too. Personally I'd keep the Evolution pickups as they're certainly distinctive and not one of the options modeled (plus I like the sound of them although it seems I'm in the minority even here!)
If I had the opportunity I'd do exactly what you suggest.
Jim
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

Everyone,

Thanks for the advice thus far!! I pick up the guitar today!!! Nasty gashes and all!

I spoke to a luthier friend of mine who does a lot of mods for me as well and he had an interesting point: First of all, I can use pretty much any pickups I would want because the 5-way switch may be pre-wired from Fender but it doesn't mean that it's totally proprietary. He even said that if I wanted to, I could use a PRS 5-way knob, in case I wanted to use just dual Humbuckers. He told me that the VG circuitry can be bypassed totally because when you have the "mode" knob on the VG in normal mode (indicated by "N"), the VG system is off. He said we could bypass that with a toggle (if we wanted to). Pretty cool....

I normally run my guitars with the Ernie Ball JPM toggle switches with the circuit boards on them so if you're using twin humbuckers, you get that nice "stratty" clean sound in the middle position - basically the two inner coils on the guitar. Now, I know that Ibanez has a way to use a 5-way blade switch to make this happen. I think that it's position two on the switch. Keeping the JEM pickguard in place could still be done I think - but I would probably just have another one made with the blade switch moved forward just a bit. I don't like the idea of the 5-way PRS knob in the first place....

I'll post pics of the progress as it happens but I am going to make a go of this "VG-JEM" idea.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvai View Post
I hate those opinions, my guitar teacher is like that, he owns a LP custom and I remember the first time I showed him my prestige ibanez, it was brand new, he said "oh it looks pretty, too bad that ibanez guitars sound like nothing, I mean if you play hendrix on an ibanez it sounds bad, if you play acdc it sounds bad, not like in my gibson that I can play anything and it sounds great, like I mean it sounds great for everything!" that day I felt like kicking him in the balls
UGH!!!!!!!! WHY????????????

Why in the hell do people say that kind of CRAP??!!? As I was recording my band's CD some time ago, we were at a "prestigious" studio and I was playing at the time a Yamaha Pacifica, a McNaught and a Brian Moore. My Brian Moore had tons of sound options. It sounded amazing. The sound engineer was trumpeting how great his LP Custom was and wanted me to track a very tricky thrash-style rhythm with it. So I did - and it sucked... with those tiny tiny frets, it sounded like crap and I couldn't get that "feel" I had from my Brian Moore. I went back to my Brian Moore and laid the tracks down and afterwards he was like, "well, I guess that piece of Japanese crap sounds okay..."

I said, "uh....this is an American-made guitar from New York"

"oh, and THANK YOU for having my band waste two-hours to the tune of $65 an hour to play your Les Paul that we scrapped the track on anyway"
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Another question to the JEM faithful

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Originally Posted by elcid View Post
Dont you have a bridge humbucker as an option on the VG strat? I would think if you replaced the strat pickups you would actually lose out on options. I wouldnt imagine the VG would have 3 single coils and a modeled single coil sound too. I'd keep all the original Fender electronics.
elcid,

According to my luthier you can do whatever you want - it's that "N" on the mode knob that changes the settings. I could run two humbuckers or a hum-single-hum configuration on the JEM or whatever I wanted. It's basically a built-in system but the beauty of it is that it runs to one 1/4" jack and not a 13-pin like the old school ones do. I was actually going to run EMGs in the VG Strat but now I am preparing to part it out...

To all: let me know if you're interested in the parts - I'll have no use for them.
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brian moore , bridge hum , bridge humbucker , double edge bridge , edge bridge , evo pickups , evolution pickups , inner coils , jem pickups , piezo bridge , playing guitar , strat pickups , strat sound , toggle switch , yamaha pacifica

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