Buying a JEM - Whats the best year? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Buying a JEM - Whats the best year?

Howdy -

Ok, I had a 1990 model FP JEM. The thing sounded a played awesome. Like a complete dumb*ss I sold it. After a few years of experimenting with other Ibanez models I came to the conclusion I really miss the JEM.

So I go online and find a 1997 FP, get it and it completely SUCKS! Pickups actually said "Dimarzio" on them and sounded ****ty. Neck was ok, but didn't seem as good as my old FP. So then I go to a retail store find a first year JEM7VWH (I think it was a 92 OR 93) and it was freakin awesome! Neck was nice and broke in and almost played itself. Since it was a retail store they wanted like $1800 for it. So I go back online and find a 1999 JEM7VWH, get it and it sucks ass!! The quality was no where near the same as the older model. It played ok, but there was something about it that just didn't seem quality like. Am I just having bad luck or are the older models better??

Thanks!
-Chris
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 07:17 PM
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I tend to find the older ones more comfy. I think it's mainly just because they're played in more. I know there aresome issues with trems of late not staying in tune due to the knife edges not being as good as they used to be though.

I have guitars from across the years that all play great, and have met a couple from the same year that were terrible. Both my GMCs were from 91. My first (the stolen one) had a killer swirl but played like a dog. The one I have now is an average or below swirl, but plays like a dream.

I think you just have to get lucky with a guitar, or try Rich's reputation for a great setup
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 07:24 PM
 
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Setup and player wear have almost everything to do with how a guitar feels. I wouldnt really says its the quality, aside from the known knife edge problem (gotoh does that not ibanez) its pretty clear that the guitars are better, and in fact in my opinion the quality has steadily improved its just some people like a more played in guitar.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 11:21 PM
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People swear by vintage Strats, not because the quality is better, it isn't. The wood is more seasoned, the necks are much more played in. Same thing with anything contemporary. The quality is MUCH better today than it was in 87'-95', but the wood is fresher and the necks have little wear. And model to model, your mileage will vary.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 02:52 AM
 
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Most fine violin makers beleive a violins tone continues to improve over the time it takes the finish to dry. This could hold true for guitars as well if you buy into that mumbo jumbo as well.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 04:14 AM
 
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i agree with Rich and the violin thing as well.

i'm a fan of the new jem. i personally hate the old early jems. most had baseball bat necks and there was no all-access-joint for easy access to the high frets. just like a new pair of shoes though, they are better once you break them in. well, except for my 7vwh. i got a 2000 model, never played and man, did it scream. felt like it was built just for me. i got lucky.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 10:31 AM
 
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I do agree...
... A new and a old jem doesn't feel the same!
Sometimes I think that the old one was better in quality... But It's only my opinion!
So, for me, I should have bought an older jem (I've got a 2000 'jem fp"purchase in 2002) because it's a lot cheaper!!! That's important too!
See ya
JS
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 11:47 AM
 
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I recently purchased two JEMs, one ´88 77FP, and one ´89 7PBK. They´re great!!! To be honest I haven´t tried any real new ones (beyond ´98 or so), but mine are absolutely fabulous, so my advice is: buy an old one. But seriously, try a few different ones and then decide. If it feels good now it´ll be even better later on.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 11:57 AM
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I swear my '93 VWH was far superior in quality and craftsmanship than my '98 and '99. Sold my '93 looooong time ago and regretted it, so I picked up a '98....eh....sold it.......'99.....eh....sold it. Waiting for another '93
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2002, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the input guys! I think I'll shoot for an older JEM7VWH or FP.

-CD
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2002, 07:44 AM
 
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one of the first things i look for when i shop a jem is that damn stress crack on the neck joint. why do they do that? it's just the way they are designed i heard. i also heard that Steve's vwh's have such a large stress crack that you can put 2 quarters stacked together into the crack...playability is not affected. well that's good but i would rather have no crack at all! the 2000 vwh i have has no sign of any crack whatsoever. i have been told, "you got a jem? you got a stress crack." that's not acceptable especially with the tall $$$ they charge. so if i was you i would check for that. even if it is only cosmetic, i don't dig fault lines. just an fyi.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2002, 08:33 AM
 
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I´ve got a little tiny stress crack on my ´88 77FP but it doesn´t affect the sound or the playability so I don´t mind.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2002, 02:51 AM
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This is a tough question to answer, and is really something that depends on personal taste. I recommend that you play a variety of different Jems. I prefer the aanj on the newer models and love both my VWH and 90th to death. Evo's and Ebony Baby!!!
Lately I have been playing my DY exclusively. I'm starting to prefer the sweet sound of those original PAF's. It definitely rocks the house!!!
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2002, 10:24 AM
 
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"Ebony, and Evo-ry.....work to-gether in perfect"... nevermind
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2002, 10:41 AM
 
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I've been looking for quality differences between my '98 JEM90 and my '90 77FP. They both play excellent but there's still a couple of differences that may or may not be typical.

- The FP is much heavier than the 90.
- The basswood body seems to be softer in the 90 than in the FP (I tested this by making a small dent in the wood in the trem spring cavity).

This will definitly affect tone but I don't know how much. With different pickups the two guitars cannot really be compared that way.
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basswood body , high frets , ibanez models , local luthier , neck joint , spring cavity , vintage strat

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