Do you really think Jems are worth it? - Jemsite
Ibanez JEM, UV, JS & Other Signature Models For discussion of Ibanez JEM, Universe and JS (Satriani) guitars only.

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post #1 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 78
Do you really think Jems are worth it?

I know I am risking a massive flaming here - but bear with me on this OK?

For so long I worked twards getting a Jem / Jems. Cash is a prob with two kidz and trying to get a band off the ground - but anyway, I traded and saved and eventually I got myself a Jem 77BFP and a Jem 7 Desert Yellow. I had pro set ups on both and I have now come to the following conclusion.....

Jems are not worth the ridiculous asking price or 2nd hand price. The quality of work / woods / feel of the guitars does not come anywhere near that of a company such as Music Man.

I have now got rid of my Jems as borrowed a Kramer Nightswan whilst was having the Jem set -up and I could not believe the difference in quality / tone.I have since got myself this very guitar (with the Lightning graphic - how cool?) and a Charvel model 4. The build quality on both is totally superior to either of the Jems I had. I picked up the Charvel for £200 and paid £50 for a top set-up and this guitar rocks! Jems (well actually Ibanez guitars as a whole) feel flimsy in comparison.

I am a massive SSV fan - and can't wait for the DVD etc, but really Ibanez must pay him a shedload of cash reflected in the margin / rrp on these guitars. If his name was not associated - these guitars would retail for £750 - £850 at max.

I am interested in thoughts on this.......I was real let down at the time as I wanted the Jems for sooooo long - I wish now that I hadn't bothered!

Markie Boy is offline  
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post #2 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 21
They're awesome guitars. But you could be right - a high-end RG is definitely better VFM. You're definitely paying for the Vai connection, but that's generally true of signature guitars. What's cool about the Jem is that I think it's become a 'phantom' signature guitar - its appeal is not just restricted to Vai fans - lots of people buy them because they're just quality guitars.

They are the ultimate Ibanez, no doubt about that. The only thing that'll beat a JEM777LNG or a JEM7VWH is a JEM10 - and they don't count coz they're Jems too.

I want a JEM777LNG so badly it ain't true, but my chances of getting an original one are laughably tiny due to the miniscule amount made (less 777LNGs than JEM10s, right?), the Vai connection and my insufficient moolah reserves.

Is there a custom-builder on here who'd make me a finished LNG-coloured body with all the routing for electronics and an Edge Pro, a nice 'unfinished' Jem neck (thin oil finish ala EVH's Wolfies) with the scalloping and inlay an' junk, and ship them to me with all the other bits (Edge Pro, nut, machineheads, scratchplate, electronics, and finally the pink Paf Pros)...excuse me one moment...

[Homer Simpson drool] pickups...[/Homer Simpson drool]

...sorry. As I was saying, could anyone on this board do that (I've seen some seriously impressive custom Jems on this board, so I'm assuming yes), and how much would it cost?

Fink Floyd is offline  
post #3 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 373
Hey there is nothing wrong with your opinion at all. I don't think the world would be as exciting if everybody played JEM's. To be honest with you though, in my experience I haven't noticed that JEM's have bad build quality or feel flimsy. Are you referring to the slim necks maybe? I've played Gibson LP's, PRS Singlecuts, McCarty's, Custom 22's, Fender Strat's, Peavey EVH and a few other's I'm surely forgetting. My favorite overall is the PRS Singlecut. I still have many JEM's and really enjoy them, especially with for the floating trem type feel. I don't think anybody elses guitars really come close with the pull up/pull down on the trem system. I also have a killer Saber, that sounds awesome as well (guaranteed it's the mahogony body). So anyway, I guess the JEM's don't suit you which is fine....I'm glad this forum isn't all about blowing smoke about how great Jem's are.
johncowan is offline  
post #4 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Blackburn, Lancs, England
Posts: 394
vfm??? you should see the price of jems in the uk... you guys got it lucky
bloodandtears is offline  
post #5 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,155
Ibanez guitars in general 'seem' fragile when you first play them, but after you drop them, chuck them, jump on them, pound them for a while and see what they can withstand you don't tend to think that any more.
Petie is offline  
post #6 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 110
Well, it's pretty obvious that a guitar is a personal thing. I think that's great - as John pointed out, it would stink if everyone played Jems.
That said, I've tried and/or owned a number of quality guitars too - the usual suspects: Hamer, Strats, Jackson, etc. But, every single time I've always come back to Ibanez. For me, nothing comes close to the feel and playability of Jems/J-Customs/JPM's.
With regard to the quality/price. My experience is that the quality of Jems is fantastic. As to the price, I think it's fair. If it's a $$ issue, you can get very close to a Jem with a top-of-the-line RG anyways. If you're really looking at over-priced instruments, have you looked at LP's lately?

Bottom line is play what you like. But in my experience, Ibanez Jems are great buys for quality/price/playability.
My two cents....
elfstones is offline  
post #7 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 266
The thing about guitars, or really anything for that matter, is that it's all subjective. The question comes in to play that you have to ask yourself how much do you value an instrument for what is? How much dollar-wise do you feel is a good deal for what you get from it?

It's really a question that can only be answered by that one person asking it.

No one single guitar is perfect for everybody. While Jems are good for Steve and many others there's Slash and his Les Pauls, SRV and his Strats and countless others that have picked up a certain instrument and it just kind of "spoke to them" and thus began a journey in life.

I've gone down this road more times than I can count. I get GAS for a Jem about every three months or so, but have managed to stave it off for almost fifteen years now. If I were smart I'd probably just up and get one and get it out of my system....the amount of productivity as a person chewed up by checking prices and specs of new models would probably pay for the thing in a few years!

There's alot of cool guitars out there with alot to offer. While Jems are fine instruments I always advocate playing one of everything at least once just so you know what's out there, what the positives and negatives are of them and therefore making an informed decision.
Skarekrough is offline  
post #8 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 78
Folks - Great flaming! ;-)

I still love the look of Jems, they are one sexy guitar! I think that the wording I used implies that Jems / Ibanez are built badly - I don't mean that......I mean that they are well made.....but no more well made than a cheaper guitar! My point of reference being Music Man as I have owned a Steve Morse and an EVH and (once again, personally speaking) they feel so much more......erm........'quality'.

Another thing I noticed, and I'm sure that this has been corrected with the Evolution PUPs is that my other guitars and my current guitars have got Seymour Duncan JB's in them........Seymours (to me) are 10 times better than Di Marzio PAF's that are stock in the Jems I had - they just sounded dead in comparison to me.........

Like I say - I am sure that has been corrected as I haven't had the oppo to blast on a 7VWH!

I am in the UK, the Jem prices here are OUTRAGEOUS compared to US by the way.......Jem 7VWH retails for about £1899 (what's that, about $2500?)
Markie Boy is offline  
post #9 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 01:14 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Blackburn, Lancs, England
Posts: 394
Originally Posted by Markie Boy
I am in the UK, the Jem prices here are OUTRAGEOUS compared to US by the way.......Jem 7VWH retails for about £1899 (what's that, about $2500?)
and they rarely come up on evil bay (uk)...

you have to be very lucky to find a classic jem over here.. (at a sensible price that is )
bloodandtears is offline  
post #10 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 110
Originally Posted by Markie Boy

I am in the UK, the Jem prices here are OUTRAGEOUS compared to US by the way.......Jem 7VWH retails for about £1899 (what's that, about $2500?)
$2500 Yeah, well that is crazy. You can get a mint VWH for half that on the used market.
How are you judging "quality". The neck on a Jem is top-notch IMO. Are there finishing issues you saw? Or, are you saying that for the price you would pay for a Jem you could buy let's say a EB/MM at less cost and equal or better quality than a Jem? It's just so subjective. I guess we need to know a particular guitar you're baseing your opinions on....
elfstones is offline  
post #11 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 551
Well personally living in the uk, i think jems are 100% more expensive than they should be, at least. But if people keep paying those prices they wont go down
Al M is offline  
post #12 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 87
I think Jems are not that out of line (price wise) if you are going to be 100% happy with the guitar stock. I bought my 7VBSL new for $999 knowing that I would be ripping out all of the pickups and replacing them with Duncans. Add pickups and I have a $1200 guitar that will be great. I paid like $1700 for my 7VWH and never play it because I really have no use for its pickups- I haven't decided what to do with it yet but I may sell/trade it away. It is still a great guitar I just prefer the Duncan sound.

The best sounding guitar I own is an ($550 new) RG520 with a Duncan Custom Custom and a Alinco Pro II (neck). To my ear it sounds 100% better than either stock Jem. My 7VBSL sound particularly bad running through my VHT rig.

If you like Dimarzios I think Jems on sale are a good (not great) deal.
RGN is offline  
post #13 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 21
So am I - and I agree. A Jem shouldn't cost any more than £1000.

LPs are definitely overpriced for what you get, despite the fact that the 2002 model is much better than the previous ones.

I must say, I think Fender are great with VFM. I don't so much mean with things like American Deluxe models - the quality increase isn't in proportion to the money - but the American Standard and Mexican Standard models kick ass. The quality control may not be all it could be, and dud examples can get through, but get a good one and you'll be laughing. And they're so cheap - what you get for the money is far better than most other makes. The only guitar line which I think matches an US Fender feature-for-money is the Ibanez RG range.
Fink Floyd is offline  
post #14 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Canterbury, England
Posts: 609
Originally Posted by Markie Boy
I am in the UK, the Jem prices here are OUTRAGEOUS compared to US by the way.......Jem 7VWH retails for about £1899 (what's that, about $2500?)
i agree with you there. i think basically, they take the price in USD and then covert it straight to £. They don't seem to run the price through the exchange rate. It seems, if a VWH is $1700, its gonna be £1700 as well, which is just crazy.

For my Ibanez, i've had to look to the USA and imported them. Even with import duty and shipping i've saved money.

As for Jems feeling less quality, i tried an EB/MM JPM 7 string and played the UV777BK on the same day and to me at least, the UV felt so, so much nicer. The neck felt like it was built for my exact spec. I find this with Jems as well. I've played PRS, and to be honest, it felt not much better than my old Gibson SG special. At the end of the day, i think it comes down to personal preference. Jems are just right for me, and most people here, but not for you. Its fair enough i guess. Theres just more there for the rest of us

weserman is offline  
post #15 of 73 (permalink) Old 07-29-2003, 03:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Belgium
Posts: 318
The jem is not number one in expensive woods and figured tops, but it is a very original concept. Like with all original concepts you pay more.

You can also buy cheap cocacola, and you can buy the real one for twise the price. Believe me, to make them, it will cost approximately the same. You pay for a brandname but nothing wrong with that, because you can only become famous if you make quality.

So Ibanez is a good and original guitarbrand and you pay for that. Indeed you pay more for a ibanez than a less know brand with the same quality.

Everybody knows the increase of the les paul bcause of slash!! In about 5 years a les paul became extremely expensive.
jemke is offline  

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