I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars... - 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 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

I was in Guitar Center the other day and they had a Jem7v and a JS1200(I think) series guitar down on the bottom row in arms reach as opposed to being up at the top where no one can get them without a sales associate.

I plugged into a Vox valvetronix amp to test them out.

I think these were some of the worst setup guitars in the entire store. Seriously, if I had played them blind-folded I wouldn't have paid more than $150 for either of them. My epiphone les paul played 10x better(and sounded better through the Vox amp) than these even before I set it up. The strings felt pretty old too so this was a factor as well.

My question is how am I supposed to know if I will like a high end guitar like a Jem or JS series if my only experience with them puts them on par with a $99 bullet strat? Seriously, I don't think I have -ever- played a worse setup guitar than these were.

Are there any stores anywhere in the south east US that keep guitars like these in play-able condition?

This is NOT a JEM/JS hate thread, more-so a rant against guitar stores that try to sell 15K + instruments in -completely- unplayable conditions.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

Your first problem is that you went to GC. Go to the Ibanez website and use the dealer location finder thing. You might have to drive a little bit more, but the pros and cons are obvious.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

Another thing to consider is that there are probably multiple people living relatively near to you that have similar instruments to what you're thinking of purchasing. Local music scenes should (hopefully) be relatively connected, somebody might be able to name other people to talk to, local message boards abound, and craigslist isn't a bad way to contact other musicians. I'll admit you probably can't catch every single Jem or JS player using these methods, but you might be able to account for a few. Based on my experiences with other musicians, I don't know many people that wouldn't let you try their equipment a little, assuming you explain that you are in the market for purchasing and would like to try something set up better than what you've found in the stores, and you can convince them that you're not a complete idiot that's going to toss their $2,000 baby around recklessly. (I agree that I've seen some horridly set up instruments in shops, there's no predicting that aspect of shopping)

I definitely don't recommend blindsiding somebody while they're trying to set up for a performance with a request like that, but by getting in touch ahead of time you might end up with somebody that will let you come to a show early and try their equipment in a full setup before showtime.

all of that being said, one of my general rules-of-thumb is... if it costs over $1,000 it's probably a relatively reasonable guitar. It might take some tweaking to get it to the way that I like mine to feel, but I'll cut the store some slack in that regard, and ditto on used purchases - it might not be exactly the way that I want it immediately, but I've played long enough to be able to look at the setup and determine if it will work for what I would want to do with it... and then I pay somebody else to do it for me so that I can blame them if I don't like it.

that's my 20-cents of rambling... good luck hunting, hopefully you'll find something you like.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 05:08 PM
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

GC is like that unfortunately. I was in the local one yesterday trying to play basses, and most of them had such bad bows to the necks they were basically unplayable. It's a joke, I don't know how they expect people to come to a decision to buy stuff that simply is not playable. You buy your $25 guitar, play it until you get a few hundred together, go to GC and find the expensive stuff is even more difficult to play thank your starter axe because of 1/4 inch action, wtf?!? I don't understand why they can't simply get the necks straight at least, I'm not even thinking full setup on all their stuff just straight necks.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

I've had the exact same experience with a JS. I was in guitar center and took it off the wall. Fortunately, I'd played a well set-up JS before so I knew what it was supposed to be like. After a couple minutes of noodling around a salesman came up to ask if I what I thought of their instrament. I knew it wasn't necessarily his fault, but I told him what I thought of a brand new (by selling price) JS that had corrosion on most of the hardware, an edge pro bridge that was angled like an original edge resulting in action that was like an accoustic guitar. I apologized to him for the rant, but I noticed that the next time I went in the guitar center, they had cleaned up that JS, or got a new one. I figure that if you're going to drop that kind of money on something, any store will go the extra mile to take care of you. Ask if they'll set it up proper and you'll come back to try it out. All you need is to get it close enough to catch a glimpse of what it'll be like when you go with Rich and get an instrument. His set-ups would make a 2X4 bolted on plywood play like Evo or a Chromeboy.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 06:01 PM
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

You could always try to sneak into Rich's place

Seriously though, that would be some serious Willy Wonka action right there...
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 06:34 PM
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

Man oh man, try looking for boutique amps or effects in NC. I just have to go by word of mouth. Every amp I have been interested in the last 5 years I have never physically seen. Divided by 13, Komet, Trainwreck, etc etc etc
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 07:26 PM
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

Suprisingly, I went into GC and pulled a Yngwie off the rack and it was DA BOMB.

It was set up perfect, played great and was light as a feather. I bought it. :^)
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 07:53 PM
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

Yeah Jeff, even a broken clock is right twice a day
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

You could always visit Rich?
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

Unfortunately I've been to just about every Ibanez dealer within a 100 mile radius according to the ibanez website lol.

I suppose I should be content with my current guitars. I don't have any with a trem, but I've got a nice RGA121, and it'll be awhile before I'm in the market for another guitar so I've got plenty of time. I think I was just appalled at how badly the guitars I played were setup and felt the need to rant lol.

I wasn't expecting a lot considering where I was, but even their lower-end stuff is setup to be playable.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathias_ View Post
I suppose I should be content with my current guitars.


Wishful thinking.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 12:48 AM
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

The problem with GC is that they hang them on the wall where any noob can grab them and abuse them and screw them up. If you get one out of the box from Ibanez right after they hang it up, you generally won't find them that horribly set up.

I grabbed a new Jem off the wall at one of my GCs one day to check out an amp and it was set up worse than the $100 junk guitars too. It didn't come from Ibanez that way. Some fool had totally butchered the bridge on it too.

GC is the Wally World of guitar shops, that's just the way it is. I've just asked for a hex wrench and done some quick setups there myself on occasion.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 01:29 AM
 
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

ya sadly everyone in the world who thinks there kid will be a virtuosos brings there untalented unlearned kids there and they try out a few guitars they they notice the little screws and turney things, so they play with them. I think its funny how we all go to gc to try a guitar we know plays amazing to see how amazing it really plays then it sucks and we are all "oh well i know it can be amazing" why even bother trying it with that mentality, a squire can rock out with its Korean craftsmanship out and a Jem can flop out with its Japanese hand built custom shop out. its all a matter of what hands it has been in. gah i love guitars tho they are so subjective to humans more so i think then any instrument.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 09:47 AM
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Re: I wish there was a place to try out high end guitars...

I've played a couple of Squiers recently and they were all surprisingly nice instruments. I'd definitely get one if thought I might actually play it, but I've stopped playing all my guitars except for the ones I like the most. I'm not 'rotating stock' too much anymore
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