Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sydney Australia
Re: Jem 777VDY
Assuming you didn't tinker with anything else (and I'll bet you did - go on, admit it - you'd pulled the neck off, so you probably pulled everything else apart as well - that's usualy what I do when I first get a guitar.......), all I can suggest is that you either haven't replaced the shims exactly as the were, so they are stopping you from properly seating the neck and tightening the neck screws adequately, or, for some other reason the neck screws aren't tightening correctly, so the neck isn't sitting correctly, hence lack of vibration transmission, hence loss of sustain.
Curiously enough, I also have a "beater" VDY, so we can account for at least two in Australia (and I know of t least one more in Sydney) - it is my favourite JEM playability wise of the three I have - but here as the issue with mine (which might give you a couple of things to check) - I took it to my favourite luthier here in Sydney (Piers Crocker - genius) for a fret level due to much buzz - he said a fretshave was a waste of time due to not only a twist in the neck, but the fact that half the frets were falling out of the neck! A real contributor to buzz and loss of sustain! It also gave me an excuse to fit 6100 fretwire, which has made it a dream to play. When Piers was reassembling the guitar after the refret, he found out that almost every screw on the guitar was loose - the machine heads, the locking nut, the neck screws prior to removing the neck - the guitar was basically falling apart! So, check all them screws - loose locknut fixing screws can cause loss of sustain, as well as disastrous tuning issues.
The VDY is now a fantastic guitar, I love it, and I'm pretty sure you'll seriously dig yours when you iron out the issues!