Re: JEM Ebony fingerboard/Alder body
I've got a 1994 7VWH, it was my main live guitar from 2005 until an accident last month where the neck split. I don't know about the most refined Jem but the only significant move forward with the newer models is the volute at the back of the neck behind the nut, same volute that was designed prevent the neck split that happened on my guitar. I haven't played any recent 7V's with Rosewood fretboard (not since before I bought own 7V), my 1994 guitar is a beautiful instrument though, but I definitely think there is room for improvement.
Honestly the Edge/Lo-Pro trem can be improved, the pop in trem arm is nice but
1. The trem-arm bushings wear out very quickly if you remove the arm a lot, and you kinda need to if you want to put the guitar back in the case. After a while you will develop a lot of play in the trem if you don't address it, it would be nice if removing/replacing the trem arm didn't wear down the bushes so much but it's integral to the design. The bushes aren't cheap either, the prices on them are robbery.
2. The Trem arm holder has a tendency to work itself loose and when it does it can be very difficult to get it to stay again, causing the trem to have play in the socket holder. I dealt with that issue for years on my 7V before I finally fixed it properly, thankfully it hasn't shown up on the 777 yet. When I eventually broke the 7V's trem arm socket holder last year (years of hard use) it took a few of attempts before I finally got the new socket to stop working loose.
They could improve the pop in design in a way that could be retrofitted quite easily, I still prefer it to the Floyd Rose screw design but I think systems such as the Gotoh 1996 could be used as inspiration. Aside from that the Jem could come with a Sustainiac neck pickup, we've been saying it for years and though Steve uses them extensively he refuses have them put on the guitars. On top of that the Jems could really benefit from having stainless steel frets, I'm already beginning to notice visible fret wear on my 2 year old 30th Anniversary Jem 777, if you play the guitars a lot then SS frets are a godsend.