Enter the Indonesian models. When they announced the 77PBFP I thought that would be it! I always loved the blue floral print JEM! But after reviewing the specs and seeing more pictures I was totally turned off by the Gravity Storm pickups, the Zero-Edge II bridge, and the fact that the sides and back of the guitar are black and not a continuation of the new blue floral pattern.
I have the JEM77 BFP for like 2 years and only just noticed the back was all black after reading your post
Guess it has to go!
Seriously I love the pickups. I bought it because its a fairly versatile guitar. But I use the tone & volume controls on guitars so that might be a difference. The trem is fine for me also. No issues at all and have used it pretty heavy at times. Have you actually played that trem and had issues or just going by what people say?
Or I could just forget JEMs altogether and get a Genesis RG570: made in Japan, Edge tremolo, extended cutaway on the treble side of the body where the neck meets the body, black hardware, and only $999 US. Priced squarely between the JEM Jr. and JEM70P. Plus, who knows what will be revealed at NAMM 2019?! Maybe I wait until next year...
You need to find the guitar that works for you. Not for me or anyone else. Sounds you are torn between "Owning a JEM" and "Owning a great playing & sounding guitar" and that difference is dollars.
The biggest issue with the new Jem jr guitars will likely be "Std double locking trem". It probably won't hold up as well as even the Edge Zero II on the PBFP. The original Edge on the 70V is a huge selling point though imo.
I had a Jem jr. here for a few months somebody left. The pickups were changed so it didn't sound bad. But the neck and fretwork were way off from my other Ibanez including my JEM77 BFP. The trem did not like but it is a cheap one. It wasn't my guitar so did not work on it.
I have always wanted a JEM but I have never been able to afford one. Now with the "Easy Payment" plans of some websites and the proximity of Guitar Center and Sam Ash the idea of owning a JEM is more real than ever for me. However, the Japanese-
So, what would you do? Buy a JEM Jr. and replace pickups/hardware/etc. or buy a 70VSFG and not change a thing?
When I hear other people say that I always wonder if the instrument qualities (sound, frets, neck, trem, etc.) are really important. There are people that buy any JEM just to say and feel they own a JEM, in which case I recommend buy it & leave it as it is. Save the rest for a better player guitar.
If you pay someone to do all the work and of course have to buy the pickups, you are about in cost matching a Prestige. Yet you still have the cheaper controls, wiring, tuners, neck, wood, fretwork, & other parts. You could change some but not all of those things. It will still be a JEM jr and never get the money back out of it if you need to.