Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Re: Jem77v vs Jem7DBK
I own a JEM7DBK and am the veritable owner of a JEM77VBK (she's on layaway right now-- I have some auto-related bills to lock down before I can set up financing and take her home). I've had the DBK for five years, and was just playing the VBK yesterday. Though, yes, I'm a scrub and don't currently have both guitars laying on my bed right now as they should be, I've got some pretty solid grounds for comparison, methinks.
Feel-wise, the VBK's neck is indeed a little bigger. The best word is that it's more *substantial*, because I didn't find her any more difficult to play; in fact, it maybe adds something to the VBK in terms of quality of feel. She has that "substantiability" more towards the nut, and then up in the higher regions she levels out and feels absolutely great. The top four frets are scalloped, of course, though on a guitar with an All-Access Neck Joint and the rounded heel the scalloping doesn't do a lot anyway since you don't have to change the shape of your hand approach much.
The electronics sound as rich-- and sweet-merciful-crap VERSATILE-- as the DBK, and I wasn't really thinking about it but the weight can't be considerably different. I didn't have the whammy bar in the VBK, but meh, I'm sure the bridge hardware feels more or less the same.
Looks-wise, I've been trying to think of a good analogy. Like, involving shoes or clothing or something. How about: you could wear the DBK with your high-quality, expensive leather jacket, and the VBK matches the suit you wore to cousin Vinnie's wedding last year. There's definitely a step up in the class factor when it comes to the VBK: the inlays are, of course, punishingly gorgeous, and the pearloid binding is like its, I dunno, its friggin' bow tie. (I'm thinking of getting a pickguard to match, replacing the mirror-- anyone have pictures of a JEM77VBK with a pearloid pickguard?) The smooth black finish seemed a bit boring when I first laid eyes on her, but I'm just used to the ripple on the DBK and realized that the flat finish suits the overall look. (And maybe she seemed a little bit naked without the clear-coated "Steve Vai" signature I'm used to seeing behind the bridge...)
The last thing I want to mention, and this perhaps could have gone up in the "feel-wise" paragraph but I figure it's more suitable on its own, is the overall... aura of the guitar. When I met Steve at the Evo Experience and he passed Evo herself around, I could tell there's something special about that guitar. The way the strings were between my hands just felt somehow, you know, better. It was apparent that this guitar was somehow markedly beyond my DBK. And playing the VBK, I was reminded of that-- perhaps not to the same degree, but I definitely get some innate feeling that I am playing a superior guitar. I love my DBK to pieces-- hey, she's had the bed all to herself for a long time-- but I am bloody excited about how hard I think I'm going to fall for the VBK.
Did I miss anything?