Just got my JEM77BRMR "Bad Horsie" from Rich: Believe the hype.
If there's a better shipper of guitars, I'd like to meet him.
If there's a more meticulous set up guy for guitars, I'd like to meet him.
This new "Bad Horsie" arrived with the best packing job I've ever experienced, and I've received an awful lot of guitars via UPS and Fed Ex. Whether it's the double taped bubble wrap on the outside or all the contact points inside the case which Rich protects with taped in foam right on down to securing the case candy so that it can't move around in transit this was one professional packing job.
The guitar arrived without a smudge or scratch anywhere, which is damn near impossible to achieve with a black guitar sporting a mirrored top.
His set up was exactly as described and probably about as good as one could ever hope to get without the luthier actually sitting there and setting it up in front of you after seeing your hands and your attack. The fretwork is phenomenal.
Per Rich's instructions I let the guitar sit for a couple days to let it acclimate to the new envirnoment following a cross country trip. The guitar arrived in tune (!!) and with only a slight amount of fretbuzz on the low E, A and D. Much less fretbuzz though than I'm used to seeing with any brand new guitar that hasn't been set up specifically for my attack.
Finally, today, I did a slight truss rod adjustment to add a bit of relief and now it plays more buzz free than anything I've ever played, and the action is still typical JEM low.
The guitar itself? Yeah, this is the best guitar I've played. The Breeds sound every bit as warm and ballsy in this one as they do in all my other Breeds equipped guitars and this guitar sounds better than my EVos equipped JEM7VWH ever did.
Clearer, warmer, less mud and the three middle positions are actually close enough in volume to positions 1 and 5 that they're completely functional. They sound killer, too. With the 7VWH the middle single coil was so much quieter than the 'buckers, so much so that the three single coil tones were difficult to switch to because of the enormous volume drop.
The notch position tones in particular on this BRMR are brilliant.
"Who buys a JEM to play clean stuff, much less notch position quack tones??"
I did. I play mostly clean blues and yeah, between the warm, fat neck p/up tones and the funky/spanky middle rhythm tone and those chimey notch position tones this thing does a fantastic job of clean blues.
The Volume pot tapers off correctly and the Tone pot isn't one of those deals where there's no discernible roll off difference until you take it all the way down to 2 or whatever. No, they both work correctly. They can be used subtly, for jazzier things.
Kick in some shred distortion though and that's obviously where this guitar is happiest. It absolutely leaves no stone unturned for hard rock/shred. It couldn't play any easier or more consistently all over the neck. It sounds perfect. The balance between the bridge and neck is perfect. Full on biting warmth on the bridge, flip the five switch and there it is, smooth, ballsy darker tone (with no mud) for neck p-up/upper register solos.
I thought I'd miss the "Tree Of Life" fretboard inlay. Nope, I don't. In fact, this guitar has a bit more of a bluesier vibe when I look down at those MOP dots on the rosewood, which, considering what I play, I actually kinda like.
This Rich modded Edge Pro tremolo simply refuses to go out of tune, even a little. It just works. Leave it sitting overnight and then for another half day and then pick it up...it's still in the same state of tune. Hell, none of my guitars can ever manage that, not even my fixed bridge guitars.
Rock solid tuning stability on this one. The bass plate is dead flat and there's no extra slop or freeplay in the bar.
The guitar's light as a feather; noticeably lighter than my 7VWH. Must be the basswood vs alder.
Bottom line, this guitar is flawless for what it is. There's nothing within its basic design parameters that I could point to and say, "Okay, it could've been done better there. This thing could sound better and that thing could play a little easier..."
Nope, it's just an effortless guitar that sounds better to me than any "shred" guitar I've ever heard. I got a good one, and for once I think I finally chose correctly.
Rich just nailed this one. I'll never buy another Ibanez from anybody else. I just wish the Timmons model had a recessed route for its Wilky as that'd be my perfect next guitar.
In fact, I just wish Rich did his thing with new Gibsons and Fenders too. Dude could make a mint sorting out all those Gibbies and Fenders that are sold with such hideous set ups. I know he'd get my business, withut a doubt.
Anyway, yeah, all the hype about getting your new Ibanez from Rich was dead nuts correct. Couldn't be happier.
Thanks, Ibanez, for offering us such an amazing guitar and thanks, Rich, for offering us such a great deal on such a unique and professional service. Every maker should have a guy like you to get their stuff right...Great job, dude.