Looking for feedback and tips on set up after JEM been MIA for few years - Jemsite
Ibanez JEM, UV, JS & Other Signature Models For discussion of Ibanez JEM, Universe and JS (Satriani) guitars only.

  • 1 Post By Hoseki
  • 1 Post By vy100
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Logan, UT
Posts: 10
Question Looking for feedback and tips on set up after JEM been MIA for few years

Hey guys,
I first joined the forum back in 2011 when i got my Vai JEM!
I never really posted much tbh, and after having the guitar for a bit, TLDR had some issue where the guitar ended up sitting in its case for a few years without hardly getting touched or taken out.

I am finally in a position to get back into playing again and am looking forward to it immensely. I took my JEM to the one guitar tech i trust around my neck of the woods (worked for me when i ran a music store for a couple years) and had him do a re string and set up for me.

Sorry for the longevity but i feel i need to provide some background, when i first initially got the JEM i knew another guy that had one who offered to help me set it up, he did so and i was happy with it at first, he ended up bowing the neck ever so slightly and raising the bridge/action a little bit as thats how HE liked it, since he had experience with them at the time i rolled with it and it never bothered me.

NOW after pulling it out and checking it out, i noticed that the action past the 12th fret was a bit higher that most people would like, so had my tech friend do a set up. After getting it back, it was a lot better, but still rather high than what i think it should be.

I had asked if that was as low as it could go and he had indicated that any lower would cause string buzz. I trust him and take his word for it, but i know these guitars were made to be played fast/low action so was surprised to hear that from him all the same. He didnt indicate that the neck had been warped in anyway after sitting so long etc, and it doesnt seem like it is to me either, although it was slightly bowed which he relieved a bit as part of the set up, but its still not completely flat.

I will have to post some pictures when i get home of how it looks currently, still plays smooth as always and such but i dont feel like its set up to its full potential.
I will also do some measurements on string height later tonight and post that as well. So i was curious if a few of you wouldnt mind posting some measurements on your JEM guitars as far as string height goes, and maybe taking a look at some picture that i will post later to see if you have an opinion on if you think the neck may have warped a bit on me or not while it had been in storage, or if i just need to do a bit more fine tuning past what my guitar tech has done already.

I am happy to be playing again and hope to start hitting it pretty hard, but would of course like the guitar i paid so much for to be able to play to its full potential if i can get it that way.
Thanks for reading guys, i will try and be a more active member as i jump back into the swing of things.

Sorry i dont have pictures off the bat
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Valencia, Spain
Posts: 828
Reviews: 3
Re: Looking for feedback and tips on set up after JEM been MIA for few years

Probably your Jem needs a nut adjustment (usually they are a tad high from factory) and a neck shim. Mines have minimum neck relief and the 1st string is 1 mm and the 6th string is 1.5 m measured from the top of the 24th fret with barely audible buzzing and when doing a trem pull up I can rise the G string 5 fret armonic a fourth without chocking (and a fifth in most of my guitars, but not all of them).
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Logan, UT
Posts: 10
Thanks, sorry gang got held up over the new year..
I had a shim put in it when i first got it but who knows maybe it needs some adjusting.
I finally got some pics maybe someone can look and tell me if its set up pretty good or if they think neck might have a slight warp or anything at all. I can get better pictures if need be. Ive seen others where the strings are almost laying right on the fret board it seems like if i go any lower ill be getting buzzing hardcore so not sure where i would want to try and adjust first..of course i guess i can just start and see what happens i just dont want to end up making it worse
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 243
Re: Looking for feedback and tips on set up after JEM been MIA for few years

Looks beautifully playable to me, but if you want to get a bit more out of the action you may ask other players in your area if there's someone they'd recommend for getting the lowest action possible. Thanks for posting up all the great pics.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Valencia, Spain
Posts: 828
Reviews: 3
Re: Looking for feedback and tips on set up after JEM been MIA for few years

Seems quite high to me although from pictures always tend to be higher than they are in reality; if the fretwork is *perfect* all depends in how much you want to rise the bar. I tend to measure my action at 24th fret and for the e string the distance use to be 0.9-1 mm and for the E string 1.4-1.5 mm. With those distances I can rise a perfect 4th a G string 5th fret armonic and a perfect 5th in almost all my guitars. I have a little buzzing specially on the E and A string but it is not annoying and it is not audible through an amp.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Logan, UT
Posts: 10
Re: Looking for feedback and tips on set up after JEM been MIA for few years

Thank you for your thoughts, after watching a lot of cover videos on youtube it seems like almost everyone who plays one of these guitars has the strings almost literally laying on the fret board, it does seem quite high to me as well and even feels a bit stiff to play so i think it could be adjusted a bit better than it is. The tech i had work on it knows his stuff for sure but think he was nervous about going lower because it was starting to buzz, appreciate your measurements, i think i will try dropping the bridge a bit and see if i can get close to what you have said your measurements are. i dont mind a bit of buzz as you said the amp shouldnt pick it up. its playable for sure but when you spend this kinda dough you want to have it set up to the best it possibly can be so as not to miss out on any potential of the instrument.
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