First of all, ever since Ibanez started making these guitars, I've wanted one. Especially after playing one for the first time 4 years ago. Well, I FINALLY saved up enough money to buy one...this was my dream guitar!
About 2 months ago, I bought a brand new 2003 JEMvwh. By all means, an awsome, and beautiful guitar. As always, I had to set the guitar up because is was so far out of whack, that it just didnt play good at all. The bridge was way out, not level, wouldnt hold tune, and too far up off of the body. The intonation was right on though. After setting the bridge up, I noticed several buzzy frets, I am assuming this is why the trem was so far out of the body, to raise the strings to prevent buzzing. The neck was straight, and the action was good at both ends, which in turn lead to a few frets that needed dressed up. After getting the guitar all set up just right, it absolutely played very well.
The stock "evo" pickups that are in these guitars just do not suit me at all. They have plenty of gain, but just have a tone that I dont care for. I didnt realise how much I didnt like them until I A/B'd it with my RG620x. I use a "Tone Zone" in the RG. So I bought a white SD "Pearly Gates" pickup for it and the sound got even worse. Ugh! I hated that pickup in this guitar...So I pulled it back out and said screw it. Then I bought an Ibanez "backstop" for it off of eBay to help with the tuning problem. Any time I did a dive, the tuning would go sharp, and just the opposite when I pulled up on it. I also took the trem out and filed the knives like it says on Ibanezrules.com (thanks Rich)
and it still wouldnt stay in tune. The only other thing I could have done was buy a set of trem anchors and did the mod for it. I am sure that a professional setup would have done the trick, but by this time, I was tired of messing with it.
Now, in a nutshell, in my opinion, let me repeat, in my opinion, the JEM wasnt any better than my RG620. One plays just as good as the other, and my RG stays in tune perfectly...Never have any problems with it. I paid $1600 for the guitar $100 for the backstop, and countless hours trying to get the thing to where it played flawlessly, but still didnt like it as well as the RG. I ended up selling the guitar for $1100 just this past Friday. I should have just bought a used RG 3120 instead. However, other than the JEM10th, this is the best looking guitar I've ever seen. But I wanted one to play, not to look at.
Please dont take this the wrong way and think that I am dogging the JEM, or picking on anyone who owns them, this was just my experience with having one, and wanted to voice my opinion on it because there are alot of thread containing "should I spend the $$ on a JEM, or buy a MIJ RG?".....Please dont flame me for stating my thoughts.