Project Jem vs Factory Jem - Jemsite
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Dear Jem owners,

I would like your opinion on what custom made jems you own or have played and how they compare in terms of sound and playability to factory made jems

I look foreword to your replies,
Vin
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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Smile Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

ask the guys who have a ford cobra replica. the replica can be made to your needs and specs , but theres only one original.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

glad to be of discussing help. i don't own a jem but i have played 2. one was on a regular basis and the other was in sam ash music. for some reason sam ash has bad ass guitars but horrible tecs. i love the jem but its not worth 2000 bones. i build my own stuff all the time. it is the best way to go. just ask your self what do i love about the jem guitars, what would i do different? then combine the 2. i have yet to spend 2000 on a home built guitar. so you would spend at least on a great day 1000 for a well used jem. so just give your self that for a budget. buy a jem style body, neck, trem ect. then the best part is picking out what pick ups to put in it. send it to get custome air brushed and finished. if you dont know how to set up a truss rod in the neck or the tremelow then just send it to a luthier. honestly i have had so many people ask me where i got my guitar. and i know that im the only person out there with this guitar. its sweet. plust you can take the money you save from doing it yourself, and start a 7 string jem project. scamatics for how to build any guitar are all over the web. any way thats my side of the discussion. hope it helpes
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

If you want a guitar that is built to your custom specs, that is also unique, make a custom. With a proper setup, quality parts, and professional assembly (find yourself a good luthier), you can have a damn good instrument that can play just as well as any real Jem. However, it will never be "a real Jem", but just a custom guitar that resembles a Jem.

I think making custom guitars is an awesome idea: it teaches you all about the instrument, you can dignose any problem you have with it, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment, knowning you have an instrument you put together with your own hands and is the only one in the world with it.

However, from an economic standpoint, custom Jems are not that great of an idea, unless you build literally everything your self. A pre cut body ($100), a neck (around $400 custom made from Chris woods etc.), a professional paintjob ($400, price at my local luthier) plus trem, pups, and all other parts puts you around the going price of a used 7vwh. My custom Jem project is costing me around $1600 to do properly.

I think that as long as you know what your doing or have it done professionaly, and invest in proper parts and electronics, you can build a custom Jem that stands up to a real Jem in playability and sound.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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Cool Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Yeah... I think going custom would be the best option. I've been checking out some custom guitar painters and builders too. I want to make a green and black swirled jem style guitar with custom additions to my specs...

You'll save lots of $$$ and have a guitar thats made just for you!

If you go to perleguitars.com, they have jem stlye bodies for only $99 for a limited time... I guess he got a good deal on wood so he's passing the savings on. He's gonna have this price until he sells all of the jems.

I'm not sure how much necks will cost... depends on what your after.

You could get edge pro III bridges for $80-$100 on ****. (if thats what your after)

Just search online and you could easily save $1000 on making your own custom versus buying an original jem...

Thats my opinion though... Good luck though!
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-09-2010, 01:55 AM
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vin View Post
Dear Jem owners,

I would like your opinion on what custom made jems you own or have played and how they compare in terms of sound and playability to factory made jems

I look foreword to your replies,
Vin
I think it really is a matter of "you get what you pay for". Some of the cheap bodies off e - bay that I've seen I woldn't give house room to. they've needed neck pockets enlarging, trem cavities enlarging, or the holes need redrilling. I've seen them with neck cavities so big you could drive a bus between the neck and the side of the pocket.

I've also seen custom jems with necks so smooth you'd think they were teflon coated. you'll also need a teflon coated wallet to survive the experience

Sound wise is very subjective, but to be honest, again, the more you pay the better it tends to sound.

The only trouble with a bespoke custom (as opposed to a bitsa) is you have less chance of guaranteed resale value, the more outlandish your design, the less chance someone else out there is willing to pay what you paid for it. Hopefully though, if you've paid top prices for it, you'll not really be looking to sell it.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

There is no doubt you can build a better Jem than an off the peg Jem if you have the right sources.

About the AC Cobra arguement ask Carrol Shelby about his repo Cobras, there is no mystic pixie dust mojo bull while you are playing that is going to help you.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 07:52 AM
 
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Thumbs down Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Jams View Post
There is no doubt you can build a better Jem than an off the peg Jem if you have the right sources.
The neck is probably the single most important aspect of owning a real Ibanez.
This is like saying anyone could build a Ferrari V12 engine at home.
I seriously question that some guy in a shed can better digitised profiles, has access to double titanium truss rods,
humidity controlled maple blanks or the inclination to perform half a dozen hand finishing steps to get to the final product.
Even relatively simple stuff they often don't do on customs (IE quartersawn, five piece, walnut strips etc.)
and often they fail on some of the basics (fret ends, nut alignment, neck mounting holes etc.)

Fujigen neck >>> hand built project neck


As for the body, most customs will have some problem fitting original necks, let alone if you combine two from different luthiers. On the other hand:

Fujigen neck + Fujigen body = perfect fit. If it doesn't, it shouldn't be in a store.

I have no experience with custom builds myself, but if you work yourself through 10years of comments on custom builders, just on this site alone,
you will find that even the best ones slip up, so 100% perfection is far from guaranteed.
With the real deal you get QC at the factory, the distributor and the dealer,
plus you can inspect the final product yourself and return it if necessary.
With projects you're at the mercy of some guy with a CNC router.

To say that it's just a question of getting the right sources is wishful thinking, since no such "right source" exists.
Plenty of custom builders have come and gone as "vendors" on this site, some even receiving bans for shilling or flaming competitors.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 10:45 AM
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Quote:
Originally Posted by eviltwin View Post
The neck is probably the single most important aspect of owning a real Ibanez.
This is like saying anyone could build a Ferrari V12 engine at home.
I seriously question that some guy in a shed can better digitised profiles, has access to double titanium truss rods,
humidity controlled maple blanks or the inclination to perform half a dozen hand finishing steps to get to the final product.
Even relatively simple stuff they often don't do on customs (IE quartersawn, five piece, walnut strips etc.)
and often they fail on some of the basics (fret ends, nut alignment, neck mounting holes etc.)

Fujigen neck >>> hand built project neck


As for the body, most customs will have some problem fitting original necks, let alone if you combine two from different luthiers. On the other hand:

Fujigen neck + Fujigen body = perfect fit. If it doesn't, it shouldn't be in a store.

I have no experience with custom builds myself, but if you work yourself through 10years of comments on custom builders, just on this site alone,
you will find that even the best ones slip up, so 100% perfection is far from guaranteed.
With the real deal you get QC at the factory, the distributor and the dealer,
plus you can inspect the final product yourself and return it if necessary.
With projects you're at the mercy of some guy with a CNC router.

To say that it's just a question of getting the right sources is wishful thinking, since no such "right source" exists.
Plenty of custom builders have come and gone as "vendors" on this site, some even receiving bans for shilling or flaming competitors.
I think the most important part of this post is the bit where you admit you have ďno experience with custom buildsĒ so everything youíre basing your opinions on is internet hearsay, so of course it must be true. In reality youíre adding to the hearsay problem by going further in your post than simply admitting youíve read a lot of internet posts from disgruntled customers who expect perfection for the price of a new pickup.

Iíd simply reiterate what I said before, you get what you pay for. If you buy a cheapy off an internet auction site, you get a cheapy. If you find a luthier you can work with, one whoíll talk to you about what woods you want, what woods you think you want and what woods you actually want; what profiles you want what inlay you want and so on, then you can get something that will have had umpteen hand finishing steps, with ball ended frets, with a super smooth oiled finish, with whatever youíve discussed and it will happily sit next to a fujigen neck.

Iíll admit sometimes you can get stung and high prices donít always mean high quality, but a little bit of first hand research goes a VERY long way.

Iíd also say if youíre looking for perfection, donít venture into the world of custom parts guitars unless you have money to burn. Thereís a big difference in putting together a partsacaster from different sources than there is getting a luthier to build you a custom guitar from scratch.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 02:04 PM
 
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

IMHO... I prefer Projects Jem...

Custom Jem = of my taste, nice, cool, makes me happy and makes me want to pick and play guitar.
Original Jem = may be better build (or not) but... i dont know... a little bored?...

(i think that i must put on sale my original Jem )



ps. sorry my bad english...
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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Thumbs down Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Quote:
Originally Posted by eviltwin View Post
The neck is probably the single most important aspect of owning a real Ibanez.
This is like saying anyone could build a Ferrari V12 engine at home.
I seriously question that some guy in a shed can better digitised profiles, has access to double titanium truss rods,
humidity controlled maple blanks or the inclination to perform half a dozen hand finishing steps to get to the final product.
Even relatively simple stuff they often don't do on customs (IE quartersawn, five piece, walnut strips etc.)
and often they fail on some of the basics (fret ends, nut alignment, neck mounting holes etc.)

Fujigen neck >>> hand built project neck


As for the body, most customs will have some problem fitting original necks, let alone if you combine two from different luthiers. On the other hand:

Fujigen neck + Fujigen body = perfect fit. If it doesn't, it shouldn't be in a store.

I have no experience with custom builds myself, but if you work yourself through 10years of comments on custom builders, just on this site alone,
you will find that even the best ones slip up, so 100% perfection is far from guaranteed.
With the real deal you get QC at the factory, the distributor and the dealer,
plus you can inspect the final product yourself and return it if necessary.
With projects you're at the mercy of some guy with a CNC router.

To say that it's just a question of getting the right sources is wishful thinking, since no such "right source" exists.
Plenty of custom builders have come and gone as "vendors" on this site, some even receiving bans for shilling or flaming competitors.
I'm inclined to agree with Jono on this one. You had some cred right up until you let that sentence loose. After that, I just took what you said with a grain of salt.

As for aftermarket/custom body's fitting original necks. It shows you've got no experience with this either. The two swirl Jem's I've put together, both have necks from RG's and both accepted the necks without a problem.

guys like you make me laugh.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 04:49 PM
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Customs can be as good as factory Jems. Jono was correct - factory guitars will have more value down the road, but if the custom is built with the right quality parts and assembled and set up by a pro you'll have a fine guitar. I've had many of both and loved them all.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-19-2010, 05:21 AM
 
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

I should've been clearer: I have no expericence with project Jems, but I have with custom builds (Jazz boxes, strats) But I'll reiterate what I said earlier:
  • The neck is probably the single most important aspect of owning a real Ibanez.
    I seriously question that some guy in a shed can better digitised profiles, has access to double titanium truss rods,
    humidity controlled maple blanks or the inclination to perform half a dozen hand finishing steps to get to the final product.
    Even relatively simple stuff they often don't do on customs (IE quartersawn, five piece, walnut strips etc.)

Nothing what you guys have said has taken any of my doubt away. The blanket statement to which I replied:
Quote:
There is no doubt you can build a better Jem than an off the peg Jem if you have the right sources.
is simply wishful thinking.

Luthiers, no matter how good, simply don't have the technical, engineering and manufacturing knowledge to build a proper Jem neck. For example, I've yet to see a luthier so much as mention truss rods, profiles or humidity on their websites. Are we supposed to expect them to get those things right, without any hint to what they're actually doing?

Quote:
both have necks from RG's and both accepted the necks without a problem
Using a factory neck doesn't prove I'm wrong, you are only proving you don't believe project necks are worth the risk. Furthermore it only shows that particular luthier had access to an RG neck when finishing the body. Also, for every claim that the body fit a factory neck without problem, there are counterclaims of necks only fitting after some tweaking. I also fail to see in what way that new body is "better" than an original Ibanez body. So it doesn't help to confirm the blanket statement either.

Quote:
so everything youíre basing your opinions on is internet hearsay
Not at all, I'm looking at the technical and engineering basics behind building guitars, see what Ibanez have done over the last twenty odd years and how they have improved and then I look at luthiers' capabilities.

The flamewars between builders, bad customer testimonials and unfinished projects for sale are simply proof of the fact that those capabilities simply aren't there, at least not consistently.

So far you have only managed to attack me on not having first hand experience with a project Jem, big deal. Prove me wrong on my actual points. Prove me that some guy in a shed can do humity control on neck blanks, prove me he can weld his own titanium trussrods, prove me he can do digitised profiles.

Quote:
you'll also need a teflon coated wallet to survive the experience
Price is an intergral part of the percieved quality to the customer. You cannot claim something is better when it is more expensive. It simply doesn't fulfill a very basic criterion and looking at the reasons many state for starting a project jem, price is a critical requirement. The right source at the wrong price is the wrong source.

So I'll reverse the statement:

Even with the right sources for a project and cash to burn, there is serious doubt that you will approach current factory standards, let alone surpass them.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-19-2010, 09:50 AM
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Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Quote:
Originally Posted by eviltwin View Post
I should've been clearer: I have no experience with project Jems, but I have with custom builds (Jazz boxes, strats) But I'll reiterate what I said earlier:
Yeah you really should have been clearer because when you say you have no experience with custom builds, funnily enough, most folks will assume you have no experience with custom builds

Quote:
Originally Posted by eviltwin View Post
  • The neck is probably the single most important aspect of owning a real Ibanez.
    I seriously question that some guy in a shed can better digitised profiles, has access to double titanium truss rods,
    humidity controlled maple blanks or the inclination to perform half a dozen hand finishing steps to get to the final product.
    Even relatively simple stuff they often don't do on customs (IE quartersawn, five piece, walnut strips etc.)

Nothing what you guys have said has taken any of my doubt away. The blanket statement to which I replied:
Quote:
There is no doubt you can build a better Jem than an off the peg Jem if you have the right sources.

is simply wishful thinking.

Luthiers, no matter how good, simply don't have the technical, engineering and manufacturing knowledge to build a proper Jem neck. For example, I've yet to see a luthier so much as mention truss rods, profiles or humidity on their websites. Are we supposed to expect them to get those things right, without any hint to what they're actually doing?

Your point above actually makes me call into question your understanding of what a luthier is and what he does. And this might be a basic issue that needs to be resolved.

When most folks here talk about a luthier weíre talking about a skilled craftsman, someone who understands engineering, who understands woodworking, Thereís a big difference between someone with a shed whoís bought a CNC machine and a template for a superstrat body and a trained, experienced journeyman with a purpose built workshop.

I agree that the neck is a VERY important part of the guitar and no, someone might not have a digitiser to ape profiles, but there are SO many great guitars out there that donít have digitised profiles, furthermore, If I want a custom guitar, I want MY profile for the neck not someone elseís. If I want it with a 42 mm nut and an extra mm of depth at the first fret, but then an extra 2.5 mm by the 12th fret and so on as I mover towards the higher frets, digitizing a JEM neckís not going to help get that.

Working with a skilled luthier IS. If Ibanez have access to titatnium truss rods, Iím sure there are suppliers out there whoíll supply an independent luthier too. KTS are one such supplier that get a quick google hit. I donít know enough about humidity control of wood to comment, you may well be right on that one. But the inclination to perform a half dozen hand finishing steps? A real luthier will have the inclination to really go to town on a neck heís making and figuratively, a half dozen extra steps heíll do before breakfast. Weíre not talking polishing the frets, weíre talking bullet fret ends and rolled fingerboard edges, numerous coats of oil and re-sanding. The whole multi laminate thing, any luthier worth his tools will do that for you, the question should be how many people ask for it? Iíd rather ask for a one piece neck, it might not be as stable but it might be nicer to play, have less movement across the different pieces and as itís a one piece, it might just resonate better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eviltwin View Post
Quote:
so everything youíre basing your opinions on is internet hearsay


Not at all, I'm looking at the technical and engineering basics behind building guitars, see what Ibanez have done over the last twenty odd years and how they have improved and then I look at luthiers' capabilities.

The flamewars between builders, bad customer testimonials and unfinished projects for sale are simply proof of the fact that those capabilities simply aren't there, at least not consistently.

So far you have only managed to attack me on not having first hand experience with a project Jem, big deal. Prove me wrong on my actual points. Prove me that some guy in a shed can do humidity control on neck blanks, prove me he can weld his own titanium trussrods, prove me he can do digitised profiles.
Have you bought and deconstructed a selection of Ibanez guitars over the last 20 years and mated that to an in depth understanding of woodworking and stringed instrument construction? Or are you looking at Richís catalogue archive and making a few notes? The flame wars and customer testimonials and so on, I presume youíre getting from posts on the internet, or are you flying round the world examining the instruments their claims are based on?

I canít prove you wrong on your points, because other than the issue over the humidity control, there's nothing concrete to disprove. Thereís no attack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eviltwin View Post
Quote:
you'll also need a teflon coated wallet to survive the experience
Price is an integral part of the perceived quality to the customer. You cannot claim something is better when it is more expensive. It simply doesn't fulfil a very basic criterion and looking at the reasons many state for starting a project jem, price is a critical requirement. The right source at the wrong price is the wrong source.

So I'll reverse the statement:

Even with the right sources for a project and cash to burn, there is serious doubt that you will approach current factory standards, let alone surpass them.
The right source at the wrong price means you canít afford what you want. It doesnít mean itís the wrong source, to use your own example, just because I canít afford a Ferrari V12 doesnít mean itís the wrong source, it just means I donít have enough cash.

If youíve got the money and if you can find them, maybe you can hire erm, the right luthier to build your custom JEM that matches or surpasses the factory quality. If youíve got $1000 and an e - bay account, you probably canít.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-19-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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Talking Re: Project Jem vs Factory Jem

Wow I received my first thumb down reply!

Been playing Ibanez since the mid 80s, threw around floor LNG Jems back in 1987 not knowing what people would pay now for them and scalloped more wizard necks than I should have so I know Ibanez pretty well :-)

I own several Charvel clones from GMW guitars and built many parts guitars including my best Fender strat, an Yngwie clone made from MIM parts and an Allparts neck that beats the real deal to the ground in tone. My comment was not a dig at Ibanez, I own an RG565, RG550x, and an outstanding RG1527 and still love Ibanez guitars. Your first error was thinking that almost 66,666 Jems created are all the same......they are not. Not Suhr, PRS, Anderson, nobody can predict what the end product will be. Vai's best tone was with the Green Meanie and Jose modded MArshalls during his tour with DLR, no Ibanez at that time.

Yes the neck is the tough part no doubt about it IF you want that profile. Now it is very easy to score a Charvel profile like Vai used back in the day and the profile I like. Custom is what you want, not a clone of another guitar just to have an exact replica. Why would you want a different profile than you like anyways? Just blast the neck out for a VOL and your set.

About re-sale.........not a flipper since I am creating a guitar that I want. Yeah, it could be a money pit but I am sure it will not be a $2500 pit either.
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