Thinking about buying a JEM - Jemsite
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thinking about buying a JEM

I am thinking about buying a JEM to add to my collection but am curious about a few things. How is the quality of the production JEMs compared to the ones that Vai actually plays. Does he play a special one? Also do you guys think they are reliable guitars and quality built ones also? How would you compare their quality to other companies? Oh and and they really only for high gain, or do they sound good clean as well?

Thanks
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 12:15 AM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JVIoneyman View Post
How is the quality of the production JEMs compared to the ones that Vai actually plays.
well obviously his get a great setup by his tech and mods/changes etc sometimes.. but a perfectly setup stock model should play just about as well.

Quote:
Also do you guys think they are reliable guitars and quality built ones also? How would you compare their quality to other companies?
this is a website that is basically a tribute and fansite of the jem guitar and is called JEMsite... and is also dedicated almost solely to Ibanez... you do the math

Quote:
Oh and and they really only for high gain, or do they sound good clean as well?
yep they're really only for the highest gain. you should buy the most metal amp you can find to even make the jem switch on..

actually... it's good.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

If you want a Jem that will be great for cleans and mid gain stuff, get a Jem77 with Basswood / Breeds instead of a Jem7 with Alder / Evolutions, that is...if you are buying new, of course.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 04:08 AM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

I guess the standard JEMS are *fairly* similar to the actual Vai guitars - all the major bits like the woods/hardware/trem/pickups are the same. Having said that the guitars are obviously modded for things like the sustainer & they are also professionally setup. I first got a JEM so that there would be no excuses like "this guitar isn't good enough" when I try to play technically difficult stuff.

As for reliability, they are very well made from high quality components - on my 7VWH I don't think twice about letting go of the trem when it is fully down and letting it snap back. There aren't many guitars you can do that and expect it to still be in tune. Things don't flex or fall off! When I pick up a regular fender strat after the JEM it is like going back in time in terms of design & construction. PRS's feel more solid than a JEM but aren't quite the same type of guitar.

As for sounds, I actually find the 7VWH has quite a weird combination of sounds - the bridge pickup is extremely hot and just the best thing ever for howling leads - the middle pickup is so weak and thin in comparison I very rarely use it even for clean stuff. The neck pickup does fat distorted and clean tones well. You actaully can get some fairly passable clean smooth jazzy tones out of the guitar but there is an underlying "sterile" nature to the whole thing.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 05:55 AM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

Don't buy one without trying it - it's not for everyone. The neck is pretty thin and may or may not suit your technique (especially if you're used to Gibson, PRS and V-neck Strats and the like).

That said, production Jems are close to what Steve Vai plays, within limits. There has been a fair amount of tweaking, but the basics are the same.

Clean tone? Honestly, there are better guitars for this - there's a thread on Fender's forum at the moment having a go at Ibanez in general and Jems in particular, but a lot of it involves 'I don't like the hole in it and the seven strings'. I'd be inclined to mistrust anyone who misses out on the small detail of number of strings on a guitar. A Strat's clean tone is definitely better, but a Jem's main purpose in life is high gain, unmuddied tone and you'd have to go a long way to find better.

Comparing quality with other companies? It's a high-end guitar - every company produces at least one, and quality of build is pretty similar across the board. You get what you pay for.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

Very reasonable comments so far, the only thing I don't understand is why people don't like the clean sound of a Jem. The only sound I don't use on my 7VWH is the middle single coil on it's own, in fact I'm thinking of modifying the circuit so position 3 gives both humbuckers on when a push pull pot is engaged, although I may not like that either!
I gig regularly in a covers band and have been using my Jem for the last 9 years or so. We play pop and rock from Van halen to Van Morrison. I use a clean amp setting for half the tunes we do, including a few clean solos. I'm very happy with the tones.
The only problem I have had is a little fret wear on the first few frets, didn't really affect the guitar but as I had to get a paint chip fixed (from when a mike stand was knocked against the guitar while I was playing!) I had the frets dressed. I've only broken a string once during a gig and once during a rehearsal in the 9 years and I do a fair bit of whammy work!
I'm sure it's best to check out a guitar in person before purchase just in case you get a Friday afternoon job, but in my experience the build quality is very good.
Jim
'98 Jem7VWH
'91 Jem77BFP with GK-3
RG470FMR
Charvel EVH Art Series (red/white/black)
Burns Brian May
Epiphone G-1275 double neck
Epiphone Sheraton II

Laney VH100R
Boss GT-8
Roland GR-30
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etc. etc....
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

I've thought about buying a Jem too for years actually. I had a chance to pick up a VWH but picked up a UV instead. I still want one though. A VSBL would be nice.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 02:10 PM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flobanez View Post
I still want one though. A VSBL would be nice.
You get a vsbl shawn and the pearloid pickguard/truss cover are on me buddy


Jems are some of the most versatile guitars ever produced!! You can play any style with them and get any tone out of them. They are all I own anymore and certainly all I need

#7 is coming (will post pics and tone clips)
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

So it IS a jem.......



....you secretive b*st*rd

Ummm.....#7 ???? What happened to the chibaneD??
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

Wow, thanks or all the great responses they helped a lot. I don't think the neck will be an issue for me, i don't really mind think or think necks. I think they both have a purpose. Right now i have a PRS CU22, A Les Paul 1959 VOS, and a Deluxe strat, so i need a good "shredder" so to speak. I always liked the looks and the JEM, and also always thought that Steve vai was on of the best technical players out there, so i trust his specs. I play technical music as of now, and i do a pretty good job on the guitars I have, but i think a guitar that is devoted to that style of playing would help me out, make it easier to me.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

A well set up Jem is an awesome guitar. If you decide to buy new, I would highly recommend that you buy from Rich (Ibanez Rules). His set-ups are the best
Playability wise, it's very versatile and although some don't rate the single coil, I think it's a good pick-up.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

Do you guys think buying new is recommended?
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 06:09 PM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

Tbh, not necessarily. I don't usually myself. Rich also sells used guitars and they come with a great set-up My 7vwh was used and brought from him, awesome guitar
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

I read that steve's actual guitars were made in california, by the endorsed artist ibanez shop. I wonder if thats true.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 07:04 PM
 
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Re: Thinking about buying a JEM

I was in your situation not so long ago and I have found that the Jem7vwh is very versatile tonewise. I do a little adjusting on my amp and I can get really good clean tones in addition to amazing distorted tones. The only thing that I'm not crazy about is the single coil in the middle (too thin in terms of what the other p/u combinations provide).

Good luck
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bridge pickup , charvel evh , charvel evh art , charvel evh art series , clean tone , deluxe strat , distorted tone , distorted tones , double neck , evh art series , fender strat , les paul , neck pickup , pearloid pickguard , standard jem , steve vai , truss cover , van halen

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