White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

Hey everyone.

I figured I'd make my presence known with a bit of an introduction, and a question or rather a dilemma I have. I hope nobody will throw rocks (as other forum people have) as I see the people here aren't as biased against beginners as... well, everyone. Yes, I'm a beginner on a quest to rock 'n' roll, and metal, and whatnot. I like a ton of different music, but for the purposes of my dilemma, let's just say my immediate goals are buying a JEM and going from beginner to intermediate to... not getting ahead of myself.

I've been playing since November (on a 65$ acoustic), and though the beginner stages of learning guitar have been OK, and my calluses quite unsightly, I believe it's time to move on to an electric. My first forray into "what electric should I buy" was on the justinguitar.com forums (I'm sure at least some of you are familiar with them), and it's there that I sort of got a feel for what the market was, and got pummeled with the notion of "stay away from cheap electric guitars and starter sets lest ye be struck by lightning by the God of Rock".

Sure enough, I browsed a bit, and I found a guitar. The JEM555. Well, rather stumbled into the thing listening to "For the love of God". Let's say living in Romania is a real bother when buying guitars (no used JEMs, just weird models I'm unfamiliar with). I found an Ibanez dealer, that has the JEM555s (BK and WH), and the 7Vs.

I'm considering purchasing the JEM555-BK at the moment. Why? Well, for one thing, the tremolo. I've browsed around, asked some friends (from other countries) about how they feel, and they said I should stay away from the Edge III tremolo like from the black plague. Plus people from around here seem to want to replace the thing. Friends also said the Edge III is really shoddy, as opposed to the Edge Pro II, and that made sense in a marketing sort of way. Steve Vai plays a white guitar, everybody's gonna rush for the white one, so they might as well stick a cheaper production line trem on it. That is just an assumption, though.

Also I hear the pickups are really cool (and at least to my ears, having tried it out a fair bit at the shop, they have a ton of personality) so that's a plus; another plus is not buying a guitar and changing the pick-ups. I'm not skilled, I don't feel like trying that just yet.

I guess what I'm asking is if I should look elsewhere in the Ibanez chain for a guitar. It took a fair bit of work (think saving up for 6 months) to get the money for the JEM555 I want (and I can afford ordering the Carvin Legacy amp in July, or August, so I figure I'd get them simultaneously) -- saving up for a 7V seems like a rather merciless quest. I appreciate the value of "buy cheap, buy twice", but... (I also read the JEM555 vs JEM7V thread previously)

JEM555 both WH and BK are 1,345$. The 7Vs are 3,330$. As far as anything goes, that's quite a big leap in price. Is the JEM555 that terrible?

I apologize for writing so much. Mind goes off in a place between ranting and monetary concerns.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 09:38 PM
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

Hi and welcome to Jemsite.

Is the VWH worth more than a 555? Absolutely. I don't know what trem the 555 currently has, but for most people I would say that it is inferior to whatever the current VWH has by a long way.

Is it worth twice the price? I would personally say yes. Cheaper guitars are cheaper for a reason. Have you tried out an RG for the same kind of money as the 555 and compared the 2. I bet the RG will play better.

Is it a good enough guitar for someone starting out? Probably yes and then some.

If it has taken you that long to save, and they are difficult to get hold of, then I would go the extra mile and get the better axe.

The real question is, have you compared the 2? What do you think.

Why not have a look around the classifieds here, you might find something in Europe more suited to your wallet.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 09:47 PM
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

Welcome to Jemsite....

As far as I am concerned, half the fun of buying a guitar, is the research I do before hand... Take your time, gather as much info as you can. Then once you know how much your willing to spend, find a few different options in the Ibanez line, and then make a choice out of those.

Good luck with your quest for the holy Grail...
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 10:58 PM
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

I had a 555 (Edge Pro II tremolo) before buying my Universe UV7BK.
The 555 is not a bad guitar at all.
It has a set of DiMarzio Evolution pickups (same of high-end JEMs).
The neck feels good.
The bad thing is that tremolo (both the Edge Pro II and the Edge III), which is weak, you cannot trust it.
You can buy the 555 if you want, but I'd rather search an used 7V.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 07:45 AM
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

The first thing I would take into account when scoping for a completely new setup would be to spend roughly equal amounts on guitar and amp or leave some spare cash for effects. So I think you're on the right track on the monetary side.

The problem I see is that with no electric experience (and limited acoustic experience), you will not be able to enjoy the advantages an MIJ Ibanez offers over an MIK or even MII/MIC, so you're basically spending under the assumption that the price reflects the actual quality. You will also be at the mercy of either the factory setup or some store tech messing up your guitar, even worse with a second hand guitar.

Real Jems aren't about value for money, but the 555s are poor deals. For that kind of money you can get a new RG1550 or similar, which at least is made in Japan, not Korea.

Right now I'd personally go for a previous model year RG2570 or similar to avoid the EdgeZero trem. You can pick up one of those for 200$ less than a 555. You could even check out the RG1527; you said you liked FTLOG, so I'd certainly check out a seven string. Universes can be had cheaper than Jems as well.

So basically I'd buy anything as long as it's still got the EdgePro.

No EdgeZero either.

Last edited by eviltwin; 06-18-2009 at 08:09 AM.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 08:37 AM
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

In my opinion if you want a good guitar go for a used 550 or 570, they are common and are well made, cheaper than the 555 and better quality. If not 350s nowadays are playable for the price.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

Thank you for the warm welcome, everyone.
I realize I may have ranted a little bit there; it happens.

@nickcoumbe: This is where lack of experience really kicks me in the privates. I can't accurately compare two locking trems, let alone two normal trems. I guess the real test is about how well it'll withstand abuse, how stiff it is, how well it can perform a trill (or whatever it's called); I need to get my hands dirty before any of that happens. But on that note, I've seen an OFR detune slightly after a wide metal bend on the low E. (granted, I watch too many lick library vids).
Also, the concern with the classifieds is not being able to test the guitar properly, and/or it reaching me in the shape of fine tuners, pickups, a tremolo system and 5000 toothpicks. Our postal service is something to be feared. That's why I want something new. Just a quick note here -- the only used Ibanez guitars here are RGs around... 300-500$ mark. I guess I'm just picky, but I'd rather have something new. I'm way too much of a beginner to appreciate old guitars right now.

@IbanezFreak777: I've been doing research for around 3 months, at the very least. Everything from the wood they use, string gauge, tremolo types, tremolo spare parts, locking tuners, possible problems that might arise, pickup types, you name it. I know a fair bit of the bare bones stuff, but after reading up on some debates in various forums here, I feel like I really know NOTHING. I could probably make a half-informed decision about buying a hardtail at this point (you know, checking intonation and things like that, checking the nut, quality of the frets, and so forth).

@Rachmaninoff: The tremolo's my main concern, actually. I mean the neck feels awesome, the pickups are kewl, the only down-side I see is the trem. Personally, I'd rather not shell out 1,5 grand or whatever on a guitar if I'm not gonna be perfectly happy. I also don't feel like changing trems, those things are not available here.

But yeah, basically, from what I've read (outside my armpit of a country, and within) people are simply not satisfied with the Edge III. I'd rather wait and shell out the 3 and something grand on a 7V-WH to get the pretty white model Vai uses, and have a decent tremolo everyone seems to agree is cool. Of course I'm under no impression I'll sound like him... ever... but I rather like the guitar. Pearloid pickguard on a white sexy guitars makes me want to shell out money. :P

@eviltwin: No, rather I was hoping price reflects actual quality, but I've heard complaints. I'm scared of guitar setup that requires anything tedious (like refretting, or a fret sanding or whatever) because I think there's 1 or 2 luthiers (I also have no idea what the plural for luthier is) available here. And sufficed to say I don't know anyone yet. Beyond adjusting intonation, action, the truss rod, and so forth, I'd rather not step into the unknown.

@prydogga: I assume you mean the RG1570? It's the only one with an Edge Pro so I assume you mean that one. I apologize for being so nebbish, I'm just not used to all the names.

Thanks to everyone for showing an interest in my topic. I truly appreciate it.

I suppose I could just buy one of those RGs and change the pickups. If you could find Evo pickups around here. *slowly losing his mind*

Also, I assume there are no downsides to the 7VWH except the price? Just asking, since if you're willing to invest that much into a guitar... it's the details that keep you up at night.

Here's hoping the Legacy amp will be enough. It should be. I like my windows intact, at any rate. :P
DanteGuitar is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 11:46 AM
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

Hi there!

If your thing is the tremolo like me then check out the new ibanez s5470 which has a way better tremolo than the RGs and the Jems. If you also like Dimarzio Evolution pickups, then put them on this guitar. It sounds better ;o)
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 10:20 PM
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

If you want to buy an Ibanez and just know that every part of it is gonna work and be top notch, JUST BUY a J Custom......
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2009, 07:59 AM
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

I agree with thats been said already. I'd pass on the Jem 555 if you want to do trills then an edge 3 just does not do them at all, i got a rg350 as well and it just doesnt happen.

the Jem7vwh is a perfect guitar it plays great, it feels perfect and the edge pro doesnt trills spot on, as expected. So yup the only bad thing is its price.

If you cant afford the Jem7vwh then i'd go with an Ibanez Prestige like the RG1570. All Prestige's are MIJ and the quality are excellent and far out do the Jem555 which are MIK's, basically the Jem 555 your paying for the vai signature. More than likely you'll be very happy with the pick ups in a Prestige anyway so I cant see you wanting to change to evo's or breeds.

I have a 20th RG550 prestige and workmanship is really good, so yeah go with a prestige or if you dont mind saving go for the Jem 7's.

On a note about the Legacy amp, although i've not had chance try one, i've heard from replies on here when i was asking about it, to get the best out of it you have to turn it up beyond bedroom sound levels, so if it is for home use only then this may not be a good option. Also vai uses many pedals and effects to get his sound.

hope that helps, and good luck with your choices.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2009, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: White JEM, black JEM? What does it all mean?

Well, far be for me to assume anything about the amp, but the guy who does "Master That Riff" (you may know him, or not, quick google will reveal his website) uses a Legacy and uses an attenuator. From what I've read about the things (attenuators) they basically do the trick if you want to turn it up to, say "beyond bedroom", without blowing our your eardrums. Or windows. I might endeavor to get one of those;

and yes, I'm familiar with the zillion effect pedals I'll need, but right now I'll just stick to getting the guitar and the amp. I'd rather save up for a guitar model I like (albeit an overpriced signature model :P) than compromise. Then I can worry about the pedals.

And this is just me being fussy: should I ever risk drop tuning the thing? I mean I've seen tremolo blocking options, from low tech (blocks of wood) to high tech (tremol-no), but... well, getting a hardtail is somewhere in the far future. Think Disturbed, drop C and stuff. I'm a sucker for Disturbed. A friend however has indicated that if I don't enjoy bashing my head against the wall in frustration, I should shy away from drop tuning a floating bridge.

And thank you richard!

@Ibanezfreak777: I may at some point, but I suppose the 7V-WH should be enough for now.
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