Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Katy, TX
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Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem?

I love Ibanez and been playing them for 25 years but I dont know anything about the hardware and specs. Can you guys tell me main differences and pro and cons between those three models? Your personal opinions about each are cool too. I'm asking because I'm interested in trying out a Jem as I have never played one.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 12:00 AM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Welcome to Jemsite!

The originals and the anniversaries have the same pickups and trem (V1 and V2 humbuckers, S1 single coil, and original Edge). RG20th has a five-piece Wizard neck with titanium reinforcement rods, no volute, no screws through neck, whereas the original 550s have a one-piece quartersawn neck with the through-mounted locking nut.

I don't know exactly which Wizard is on my re-issue; when people start arguing about the different necks my eyes just glaze over. But it has got to be the thinnest neck Ibanez makes or a millimeter close to it. Very thin, flat back.

The RG550 v. JEM debate is a can of worms. Briefly, what the JEM7VWH (most ubiquitous) has over a 550: the vine inlay, four highest frets are scalloped, DiMarzio pickups, lion's claw route for the trem, and the monkey grip. Oh, and it's Steve Vai's signature model. *chuckle*

Okay, going to bed now. You'd serve yourself well to do some research and port some specific questions, otherwise I predict this thread will go all over the place.

Peace

Mike
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 12:44 AM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Also the XXV RG has the Edge Zero II bridge. Much like the Edge, it's knife-edged. But it uses the ZPS, making you do more work to set it up like the old Edge. But it's a good bridge.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 12:47 AM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

My understanding is the Jem neck actually has its own profile (besides having the inlay & top 4 frets scalloped). In fact it is actually a hair fatter than the newest Wizard necks. Personally, the Jem neck is my absolute favorite to play feel-wise. I have newer RG's, and I have played (but do not own) the newest neon re-issue RG's. I have not played a vintage RG 550 in years so I can't directly address that one. As for Jems I own 3, an '89 777VBK, an '02 7VSBL, and a '10 7VWH. Of those, the '89 neck is hands down the best neck I have ever played. However, I really do prefer the newer AANJ neck joint, so the '02 is probably the best compromise between the two styles (it is still a 1-pc quartersawn neck).

So necks aside another consideration is body wood. All the RG's you mentioned are basswood, whereas Jems are available in basswood or Alder, depending on the year & model. If you have a preference between tone woods this could be a decision maker in and if itself.

Additionally, you are of course looking at different pups/electronics between the RG & Jem models. Jems of course sport the DiMarzio EVO sets, and RG's generally have "DiMarzio designed" Ibanez pups. This, in my opinion, should be the lowest consideration on your list. Pups are so easy and relatively inexpensive (compared to the cost of the guitar) to change out that it really isn't a big deal if you love the pups a given guitar comes with. I would worry more about the "feel" being right for you. That's hard to change much. If you find a guitar that feels great in your hands there is a ton of stuff you can do to dial in the tone you want (pups, caps, pots, brass/titanium tone blocks, etc).

Finally, you may be looking at different tremolo setups (Edge, Edge Pro, Edge Lo pro, Edge III, Edge ZR, etc). Some people have very strong preferences in this department so make sure you're happy with the trem before you buy. Play them a lot! Palm mute, dive bomb, trill, pull up, light vibrato, etc. so you have a good feeling of a particular trem's action. While you may be able to change out the trem later, it can sometimes be a complicated procedure depending on whow different the dimensions are between what you got & what you want. You may have to re-rout the body or pull the studs & plug & re-drill for new studs (although, I think the stud spacing is pretty similar amongst the Edge lineup... But I'm not sure so def find out if you have a preference!).

Anyway the point is there are differences and to some these differences are small while to others they are huge. Ultimately only you can decide how significant they are to YOU.

Rock on!
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 10:38 AM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikey Mikey View Post
. . .

The originals and the anniversaries have the same pickups and trem . . .

Okay, going to bed now. . . .
Wow, I really did need some sleep. I didn't read carefully. Your question is about the recent 25th anniversaries, and I responded with regard to the RG20ths from 2007. Whoops.

Peace

Mike
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 12:05 PM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

well, the 25th are not japanese, thats the difference...
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Thanks for the inFo guys. I have an original RG550 that I bought back around 1988-1990. So long ago I can't remember but I have had many guitars over the past 20 years (ESP,BC rich,les Paul, USA strat, ect) and I have always gone right back to my rg550. Last week I walked into guitar center and saw the yellow 25th anni RG, picked it up, played it for 10 minutes and ended buying it. I have been playing every night going back and forth between them and this is the first guitar that I cannot put down and go back to the original RG. I am blown away by this thing. This has peeked my interest in the Jem since that is the ( correct me if I'm wrong) top Ibanez(rg like) guitar. Now I'm dying to play one and see what its all about. I'm seeing a few used Jems on Craigslist here in my city (Houston) for about $1500-$1600. I'm just not sure if those are considered deals. I will keep researching the Jem.



Thanks again!

Last edited by BuffDaddySmurf; 03-19-2012 at 10:40 PM.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 10:17 PM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Depending on the model & condition, $1500 for a Jem can be a pretty good price. I watch them on EBay pretty regularly and they tend to average $2k-$2500. Some models are considered more collectible than others (such as the original swirls and the original neons) so tend to average going rates of $3500-4500. But for a good condition players Jem with a hard case $1500 is def a decent price. I've seen several whites, sparkle blues, and blacks in that range. Just make sure you stick with the 7 series and avoid the 555, 333, etc Jem Jr series which are not Japanese built and tend to have significant variability in build quality.

I'm glad to hear your review of the RG 25th as I've been seriously considering picking one up!
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Unfortunately.I cannot post links here since I dont have 10 posts yet.

You can go to Houston.craigslist.com , put in ibanez Jem and you will see two Jems for sale with pics. Would either of those be considered a deal?



Thanks again!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 11:05 PM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffDaddySmurf View Post
Unfortunately.I cannot post links here since I dont have 10 posts yet.

You can go to Houston.craigslist.com , put in ibanez Jem and you will see two Jems for sale with pics. Would either of those be considered a deal?



Thanks again!
The VSBL looks like one to ask for more info/pics of..........the price is more than fair for one in good condition.

The VWH is a counterfeit!!! stay away....FAKE....FAKE....FAKE!!!
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 11:05 PM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Well I can personally vouch for the '02 sparkle blue - I own this exact same year model & color. It is the last year of the Edge Lo-Pro and stud locks from the factory. Outstanding Jem. The other ($1500) white also looks to be in good shape and is a great guitar as well. For reference, both these guitars have very similar specs... Both are Alder bodies w/ full EVO pup sets. The white has the newer 5-pc maple/walnut neck while the blue has the originla spec 1-pc quartersawn neck. Personally, I prefer the latter feel-wise and have yet to have any warping issues of any kind, so I don't know that the newer method has any real advantage over the other. I can tell you the blue vine is much less distinct as the co.trast between the blue inlay & rosewood fingerboard is less, so if you're really wanting the extra visual wow factor the white "pops out" more.

I personally own both, plus an '89 777VBK and a "custom" (I.e "tribute" custom built). I mildly modified my blue by swapping pups & adding a brass trem block and I can tell you it is the best playing and sounding guitar I own. Really. So I'm partial to the blue, but thats just me. That guy was asking $1700 but specifically stated it was "mint" & came with a brand new Ibanez hard case so I'd say its worth checking out. Either is a reasonable deal nut if you could get the blue down to $1500-1600 I'd jump on it. Plus the blue is a little less common than the white, while retaining similar tone & feel by being the only non-white Alder vesion (which I think is kinda cool). The white may also be a good deal if its in mint condition though so its def worth checking out, and listed @ $200 cheaper.

I would ask them for close up pics of the back of the neck where the lock-nut screws are and the neck/body joint.... These are by far the most common weak points & are most likely to show 1st signs of fatigue. Or even better just play them & closely examine them in person. If one feels "just right" & makes you forget your beloved RG's, you have your answer!

Best of luck man!
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 11:16 PM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffDaddySmurf View Post
. . .
You can go to Houston.craigslist.com , put in ibanez Jem and you will see two Jems for sale with pics. Would either of those be considered a deal?

. . .
I like the blue one, that finish is gorgeous in the light, but you wouldn't know it from those crappy pictures. For $1600, I'd go check it out and haggle with him if I liked it.

The 7VWH is a fake.

Peace

Mike
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 11:21 PM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Ha, Ryc beat me to it! I was looking too hard at it. Took me a while but I got the right answer.

Peace

Mike
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 11:34 PM
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

This is what I LOVE about this site... There are always folks who know more than you!

I did not spot the fake white at first glance but upon closer inspection I do see some suspicious details. Go for the 7VSBL! There are a LOT of fake 7VWH floating around out there but that sparkle blue is gorgeous and too hard to replicate to make it worth knocking off.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Can someone explain difference between original rg550, the 25th anni RG and a Jem

Thanks a bunch for all the great info guys!!!
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