Which brings me to the last modification, the neck.
Wow, how bad is the fret work on this thing, I swear I nearly cut my fingers everytime I played it, the fret edges were like razor blades. Obviously the guitar lost a lot of moisture during its life from an Indonesian factory to a southern hemisphere dry climate, but Ibanez can’t get away with that poor excuse, the fret levelling was a joke. At least the neck itself had a nice clean relief with good adjustment. This kind of says a lot about the guitar in general, it had so much potential but wasn’t quite given the attention it needed. It’s like it was a $1,000 guitar that played like a $299 guitar.
The profile of the neck is very similar to the early MIJ JEMs almost identical to my 88 FP and 89 VBK, there is a subtle difference in the fretboard radius, but it’s barely noticeable. For me as an old fart, one of the things that makes a Jem a Jem, is the scalloping from the 21st to 24th frets, so I got my luthier to measure the scalloping on my 777VBK in order to best replicate that particular neck, while he was levelling the frets and sorting out the hideous fret-end dressing.
As you can see I paid the price for digging too deep (just like the dwarves did) and lost some of the inlays. This was expected, and I had to make a decision at the time as to whether I was prepared to lose some inlay at the expense of the scalloping. Although I was not over the moon about the damaged inlays, my goal was to get the neck to feel as close to my MIJ Jems as possible regardless of how it looked, so that’s why I went ahead with it. Ultimately the modifications to this guitar were about how it played and sounded, the cosmetic stuff may come into play a little later down the track. I’ve always liked Steve’s Evo, but I’m not able to justify paying the price for one. I’ve never liked gold hardware and the black hardware on Evo really appealed to me. I guess this guitar is kind of like my own little version of Evo, I’ll try and track down a pearloid scratchplate and covers, as I do think the white Jem’s look better with the pearloid accoutrements.
Thankfully, spending the money made it a $2,000 guitar that plays like a $2,000 guitar. I actually like playing this guitar now, so it’s mission successful.
BTW, this guitars name is “Dirty Gerty”. Gerty was my mother-in-laws nickname and she was a pretty grungy, down-to-earth chick, so it seemed to fit. I’m sure any questions about the upgrade process have been answered in other posts, but I’m happy to answer any questions that anyone may have. Cheers.