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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just wants to start off by saying that I am a huge fan of Steve Vai and the jem guitars.I have always been curious about the jem Vai plays and the ones you buy off the shelves.I'm sure most of you know that steve is not playing some production jem.I talked to a few reputable builders who have told me that the wood Ibanez selects for these so called steve vai guitars are not really high quality pieces of wood and that the necks are just slapped together buy a machine.I was very upset by this because i had just spent 1600 on a guitar which for that price should be handmade.So what I did was I sent my practily brand new 7vwh ot this guy who said that he would hand select me a quality piece of alder for the body and a piece of maple and ebony for the neck.He also gave me money for the original body and neck so he could sell it.I told him tthat i wanted the guitar to have the exact same specs,electronicsand hardware as the original.Needless to say 6mnths later i got the guitar back and totally suprised hown theguitar looked.There is know way anyone would ba able to tell the difference.I plugged in the guitar and coukld not believe how this guitar felt and sounded.The neck felt so much more sturdier and smoother that it was almost to easy to play.This guityar sounded so much better that i called the guy back to see if he used the same kind of wood and pickups,which he did.The guitar had more bottom,top,and mids.It was like i was playing the old guitar with some kind o booster on it.The harmoics i could get out of this thing where effortless.Any fret and any string i could pull off zakk Wylde style harmonics with ease.Dont get me wrong I love the jem guitars and plan on buying plenty more to add to my collection,but i just think everyone should know that you are not playing the same guitar steve is.I am currently looking to buy a hand made guitar shortly as i just posted a thread in other 6 string guitars.
 

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I don't know who your reputable builders are, but the Jems you buy, are the very same one's Vai uses. The amount of guitars he goes through (back in the day anyway) Ibanez doesn't have the time to hand select everything.

Try talking to someone at Hoshino, or other Ibanez segments, the guitars that Vai plays, are the ones we buy, in solid body guitars, particularily the less exotic woods like basswood, you only have so much difference. His guitars are production Jems, unless he breaks them, like Evo.
 

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one other thing, if you think $1600 should buy you a hand built guitar, you are finding cheaper builders than most of us.

This guys name wouldn't be Ed Roman would it?
 

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im pretty sure that Evo is just a stock JEM7VWH, Vai just loves the way it sounds. I would love to speak to the guy who said you could get a handbuilt guitar for $1600
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you think ibanez is going to send steve vai just some regular jem off the production lin you are nuts.I'm not saying his main guitar is that much different,i just think that ibanez pays a little more attention to detail when they send a guiatar to steve.
 

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motogod927 said:
Go to gmw guitars and they will give you a handmade in usa green meanie replica for $1250.
Hand made production guitar that they have hundreds of parts for, it's not truely a hand made guitar.
Evo is only custom in the sense that it's got a different neck. None of us are nuts. Just informed, there are enough people on this site that know vai, to know something about his guitars.
 

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If you're hard-pressed to tell the difference, are you absolutely sure that he didn't send you the same guitar back? ;)

Six months later, i'd have a hard time pinpointing tonal differences from one guitar to the next.

Steve's whole point in collaborating with Ibanez on the JEM series was so he could have access to a big pool of production instruments should one break while on the road. We've all seen him playing VWHs with different necks, including a 555 neck at some point. He just keeps swapping out necks and bodies until he finds the magical combination that feels and sounds just right.

I can't see Ibanez having the resources to hand-build every one of Steve's guitars, but you can bet that when he needs a new one, they make sure he has access to a crate of 'em so he can play them all and pick the best of the bunch.
 

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Thats exactly what I thought.. the same guitar!

Now, I don't know Vai, nor would I ever claim that the jem production are of the same EXACT quality as his own, BUT I've played enough high end guitars, and the vwh is made very well, and tonally is my favorite!

I smell something funny here... sniff sniff... :evil:
 

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I'm fairly certain that most, if not ALL, of Steve's personal guitars come from the L.A. Artist's Custom Shop. The little things like the Feiten Tempered tuning upgrades pretty much prevent Steve's guitars from being 100% stock, off-the-shelf production models.
 

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How many of them though? and in 87, were they all that way? when he was going through so many guitars? One thing he always stated, was he loved how he could walk into a music store, and pick up one of HIS guitars, and it felt right. Mods can be done to any guitar, but I highly doubt they are handpicking the wood. Every player, us included do mods to our guitars, how many Jems have we swapped pickups in?
 

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Take a look at the massive collection of guitars on Steve's site...I'm guessing that none of those came directly from Ibanez without first passing through the hands of the LA Custom shop. Aside from the fact that the majority of the guitars that he's used over the years have been either one-offs of prototypes, I'd say that none of Steve's guitars can really be referred to as "stock". (with the exception of the "Lasher" guitars, but those don't really count, do they?)
 

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motogod927 said:
I was very upset by this because i had just spent 1600 on a guitar which for that price should be handmade.
ROTF :lol:

This has been widely discussed on the forum and when it comes right down to it, you're not hand-making a JEM7VWH for close to it's retail price. Nevermind you overpaid a bit, and could have grabbed a used one for several hundred less, but that's besides the point.

Steve's guitars are the same quality as what you'd buy in the stores, even if the Artist axes go thru the LACS... glen
 

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WOW!! If I could make a replica (although I won't replicate a production model) for 1600, that would be awesome!! I simply can't get my cost that low :wink:
 

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vaijem777 said:
Take a look at the massive collection of guitars on Steve's site...I'm guessing that none of those came directly from Ibanez without first passing through the hands of the LA Custom shop. Aside from the fact that the majority of the guitars that he's used over the years have been either one-offs of prototypes, I'd say that none of Steve's guitars can really be referred to as "stock". (with the exception of the "Lasher" guitars, but those don't really count, do they?)
Then I'd suggest you go look through them, you'll find quiate a few straight production models. There are quite a few one offs, and sure, you expect those to be made at LACS and not at the factory. You know the VWH rosewood board necks he's playing on now? Yup, factory made, I have one sitting right here on Red Lace ;)
 

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A neck does not make a "stock" guitar. Was Red Lace a stock, production model guitar that came directly from Hoshino's warehouse to Steve?

I'm sorry... my opinion of a "stock" guitar is one that came directly from a distributor or reseller with no middleman in between. One that had zero special treatment at all. Basically, a guitar identical to one that you could find hanging on the wall in Ma & Pa's Music (now known as Guitar Center).

Granted, I was incorrect before: there ARE obviously several "stock" models in Steve's collection. But, the only one's that I ever recall seeing him actually use live/on video are the PBK from "Alien Love Secrets", the JEM10th, and an FP or two (and I know Keneally used the JEM90HAM off & on) Oh...I do recall a magazine spread that had him with a VBK-I think that one was stock.

I suppose he's probably had a couple of "stock" VHW's as backups at one time or another, but out of the guitars that he actually uses, and is seen with, I don't think any of them really qualify as "stock" or as straight production models, un-modded.
 

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right, but as I said, they are stock guitars that are modded. Motogod was saying hand picked wood etc. I don't think they go to that extent, they don't have some trained goof going through racks of wood saying, One for Vai, one for me, one for Vai, one for me, one for Vai, oops, nope, that one's for me too.

the wood is wood, the finish, is the finish, the pickups, well, maybe he has dimarzio custom wind them, but wouldn't that defeat the purpose of mass producing them to start with? The Feiten mod, anyone can have that done, but it's a mod.

It's not like Vai's VWH is a piece of flamed maple for the neck as opposed to what is on a stock VWH. and it's not like his VWH is a mahogany body instead of an alder one. I think that was the basis of this post. Motogod said he had a guitar custom built with better wood. Well I'll tell you something, when it comes to alder, or bass wood, it's not like trying to pick a better grade of figured wood.

Sure, there are some pieces more dense than others, we discussed that in another thread, but I really doubt they are hand picking for steve's guitars.

Yes, Steve has the ability to have Ibanez custom taylor some stuff for him, but so do you, you can have the same mod's vai gets done without having to change the wood.
 

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Let's make the distinction between a "custom" guitar, hand-built from the ground up, and a modded stock guitar.

Regardless of who did the mods, whether it was Steve himself, his guitar tech or the Ibanez L.A. Custom Shop, if it came off the production line, it's a production guitar. A tweaked production guitar, but still not what i'd call "custom".
 
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