I have one... from 98. Trem is trash, replaced that with a Schaller.. never had any trouble with it.
Last week I got it back from the guitarbuilder. New frets and set up right.. sounds Amazing to my ears. Plays perfect. I am very happy with it.
This is an age old question, the answer is pretty much what Marcel has said, it all revolves around the trem! The older JEM 555s had a trem (I want to say Lot TRS 2 or something?) that wouldn't stay in tune. Once that was replaced e.g. with a Gotoh, Schaller or real Floyd, then the tuning was spot on.
Feel and sound wise, I personally can't fault them I don't like the half vine, but I love the Dimarzio Evos in basswood with the little bit thicker neck than the normal RG.
The JEM555 is still there and upon further inspection I am going to pass. There are cracks in the body on both sides of the heel where the neck is bolted to the body. Further, someone replaced the tremolo with an Original Floyd Rose but the stud on the bass side of the bridge is tilting forward and there are cracks inside the body at the location of both tremolo posts. I feel like that guitar is a ticking time bomb or would take more than the price of it to correct the issues if they are correctable. I am glad I didn't just blindly buy it out of my strong JEM-lust right now.
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