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Every time I see a thread like this I'm convinced I'm an idiot for not buying a PGM301 when they were easy to be had in 2007 - and sold IIRC for just $1,300. I'm convinced this would be the perfect guitar for me given my current tastes. I was just not into getting a sig, because in my head a sig used to mean to me that people would be like "oh! You're trying to be THAT guy!" which simply just isn't the case. I also owned a Jem before and I'm of the opinion they are a little better but not THAT much better - especially nowadays where there's more than a 200% premium on them compared to a new RG.
IMO the PGM301 is more distinctly its own animal than the JEM, but all are derivative of the JEM as their parent model.
But now there are also lots more fixed bridge RGs so the gap between them and PGMs might be less now than then.
I would say if one is going to pay $3,500 for a JEM then the QC better be way better than on Prestige MIJ's selling for half the price or more.
The RG IMO is also more fun. You can make it your own more easily. The JEM to me is like an instrument that's distinctly Steve Vai. And there's nothing wrong at all with that. If you want a guitar close to what Steve's playing then the JEM IMO is your route. The RG is a bit of Steve too but also something you can tweak to your own sensibilities. The JEM 505 is also cool in that way; more like a JEM / RG hybrid you can make your own too.
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