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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Need help learning about amps [Updated 12/5]

Update 12/5/2019
I just wanted to say thank you again to you guys for your help! I gave him the guitar over Thanksgiving and he was blown away. We went and picked out an amp and other accessories together (he picked out a Fender and a pedal he liked) then I got to hear him play for a while. I can't tell you how happy it made me to see him work through songs he used to know. He would get that far-off look on his face and then get excited when he remembered the song. Adorable!!

A fun other bit of news... we're engaged!! Needless to say, it was a GREAT week.

Update 11/14/2019
After a lot of additional research, I've purchased a new JEM7VP and it's ready to be picked up (I also got an Ibanez M300C hardshell case to go with it since the guitar only ships with a gig bag) and I'm going to surprise my boyfriend in about a week and half. After he gets the guitar, we are headed straight to the music shop so he can pick out his own amp. Thank you to everyone who responded! You helped me understand what a personal choice the amp really is for a guitarist. I'm so glad I didn't try to pick one out for him because I'm sure I would have gotten it wrong.

I can't wait to see the smile on his face!!

Original Post 10/31/2019
Hi everyone!

I'll start off by saying I don't personally play. My boyfriend played for many years but hit some hard times before we met and lost or had to sell off his equipment. He mentioned to me a while ago that his dream guitar was the Ibanez JEM Steve Vai Signature. He's a huge fan of Steve Vai and just loves the look of the guitar.

I really want to knock his socks off for Christmas this year, so I was actually thinking of getting him the JEM7V. I've found an excellent quality used JEM7V, but now I need to get an amp to go along with it.

I really need your help. I'm more than willing to admit I know NOTHING about this stuff, and as much as I want to ask him about the amp, I know he would just worry about me spending money on him. Price isn't really an object with this request, I just want him to be happy.

Ok, so given that he's getting the Ibanez JEM7V, what amps can you guys recommend?

Thank you so much in advance for your help!

EDIT: I'm doing my best to read through the sticky post now, but a lot of it is greek to me. I have no idea what to even look for or what might work well. If you guys have any follow-up questions to help me narrow down some of this information, that would be amazing.

EDIT 2: Gah! The more I read in the sticky post, the more it seems like he really needs to pick out the amp himself. Maybe that makes the most sense.
 

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EDIT 2: Gah! The more I read in the sticky post, the more it seems like he really needs to pick out the amp himself. Maybe that makes the most sense.
I think having him pick out the amp makes the most sense and you will both be happier as a result. The "amp guide" sticky thread you are reading has been neglected for 15 years and it was probably only useful to people who already knew what all the information meant. It needs revision so you can stop reading it now.

The guitar amplifier is the electric guitar's better half. This is not obvious because guitarists do not play the "amplifier." Most amplifiers control volume levels, but guitar amplifiers go much further, they make the electric guitar sound good, which is important. If your boyfriend knows about amplifiers, surprise him with the JEM and let him navigate the amp market. You will learn much more that way.

Lastly, you are a good girlfriend...8O...assuming this is real and I am not talking to an internet bot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I think having him pick out the amp makes the most sense and you will both be happier as a result. The "amp guide" sticky thread you are reading has been neglected for 15 years and it was probably only useful to people who already knew what all the information meant. It needs revision so you can stop reading it now.
Thank you so much for the confirmation. I had read several other threads on here where the primary suggestion to others asking for recommendations was to just go try different amps and decide on the best sound. I had thought of going to Guitar Center and asking the guys working there which amps they would suggest, but maybe I'll surprise my boyfriend with the guitar at the store and then he can pick out the best amp.

The guitar amplifier is the electric guitar's better half. This is not obvious because guitarists do not play the "amplifier." Most amplifiers control volume levels, but guitar amplifiers go much further, they make the electric guitar sound good, which is important. If your boyfriend knows about amplifiers, surprise him with the JEM and let him navigate the amp market. You will learn much more that way.
I really appreciate this information. I had no idea the amp was so important until I started reading some of the stuff here! I naively thought you could just play the guitar like an acoustic. SMH :roll:

Lastly, you are a good girlfriend...8O
You are too kind. I'm actually pretty selfish... I just want to hear him play because he's been talking about it since we first met. I'm also really looking forward to the grin on his face after he gets over the initial shock. :wink:

...assuming this is real and I am not talking to an internet bot.
I'm definitely not a bot. Though, I guess that is precisely what a bot would say.
 

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Affordable amp, I would suggest a Marshall DSL. DSL20CR combo sounds killer with a speaker change and is pretty light weight. DSL40CR combo sounds good out of the box, but, somewhat heavier and slightly more expensive. Cant really go wrong with Marshall tube amps.
 

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The more I read in the sticky post, the more it seems like he really needs to pick out the amp himself. Maybe that makes the most sense.
You know which guitar he wanted but the amp would definitely be dangerous ground, unless maybe you picked up an amp at a store that would allow returns, but even then they might not have anything he'd like.

Give him the guitar and let him freak out choosing the amp himself. Many of us here have JEM's and probably few of us chose the exact same amp.

Edit: I just got thinking, do you know that he wanted a white one and not another? The JEM that I eventually picked up has the floral print and for those of us who love them, another would not do. Is there anyway you can verify he'll be happiest with the white?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You know which guitar he wanted but the amp would definitely be dangerous ground, unless maybe you picked up an amp at a store that would allow returns, but even then they might not have anything he'd like.

Give him the guitar and let him freak out choosing the amp himself. Many of us here have JEM's and probably few of us chose the exact same amp.
Thankfully I came to the exact same conclusion! He will definitely choose his own amp. I'm really glad I asked around here first and didn't just go try to buy him one. There's a very, very high likelihood I would have ended up with the wrong thing. :(

Edit: I just got thinking, do you know that he wanted a white one and not another? The JEM that I eventually picked up has the floral print and for those of us who love them, another would not do. Is there anyway you can verify he'll be happiest with the white?
So here's the rest of the story--a couple of months ago, he had a fun night and got pretty drunk. We got on the topic of his music background and what he used to play. He showed me a chain of music videos containing songs he had learned or tried to learn and he told me how much he missed it.

A while ago, before we met, he had apparently loaned his equipment to a "friend" of his. This person apparently took his guitar, amp, and even the stand to a pawn shop and sold the gear for cash to buy drugs. My boyfriend had just finished going to school and was broke, so he didn't have much recourse in the situation. Couldn't get the old equipment back, couldn't afford new equipment, so he just let it all go.

After telling me the story, he pulled up a link to the Ibanez JEMJR Steve Vai Signature Edition (White), the $499.99 version on Guitar Center, and told me that when he had enough money he was going to buy it. He showed me a video of Steve Vai playing a white JEM and told me it was his "dream guitar." He loves Steve Vai and talked about how much he likes the look of the white and the inlay.

Originally I was planning on getting the JEMJR just like he asked, but I read a bunch of reviews that said it was surprisingly good for the price but some of the parts may be a little cheaper and might need to be replaced. I watched videos, I read stuff here on the forums, and I talked to several of our friends who also play and got their thoughts on the different versions of the guitar he wanted (JEMJR, JEM7VP, and JEM7V).

So here's the update since my original post--after all of my research, I finally settled on a new JEM7VP. It just came out this year, the reviews seemed to be really good so far, and I personally loved the ebony fingerboard and opalescent inlay (as opposed to the white plastic inlay of the JEMJR). In addition, a friend of ours said the ebony fingerboard might actually produce sounds better suited to my boyfriends music style than either the JEM7V (Rosewood) or the JEMJR (Jatoba), so I was sold.

I've bought the guitar and it's going to arrive next week, I'm so excited! I'm giving it to my boyfriend right before Thanksgiving (he's moving in with me during Christmas and I didn't want the excitement of the guitar to get lost in the madness of moving) and I'll take him to pick out an amp as soon as he gets the guitar in his hands. Hopefully I can get a picture of his face when he sees the guitar and I'll come back to share with you guys.

Thank you for the thoughtful responses!
 

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Thankfully I came to the exact same conclusion! He will definitely choose his own amp. I'm really glad I asked around here first and didn't just go try to buy him one. There's a very, very high likelihood I would have ended up with the wrong thing. :(
None of us would have chosen the right amp either.

Originally I was planning on getting the JEMJR just like he asked, but I read a bunch of reviews that said it was surprisingly good for the price but some of the parts may be a little cheaper and might need to be replaced. I watched videos, I read stuff here on the forums, and I talked to several of our friends who also play and got their thoughts on the different versions of the guitar he wanted (JEMJR, JEM7VP, and JEM7V).

So here's the update since my original post--after all of my research, I finally settled on a new JEM7VP. It just came out this year, the reviews seemed to be really good so far, and I personally loved the ebony fingerboard and opalescent inlay (as opposed to the white plastic inlay of the JEMJR). In addition, a friend of ours said the ebony fingerboard might actually produce sounds better suited to my boyfriends music style than either the JEM7V (Rosewood) or the JEMJR (Jatoba), so I was sold.
You put in a lot of research and care into this and you made a great choice in going higher for the non-JR guitar.

Thanks for sharing all the backstory.
 

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Thankfully I came to the exact same conclusion! He will definitely choose his own amp.
This is so perfect! If the shoe was on the other foot I would have been elated that you'd actually gone a step higher on a guitar that I said I loved, but to tell the truth, the amp is every bit as much a personal choice and could be disastrous if you'd gone ahead and just bought one, regardless of how expensive, or otherwise perfect. Even going with a simple amp just to tide him over, much better letting him choose. Maybe even better yet, both of you get to go shopping for amp tones, together.
 

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For what it's worth, Steve Vai himself uses/used a Carvin Legacy, like the Jem it's his signature amp. They have stopped making them as far as I know though, some places still may have them for sale. Never tried one myself so have no insight on the matter, as others have mentioned the amp is also a very personal choice and makes a huge difference.
 

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You might consider the Carvin Legacy Drive pedal if it is a Vai sound he is after.

You can plug this into different amps or into headphones, speakers a computer etc. In fact Steve uses this himself for some small appearances where he doesn't have his full rig.
 

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Hi everyone!

I'll start off by saying I don't personally play. My boyfriend played for many years but hit some hard times before we met and lost or had to sell off his equipment. He mentioned to me a while ago that his dream guitar was the Ibanez JEM Steve Vai Signature. He's a huge fan of Steve Vai and just loves the look of the guitar.

I really want to knock his socks off for Christmas this year, so I was actually thinking of getting him the JEM7V. I've found an excellent quality used JEM7V, but now I need to get an amp to go along with it.

I think it's really awesome you joined this forum and are surprising him with a JEM. You're a super thoughtful girlfriend and I hope he is very appreciative. Way to go!
 

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I've found an excellent quality used JEM7V, but now I need to get an amp to go along with it.
Just get him the guitar, since you know he already loves it, but don't pick an amp. I'd be so embarrassed if my girlfriend got me an amp I didn't like, and there's a very good chance that's the way it could go.

Give him the guitar and let him know you thought of getting an amp too but decided it would be better for him to choose one that was just right for him. Then tell him Merry Christmas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you, everyone! He loved the guitar and he picked out an amp he's really, really happy with! It took some tuning, but he managed to finally get the exact sound he was looking for from the amp and was over the moon.
 

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Thank you, everyone! He loved the guitar and he picked out an amp he's really, really happy with! It took some tuning, but he managed to finally get the exact sound he was looking for from the amp and was over the moon.
Post a video of him playing it, or at least a picture of him with the guitar and amp?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Post a video of him playing it, or at least a picture of him with the guitar and amp?
I wish I had gotten a better picture of the amp here, but it's a Fender. He picked it out pretty quickly and then added the pedal. I had so much fun that night just listening to him relearning after not playing for over a year. I know he was frustrated with himself for having forgotten some of the stuff he learned, but songs just kept flooding back to him. I could see the gears turning in his mind, it was great!!

Once he's more comfortable with playing again, I'll get a video and post it for you guys.

In case you guys didn't see the update in the original post, my boyfriend and I are engaged and we're getting married in about a week! I'm not gonna SAY the guitar had anything to do with it, but... :grin2:


EDIT: I might have linked it incorrectly, but I can only seem to get the picture to open when I right click and select "Open in new tab." Sorry if that doesn't work for you.
 
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