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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been through a lot of guitars in the past thirty-something years. Every so often I feel the need to just start over, and this year I did a lot of buying and selling to see what I wanted to own for the time being. I bought Suhrs, Fender Ultra Luxes, some others. Finally I sold the lot and bought these two.

In some ways this gives me a bit of nostalgia - my first real guitar was a low serial number JS1 I bought at Rose Morris on Denmark Street (if I recall correctly) when they were first released - which I sold several years ago for pretty much nothing. I very much regret that. I've never owned a Jem, but Passion and Warfare was a huge influence.

Anyway, the PIA arrived this week and the JS the week before. Both needed the bridge lowered, and the PIA needed to have the neck shifted to the left a little - I didn't enjoy doing that on a £3200 guitar, but since it was otherwise as close to perfect as can be (other than minor finish issues inside the cutouts, which I gather is standard for the PIA), I didn't want to return it. Neither of them weigh more than 7 1/2 lbs.

So far I'm really enjoying them. They're very different guitars, in terms of tone and neck radius. I feel maybe more comfortable with the JS, but the PIA neck feels "faster", and the pickups appear to have more clarity. Maybe they're just brighter.

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Excellent colour combo's on both guitars (y)

I imagine the JS neck will probably feel like a baseball bat compared to the PIA although there's probably not much difference in terms of millimetres. Strange how slight differences in such a sensitive area can make such a big difference to feel and playability.

Joe seems to go with a more vintage style neck while Steve's necks feel more modern from what ive found.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all!

I say this respectfully - the PIA pushes my limits a bit in terms of all the bling! Fortunately for me I'm a bit of a Vai fan and the matte black does tone it all down a little. What I was looking for with this guitar was a lightweight high end RG with SS frets that has a sound I like. For a while I had an RG8570Z, but that didn't have SS frets and I wasn't fond of the pickups - it was also shockingly heavy, so that had to go. The neck is a little thicker than the 8570 - I prefer that too. I do like the sound of these pickups!

The JS just feels like an old friend. The body is comfortable to hold, the neck is thicker than the PIA but honestly the difference in feel is far more noticeable in terms of radius - 250mm vs 430mm! I quite like the blue colour. The currently available options are blue, purple or red - I didn't really want red or a sustainiac, nor purple - so blue it is. I really wish the higher end JS models had SS frets though. I far prefer SS to play on. On the bright side, this JS was on sale for a couple of days at £200 off, so that justifies a refret if it's still around in a couple of years and Ibanez hasn't switched the JS to SS, in which case I'd probably switch to a new model.
 

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Excellent colour combo's on both guitars (y)

I imagine the JS neck will probably feel like a baseball bat compared to the PIA although there's probably not much difference in terms of millimetres. Strange how slight differences in such a sensitive area can make such a big difference to feel and playability.

Joe seems to go with a more vintage style neck while Steve's necks feel more modern from what ive found.
Yes, the JS necks are much more strat-like, so a little thicker but also a bit narrower than the PIAs, which will somewhat cancel out as you grip it.
 

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I've been through a lot of guitars in the past thirty-something years. Every so often I feel the need to just start over, and this year I did a lot of buying and selling to see what I wanted to own for the time being. I bought Suhrs, Fender Ultra Luxes, some others. Finally I sold the lot and bought these two.

In some ways this gives me a bit of nostalgia - my first real guitar was a low serial number JS1 I bought at Rose Morris on Denmark Street (if I recall correctly) when they were first released - which I sold several years ago for pretty much nothing. I very much regret that. I've never owned a Jem, but Passion and Warfare was a huge influence.

Anyway, the PIA arrived this week and the JS the week before. Both needed the bridge lowered, and the PIA needed to have the neck shifted to the left a little - I didn't enjoy doing that on a £3200 guitar, but since it was otherwise as close to perfect as can be (other than minor finish issues inside the cutouts, which I gather is standard for the PIA), I didn't want to return it. Neither of them weigh more than 7 1/2 lbs.

So far I'm really enjoying them. They're very different guitars, in terms of tone and neck radius. I feel maybe more comfortable with the JS, but the PIA neck feels "faster", and the pickups appear to have more clarity. Maybe they're just brighter.

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This is an awesome pair of guitars! Each is a fantastic, really high-end machine, and they complement one another nicely in terms of how they feel to hold onto. Congrats, enjoy!
 

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Sounds like there are many of us who have been switching guitars this year! Glad I'm not the only one.

Yup! that is a great pair to have! I have 2 Pia's and they are by far my favourite Ibanez guitars ever. Just amazing sounding and equally amazing playability.

well done!
Ditto. I picked up 2 PIAs in the past year, both are my favorite guitars, period. I haven't owned a lot of Ibanez models, but I'll take either PIA over anything else I have owned.
 

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Thanks all!

I say this respectfully - the PIA pushes my limits a bit in terms of all the bling! Fortunately for me I'm a bit of a Vai fan and the matte black does tone it all down a little. What I was looking for with this guitar was a lightweight high end RG with SS frets that has a sound I like. For a while I had an RG8570Z, but that didn't have SS frets and I wasn't fond of the pickups - it was also shockingly heavy, so that had to go. The neck is a little thicker than the 8570 - I prefer that too. I do like the sound of these pickups!

The JS just feels like an old friend. The body is comfortable to hold, the neck is thicker than the PIA but honestly the difference in feel is far more noticeable in terms of radius - 250mm vs 430mm! I quite like the blue colour. The currently available options are blue, purple or red - I didn't really want red or a sustainiac, nor purple - so blue it is. I really wish the higher end JS models had SS frets though. I far prefer SS to play on. On the bright side, this JS was on sale for a couple of days at £200 off, so that justifies a refret if it's still around in a couple of years and Ibanez hasn't switched the JS to SS, in which case I'd probably switch to a new model.
I agree with the value of SS frets. Their absence has become a deal-breaker for me.

Not only do the JS and PIA differ substantially in neck radius, but also fret size. The JS frets are medium, closer to vintage style, whereas the PIA frets are very large. Really everything about the necks differs quite a bit--thickness, width, radius, fret size. I happen to like them both a lot, despite their substantial differences, but I wouldn't buy a JS unless they switch to SS frets. I've got an old JS1200 body with a Warmoth neck that has SS frets, so I'm not itching to lay out the cash for a new JS model anyway!
 

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Congratulations on your Pia. After being a JEM owner, collector and enthusiast since 1989, I finally splurged last week and bought me a black n Gold Pia, still in the sealed box from Ibanez and un-played. She is a real beauty. She feels and sounds incredible. I'm so excited and looking forward to using her on my final solo CD. Here's a few pics. The Pia is definitely one of my favorites already and worth checking out. Keep on Rockin Forum. Sean Damon
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