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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am planning on buying my first JEM (finally) soon. The 7V is out of my price range, so I am trying to choose between the WDP and BFP. Other than the cosmetic differences in looks, is there any reason to choose one over the other? I like both and have heard video demos of each, but there are no stores in my area that carry them for me to try out. I was just curious if there is anything else I should be aware of when it comes to deciding which to buy?

I know the materials are different, and pickups etc., but I guess I am looking for other less obvious differences

Thanks
 

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I am planning on buying my first JEM (finally) soon. The 7V is out of my price range, so I am trying to choose between the WDP and BFP. Other than the cosmetic differences in looks, is there any reason to choose one over the other? I like both and have heard video demos of each, but there are no stores in my area that carry them for me to try out. I was just curious if there is anything else I should be aware of when it comes to deciding which to buy?

I know the materials are different, and pickups etc., but I guess I am looking for other less obvious differences

Thanks
Just buy whichever one looks better to you, I'd have the woody if it were my choice and I'd remove the pickup covers and keep 'em with the case candy.
 

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used 7VWH or new RG550 is my advice.
Sounds like good advice to me! The new BFP looks gorgeous, but I would always wonder whether paying that much for that guitar compared to some second hand or non signature models is the right move.

That said, I am considering getting one myself, I'm not a serious enough player anymore and so I'm not sure I need to have a top flight trem...
 

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Premium JEMs have better (subjective) pickups than RG550.
I have both WDP and BFP, and have changed trem arm + arm holder to the one Edge has, so the trems are this way really great too.

Of those two, I definitely prefer the look of WDP. Sound...not sure which one I prefer. They are very different. WDP's Dark Matter 2 pickups are smoother and warmer, BFP's Gravity Storms higher output, yet not too harsh.
Overall, if I had to pick one of those, I'd take WDP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I managed to find a BFP at a store and was terribly disappointed in its condition. The strings felt like they were 10 years old, the action was extremely high, and the high E string seemed too close to the fretboard edge (which I have heard before). The clear pickguard was distracting as well. Plus there were an abundance of fine scratches in the clear coat. It was like playing a $99 dollar Squier. For $1600 this guitar shouldn't have all these problem brand new. I hope to find a couple more local examples to see how common this is. I have guitars 1/3 that price that were MUCH better out the door.
 

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You'd better know how to correct the high E issue by tilting the neck and perhaps widening the pocket. Otherwise you have to get it done by a good (!) guitar tech or luthier.

Old strings and matte frets shouldn't be that much of a concern as the first thing to do with a new/old guitar is to polish the frets and changing the strings.

I personally found the BFP neck to fat. I am more of a thin neck guy so I second a used 7VWH.

Tom
 

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This thread highlights that except for maybe the SFG with Edge trem, the Premium JEMs are pretty (very) poor bang for the buck given the quality/cost of the much cheaper JEMJR - now available in pink or yellow too.
 

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This thread highlights that except for maybe the SFG with Edge trem, the Premium JEMs are pretty (very) poor bang for the buck given the quality/cost of the much cheaper JEMJR - now available in pink or yellow too.
I think the reality is that it shows what COULD be accomplished if they started building guitars that look like the BFP but with the hardware of the SFG, I know it's all built to a spec to maintain a price point that protects the Japanese JEMs, but Jackson/Charvel and Schecter/ESP seem to be able to establish a clear pricing structure throughout their ranges (maybe I just don't understand it though...).

Ibanez, on the other hand, seem to be caught between two different paradigms where the Indonesian and Japanese models co-exist but are somehow are not integrated properly, where an RG550 is a better chassis than a Premium JEM but the Premium JEM has more complicated aesthetics and better pickups, but you can't get, or switch to, the "proper" Edge bridge. Then you have the Japanese JEMs which have everything but still aren't made in the USA (for folks who want "buy American") but are priced several times the cost of either the Japanese RGs or the Premium JEMs. I understand the theory behind protecting the Japanese JEM, but can't help but feel it's a self destructive marketing strategy.

That said, I'm not a sales guy, and I'm not a marketing guy, so what do I know!
 

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If it is the missing Edge which bothers you, have you tried EZ2 with Edge arm? I see very little reason to change EZ2 to Edge these days. I used to want to do that too, but after the arm switch I don't really
care whether I'm playing a guitar with Edge, or a guitar with EZ2+OE-arm

(Made in USA could be no no these day for many people.)
 

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If it is the missing Edge which bothers you, have you tried EZ2 with Edge arm? I see very little reason to change EZ2 to Edge these days. I used to want to do that too, but after the arm switch I don't really
care whether I'm playing a guitar with Edge, or a guitar with EZ2+OE-arm

(Made in USA could be no no these day for many people.)
No, I've not bought a guitar with an EZ2 to try the mod on, that's one of the issues I have, I don't want to start modding hardware, I don't even really want to have to drop in a new trem unit, I want it to be ready to go from the store... like the SFG.

I'd be happy to try a guitar with an EZ2 + OE-arm, but i'm not about to buy the guitar and the hardware just to try it out.
 

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I like the BFP. The only thing I don't dig about it is the Gravity Storms. Though I'd say if I couldn't afford a JEM7VWH I'd buy the seafoam JEM. Aesthetically, out of all the JEMs that have come out in the last ten or fifteen years SFG and FP2 are my favorite.
 

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(Made in USA could be no no these day for many people.)
Why is that? Can you explain more.

I think the reality is that it shows what COULD be accomplished if they started building guitars that look like
the BFP but with the hardware of the SFG, I know it's all built to a spec to maintain a price point that protects the Japanese JEMs, but Jackson/Charvel and Schecter/ESP seem to be able to establish a clear pricing structure throughout their ranges (maybe I just don't understand it though...).

Ibanez, on the other hand, seem to be caught between two different paradigms where the Indonesian and Japanese models co-exist but are somehow are not integrated properly, where an RG550 is a better chassis than a Premium JEM but the Premium JEM has more complicated aesthetics and better pickups, but you can't get, or switch to, the "proper" Edge bridge. Then you have the Japanese JEMs which have everything but still aren't made in the USA (for folks who want "buy American") but are priced several times the cost of either the Japanese RGs or the Premium JEMs. I understand the theory behind protecting the Japanese JEM, but can't help but feel it's a self destructive marketing strategy.

That said, I'm not a sales guy, and I'm not a marketing guy, so what do I know!
I don't think anyone buying "Ibanez" expects made in USA... those buyers have plenty of choices. I've argued Ibanez has boxed themselves into a corner long term NOT manufacturing some products in N.America though that's a whole other convo not worth having :)

What i can say without hesitation is $500-999 made in Mexico Fender products seriously outperform their price point & expectations of customers. Which Ibanez products do the same is decided by the buyer/player.
 

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Why is that? Can you explain more.

I don't think anyone buying "Ibanez" expects made in USA... those buyers have plenty of choices. I've argued Ibanez has boxed themselves into a corner long term NOT manufacturing some products in N.America though that's a whole other convo not worth having :)

What i can say without hesitation is $500-999 made in Mexico Fender products seriously outperform their price point & expectations of customers. Which Ibanez products do the same is decided by the buyer/player.
Agreed, when you look at the MIM Charvel guitars and the Ibanez at a similar price point, I can't help but feel that the RG550 is missing a discount. Whilst I wholeheartedly think the RG500 is a better guitar, it needs a pickup upgrade to compete in that bracket. That's NOT in the original specs and NOT in the brief for the reissue, therefore it needs to be in the budget.
 

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I don't know if I'd say an RG550 is more inline with a MIM Charvel. Maybe an Iron Label RGIX6? Or an RGEW521 with Dimarzio's? Or maybe the original RG950's?
Iron Label or standard Indo might be a hair below MIM Charvels though. Hard to compare. I know lots of Charvel San Dimas an So-Cal people are happy campers.
I like where the Premium line has gone offering neat features not provided on Prestige guitars. I think the Premium line could be expanded to offer more traditional models like the Pro Mods. I don't understand Ibanez's aversion to solid color finishes. Charvel's aren't my cup of tea really but, damn, if they don't come in some great finishes! Even their Pro Mod DK24 have great colors. Imagine an RG950 premium in that mattel blue, satin orange, shell pink, or army drab? Ibanez did the RG950 for, what, a few years and that's it? In just quilts? (though that tiger eye finish is super bad ass!) Make it in a solid color.
Or better yet, why not try to bring back the RT as a Premium? Maybe to nip a bit more at the Antique Modern trough.
Getting back on track a bit, the JEM70SFG seems to be the closest to trying on those classic colors and it looks sharp. Woody and BFP are more JEM like finishes.
 

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Whilst I wholeheartedly think the RG550 is a better guitar, it needs a pickup upgrade to compete in that bracket.
I must agree that V7/8 are sadly among the worst sounding pickups with most limited tonal pallette I've ever used. I've been playing my daughter's (my old) MIJ RG421with v7/8 so i say this with no fear of rebuke 🙂
 

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I think the reality is that it shows what COULD be accomplished if they started building guitars that look like the BFP but with the hardware of the SFG, I know it's all built to a spec to maintain a price point that protects the Japanese JEMs, but Jackson/Charvel and Schecter/ESP seem to be able to establish a clear pricing structure throughout their ranges (maybe I just don't understand it though...).

Ibanez, on the other hand, seem to be caught between two different paradigms where the Indonesian and Japanese models co-exist but are somehow are not integrated properly, where an RG550 is a better chassis than a Premium JEM but the Premium JEM has more complicated aesthetics and better pickups, but you can't get, or switch to, the "proper" Edge bridge. Then you have the Japanese JEMs which have everything but still aren't made in the USA (for folks who want "buy American") but are priced several times the cost of either the Japanese RGs or the Premium JEMs. I understand the theory behind protecting the Japanese JEM, but can't help but feel it's a self destructive marketing strategy.

That said, I'm not a sales guy, and I'm not a marketing guy, so what do I know!
I think you know quite a bit. ;)
 

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..of all the JEMs that have come out in the last ten or fifteen years SFG and FP2 are my favorite.
Mike570, I second your view on the 70V and FP2. The most interesting Jems offered recently IMO. I have both and am delighted with them. I might have been lucky with my 70V but it is somewhat spectacular. 90+% of the FP2 for 33% of the price. Definitely the best choice from the Premium Jems IMO.

I also bought a pre-owned Jem Jr WH last week. It should be arriving later today. I'm curious to see how it really compares to the 70V. Given the price point, I'm not expecting great things. I have only handled the Jr briefly in shops until now and came away thinking it felt rather 'unfinished' (rear of neck, anyway) and 'cheap'. I hope it proves me wrong. I got it at a bargain price, so it should be an interesting experiment and potentially a great modding platform
 

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I think neither the WDP or PBFP myself. The trem on the PBFP just isn’t up to snuff. It’s surprisingly well built for an Indo guitar but.. my advice to anyone wanting to get into the Jem line for the first time is to instead of looking at an Indo or Korean Jem to instead look at a “proper” Made in Japan Jem but to look at some that are out of favor in the community that can be had relatively cheaply. If you look for a DBK or BSB you can find a nice one for the same as one of these other guitars and the specs are great on those. Proper pickups, MIJ quality and good trems. That’s what I’d recommend. They are both nice players. You can get a VWH too but there are a LOT of fakes of those so you have to be very careful with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I decided to take the plunge. After checking out a couple of these guitars in stores, and being terribly disappointed with the condition of the in-store guitars, I took my search online. I have never purchased a higher-end guitar from an online retailer before (I prefer to see them first), so I was very nervous.

I found my way over to Sweetwater and was impressed by their 55 point inspection-and-setup that they put every instrument through before making it available. On top of that, there are high quality photos of each instrument (by serial number!) that they have available that you can compare side by side. (With the wood grain of the WDP that was very important).

They had four guitars in stock and I was able to look at each one in detail before deciding. I selected the one that had most appealing grain pattern for me and I also made sure the alignment of the low E string was good (and it was) as well as looked for any other finish anomalies. There were a couple guitars that had issues that I didn't like, but nothing major.

I got the guitar today, and except for a little tuning drift as a result of shipping and environmental effects, the guitar is superb. The neck is straight and the alignment is on point, and the action excellent. No blemishes, no finish issues, no dents, cracks, or other physical problems.

I couldn't be happier with the JEM and will definitely buy from Sweetwater again.
 
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