JEM 555 Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 08/01/2011 category: Electric Guitars
Ibanez: JEM 555
The different pickups (humbucker, single coil and again humbucker) all give a different sound wich is very nice. The single coil produces a lower output than the humbucker wich is probably normal but here it is really a lot quiter.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 8.3
 Reliability & Durability: 7.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7.8
 Features: 9.1
 Overall rating:
 7.9 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.2 
 Users rating:
 7.6 
 Votes:
 135 
reviews (10) pictures (2) 51 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.4
JEM 555 Reviewed by: bullgangstaz, on april 03, 2006
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1000

Purchased from: Audiophile

Features: My JEM 555 was a 2005 model, made in Korea. It has 24 jumbo frets and has a "tree of life" inlay from the 3rd to the 12th fret. And also a "Steve Vai" inlay on the 24th fret. The neck is maple wood, and the fretboard is Rosewood. It has a solid top. The body is American Basswood. Equipped with EdgePro II double locking trem. Equipped also with 3 DiMarzio Evolution passive pickups (H/S/H). It has a Gotoh type of tuners with a locking nut. No cases were included (I don't know why). // 9

Sound: This guitar suits my guitar playing, I like Steve Vai, and his style of playing the guitar. I play rock, some blues, metal and pop rock. I play this guitar with a Marshall Valvestate amp, and it really sounds good and smooth if you adjust your treble to 0. The pickups are'nt noisy at all. The Neck pickups gives you a smooth tone great for riffs and solos, you can get the sounds of Vai, Petrucci and Malmsteen in this setting. the Middle pickup is great for acoustic sounds, and last but not the least, the Bridge pickups w/c is very suitable for solos, shreds, etc. The EdgePro II was very accurate, this guitar can stay in tune even if you are using the whammy bar often. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The Guitar was not yet set-up'd when I grabbed it on the store. So when I was going to purchase it, I called their guitartech and ask him to set-up my guitar. The intonation is already adjusted from the factory, thats why he skipped on the intonation adjustment. He ask me if what kind of setting I would prefer. I said just like Vai's specifications, then poof! it became like Vai's. The hardware(s) are all flawless. The wood is straight. I'm very satisfied. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I'm sure this guitar will withstand live playing if it is properly set-up'd. Any guitar that has proper intonation, fret level, action, stability and accuracy can withstand any live playing, but my advice is don't abuse your guitars. Steve Vai and other famous guitar players have their own guitar techs so that moment by moment their guitars are being setupped. So if you don't have your tech, I'm pretty sure that your guitar will gain more and more damages every time you abuse it. If you have your own guitar tech, then of you go. I'm pretty sure I can depend on my guitar. The finish is totally awesome, the hardware is durable. Overall, it is semi-perfect (the JEM7V is really the perfect guitar). // 9

Overall Impression: As I had said earlier, I play rock, blues and pop music. I think this guitar will be perfectly matched with a Carvin Legacy amp. I've been playing for 2 years, I own an AriaPro 2 Magna Series electric guitar, Fernando classical guitar, Weinstein elec. gtr. and a Zoom 707 II gtar effects. I wish they include a Hardcase on buying this product. If this guitar was stolen, I'd probably get another one, or else I'd buy the JEM7V and try something else. I love the overall specs of this awesome guitar. It is worth the price I'd paid for. I like the inlay but I prefer the original abalone tree of life inlay and a scalloped 21 to 24 frets. My most favorite feature is the neck pickup (it is really great). I'm not comparing this to any other products because I believe that every guitar has its own uniqueness and it is not with the guitar but on how the player plays his/her instrument. I choose this one because I like it very well! I wish I had a 7V and bandmates that has a same passion for their instruments like me. // 10

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overall: 10
JEM 555 Reviewed by: Genius_92, on january 31, 2007
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1372.5

Purchased from: i can't remember somewhere in Denmark St

Features: right this is a Korean JEM and although being the cheaper one it still has a lot of features, so I am just gonna write a list because I am lazy and it's easier to read. Here we go: maple neck, rosewood 24 fret fretboard, really thin neck, jumbo frets, tree of life vine from 3rd to 12th fret, Steve Vai written on the 24th fret, basswood body, huge cutaways, monkey grip, pearloid pickgaurd, DiMarzio Evolution Pickups, 5 way pickup selector, volume and tone knob and Edge-pro Bridge (like Floyd-Rose). It came with manual, tools, hard case, stings, strap and schaller locking strap clips. // 10

Sound: I play anything I can and this does anything you can play justice, sounds sweet. I use an all-valve 60 watt amp and Boss ME-50 and this guitar sounds brilliant through it absolutely no hum what so ever. Know to get the full idea I want you to imagine the greatest song you know playing the greatest song you know this guitar will make you sound like that if you can play it (if you canto a certain Standard). // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: When I bought it from the shop it was set up perfectly but I think, although I am not to sure whether the bridge was parallel but only minor. This guitar has absolutely no faults at all. Seriously I am holding my guitar right now looking at with a magnifying glass I have just played and it is perfect the only that could possibly be bad about it is the fret wire comes a bit high. It doesn't affect the action but it's a bit high. This can make slides a bit hard but you can hit a note without toudhing the fretboard. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar would withstand a nuclear bomb and then start a race of new super guitars. The hardware is very secure especially the bridge you could hit it through the guitar and the bridge would still be attached and the string would be in tune. The finish is beautiful and I would go gigging with it but you do still have a problem if a string brakes. // 10

Overall Impression: I have been playing for about 5 years and I can say this guitar has everything you need from a guitar, you can't improve it. I love it completely and if you have problems with Floyd-Rose style bridges visit this site www.floyrose.com/originaltremolo.html you should only need section 1 and 2 skip number 4 in section 1. If you still have trouble you have poor eye coordination and you should give up the guitar and bury your head in the sand. If someone stole this guitar I'd ram a rifle up their arse and use all my bullets. // 10

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overall: 7.6
JEM 555 Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 26, 2005
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Features: You know the specs for this from the website and other posts, basically this is a 'toned down' (read: cheaper) version of Vai's mighty JEM7V. Mine is the Korean-made white model. Appearance wise, the only differences are dark chrome hardware (machine heads, bridge etc) instead of gold and the vine inlays only go from the 3rd to 12th fret, on the 12th fret there's a cheeesy "Steve Vai" label: P Also comes with Ibanez's Lo-Trs tremolo which is just ok, not great. Came with its own hardcase which was nice and the same DiMarzio Evolution pickups as the real JEM, which I thought was the best feature of the whole guitar. More on that later. Overall, a nicely equipped quitar for the price with killer looks to boot (the signature 'Monkey Grip'). // 8

Sound: The best part of this guitar is the pickups! Two humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions and a single coil in between. Clean, powerful and versatile as hell, you can get pretty much any sound from these three babies. The selector even allows you to dial in some combinations such as one single coil and one half of the humbuckers. I play mostly rock and metal and this guitar suits me just fine. It helps that I'm able to emulate the sound/tone of the artist whose song I'm playing: P I've played it through a couple of amps, mostly practice size marshalls and crates, through various distortion pedals (DOD Metal X, Death metal and Grunge, and a Korg Distortion factory, see the pattern) and a crybaby wah. Depending on the settings you dial in you can get anything from smooth overdrive to straight out kick ass metal tones. No complaints here. Vai designed this to be an extremely versatile guitar, and it delivers even in the 'junior' version. Last note, I'm not sure if it's the wood or just the guitar design, but my JEM even sounds good and prety loud 'unplugged', that is I can strum it without plugging in and it sounds pretty decent. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar came out perfectly set up out of the box, nice tight action and in tune. But I think I messed it up when I started changing the strings and tuning it down to D#. Had to send it to a guitar tech each time I re-string cos the bloody tremolo wouldn't stay in tune! Finally decided to block off the trem completely and have been quite happy with it since. I don't do much of that whammy bar divebombing stuff anyway. My Jem is now a kick-ass fixed bridge guitar. The neck has always felt fast compared to other guitars I tried, and it's very comfortable to play on for long periods of time. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Here is the main gripe I have with this guitar. First off the machine heads gave up on me after a few months, had to have them replaced with Gold Grovers (for free thankfully). The guy at the shop told me this is a common problem with the 'cheaper' Ibanez guitars, shame on them! No complaints about the machine heads since then. The overall build quality is not as robust as higher priced models, you get what you pay for. I've also had the lead connector fail once (fixed) and of course the unreliable tremolo. I've had the white pickups changed to black evolutions mainly for cosmetic purposes. I've used this on stage and it held up ok, but I don't think this guitar can stand the rigors of constant touring without a backup. // 5

Overall Impression: I love this guitar, simply cos it's my first guitar and I've had a lot done to it to make it one-of-a-kind (the grover tuners and black pickups). It's probably not something I'd buy again on retrospect, probably would have gone with another model which has a more stable floyd rose trem and better build quality. But for the price, you do get a very versatile guitar with excellent pickups and a fast neck. I've played for about ten years now and after everything I've learned about guitars I'd say this will make a decently priced practice guitar, which can replace having multiple guitars in terms of the kind of sounds it can recreate. If you have the cash, go for the real things (JEM7Vs). But if not this is as close as you can get to wielding Vai's mighty Ax. If I lose it I'd probably be pissed as hell more for sentimental reasons, but I'd happily replace it with better quality ESPs. // 8

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overall: 9.6
JEM 555 Reviewed by: godofshred, on march 22, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: I'm sorry but I'm not too sure on the year. 24 frets with beautiful vine inlay that stretches from the 3rd to 12th fret and "Steve Vai" inlay on the 24th! It's a solid-top. I think it's basswood with the jem signature "mokey grip handle" in it which really does come in handy! The finish is plain black with a black moto scratchplate which just sets this beautiful guitar off! The bridge is the lo-trs model as its an older 555. But the newer models have the Edge Pro. The pickups are the amazingly high output dimarzio evoutions! These things must be heard! The guitar included a Ibanez locking hardcase. // 10

Sound: The guitar suite my stlye's perfectly shred and blues! The pickups attack the ears and deliver an unmistakeable sound! I'm using it with a Korg AX1500G and a Marshall practice amp (soon to be upgraded for valve). The guitar is anything you want it to be. Shred machine-kicking out highend speed Demon solo's, blues beast the neck pickup helps with this, its a low, punchy sound with rewarding highs. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up well when I baught it but I like mine different so I had them set it up to my specs. I'm fussy like that. The pickups I adjusted myself. The bridge neerly toughing the strings for those crazys shred licks and the neck's lip sits around 1mm over the scratchplate for those nice, thick blues riffs. as I said before, it suits my style perfectly! The guitar was in perfect condition when I bought it. No complaints there! // 10

Reliability & Durability: The guitar will withstand live playing as the man Vai proves to use every time! The hardware is incredible durable. I would never take it to a gig without a backup like all my other guitars. Thw finish is great but as it is black shows up scratches easily that is my only beef with this guitar. Funny enough though 4/5 past guitars have been black. // 8

Overall Impression: As said before, I play blues and shred mostly and it fits them all. I've been playing roughly over 2 years and I own a Fender Tie Dye Strat, Korg AX1500G, Fender Gemini II acoustic and a Marshall practise amp but hopefull will invest in a Marshall valve so expect a review from that soon too! If it were lost/stolen I would buy it again, definatly! I love the pickups and modern style so much but my only beef as said before is black paint. Due to thescratches showing up but look after it and it will look after you! // 10

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overall: 10
JEM 555 Reviewed by: Noodelz-Rox, on april 13, 2005
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Features: Ok, I don't care what people say about it, to me it's a JEM. Here we go. My JEM555 was made in koreia in '95, It has an ebony fretboard, Maple neck, 24 jumbo frets ans a vine inlay from the 3rd to 12th fret and pearl dots and on 24, it has "Steve Vai" written on it. I has a solid top with the 'Monkey Grip" handle (It might look odd to begin with but you'll be happy you have it in the end). The body is made of basswood and it is painted black. Jem style body. The bridge is a Ibanez floyed rose LO-TRS1, wich isn't the best but is worth the money 'cause face it, no one can do half the stuff Vai does so unless you whammy out of it, it will stay in tune good. Passive electronics. 1 volume & 1 Tone control. 5-way switching. The Pickup config is H/S/H. The pickups are black D'marzio Evoloutions with are passive. The pickups are cool because every one gives you a different sound. The tuners are standard Ibanez. My freind gave me a case with this guitar. All-together this was an awesome deal! // 10

Sound: My music style is everything except prog rock and counrty. This guitar suits every style I can think of. I'm using a Marshall MG20 amp, a Dunlop original wah pedal and a Boss ME-50 effects board. No matter what settings you have it on, this thing isn't noisy at all. The sounds on the bridge pickup are rich, full and mellow at the same time. awesome. The neck is bright and sounds somthing between a heavy ditsortion like what vai uses to a kind of straty sound. As you probobly know already, this guitar can make any sound! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Everything on this guitar was perfect when I got it. The only bad thing was that the bridge had a small amount of rust on it but that got taken care of. I got it set up by a tech for 9-46s after a while. When bought the guitar it was perfect. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Yes! // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar is good for any king of music. I've been playing for a year and a half now and I own a Ibanez TCM50 Talman ACC/ELE a Boss ME-50 and a Marshall MG20 amp. Everything is flawless. If it was lost I would kill the person who stole it and I would buy another one in a second. I love every thing about it but I wish it had a Eadge Pro Trem or a Lo-Pro. But this can be changed easy. // 10

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overall: 9.2
JEM 555 Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 23, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1281

Purchased from: Sound Control

Features: Comes with a Jem neck, similar to the wizard II, Di Marzio evolution pickups HSH, double locking Edge III bridge (according to Ibanez.com) flight case included. Jumbo frets, basswood body, mother of pearl Tree of life vine inlay 3-12 frets. Also a "Steve Vai" clear inlay at the 24th fret. Volume, tone, 5 way selector, trem arm. I think it was at least a 2004 model, made in Korea. // 10

Sound: I play power metal/metal/rock, bit of satch, bit of Opeth, bit of Symphony X. Similar ish sounds in some cases, but overall it suits my style. I have also found my self playing a few other genres, including indie and funk, it's a little excitable as the pickups have a high output, but I love that aspect of this guitar. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: When it came from the factory it had a poor setup, but since I took it to the guitar tech at sound control it's a beauty to play. It was ok to begin with, but now it's fantastic after the action was sorted. it's a comfortable fit, if that's what you mean. The finish is nice on it, may need the occasional clean, but it shines after a quick wipe with a microfibre. I adjusted the Edge for 10's instead of 9's. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Strap buttons were fine, but I replaced them with a DiMarzio clicklock strap. Seems solid, doesn't go out of tune that easy. The only reason I wouldn't gig without a backup would be incase a string went and I had to quickly switch to one with 6 strings still on it! Other than that I'd have no problems gigging with just this guitar. // 9

Overall Impression: Other than the initial part of it needing a setup the guitar is beautiful, it may not have the full vine inlay of the JEM7, but it's still a great looking, and great playing guitar, it turns heads! I can't really compare it to any other guitars of a similar price range, as I haven't played any, but compared to a 300 stage master or a 200 daisyrock/schecter it blows them out of the water, but then again you would expect it to. // 10

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overall: 9.2
JEM 555 Reviewed by: Awesome898, on february 25, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: ebay

Features: I don't know the exact year this guitar was made but it had to be before 1994 because the lo-trs bridge is on there. This is standard jem555 with all the works. Its in good condition aside from a few dents. My jem is black with the pearl pick guard. There is the famous "tree of life" inlay from the 3rd to 12th fret. The cheesy "Steve Vai" imprint on the 24th fret. This guitar came with 2 extra sets of pickups and a case. Aside from a cap missing this guitar is in great condition // 9

Sound: well to start, this thing sounds strangely amazing unplugged. When plugged in I can get any sound I could ever want from warm to heavy this thing can handle it. Sadly my amp sucks its some Lyon amp that seems to break all the time and the sounds get mixed up. So with that, I am still not sure of this guitar's full potential. While my amp is working though, this guitar is fast and it really screams. The pickups are very quiet with no unwanted buzzzz ( thank god! ) and I find that with just a bit of playing around with my amp settings I can get an array of sounds. This guitar sounds amazing and I find it hard to believe there is a better version // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: well this guitar came from somebody who knows how to handle a lo-trs bridge and just this guitar in general. By this I believe they went to a professional to get all this done so everything is extremely well done. One thing that is confusing me is that the lo-trs was heavily bashed by people and mine seems to work perfectly through whammy and long playing sessions. One thing I am sad about is that the DiMarzio pickups were switched out for an unknown pair. This pair seems to work and the dimarzios were included so I will get a professional to change the pickups if I need to get this guitar repaired. The pickups that are in sound and are adjusted great. Action was fine, the fretboard was amazing and aside from the dents (if you subtract the cost of the very nice case that came with the guitar I payed about $200 for this thing of course its gonna be beat up ) it was great // 9

Reliability & Durability: well I have had this guitar for all of a few months I can't quite rate the durability and such yet I am just going ton put down "9" so that I can finish the review. On a good note though everything looks extremely sturdy and I've bumped it a couple times and its holding well // 9

Overall Impression: for the price I payed this guitar is the deal of a lifetime and its amazing. Aside from a few minor flaws probably because of user wear this guitar turned out great. I've been playing guitar for a few years now and this guitar suits my taste for music considering there isnt a sound I can't make. If somebody stole this guitar I would kill myself especially cus I really don't have $1000 for a new one. Great guitar I hate all the people that bash it as a fake jem. SHOUT OUT TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO SAY THIS GUITAR IS FAKE... PISS OFF yah I've wanted to be able to scream that for a while now // 9

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overall: 1.8
JEM 555 Reviewed by: stonyman65, on november 09, 2005
0 of 10 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 650

Sound: This guitar is okay. It's good for some types of music, I'd would say it's best for hair metal. It's okay for me, I play more punk-ish stuff. I have a Marshall MG15CD (sucks + 1)and a Boss ME-50. This guitar sounds good but lacks sustain. As I said this is good for metal-ish stuff. It's not really good for anything ealse because the pickups produce more output than other pickups and it can be pretty rough at times. // 4

Action, Fit & Finish: I set up that action myself and I'll tell you its not worth the time. The pickups are the best part about the guitar.. everything ealse was medicore. The bridge is horrable plain and simple. The pivot studs where so loose that they could be taken out by hand so I had my luithier re-drill the holes and glue in new studs. The bridge's knife eadges where worn out so I had the file them back to get a eadge. The fretwire on the 23 fret was raised so I had to lower it. The bridge and hardware was oxidized but I took care of some of that with a toothbrush and rubbing alchohol. After putting about $200 into this guitar it still doesn't stay in tune well so I am going to block the trem. // 1

Reliability & Durability: I wouldn't depend on this thing that much, maybe for studio or home use but live, that's a bad idea. // 1

Overall Impression: Well I have to tell you, I got screwed on this deal. If you are a metal fan then this might be okay (might be at best). anything else this thing lacks big time. Just take my advice and don't use the trem too much b/c it's gonna go out of tune. It's not worth the time to get the thing setup correctly because it will let you down. My advice would be to get a RG1570 or above or a American Stratocaster and just mod the pickups to evolutions. Been playing for 4 years now and I own two other guitars, and effects board and a crappy amp. If this was lost I'd probobly just say "see ya" and buy a RG or another Strat. the only thing I like (like, not love) about it is the pickups. I got this one for what I thought was a good price but the more I learned about guitars the more I regretted buying this. // 1

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overall: 7.8
JEM 555 Reviewed by: LJHarris, on november 05, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: Okay this guitar is made in Korea and made in 2008 it features American Basswood body, DiMarzio Evolution pick-ups and a Edge 3 tremolo, same specs as any other JEM 555 for that matter. Included a hard case. // 8

Sound: Amp I run through is a Marshall MGdfx30. This guitar really screams and howls, if your a metal freak or into hard-rock (anything rock for that matter) and/or shred this guitar will definitely appeal to you. Due to the high output pick-ups they really roar. The neck pick-up on distortion is very punchy and bold, rolling back the tone knob decreases the tremble and the tone becomes slightly lighter. Whilst the Bridge pick-ups just screams, notes really ring out and the sustain lasts forever. The middle pick-up (I don't really use it alot) is very quite and I seem to get a bit of hum coming out of it which I can't seem to dampen. To be honest the only thing I find this guitar to be good at is anything hard rock, thrash metal, progressive rock, soft rock, punk etc. That kind of stuff. And it does it well! definitely sound likes a Jem, and all this talk about its a fake is bull crap because mine was made in Korea and its built quality is just fine and it sings really nicely! No problems. As I have played guitar more my musical taste has grown and that is the problem I have with guitar though is sounds really good at what is does best I can't get real warm tones out of it and not alot of variety other then anything hard. No warmth. But then again its a Jem isn't it? 9/10 for the fact it sounds so good but not a perfect 10... The middle pick-ups need some working or something. On clean channel the neck pick-up booms whilst the neck pick-up is nice and crisp and the middle pick-up sound really Acoustic like, rolling the tone knob back the sound all becomes slightly more mellower. The problem with the clean is there is no real character to the sound, at times quite dull and plain, but that's basswood for ya! // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Set-up was horrible when it first arrived excessive dip in the neck, the tremolo was making a crunching noise whenever I used it and the saddle which hold the strings in the tremolo had moved forward causing bit marks in the scratch plate and as a result the intonation had be properly sorted. The guitar was returned back to the shop where a REAL set-up was made, a new scratch plate was put on and properly new springs too. When the guitar did come back it really was nice (however still needed some lubricant on the springs where it was rubbing against the body itself causing clicking noises). I was having regrets in the first place but now I'm fairly happy with it. Since then I haven't had a single problem, just needed a proper set-up that all. 5/10 for its poor set-up when I bought, but not a 0 because once st-up right its off // 5

Reliability & Durability: Should withstand gigging seems pretty hard, I'm knocked it around a few times and it hasn't shown any signs of bruising or bumps etc. Does however seem to scratch quite easily and thus shows. Just don't throw the guitar on the ground and it will hold up. All parts will have plenty of life in them if you don't do anything silly with them. They only thing I would be concerned about is snapping a string. // 9

Overall Impression: I have been playing the guitar for nearly two years now and this guitar has been my only guitar for the past 12 months so I'm pretty sure I know what Im talking about. Like I said if your main focus is anything rock, shred or metal etc this guitar WILL satisfy your thirst! If your like me and you listen and enjoying playing a bit of blues & some jazzy warm stuff on top of rock and progressive rock which I love!! chances are you will need a back up guitar on top of the JEM 555 or just get another guitar like I have, hopefully I'm getting the JS1200. One of the only problems I have with this guitar is the edge 3, if you dip down really hard the sound goes flat and if you bend up it sounds slightly sharp maybe it needs some lubricant? I don't know. Value for money... 3.8/5... For the price you'd be far better of to get an RG Ibanez, if it came with a real good tremolo then we'd be talking but for the price a better tremolo is a must, if your a die hard Vai fan that can't afford the jem 777 you'll like the JEM 555 I'm sure, if your like me and not crazy about HIM and listen to a wide range of styles of music its not the best choice to make I think. Don't get me wrong its a great guitar but not great value for money, if you like thrash metal etc get a good RG model, remember your just paying more money for his name on it and the vine inlays don't really influence my decision on things... If you do decide to get get a JEM 555 don't by Brand New the set-up is poor out of the factory from my experience and a lot of others have said the same thing. // 8

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overall: 7.4
JEM 555 Reviewed by: Charlie4, on august 01, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1000

Purchased from: Music World (RSA)

Features: Korean-made (2006) Ibanez JEM 555 (WH). It has an American basswood body with a 24-fret neck made of 3-piece maple and rosewood fingerboard has the Tree of Life inlay up to the 12th fret. The pickups are DiMarzio Evolution and the guitar has an Edge III tremolo system. (The hardware is unspecified stock Ibanez tuners perhaps?) One tone knob, one volume knob and a 5-way selector switch. If it had a Piezo system, coil-splitting functions and a case it would get a 10 on features. // 8

Sound: Steve Vai uses this guitar for lead and that's what it was made for. The guitar is mostly midrange-focused so cutting through a mix won't be a problem, especially on the Bridge pickup it's very nice for lead work as well as rhythm playing (the way Vai uses it medium to high gain). The neck pickup is nice for a round tone but sometimes too thick for a nice rhythm tone (if high- gain riffing is your preference). For clean tones the neck pickup is great for jazz since it's more bass-focused (don't expect Fender-cleans from a high-output humbucker though). If you roll down the tone knob you're starting to get a more fuzz-like sound with all that bass, tweak it to preference. The middle pickup (single coil) is just weak in my opinion, not clean/sparkling enough and not strong enough to hold its own. It sits between two humbuckers and the drop in volume between single-coil to humbucker is quite significant so it becomes a bit impractical if you Switch between them during gigs. One thing I have to add is how good this guitar sounds unplugged, I was pleasantly surprised. If it had the newer generation DiMarzio (Evo 2's) I would rate it a 9 because the balance between pickups is a bit more even but in this case it's not. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: When I played this guitar in the shop the action was great, hence my reason for buying the guitar great playability and sound. One thing I realized is this guitar does not like thick strings (11-52+), the sound is also then way too bassy. When the guitar had thick strings on it wasn't very enjoyable in my hands (despite a professional setup). After switching back to a lighter gauge (10-46) the guitar felt and sounded great. The guitar is comfortable to play, sitting or standing and the finish is quite thick (don't know what kind of paint was used, I only know Basswood likes a fully-covered/solid finish). // 9

Reliability & Durability: Steve Vai has a roadie so he can go crazy with his guitar, dive-bombing the hell out of the thing cause there's always a guy to setup his guitar, that and the fact that he probably has at least 5 guitars at a gig (for us normal folk that's just not realistic). The Edge III tremolo is awful in my opinion. If you bend too hard, or use the whammy bar too far then it will go out of tune. The worst is if you snap a string because then the Bridge falls, all the strings are out of tune so the gig is pretty much ruined. That's why it's way too risky to only have this guitar at a gig, especially if you play aggressively, if it's mellow playing you can probably cope with one guitar. I took it to a guitar tech to make it a fixed bridge, if it wasn't for that I would have sold the guitar, but for this review it's still reviewed as a floating tremolo system. No roadie so no high rating on reliability. // 5

Overall Impression: I've had this guitar for 5 years and play anything from metal to jazz and this guitar does a good job in said two. In combination with a Peavey Valveking 112 (with Celestion V30) and Fulltone OCD as a clean boost I get a very decent tone (on this budget at least). The guitar was way cheaper than other brands, Jackson, ESP, Charvel etc. So I can't really compare the price in Dollars since our exchange rate (rand) is weaker against the dollar. Money talks. You buy what you can afford. This guitar falls in a Jackson Dinky price range ($600-$800) so I'd say in this price range it's good value for money (if you want a superstrat). If this guitar got stolen I would try and save up for a Jackson SLS3 Solist (+-$1300) but If I were pressed for time and only had $800 I would very likely buy this guitar again, but most definitely fix the Bridge again. As mentioned before the Edge III is sadly the downfall of an otherwise great guitar. If it had a better floating Bridge I would've given it an 8-9 rating. I tried to stay as objective as possible but since I couldn't be 100% I'd suggest you go try out this guitar for yourself, How bout in black this time? // 7

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