#1
I was thinking about getting a Jem Jr. It it is an excellent sounding guitar in terms of playability and looks, but I dislike the sound. Would getting a good set of pickups make a drastic change in tone, or should I just get a better guitar?
#3
I think it would be really foolish to buy a guitar that didn't sound good, with the hope that throwing more money at it might make it bearable.

There are so many guitar options out there, there's really no reason to buy one that sounds bad to you. It's not like there's any shortage of Ibanez type guitars out there to choose from.
#4
Pretty much all of the tone in a solid bodied guitar is in the pickups.
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#5
That's what I was thinking. I was just wondering if there was a chance that I could save it.
#6
My favourite slide guitar is a Squier, In stock trim it was a pile of shit, $200 later on pickups and it now gets heaps of compliments. I have only bought one guitar that still has its original pups and that is a guitar that I had built to spec.
If a guitar plays nice, it isn't hard or that expensive to fix the sound that it makes. That's all I care about with a new guitar - how it plays. The sound can be sorted out later,
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
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Marshall 18W clone
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Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 28, 2015,
#7
Choose a guitar that is approved by both your hands and your ears. If you can't afford new, buy used. A lotta sweet guitars can be found for $250 if you look.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#8
Sure, you can usually get a guitar sounding great with enough work, but how much time and money is it going to take to swap pickups until you like the results? Why not start with something you like, and go from there?

Much easier to improve something with a base sound you care for, than to try to turn something you hate into something you like. If the guitar is really so unique that you have few other options, sure, but I don't think that's the case here.
#9
Meh. Not how I've ever done it.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#10
Quote by Roc8995
Sure, you can usually get a guitar sounding great with enough work, but how much time and money is it going to take to swap pickups until you like the results? Why not start with something you like, and go from there?

Much easier to improve something with a base sound you care for, than to try to turn something you hate into something you like. If the guitar is really so unique that you have few other options, sure, but I don't think that's the case here.


While I can understand your point, it's often possible to get a perfectly playable used guitar and install a nice set of pickups for significantly less cost than finding the "right" guitar up front, or at least that's been my experience.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#11
Of course it's possible. That's literally the first sentence I wrote.

My point was that I'd start with something that already sounded at least decent to me. It doesn't have to be the right one "up front," but there's a large chasm between "sounds all right, can upgrade later" and "I dislike the sound." I would hesitate to suggest buying a guitar whose tone you actively dislike, with the hope of fixing it. That's not the same as saying you have to buy a perfect guitar the first time. I didn't say that.

Used isn't going to happen in this case if he goes for a JEM Jr., since they haven't even come out yet. That's exactly why I suggested trying other options. You could get an RG and a new set of pickups on the used market instead of a new JEM Jr.
#12
Quote by Roc8995
Of course it's possible. That's literally the first sentence I wrote.
My point was that I'd start with something that already sounded at least decent to me. It doesn't have to be the right one "up front," but there's a large chasm between "sounds all right, can upgrade later" and "I dislike the sound." I would hesitate to suggest buying a guitar whose tone you actively dislike, with the hope of fixing it. That's not the same as saying you have to buy a perfect guitar the first time. I didn't say that.

Used isn't going to happen in this case if he goes for a JEM Jr., since they haven't even come out yet.


But in an electric, isn't that pretty much the pickups?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#13
It's "pretty much" the pickups, but I suspect that like me you've played two guitars with identical pickups, one of which sounded great and one of which sounded maybe not great. The fact that it's not necessarily just the pickups means that this argument is not reducible to "buy anything you want and change the pickups."

So yeah, of course (talking in circles...) it can be done, and often turns out just fine, but my view is that you might as well start with something you know you can work with. It's entirely possible (especially on this low-ish budget) that a new set of pickups won't turn the JEM into a guitar OP loves, in which case he's thrown away a fair amount of money with nothing to show for it. Unless you are willing to say that new pickups will solve this problem, with 100% certainty, I think it's smarter to pick any one of dozens of very similar guitars that are available, and sound closer to OP's desires.

Again, the fact that this guitar is not available used (or new, even) means he's going to take a bath on resale if it doesn't work out. Once again I'll stick by suggesting that he at least try a bunch of other Ibanez type guitars, because chances are something there will tick all of the boxes. As I said earlier, if the JEM is really unique enough, it's a fine choice. It's just smarter to get a wider view of the options first, and I think sound ought to be a factor even if the pickups are going to be changed eventually.
#14
If the guitar feels good in your hands and is solidly put together, it may be worth putting new meat on its bones by upgrading the pickups (and, if need be, the electronics).

If not, get a new guitar.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#15
Something else about that guitar that doesn't sit right with me is the tremolo. It's apparently placed below the Edge 3 in the Ibanez hierarchy of trems, and considering the Edge 3 is crap, that does not bode well.
Trem replacements are expensive, and so are new pups. With this in mind, getting this guitar fixed up proper may well double it's price.
#16
Quote by TheQuailman
Something else about that guitar that doesn't sit right with me is the tremolo. It's apparently placed below the Edge 3 in the Ibanez hierarchy of trems, and considering the Edge 3 is crap, that does not bode well.
Trem replacements are expensive, and so are new pups. With this in mind, getting this guitar fixed up proper may well double it's price.

This.

Jem jr's are simply not very good guitars. There's just too much money that needs to be put into them. For the amount of money the guitar costs plus a new bridge (and they don't come cheap, nor is there any guarantee that a new bridge will even fit inside the guitar) and new pickups, you could've bought a much better guitar by default.

Take your money elsewhere.
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#18
For me, cheap tremolo = do not buy
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#20
what amp are you playing through? it better be of solid quality / money investment before you point a finger at a guitar for sounding bad. amp is about 80% of your overall tone.

aside from that, i would say if it plays well, feels good, holds tune, and is fine in every other way other than pure tonal, output, dynamics, harmonics, and other pure tonal things, then yes i would say upgrading pickups is a wise investment.
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