J-EM review by Freya

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 6
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 2.9 (17 votes)
Freya: J-EM

Sound — 9
As I mentioned before I am unsure of the pickup make but they aren't as good as the evo's in the Ibanez. However they are really nice, I can't afford a real nice Marshall with loads of pedals so I am just running it through a Line 6 75w spider. But I have to say they sound good with a few adjustments to settings. I am really influenced with '80s bands such as Whitesnake and for this genre of music they sound excellent. Also for influences such as Vai, Gilbert, Satriani, Malmsteen etc. it sounds and plays quite nice. My only problem with their pickups is that harmonics aren't very "thick" sounding. Also if you want to play really heavy stuff the sound isnt for you.

Overall Impression — 9
My overall impression is very good of this guitar, I was expecting a cheap thing for the price but I was pleasantly suprised. I have been playing guitar for around 5-6 years and have experienced a number of different ones but I would say the feel is definitely on par with the mid range Ibanez's, which is rather good. I would definitely replace this guitar with the same if it were lost or stolen or an alien took it because for the price you really can't do better than this, and it just looks really nice. I do wish it had the EVO Pickups and a high end Floyd Rose and locking bridge. Thanks for reading, if your thinking about buying this instrument, I do recommend it!

Reliability & Durability — 7
I think this guitar would stand live playing to a certain extent. Because if what happened with the tuning where to happen on stage you would be stuffed really, unless your Vai when his string broke and he carried on with an epic hero solo, if you haven't seen that check it out, but anyway you would have to be careful. The guitar itself seems like it will last a long time along with the hardware. That goes for the finish of the guitar as well. Overall I am quite happy with the durability of this guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The guitar was set up rather well, apart from what I mentioned earlier which I will come to again. They fit Ernie 9 - 42's at the factory unless if you specify you want a different. The action was fairly low, which is how I like it, but if you want it otherwise you can let them know ad they will change it before it is shipped. Now as I mentioned before the B String sometimes goes out of tune with excessive playing. I found this out when I was playing the intro to "Estranged" by GNR. I played the first major bend on the B string and when I came back to it I thought "Oops, I played it wrong" but it turned out the string was completely out. So I tuned it back up and after a while I used the whammy and the same thing happened. So I re tuned it but it hasn't happened again since then, probably just because I'm a bit more careful now.

Features — 8
Just to start I'm not going to make this as detailed as the previous but I recently bought this guitar so I thought I'd write my first review. So the guitar was made by Freya in Ireland. The guitar itself looks almost exact to the original Ibanez we all know and love. The neck has a nice feel to it similar to the low to mid-range Ibanez's such as the s540. The guitar is also quite light weight. I am unsure of the pickup brand but they are obviously not as good as the evo's in the Ibanez. My only niggle with the features of this guitar are the locking nuts and Floyd Ros (which is a licensed one). Purely because with excessive bending or whammying the B String will go out of tune, but I'm sure with a proper set up this will be fixed.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    GMoorefan84 bought the guitar from a presumably reputable music store that had the guitar custom made and properly set up. That's how it should be. I bought a JEM via AliExpress for US $160 recently. The guitar had several faults: the D-string machine head was broken, the D and G string fine-tuners did not turn (until I used pliers and iron filings came off), the truss rod doesn't work and the tremolo cavity wasn't cut correctly so that the tremolo didn't do dive bomber effects. After some routing, replacing the tremolo and machine heads (I didn't like the gold hardware anyway), I ended up with an amazing guitar. The sounds beats my $4,000 custom made guitar. I previously owned six original Ibanez guitars (Roadstar, RG 550 etc). All of them had faults. My prized RG50 had a twisted neck. I finally sold all of them despite being an Ibanez 'fan'. As far as I am concerned, if you are aware of the poor quality control and deceptive business practices of these guitar factories (especially on AliExpress) that pump out unauthorised guitar copies, and you can repair/update these guitars, go for it. My guitar looks like any other JEM. It plays great and sounds better than all of my other Ibanez's (as far as I can remember the tone). Even the fake DiMarzio pickups (whatever they are) sound very good (after waxing them). So for around $200 I got an amazing guitar. I'd say GMoorefan84 performed a pretty good review. The guitar is what it is.