JEM77P Steve Vai Signature review by Ibanez

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (5 votes)
Ibanez: JEM77P Steve Vai Signature

Price paid: $ 900

Purchased from: Andertons UK

Features — 9
The Ibanez JEM77P BF (Blue floral) is a looker, without a doubt one of the more popular JEM's to come out of Ibanez's Indonesian factory mainly due to its fantastic paintjob and maple fretboard, which was last seen on the old blue floral JEM from the '90s.

What you get: American basswood body, Maple/walnut neck/fretboard with KTS titanium reinforcements for added sustain and stability, Ibanez's own tuners, Steve's DiMarzio Gravity Storm humbuckers and a evolution single coil in the middle position, Ibanez Edge Zero II tremolo and vol/tone/5-way switching.

Sound — 10
Since we are in 2016, there isn't a style that you can't play on any specific guitar, you can metal out on a telecaster, and you can jazz out on a warlock. I never thought of myself as having a "style" as it all depends on my mood, but I guess I would call myself mainly a metal player, mostly a rhythm player with the occasional solo, I find myself playing a lot of fast rhythm, think Iced Earth/Skeletonwitch/general thrash metal, that being said, this guitar does that very well. The DiMarzio Gravity Storm have a very articulate and responsive, and they handle high amounts of gain very well, and sound beautiful on clean and crunch.

As for what the guitar can really do, I am just starting to scratch the surface, using my Blackstar ID:60, which has a metric ton of variation in itself, I can pretty much dial in a tone for any style of music, and the guitar seems to handle everything very well.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
As I got it second hand, from a very serious collector of Ibanez's (mainly Paul Gilbert guitars) it was set up perfectly with 9-42 strings (a little thin for my liking, but it'll do) and as low string height as possible without having to part with any tone. As for flaws I can't find any, the guitar was well taken care and stored by the previous owner, so it is as perfect in my hands as it was when the other guy bought it, of course there might be some that disagree or have gotten a guitar with the occasional fault from the factory, but I doubt a premium Ibanez will come with a lot of faults.

Reliability & Durability — 8
With the KTS titanium rods in the neck, the neck on this guitar will stay straight for longer, and keep tuning issues to a minimum, all though I don't tour around the world in and out of crazy weather, I am sure it will hold, with no more than the usual neck adjustments. As for the hardware, my main concern was the Edge Zero II bridge, which some people seem to be negative about, as it does not hold its own against the original JEM bridge, the original Edge trem, that being said, I love the Edge Zero II, I have no tuning issues no matter how much I whammy about, and since the zero bridge removes a lot of the hazzle when it comes to changing strings as it always returns to the zero point (flat), it's a fantastic bridge in my eyes, and I would certainly gig (and hopefully will) over and over.

Overall Impression — 9
Now as I said, every guitar can do every style, so it comes down to whether you think the guitar "looks the part" or not, and I think this guitar suits my style very well, with fast technical rhythm metal playing, and the occasional solo, with the opportunity for split coils and what not, I think this guitar suits me very well. Having played for about 11 years, and having GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) I have had a lot of guitars come and go, from probably every brand imaginable, and my fixation with the Ibanez RG started with the RG350MYE, which I tinkered a lot with, so when this JEM came for sale, I thought it was time to try something a little more high end in the Ibanez catalogue, and I have not been disappointed, this might just be my favorite guitar after "mainly" swearing to ESP for the last 3-4 years and if this JEM was stolen, I would DEFINITELY replace it with another.

So if you are in the market for a guitar that looks stunning, and will do any style with ease, look no further, this beauty will make you look good on stage and wherever, and make for some great live pictures.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I am a lousy player but I hope the beauty of the JEM will distract listeners from being lousy...
    also add a lot of distortion and some chorus at times. Adds to the spectacle. oh, and don't forget the pyro's
    These reviews of gear by users are good, but I can't help feeling the scores given are a little biased as they're nearly always 9s and 10s. Understandably though, you're not going to buy a guitar you don't love
    dm790909 · Mar 13, 2016 05:49 AM
    This shit has been going on since the inception of this site. I just bought a brand new US made Jackson Kelly but I ain't going to post a review because I damn know it won't be objective. Of course someone who has just acquired an expensive, brand new guitar is going to rate it high.
    I guess it's hard to not make them biassed though when it's something like guitars, no right n wrong.
    Yep, I don't think anyone buys a guitar that he doesn't really like. It's hard to rate it badly if you picked a certain guitar you love out of countless models.
    Another way of looking at it is : this is not their first guitar. A person with a lot of experience with guitars knows what he's looking for and if he gets it, he will obviously rate it high because he found the perfect guitar for him. Also, nowadays middle-entry guitars are a LOT LOT better than what we used to have 10 years ago.
    It is a beauty and I wish the look would make my playing sound better.