JEM7V Steve Vai Signature review by Ibanez

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.9 (360 votes)
Ibanez: JEM7V Steve Vai Signature

Price paid: $ 2100

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
I love the variety of sounds I get outta this baby. Every Switch position is a very cool, unique sound. Not a Strat sound. Vai planned this one right. When I crank this dude up with my Vintage Fender Blues Deluxe or through my 120 watt twin 12 inch Jensen speaker stereo modeling amp, this ax can play anything and sound great doing it. With effects like a little more reverb, wah, various distortion effects, you have other worldly sounds, just the way Vai likes em. I've read that some people say you should only used this guitar for certain types of music. I play blues, light rock, very hard rock, a little thrash, and my own sort of 60's psychodelic/rock style and the Jem7vwh handles all of it with classs, power and brilliance.

Overall Impression — 10
I think I've said it all. I love the Jem7vwh and would be fine if it was my only guitar. I had a couple other Ibanez products, and regard that company very highly. If stolen I would buy another. I chose this ax for quality, sound and looks it's a 10 in all of them. I currently own tons of effects, the amps already mentioned, plus a Strawberry Blonde acoustic amp, made in Fullerton 1970's Fender P-Bass, Pre Ernie Ball 1970's Musicman Stingray Bass, '76 Gibson L6-S Custom, '86 MIJ Fender Strat, custom Telecaster, Fernandez Ravelle Elite, Ibanez EP-9, D'Aquisto New Yorker acoustic/elec, Hagstrom Jimmy Oval Hole acoustic/elec, Ibanez 105A hollow body, heavily customized Gibson Les Paul Classic. So that gives me quite an arsonal to chose from... and I love my Jem7...

Reliability & Durability — 10
I've had this guitar for a year now. It's solid and a workhorse. It's the real deal, not just another pretty face. Meant to be a real players ax, not an expensive toy for spoiled little kids. I always take care of my guitars (I have 14), so my Jem is always safe from disasters. I don't beat the hell out of any of my guitars when I play. Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townsend did that best, so I would look stupid. I also always carry two or three of my guitars one of them is always my Strat or my Jem7. I'd feel fine depending solely on my JEM7, but I like a variety of sounds and tunings, so 2 or 3 more instruments is a must for me.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Action is very good right out of the box. I lowered my strings just a tad to gain even a little more speed on an already fast playing neck. The very light satin finish on the neck makes it fast and smooth. Looks great too. The frets are sort of medium high, it seems to me, and the last few fret positions are scalloped ala Yngwie Malmsteen. Makes the last few high notes crystal clear. Really a great idea that works. Thanks Steven V! As I said earlier, the workmanship is fantastic and that means the fit and finish on my ax is 100% perfect. No gaps, no paint clumps or drips. Everything perfect!

Features — 10
You've read all the info from other reviewers. Beautiful workmanship. The Hardware is all of excellent quality and never fails me. The Evolution pickups have a wonderful and unique sound. the Tree of Life inlay is stunning. Great feel to the neck. The neck is slick and fast. The monkey grip is almost useless, but looks very cool to me and I actually have used it a few times. Vai put it there, so it's ok with me. The case is extremely sturdy and very plush (smells great too). Floyd Rose trem is outstanding when used with the string locks. Otherwise goes out of tune within minutes. Fantastic looks and workmanship.

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hi marcussss..personal choice for you..the jems are great...depends if you want a fat neck or not..I personally don't like strats much due to the necks, but others swear by them...Before you buy, check out my previous correspondence..
    Ok, I guess I can answer my own question now. About 2 weeks ago, I bought a new old stock 2008 Herman Li from Daddys Music in Salem NH. I originally wanted the Jem 7V but bought this instead since they didn't have the Jem and let me play the Egen18. I loved it, I have been playing an RG 550 for the past 3 years and this was a much smaller body. It had a really nice Blues\Jazz\Metal type sound to it by switching the pickup selector switch. The action was very smooth and buzzed very little at the very low setting I like to play at. My only real beef with it was the middle pickup. It kept getting in the way of my picking. I tried lowering it but it was already as low as it would go. I don't quite understand it because I thought Herman Li had this guitar made to eliminate this problem by having it set lower into the body, but the pickup was a little over 1\4 of an inch above the flat of the guitar body. The Salem Daddys store that I purchased it from did not have the tremlo bar in the case with it and they said they would order it from Ibanez. After about 2 weeks later, still no tremolo bar. I never tried the Edge Zero tremolo bridge before and the store only gives you 15 days to return a new guitar for the full refund. I only had 1 day left and I didn't want to be stuck with a $2150 guitar that I wasn't happy with so I made some calls to other Daddys stores and finally found a new Jem 7V for sale in Manchester NH. I asked if I would be able to return it there for the Jem if I liked it more and they said "NP" I now had the great opportunity to compare the 2 guitars side to side. In my opinion, the Jem was a cleaner sounding guitar with slightly more sustain. The feel of the bending was not as smooth compared to the Egen's jumbo frets, but I got use to it in about 3 minutes. The edge pro bridge was fantastic and had just the right bending feel. (again, I still had no way of trying the edge zero bridge as they didn't have a bar that would fit it either). The neck on the Jem felt a little thinner than the Egen. There was a lot of fret buzzing on the Jem compared to the Egen, but they said they could send it out to fix that problem. I then hooked up a "Satrinator Distortion pedal to the Jem and it sounded UNREAL... so I know I could still have that nice hard metal sound out of it. I guess the final decision was which guitar can I rely on more. The Jem has proven itself to be an outstanding guitar where as the Egen is still in the unknown area. Resale was another thought in my mind, which guitar will be easier to sell if I (hopefully not) ever have to sell it. I heard a rumor that the Egen18 will not be made in 2010. What will that do to the value? I guess my final opinion on these 2 guitars is this: If you want one of these guitars for Heavy Metal. I think I would go with the Egen18. If you want it for playing stuff like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Dave Gilmore, then I think your better off with the Jem. But these are just my opinions. I have been playing guitar for 36 years now and have owned many different guitars, but I have only played religiously for the last 3 years. I play by ear and only play lead guitar and the basic bar chords. I can play lead to almost anything as long as I feel and enjoy the music. Of course I'm no Satriani or Vai, but I just love playing to whatever I hear and enjoy. I recommend you try both guitars before you make your own decision. "Enjoy"
    The handle is what gives the guitar it's signature look, with out the handle it just wouldn't be the same
    drag00nlanc3r you are the dumbass edge pro 3 is a licensed floyd rose bridge pull up your pants your ignorance is showing before calling someone else a dumbass make sure you aern't the dumbass your the ****head, idiot. =)
    how many of u people think thats a floyd well ur ****heads its a edge pro or edge 3 dumbasses
    i played this at guitar center i was so let down when i played it was just trashed amazing looks, cost to much, not exactly worth it
    hamer exp jp
    that guitar is insane im on a mission to save up for one lol the cheapest ive seen is 1600 has any1 seen less?
    ^actually the pickups are standard DiMarzio, He Uses DR Strings i think(i forget), and He has a DiMarzio Strap he bought back when he first got EVO. The More you Know...
    Adam Musial
    I hate Vai.. I mean his music is.. good and his guitars are nice but he's much of a corporate *****... he has custom... everything pick-ups, strings, frets... :\ he problly even has strap-lock washers >.
    richard_edwards wrote: ibanez = good guitar = good monkey grip = useless who in the right mind would carry a guitar that expensive and gorgeous out of its case and like that!
    steve vai? who else lol and its not stupid it has its uses im sure would you recomend this guitar im thinking of getting the rock mirror one or a js
    Have a Blue Floral Pattern 77 jem..It is ok, but the pickups then weren't as hot as the new evos. Bought a Evo 77 WH about a year ago...was so happy with it...great sound, hot pickups, looks awesome...however...just bought a JS1200 in Japan and it shits on anything I have ever played. The most versatile guitar..meaner sound than the jems...feel like tossing them out...(except they cost too much..) Seriously least try..the candy apple red is something to be seen.. my jems have turned a lot of heads, but this JS...people just drool..then they hear it..!!
    dude just wanted to clarify some things with you... The Axe is absulutely amazing!!!(Good looks,awesome sound etc!!!) the hardware of real gold or just gold plated or just some gold like paint??? My Jem 7V is Japanese but the gold hardware especially the screws are loosing the so to say gold on it!!! Now it just looks like sum ordinay screws!!! Even the tuning locks on the bridge and neck are rusting!!! Any one suffering from similar problems??? Heard that Ibanez dosent give any warranty whatsoever...any one can throw some light on it???
    Hey guys, i have a important decision to make; yngwie malmsteen stratocaster or ibanez jem 7vwh. Please let me know your opinion on witch i should choose. Thanks for responding (:
    ikarian-pride wrote: i would get this guitar because of the handle
    thats the exact reason i wouldnt get it.
    If God had a guitar teacher, his guitar teacher would own this guitar.
    I don't belive in GOd but if I did this would be it. This giutar makes the most ham fisted fear like a guitar god. I can't say enough about this guitar. If your serios about guitar and you want to know what a real guitar is supos to be like this is it. This is the closest you can get to having a luther living in your home to custom your guitar.
    this guitar is the holy grail for all ibanez to be marked on. but holy ****ing shit have you seen how much it is!?
    Ah yes. Has almost the exact same things as a 555 but cosmetic difference and is set up better before sold. Good guitar, but the better buy is the almost identical jem 555.
    Just Got My Jem Yesterday...The Only Problem That I Had Is The Sustain But I Think I Can Adjust That On My Amp...It's An Awesome Guitar!!!Steve Rocks!
    I hate the monkey grip, but this is one of the best looking guitar's I've ever seen.
    Thanks a lot DavyH!!! Appreciate that!!! I'm sure that my Jem is Authentic....The serial no's are the same as explained on Jemsite!!! I checked out Jemsite before buyin the i was sure that i was goin in for an original!!! The fine tuners on my Jem is of course black.....and i meant to say that its rusting too!!! Any option to get the screws lookin close to that Gold dust or woteva??? ;P
    It's plated - it may be expensive but 'real' gold won't get on there at that price. Tuning locks on bridge and neck? The fine tuners on a Jem7VWH are black... are you sure your Jem is real? Check Jemsite for details on fakes. Anyway, depending on how much your hands sweat and the chemical composition of your sweat - some more acidic than others - you're going to lose some or all of the plating over time anyway. Ibanez's warranty certainly does not cover normal wear and tear. Neither does anyone else's.
    i paid 2000 for my jem and its woth every penny it plays like a dream & i can pull off more tecnacal playing skills with it than i can with my rg550 costom