JEM7V Steve Vai Signature review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (360 votes)
Ibanez: JEM7V Steve Vai Signature
0

Price paid: £ 1600

Purchased from: The Mighty Ebay!

Sound — 9
Well, I play abit of everything, and this guitar handle most of it pretty well..I play mainly hard rock, instrumental, blues, metal, some ambient guitar and some jazz when I'm in that sorta mood. I'm currently using..*long sigh*..a Marshalll MGFDX30..*holds for booing*..I'm saving for a valve state amp but till then..and a Zoom 707MkI pedal..good tones for 50.. The neck pickup gives a lovely warm sound..almost perfect for jazz, blues and rythym playing of any style...the out is a bit too low for a neck pickup but none the less. The middle single is very clean, but very low pickup..I'm considering switching it out but I'm not sure I use it enough to merit the time and money it would consume..Because its jammed in between two buckers its quite low output. The Humbucker is the hottest stock pcikup I have ever played through..including EG HZ's..not putting EMG's down, tbh, I prefer EMG's anyway..this is the pickup you wanna use for lead playing of any style, it works surprisingly well for blues lead. No 10 though because of the low output of the neck pickup.

Overall Impression — 10
Well, I have been playing for about a year..I never bought this guitar expecting to be able to pull of Bad Horsie the second I laid my fingers on that beautiful Tree of Life. Nope. But at least I can still pretend. I think my gear has had an effect on this review, because I did once play straight to a Marshall AVT100, which sound fantastic. I got some fantastic tones through the combo..but still, this guitar is a fantastic guitar, beautiful woods, I have acheived some tones I never thought were possible with this guitar. If it were stolen, I would be too poor to buy it and not die of starvation. However, I could always try just living on tap water. There is no other guitar I could honestly, seriously compare it to. I love this guitar more than I could love any other piece of equipment. I might even go as far as saying I love it as much as someone would love a human being, but lets leave this review at that.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is not for touring. Unless you're Steve Vai. Or stupid. I never said it wasn't built for touring, and I think, as long as you aren't playing a smoky crowded club, you should be fine. I polish the hardware daily and it still shines like it did the day I got it. All alder bodied JEM's have a super thin (basswood I think) veneer coating on the top and back. I'm not sure why but I think it is to stop the finish sinking into the grain. Good call Ibanez. The finish seems like it would last for an eternity with good care and love.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
As I said, this guitar was purchased from ebay so this guy may have made the action lower/higher, but all hardware/wiring is completely original. The action was perfectly low, but I like a bit of high action sometimes..The bridge pickup is a bit squint, but I should be able to fix that..The guitar had a few very minor dents, nothing noticeable unless pointed out. I've had a bit of problems with the bridge, as the prick Who had it before f--ked around with the floyd. When I got it the bridge was raised. He insisted that the strings were 11's but I was sure they were 9's..So to be safe I put tens on anyway..(I like strings that fight back). Upon doing this, the Floyd Rose raised. I'm about to put a third spring on so that should bring the bridge back down. However, if you change the strings regularly, this should not occur.

Features — 9
I'd like to say that, prior to me writing this review, this guitar was purchased from ebay and I have no clue on what year it is..So don't flip out if I miss out some details. Well, it's an American-made JEM77vwh, also known as Steve Vai's signature. 24 fret (6105 frets) rosewood fretboard on a contoured alder body. Custom fret inlays which are very iconic to any guitarist, also known as the Tree of Life. Licensed Floyd Rose Trem System, as with most Ibanez guitars. Superstrat style with a more agressive twist compared to a normal Fender. Mother of pearl pickguard. One volume knob, one tone knob and 5 way selector Switch. Right now I have stock pickups, which are DiMarzioEvo (Neck), DiMarzio single in the middle position, and a DiMarzioEvo in the bridge. No coil tap, which is a shame but being Steve Vai's guitar, it wasn't very likely anyway..Oh, and the neck is five piece maple/walnut..and that's just the bloody features..

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Redshark24
    CigarKid : 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"
    Motherf*cker. care to tell us the rest of the story of your frickin LIFE?
    justine3563
    Redshark24 wrote: CigarKid : 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" Motherf*cker. care to tell us the rest of the story of your frickin LIFE?
    plus 1!this is a comment page.not for story telling!derp!
    justine3563
    CigarKid wrote: Which is a Better Guitar? The Ibanez EGEN18 or the JEM?
    that depends on you man!for me ill choose jem cause im more on RG looks.the EGEN has the "S series" looks ryt?but if you want a more crazy handle.EGEN's got it!lol.both good guitars!
    sewoo55
    if u have a steve vai signature guitar, people expect you to play like steve. otherwise they're gonna think you're a poser with and expensive guitar and no skill. i'm sorry... but the name "steve vai" has a very unique meaning to it and it just resonates exellence.
    DeadSoloist
    Did anyone else cry because of the second review? The guy says he has a 120 watt amp, this JEM, 'use a bunch of effects.' Whats next do you live in a palace and get your tea from the dangerous jungles of south asia?
    CigarKid
    I hear people always say..."If you own a Jem, then you better be as good as Steve Vai" ARE YOU A FKN MORON! Nobody can play exactly the same as Steve Vai and you have to be a Moron if you think you are! The reason you buy a Great Instrument is to be able to expand your skills and be all you can be! If you live your life always worrying about if you are good enough or if everyone on the planet will like you, then youre going to be a very miserable and unhappy loser! It's expensive you say, if you think it's too expensive, then buy something cheaper! Stop using crack and get a job and save your money and maybe someday you can have some nice things, instead of spending your whole life resenting people who have what your too lazy to work for!