JEM7V Steve Vai Signature review by Ibanez

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  • 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

Sound — 10
The sound that comes out of the HSH (all DiMarzio evolutions) configuration is bright and clear, It can be manipulated quite excessively from just the tone and volume knobs without a lot of screwing around with the amp controls, which is handy in a live situation where you can't do an easy change between clean and dirty. I play what i'd consider "guitar-ry guitarist music". Paul Gilbert, (Definitely not steve vai of course) Satch, Petrucci etc etc. But play in a metalcore band for kicks.

Overall Impression — 10
This is a good guitar for excelling my ability. Because you have to be good enough for your gear. So time to push myself. I've been playing for 7 years this september and been teaching a clientbase of 50 students weekly for the last 2 years. I don't claim to be an expert but I have a pretty decent knowledge of guitars, and guitar playing. My favorite feature is absolutely the edge bridge with the combination of the Evo pick ups. I wouldn't mind trying a fully scalloped version, that'd definitely be a cool edition. I'd only change the finish to a dipped swirled finish. Cause it's awesome. If this guitar was stolen I'd weep uncontrollably and then steal every other jem in existance so everyone could feel my pain.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I'll gig with this guitar, hopefully not to a crowd who knows Steve Vai... That way i'll avoid the eye rolling that this guitar gets when someone just realises you're a fanboy :). I know the gold will tarnish but that can't be helped.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The factory set up wasn't horrible, It feels very similar to my 87 RG550DY. I'll eventually get it set up properly but as far as getting it out of the box and teaching a bunch of lessons, it did great... Even with a bit of Whammy violation. The claw in the edge routing was done very well, I was impressed with that quite a bit and the finish is perfect, all the hardware is immaculate and will stay that way for awhile until the gold eventually gets tarnished. I noticed a very tiny paint bubble on the underside of the monkey grip, but you can't see it as much as feel it. Nothing to cry to Ibanez about. The volume and tone knobs feel very stiff at the moment, I'm curious to know if it'll eventually ease up with the more use it gets.

Features — 10
This particular model is a 2010, with the newly reissued 'edge' bridge which is lovely and sturdy, it has a 24 fret neck with the last 4 frets scalloped. The purpose of which is extra grip into bends and easier fretting (although it takes a little bit of getting used to). The Prestige Jem neck is very touchable, very flat but not brittle. Enjoy the alder body, which feels very well weighted and doesn't give the impression of a heavy guitar. The monkey grip handle is useful for getting it out of the nice tight J craft hardcase that it comes in, and also useful for doing silly poses.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    the only thing that bugs me about this guitar is that the gold on the bridge and the screws on the scratch plate wares off easy
    I own this guitar and I love it. I read that it's probably the least expensive "professional quality" guitar you can get. My wife picked me up a used one for $1,400 (Canadian). I see a lot of people saying they're not crazy about the monkey grip. I wasn't that crazy about it's looks at first either. But once you own it for a while, you fall in love with it. Like someone else here said, it's in the perfect spot and right at the balancing point of the guitar. You can grab the guitar easily and solidly with one hand. Also, you're holding it by the body and not putting any strain on the neck. Also like the other guy said, I find myself missing that grip on my other guitars - especially the similarly-shaped Strat. As far as people saying you shouldn't carry an expensive guitar that way, it's probably *the* safest way to carry it (besides in the case I mean). The neck is just right for my tastes. It stays in tune incredibly well despite total whammy bar mayhem. Just remember that you have to put 9-guage strings on it. I put 10's on mine and then soon realized that the thicker strings pull harder on the bridge, totally throwing off the balance of the "floating" bridge. You *could* put 10's on it but you'd need to totally set up the guitar for that. Lotsa work (Tension spring changes/additions etc etc). Lesson learned. The pickups are great, loud, hot and with amazing sustain. It's nice to have the pickup versatility. It will never replace a Strat for the sound but it gets you in the general neighbourhood. The hardware and all the mother of pearl looks great too. Lastly, the guitar isn't really heavy so that's makes you want to play it longer. If this guitar were stolen, I'd cry and then save up for another one. ☮
    Yoyo Of Death
    It is a fully loaded guitar, although it only has a single volume and single tone. It still is packed with everything you would want wish or disire.
    i might be alone on this one but ive always wanted a toaster attached to my guitar..... sure it sounds weird but have u ever had to play a gig in the morning but end up not having enough time to get breakfast? its ****en hard playin on an empty just puttin that out there u know.....
    After reading these reviews it seems to me like there are def some biased opinions about the guitar. And to top it off, doesn't sound like anyone made a review comparing this highly priced guitar against..say.. a japanese made ESP. If I'm paying $2,600 for a guitar, it better be as solid and perfect as my ESP is. I only paid $1,500 for my ESP! The things I read about the bridge are shaky at best. More info please! More accurate, detailed info please!
    I bought a refurbished one for $350 (Australian) from Trading Post. Got new strings and a setup, plays good and is a legit model except the pickups are cheap Korean ones and are terrible. Any ideas for what I should put in it?
    blacksunshine13 wrote: how about the trash sounds like a copy
    It's all legit except for the pickups.
    EdguyRule_22 wrote: blacksunshine13 wrote: how about the trash sounds like a copy It's all legit except for the pickups.
    iver its a jem 333 with the infinity pups (a rg350 with a monkey grip) or a Chinese copy of the jem 7 post some pics ile tell you if its real or not
    I love that axe, not because of Steva Vai, but because it's very flexible while having a very particular tone. It often happens to me to listen some guy playing at the radio and clearly perceive that tone before to know that that artist use it. That's definitively unique.