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Steve Vai Ibanez Jem Guitar - Top Of The Line

Yamaha GuitarsSteve Vai is a great guitar player and one of my favorite players. He has been using Ibanez guitars since 1987 and has designed various guitars with them. He remains one of their best known endorsers. the Ibanez Jem is the one that we will discuss in this article.

In the tradition of modern guitar heroes Steve Vai has many signature products from guitars to distortion units and wah effect pedals. His most know signature items are his gem six and seven string guitars from Ibanez. Most of them are known as some variation of the Ibanez Jem. Unlike ESP Ibanez does not use a separate name for their budget line guitars they way ESP does with their LTD brand. All Ibanez carry the Ibanez label. The majority of The Steve Vai Ibanez Jems are produced in Japan by hand. they have offered a more affordable version called the Jem Jr last produced in 2007 but expected to make a comeback.

Ibanez Jems are all share some similar characteristics but have some similarities such as all have a tremolo, 24 frets, H-S-H pick up configuration, and the basic shape. The majority has what they call a monkey grip on them, but there are models that do not have it. Ibanez will usually add and remove models on a year to year basis. For 2010 they are offering four six string models and one seven string model. I will give the specifics on my favorite the Ibanez Jem JEM7VWH.

The details for the JEM7VWH are as follows. It is white with gold hardware and a continuous vine inlay on the fretboard. The body is made out of alder and the maple/walnut neck. It features 24 frets on an ebony fretboard. The Ibanez wizard neck is super thin and fast. I would call it the thinnest neck you probably can get on a guitar. This makes it extremely comfortable to play. The tremolo is an Ibanez edge style. In my opinion they are just as good as a Floyd Rose and often are quieter with higher gauge strings. The pickups are Dimarzio Evolution pick ups and sound great for high distortion guitar sounds.

I own one Ibanez Jem guitar and have been really impressed with it. I have also played most of the other models that have been available the last few years. The neck is the most comfortable one that I have and it never gives me any unnecessary hum when I play at higher volumes on my solos. This is a really good guitar, but for $2, 500 I really could not recommend it. You could actually buy four high quality Ibanez RG models for that price of the Ibanez Jem and sound just as good. Also most Ibanez guitars are made from basswood. This includes many higher end models as well. Basswood is an excellent tone wood but is not very strong. They do offer a few in alder, including this one, and a couple in mahogany. This is probably one of the few guitars they make that I would have an interest in. now some guitarists including Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen like and request basswood. If you like basswood then the basswood versions are usually cheaper and a great guitar. You can also pick up one of the Jem Jr models used for about $300-$400. You can find a used Ibanez Jem made with alder for about $1, 200. I have seen them go much higher used but never lower than $900. Overall they are really nice guitars but again you are paying for Steve Vai's name and design than just the guitar.

By Jay Braun - I am 34 and born and raised in the Delaware/Maryland area.I went to college in the deep south and had a double major while being a varsity athlete traveling up to two days a week year round. I work in ba...  

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