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Ibanez JEM 10TH
Overall Rating
Submitted: December 15th, 2000
by David Weaver-yU1cS
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Sound Quality
I'm not sure if i'm good enough for this guitar. i've been playing guitar for 10 years, and can cover a lot of genre's, but this guitar is probably for more of a technician of a musician than myself. The sound is almost unreal, run through almost anything that isn't a peavey 1x12 or some other lame toneless amp. The sound is really warm, and the tone is somehow very clear without sounding "Screamy". The best way i can describe it is "soaring" tone. Listen to a vai cd and it's nearly identical (not quite because i don't know what ridiculously complex amp and effects loop setup vai uses). The only part of this guitar that is lacking is mid crunch, but If you're going to buy this guitar, you're not buying it because you're going to use it playing the rhythm of "you shook me". It absolutely soars with smoothness in tone, and when you play a lead with good tone and technique, it makes you listen. The single coil has a very nice tinny type of sound, and complements the guitar well with clean tone. Again, the lack of mid-crunch is the only weakness, but having this would erase the soaring tone during leads. As you would expect from a guitar that listed for somewhere around $3300, it sounds absolutely incredible.
Reliability/Durability
This guitar would, of course, stand live playing. Vai used one in part of one of his tours, even though he usually uses a VWH. The finish is so dark and deep that i don't think you could shine a laser through it. It holds tune very well, but i still would never play a gig without a backup (try it if you're new to live playing, and see what creative entertainment methods you come up with to entertain people while you change a string). I've seen Vai shake his guitars around pretty good, just holding the trem bar, so i'd imagine it's pretty durable. One never knows, though, what's been done to his guitars.
Price/Value
General Comments
I only put this rating up because none of the other 210 people in the US who own one put one up, and i'm really surprised. I know the moderators claim they won't put up "perfect" reviews, but i hope they post this one. This guitar really deserves some acclaim, and it would be a shame if this isn't posted It'd be nice if Gibson would take a lesson from this model on fit and finish. I like to buy american as much as the next guy, but you can't be crazy and do it when the disparity between construction is this large. I know there are people who will question the quality because it's basswood, and doesn't have any of the frills like flame top, or arch-top. That's not this guitar's style, though. It honestly makes me say "i can't believe this was produced for $2000", while at the same time, i can't believe my SG was even half the cost. This guitar lacks some versatility, and you won't be a complete player if this is your only guitar. But, if you're going to be a technical player, this guitar is no doubt a winner if you can fork over the dough (i understand they sell used for as much or more than they were new sometimes). sorry to give an overly long review, but this guitar deserves to be mentioned, and not just because it costs a lot. Let me make quick note that there are serious quality differences between this guitar and a 550 RG, which i also have. If you've played an RG, the Jem 10 is what an RG is when the luthiers get a chance to make it how they want to without cost being an object. Get a hold of one if you can. Again, i'm sorry that this is reviewed with all 10's, because it seems skewed, but this guitar deserves no less. At $2000, it was a fantastic value. I know there are pictures at the jem site (http://www.jemsite.com)
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