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Rating and Reviews: Ibanez JEM70V Steve Vai

Beautifully finished and uniquely contoured, the JEM70V sports a 5-piece maple/walnut Wizard Premium reinforced neck and awesome DiMarzio Evolution pickups.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Killer guitar from top to bottom" submitted June 11, 2014

By Tony M in Austin, TX
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Musical Background: I've been playing guitar for over 20 years. Always recoding and and in active bands that play live every weekend.
Music Style: Rock... classic to modern hard rock. Classical. Flamenco.
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Overall: I play/own everything from Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Stats to ESPs and Schecters, and the Ibanez Prestige neck is my absolute favorite... until now. I actually prefer the slightly thicker (and less wide) neck of the Ibanez Premium. I know... the word "thick" and Ibanez neck don't belong in the same sentence, but the JEM Premium neck is slightly thicker, but in a perfect way for my hands. The frets of the JEM Premium feel slightly thinner, but just as tall; giving them a slightly less comfortable feel, but still faster than any neck I've played. Overall, the playability of this guitar rivals my $2K + ESPs. The pots are fairly linear and the friction is perfect for my taste (I don't do a lot of swells or volume changes while playing with my pinky or anything). The tremolo is very easy to depress, so it makes it a breeze when using it in the middle of fast playing. The tone of the Evolution pickups is one of my favorites. It's so smooth yet fits in the mix of band really well (cuts through the drums, bass, and vocals). Again, one of the best sounding guitars I own. Of course the paint job (that green really pops on stage), pearly looking pick guard, vine inlay, and killer shape of the Ibanez RG make this axe absolutely striking. I've had so many tell me, "I would have learned to play if I had a guitar as beautiful as that". It's a real head turner and stands out among everything else people are playing out there. I've been playing it at gigs for the past several weeks and it has not given my any trouble. The tremolo is stable, and the action is still in dead on (neck has not been bending). It feels like a solid guitar... nothing cheap or fragile about it. Time will tell, but so far it seems like it's going to be a reliable guitar. It's a matter of personal taste, but if you like big frets, and thin necks, this would be worth checking out. I was surprised at how much I liked the Premium build better than my Prestige guitars. What a bonus to get all the beautiful features of a JEM in a far more affordable Premium Ibanez. If they make more of these in different color schemes, I will be getting them.
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"Worthy of lower end RG Series" submitted February 21, 2014

By Jason Watt in Minier, IL
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Musical Background: Been playing music for twelve years.
Music Style: Progressive Metal, Hard Rock, Christian Rock, etc.
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Sound: I had higher expectations of the DiMarzio Evolution pickups than I probably should have, but they aren't bad pickups. I was able to get a pretty decent crunch out of them, and my pinch harmonics were tight. The cleans were gorgeous, whether using the bridge or neck positions. I wasn't blown away by these pickups, however. They seemed quite a bit weaker than the standard EMG. Quality: Chipped paint in the input jack. The input jack was also very loose and wobbly upon delivery. The Wow Factor: Its appearance was a "wow factor." That's it. Overall: I was quite excited to get this guitar. I purchased it in December 2012, and immediately out of the box my eyes were wide open with excitement. This guitar is gorgeous to look at. The seafoam green is vibrant, and the design on the fretboard is absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, that's where my excitement ends.I was very disappointed that it didn't come set up to play. The bridge was a disaster, and the intonation was all kinds of off. And if that wasn't enough, the action was ridiculously high. I couldn't even play the guitar when it arrived. And for someone like myself, who isn't knowledgeable of how to properly set up a guitar, this is a real pain.I've owned a variety of guitars over the years, from cheap guitars to expensive ones; from Jay Turser to Ibanez, to Jackson, to Schecter, to Agile. Both of my Jacksons (both priced between $600 to $700) play better than the JEM70V. Even after having the guitar set up properly, I did not find the JEM to play very smoothly, especially when it came to soloing. And compared to both of my Agiles (the Hawker being a $350 guitar, and the Interceptor Pro 725 being a $900 guitar)...well...there is no comparison; the Agiles (yes, even the Hawker) blow this guitar away.I play various forms of Rock music, from Christian Rock to Progressive Metal. I tested this guitar out with every form of Rock that I play, and it wasn't quite up to par. Whether using a Peavey 6505+ for Metal, or a Bugera 333XL when recording my band's album (Christian Rock genre), or just jamming on a Crate combo at home, this guitar was able to suit each style fairly well, but not as well as I personally would have liked.All-in-all, this guitar plays less like a JEM and more like a lower end RG. Worth the $1499? Not even close. You're paying for the name, and that is it. I might recommend saving another grand or so and buying a real JEM if a JEM is what you're looking for.And just as a side note, I traded this guitar for a new amp before I ever finished paying for it. I just wasn't pleased.
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"Seafoam green & White pearloid- yummy!" submitted October 16, 2014

By Ronnie H in Lafayette , LA
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Musical Background: I've played for 30 years- Guitar and drums
Music Style: Rock
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Overall: She's a blast to play. Comes with case. If you can afford it you will be happy.
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"Great guitar, bought for a friend" submitted July 17, 2014

By Tim P in Los Angeles, CA
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Musical Background: Buyer has 30 years of experience including some professional work. Currently working as a music pastor and worship leader.
Music Style: Rock, Christian, shredder.
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Overall: I bought this guitar for my best friend, a local pastor and quite a good shredder. A couple of months ago, I asked him about his dream guitar and he told me about the JEM70. He loves Steve Vai, idolizes him and has always wanted his model guitar. So I talked with his wife and his friends and we all pitched in to buy him a great birthday gift. I've been to his house a few times since he got the guitar and he is always playing it, so our plan worked. We bought him a great guitar to inspire him to play more and it's done just that. Before I gave him the guitar, I checked it out for any flaws or problems but there were none. It was put together flawlessly and beautifully. When plugged in, the pickups explode with sound. In my friends' hands, this guitar comes to life and simply sings. A great investment.
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