Guitar Walkthrough Part 4: Ibanez JEM 7V7

(the next part of the little “guitar-walkthrough”, in combination with my gear-page)

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Last year, there was some need for a seven-string for some recordings I was doing. I had owned seven-strings before, but that was a while ago, so I was looking through the Ibanez-catalogue, and immediately was attracted to the JEM7V7, which had just come out.

So I asked Ibanez to send me one, and opening the case was another rather magic moment. I have talked about Vai being an influence, and I always loved the Universe- and JEM-models. When I grew up, I had posters of him (and other players) with his guitar on my wall, and I very well remember seeing the first ads for the JEM 7W… the white one with gold-hardware.
This was around the time when “Sex & Religion” came out, and the ads were very beautiful themselves…

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I thought that the JEM itself was beautiful, and it fit Steve’s style very well… the gold hardware, tree of life, the pearloid pickguard etc. I tried the JEM at a local Guitar Center, and loved it, but never got one, playing other models instead.

However, opening the case, thinking back to first seeing the JEM, or seeing the different versions over the years (there are quite a few live-shots of me playing the JEM BSB, which was a totally awesome version of the JEM… if you can find one, check it out!), and once I started playing, it felt comfortable right away.

As I said, I had played seven-strings before, and of course, it takes a while to adjust not only to the extra string and increased range, but also to the wider neck etc. (I am working on a longer article on getting into and exploring a seven-string, which will either be published in the mag, online or as part of an upcoming book).

The JEM, just like the UV, makes this process rather easy, as it has a (in my opinion) very very comfortable neck-profile. Even the wider neck won’t hinder you much as it’s very thin and comfortable.

The guitar was setup perfectly, and I started playing it almost exclusively for a few weeks, getting back into “Seven-string mode”. It’s a beautiful instrument with a wonderful sound and lots of variety. It’s the guitar that will be used for the orchestra-performances, and once it is time to record guitars for the next VM- or EVB-release, this one will be used a LOT.

BTW: I do use the standard vibrato-bar with this one, not the all new carbon Ultralite arm… the latter is pretty cool and I can see its benefits, but I always stick to the regular one, as it feels more natural to me… after years of using double-locking trems, I have gotten VERY used to the regular bar.

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