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Fake Ibanez jems and other guitars from China

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    There has been an infusion of cheap guitars comming from China in the last year or so. Most of them have a really cheap buy it now prices (something like .01 up to $5.00) and have huge shipping costs (usually upwards of $200+) Most are Ibanez or Gibson, although I have seen some Fenders. None of these guitars are the real thing, but mearly sloppy look-a-likes put together with inferior products, and most likely put together by inexprienced labor, or even child labor. Remember if its to good to be true, it usually is. Your never going to get a $1800 guitar for $300 ever...

    These sellers are the same people who sell "authentic antique" items to tourists who don't know any better, just to go home and find out that Ming dynasty vase that they just bought for $500 is a worthless fake when they brought it to Antiques Roadshow...:)

 

The Ibanez White Jem:

 

    I have been able to examine first hand one of these "Chibanez" white jems up close and personal. There isn't one ounce of quality to be had anywhere on these guitars. Every place that they could cut corners to save money, they did. The body itself is the correct shape and cut, however, I highly doubt theres anything better than plywood under the thin coat of paint. The tremelo unit is a very cheap pot metal version of the Edge or TRS, at best it could closely relate to the quality of Ibanez's Lo-TRS II, which as we all know was one of the worst tremolo's ever made. Also the gold finish rubs of very easy with only a small amount of play. The pickguard is a very sloppy cut 3-ply piece of plastic which doesn't follow the guitar shape (this is very evident by the lower horn). This is also true for all the cavity control plates, which are cut so poorly, you can actually see that they cut them by eye with a razorblade and screwed them to the top of the body (All real Ibanezs have recessed cavitys so the covers are flush with the body) also note that the real Jems have access holes (more like long slits) cut in the tremolo cavity plate to allow on the fly spring adjustments without having to take the plate off, and not just the common 6 small holes. One of the key tells that its a fake is by the handle (Or "Monkey Grip") which is cut very poorly and is oversized and less defined that a real jem (compare it to the pictures on ibanez.com or jemsite.com) The pickups are no-name generic pickups which actually don't even fit in the pickguard all that well. A real Jem's pickups are DiMarzio Evolutions with the pickup poles gold plated, which you would never find on the Chibanezs. All the electronics are just as cheep and will more than likely fail after a short time of playing. Also note that the knobs on real Ibanez Jems are the common white plastic numbered knobs, and not round gold colored metal ones found on most chibanez's. 

    Onto the neck: The neck is poorly bolted on by a very poor copy of the Ibanez all access neck joint. This neck joint is much more square cut and has far more neck overhang that a real jems neck, there are also bolted on with gold colored bolts, of which no real Ibanez uses. The neck itself is much, much fatter that any Ibanez I have ever felt, even fatter than some Les Pauls and Fenders. The fretwork is very sloppy, non of the frets were leveled or beveled well, and they sit very poorly in the neck. The last 4 frets are NOT scalloped like all Ibanez Jems, which is another dead tell that its a fake. The vine inlay is also very sloppy, with a lot of filler and chipped pieces, and is also all made from the same white plastic, unlike a real Jem which uses Abalone for the small leaves and white perloid for the big ones as well as a darker perloid for the vine. The headstock is another tell tale sign of a fake. There is also no trussrod in a lot of these guitars, which is very, very bad, and would mean the necks will warp and bow very easy over a short amount of time. Also the guitar that I looked at already has stress cracks on the sides of the neck joint, which is something that would develop over years, not weeks like this guitar. This tells me that the guitar wasn't painted or cleared properly. A sign of very bad quality. 

    The width of the headstock is usually much greater than that of a real Jem which is very noticable especially at the width between the low E tuner and the side of the headstock. Also note the logo, the "swoosh" checkmark doesn't go all the way to the tip of the headstock on some. Also keep in mind that you would never see "Jem Jr." with a full vine inlay neck. The tuners are very cheep no-name brand. Unlike the high quality Gotoh's that Ibanez uses.

    Please don't let these rip off artists in China sway you away from buying an Ibanez on Ebay, theres plenty of good sellers out there as well and tons of great guitars. When it comes down to it, just don't buy from sellers in China, or if an auction looks fishy or questionable, just move on. Remember to always check the sellers feedback and ask questions, ask for pictures, or even ask people who bought things from that seller if there transaction was a good one or not. If the seller is legit, they will more than likely have no problems at all with this and would jump through hoops for you.

    If your looking for a great playing Ibanez check out the highly collectable and great playing RG550's, there the classic shred guitar from the late 80's and 90's, and play like a dream for usually around $500. If thats above your price range, check out the newer rg350dx or the rg370dx, a great playing mid level guitar for around $300, that blows the socks off these "chibanezs"... 

 

    For more infomation of if you have any questions please visit the forums at jemsite dot com.

 

 
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