In a perfect world, I would include the comments in the Guitar Gallery. The entire gallery would load in a few tenths of a second as well. We would have clear video of some of us playing these works of art also. Something to look forward to, but for now I've put the comments for each JEM and Universe guitar on this separate page.
Jemsite has listed commentary for each JEM and Universe guitar. Also featured are second opions from friends of Jemsite. To see how everyone ranks their favorites go to the "Visitor Guitar Ranking" page. If you submit a full suite of collector comments they will be added if suitable.
Last update: 4/24/2000 updated commentary by Jemsite.com
JEM 77 Series
JEM77BFP - Blue Floral Pattern
The Blue Floral always stood out in my book as one of the better JEMs. Having been a fan of the original Floral Pattern in black, the Blue Floral seemed like a nice update which looked even better than the original. Having a short four year production run allowed this JEM to be somewhat uncommon, yet still widely known. This is the JEM that everyone liked, but many passed by for other models. The detail of the Blue Floral print on the guitar is impressive when seen in person. The floral print is on the front, back and headstock. Jim McCloskey from Ibanez says that the print is "not fabric, it's a slightly out of focus photo, laminated & bursted over". I've heard this before but this does not explain the texture that is quite obvious under the clear coat. This is a JEM that will be appreciated even by people who think JEM guitars are gaudy. Unfortunately it came out in the Golden Years of Ibanez JEM/UV guitars. It was never the top JEM model available.... remember it was sold along side of the JEM Purple Multicolor, Green Multicolor and the tremendous Universe guitars that were just introduced. From an owner & collector's viewpoint, this is one of the nicer models of the middle of the pack JEMs.
- I was surprised this one was out as long as it was. I've never seen Vai play one. - by Larry Larsen
- Great combination of a floral print and vines on maple. Cool because unlike the other floral, there is only one pattern and they aren't too common. - by Dave Weiner
- It never ever had the same pizzazz the same wow factor as the other JEMs but it had a maple board. I always think of this guitar as the one that players had if they wanted a JEM but didn't want the Vai (or at least anyone else to know that they wanted the Vai connection). - by Jono Dale
- Now I like this one. It's a good compromise between the fruity 77FP and a plain color. Too bad they're so hard to find. - by Kyle Clark
- Very cool, underlying paint/design is a little cheap for my tastes. But as Larry says MAPLE MAPLE MAPLE!!! I dig this guitar - the inlays are a nice change and its got a maple fretboard. Semi-rare and very cool - a keeper. - by Worth Davis
- I like this one for the Vine on the maple neck as well as a cool Floral. Not as overstated as many JEMs. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing. - by Larry Menshouse
- A more subtle, less glammy Jem which I always thought would fit-in great in more straight-forward rock or blues bands - by Mike Haug
JEM77FP - Floral Pattern
The original Floral Pattern. Still running strong withe the original configuration (PAF Pros and old-style heel joint). This was Vai's main instrument during the early JEM days. Vai rarely played the limited 777LNG, and instead seemed to prefer this guitar. Perhaps it was because it was their most expensive (and thus "best") JEM for a few years. I remember drooling over the Floral Pattern when they first came out.. they were totally cool. The FP outclassed the early DSY, SK and other JEMs of the late 80s. One interesting fact is that there are three different pattern variations used for the body, headstock and body backside. Therefore there are actually 27 possible variants of these guitars available that look similar, but not identical. See the Guitar Gallery for a few different patterns. Cooler yet, is the fact that the Floral Pattern was modeled after the curtains from Vai's parents home in LI. You've might have seen this before yet still disbelieve... it's true and was told to me by Joe Despagni, prior to the 77FPs release. The fact is that Vai's original few 77FPs actually used his old curtains. Since the 77FP has been available for nearly 10 years, it's collectability is irrelevant, even with the subtle pattern variations. These are widely available JEMs, often selling used for great prices. Unlike the DSY which aged terribly, the FP has stood the test of time and still looks great today. In regard to '97 models, I prefer the 7VWH and 7BSB, however if you want a new 77FP, the '97 model is unequaled.
- Classic Vai. He plays the shit out of this guitar. This thing is like the Corvette of JEMs. Built every year, there are thousands of them. Each one is it's own story. - by Larry Larsen
- One guitar that many associate with Vai. Been around since almost day one. 27 different combinations make it one that will never fade out. Always a classic. - by Dave Weiner
- I love Larry's Corvette story but its true... these will go on for ever its just you have to find the right outfit to wear with them. Should have had Pyramids though. Now with the all new improved All Access Neck Joint, Hurrah. - by Jono Dale
- Well, I'm alone again -- I don't particularly like this one. I wouldn't mind paying for one, but it'll be one my last to get. A little to high on the chintz scale for me. - by Kyle Clark
- This guitar is why I got into JEMs. I was too poor in college and had to pass on some incredible deals. I love this guitar! The fact that there are 27 combinations is pretty cool, too. I am not sure Vai's parents house could have been all that cool with this as the original drapes :-) - by Worth Davis
- I love this guitar. Vai used this for SO LONG and for good reason. Feels great, sounds great, finish looks... well, way different! What else do you need? - by Larry Menshouse
- Another possible tie for 1st. Mine is from 1997 and has direct- mounted pickups-she sounds phenominal! Great visual mystique,too - by Mike Haug
JEM77GMC - Green Multi Color
Released during the Golden Age of JEM, this multicolor guitar was a specialty item when it hit showroom floors. We all knew upon it's introduction that the Multicolors would quickly become collectibles. Ibanez kept their production very limited, due mostly to their high cost and fact that they were hand painted in the USA for Ibanez by About Time Designs. The GMC is more subdued than the other swirls, basically being green and black. The green vine neck matches the swirl colors well, and it's green/black pickups add a nice finishing touch. These guitars make a great showpiece. Their playability was previously surpassed by the 7P & 777DSY and has more recently been eclipsed by the JEM10, 7VWH & '97 FP. Only the JEM10 however, has bettered it's looks too. These are tricky to find since only about 366 have been produced. They can be found though if you're persistent. Unfortunately they often sell for ridiculous prices, where you might be better served buying two more common JEMs for the asking price of the GMC. That said, if you have the $$$ and want to own one of the least common JEMs, this is a worthy candidate.
- Alien puke. I like brightness in the Multi Color paint jobs (obviously [see jem2000]). I get a lot of e-mail about this one though so people love it. - by Larry Larsen
- Awesome paint job. Very cool. Although, not too many look different unless studied closely. None the less, the second rarest JEM out there. - by Dave Weiner
- I WANT IT BACK YOU @:~$+_^*!:*~@*. The first Time Vai looked me in the eyes at a concert he was holding one of these which established my reason for getting one but they don't have a maple board and they only have 2 colors so the impact isn't as great. - by Jono Dale
- I own one, and I totally dig the way it looks. I wish it had another color in it, but it's still real cool. - by Kyle Clark
- As seen in my rankings list this guitar just rules! But as with PMCs a lot of each guitar can be different. My GMC has a tight swirl and is in mint condition. I have seen some that look like they are plaid instead of swirly. Definetly get a front/back photo before you buy one! - by Worth Davis
- Another guitar that Vai has been seen with on several occasions. Very different and very cool. Grab it if you can. - by Larry Menshouse
- I love darker colors, especially black and green together, like 77fp, it was subtle and eye-catching at the same time - by Mike Haug
JEM77PMC - Purple Multi Color
Released along with the GMC as the 6-string swirl follow up to the multicolor Universe. This is the JEM with the lowest production total as only 271 are said to have been produced. Like the JEM77GMC and UV77MC these were hand painted for Ibanez. These are impressive guitars, because their variations are endless. Each PMC has a unique look to it, as several colors were used to create the swirl. The gallery shows a few of them and you will notice the color differences and swirl patterns between each of them. I always wondered if the Multicolor JEMs (released 2 years after the UV77MC) were released due to customer demand... many went to guitar stores for Vai's PAW swirl guitar and left with a JEM or RG because "Vai's guitar" was a 7-string. These guitars were expensive then, and are more expensive now. Obviously a collectors item that unfortunately many non JEM fans seem to want. If you are selling one, please consider a buyer who at least appreciates JEMs. For someone who wants the best playing JEM luckily there are several better choices available today new or used (see GMC). Aside from the JEM10 & Universe Multicolor, there may not be a more impressive JEM to be seen playing though.
- Very rare only 271 made, I think. Everyone wants one, I want one too. - by Larry Larsen
- My personal favorite!! The rarest JEM of all. (271 made) You can really tell the difference between all of these babies. In fact, every time you look at them, they look different!! Grab 'em if you see one. - by Dave Weiner
- THE multi colour (see UV77MC) for those who have to have the grip (or who like me after 17 years STILL haven't mastered 6 strings yet). - by Jono Dale
- Better than the GMC, if I could ever find one. It's a great item since there were only 271 made. - by Kyle Clark
- Hehe why comment? It's the rarest, coolest, most unique JEMs made. Except maybe some of the ones in Vai's bathroom or something! - by Worth Davis
- Got to love this one. Screams at you. Very cool and very rare..... very unfortunate. One of the loudest looking JEMs. - by Larry Menshouse
- A great, loud, Jem Multi-colour however it did take a while for me to appreciate it at this ranking - by Mike Haug