JEM & UV Specifications

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Color Codes of Abbreviations

Currently Available
2006 Models in North America

» UV777BK

Currently Available in Japan » JEM7VWH
» UV777BK
Out of Production 2004 - earlier
Piezo Bridge PIA (Vai @ the 2002 Grammy's)

JEM Anniversary Guitars

List Price $2999.99 w/ case $2999.99 + case $4999.99 w/ case
Pictures JEM10, Gallery Gallery Photos
Color Black w/ binding Blue-Green metallic texture DNA multicolor swirl
Body Basswood Basswood Basswood
Pickguard Engraved Aluminum Mirrored Aluminum Clear
Pickup Color Chrome Plastic Black Green, Red & Black Multicolor
Knobs Chrome Black Green
5-way Tip Black Black Green
Inlays Abalone Pearl Vine 12th fret two abalone dots, 24th fret plaque green dot fretboard inlay with blue vine ("DNA blood vesicle")
Fretboard Ebony (bound fretboard & headstock) Ebony Rosewood
Fret 21-24 Scalloped No No Yes
Fret Wire w6105 SBB216-195  
Neck Type 1-piece maple
1-piece maple w/ bubinga stripe
Neck Joint All Access Neck Joint All Access Neck Joint
Rear neck has truss rod stripe
All Access Neck Joint
Hardware Chrome


Powder Cosmo
Pickups DiMarzio Evolution (Humbucker/Single/Humbucker) DiMarzio Evolution (Humbucker/Single/Humbucker) DiMarzio The Breed
Tremolo Lo-Pro Edge
Years 1996 -1997 1998 VAI2K (2000)
Quantity 210 in the USA, 852 total worldwide

72 in the USA (thru Hoshino USA in Bensalem); 759 total worldwide

300 worldwide
Note 10th Anniversary JEM. Incredible attention to detail. 90th Anniversary Hoshino Model. Finish based on the previously released J-Custom RG-Metal1. Multicolor paint includes Steve Vai's blood. Hand swirled multicolor by Darren Michaels ATD.

JEM10 Notes - 10th Anniversary JEM. Includes numbered letter of authenticity hand signed by Steve Vai. The aluminum pickguard has an engraved vine and it's JEM10 serial number. JEM10s designated for the USA have a silver tweed JEM case with outside plaque and inner silk screened protective shroud. Later numbered JEM10s going to the USA have their JEM10 plaque screwed onto the case, instead of riveted/glued on.

Where Certain JEM10s Went: According to Hoshino USA distribution of certain JEM10s are as follows: Steve doesn't have JEM10TH #777. We're not sure which ones he DOES have, but he doesn't have these: #1 (is here at Hoshino USA) or #2 (at Roland/Meinl in Germany). #3, 5, 7, and 9 went for sale in the US market. #777 (unknown owner). After that, Hoshino has no further info on which # went where. JEM10 #16 was given away by Steve Vai during G3

JEM90 Note - 90th Anniversary Hoshino Model. Include letter of authenticity presented in a silkscreened Ibanez folder. USA model JEM90s that came through Hoshino USA included a nice Ibanez J-Custom case. Chesbro and worldwide distributors used a standard RG case. Paint scheme based on J-Custom RG-Metal1. First JEM with the bubinga "skunk stripe" truss rod reinforcement on the neck.

JEM2KDNA Note - Multicolor paint which includes Steve Vai's blood. Hand swirled finish by Darren Johansen (DMI/ATD). The paint was done in Japan, Early April, 2000. The guitars are being assembled in a custom shop of Hoshino, instead of a current JEM/UV assembly line. Rear headstock includes serial # (1-300) and three stamped Y2K logos (for the Y2K Ibanez models: DNA, CP & Benson). Guitars come with letter of authenticity and Y2K guitar bag. All USA DNA's came in a black UV1000 varient case w/ "leather" handle and purple lining. All others came with a ATA type flight case.

Some comments from Darren - Well in back and the trip went well! The guitars are sweet!!! and I got to see the first two clear coated. May I say #$%# I was impressed! The custom shop is amazing and the craftsmen ship is unbelievable!!! All of the people there are so nice it would be impossible to describe in words! This project has had the royal treatment all the way and every one is better than the next!! If you have put your money down you will not be disappointed! Hope all has been well since I left and I have missed home a lot ! But the experience was wild, I cant wait to go back! The people at the custom shop as well as Ibanez are wonderful and have went way out of there way to pull this off no expense was spared on prep or execution... I was totally impressed!  (Darren/ATD - 4/10/2000)

Colors used for the DNA swirl - blood red, neon green, neon red, neon yellow, black, neon pink. I mixed in it [Steve's Blood] and not a shaby amount either.  (Darren/ATD - 4/10/2000)

DNA & Blood Content - For the record your if you own a DNA you have a good amount of the "DNA". The "blood red" paint that I mixed was mixed at a ratio of aproximately 8:1 [paint:blood] so the content is quiet high. There had to be pigment mixed into the paint to hold it onto the guitar as well as a carrier. If you purchase a canvas you get a picture of myself and someone mixing [the blood] in to the color. Also a picture of the room we did the guitars in too. The canvases also have the same content as I mixed all the DNA left into the paint when I left Japan and brought the paint back with me . I hope this clears things up for you. Darren ATD

Serial Numbering by ATD: When the guitars were done they put them into boxes numbered: box 1 of 30, 2 of 30, 3 of 30 and so on with the first one 1 on the bottom 11 0n the bottom 21 on the bottom of each box. There will be some that are out of place. I pulled a few here and there for a QC check. About 30 or so maybe a little more. They went to the end and middle of the line. I pulled them throughout the run. They are if not on the number pretty darn close though

Guitar Center LA, CA's DNA Display Guitar - I just wanted to say something about the G.C. DNA guitar [that Steve lent to Guitar Center]. That guitar is the "prototype" and only that. That guitar does not even contain the DNA. As fact has it, when Steve got it, he played it for seveal weeks and loved it. But he was bummed that it didn't have the DNA on it. He also did not [lend] the DNA [guitar to Guitar Center] till after that one was made. As I heard, he wanted a few with the DNA in them and after I was done with them Steve has recieved a few. We did a few extras over and above the 300 for Steve and replacement bodies and necks just incase one of you wild players got too crazy lol!! Also just in case there were any production problems (hey catch this body im done with the electronics) only kidding! In case of shipping problems they wanted to make sure that they had 300 to go out and one of the 300 was mine 001/300. Well thats all I know Darren A.T.D.


JEM 7 Guitars

List Price $1999.99 $1599.99     $2499.99 $2399.99
Pictures 1 2 3 Gallery Gallery 1 Gallery 1 2 Gallery web 1 2 Gallery
Color Burnt Stained Blue Black 70% gloss texture Black Root Beer Sparkle Blue White
Body Basswood Basswood (6-pc?) Basswood Basswood Alder Alder
Pickguard Brushed Mirror Black Black Plain White White Pearl
Pickup Color Black Black White Pink White White
Knobs Black Black Black Black Vintage Silver White
5-way Tip Black Black Black Black White White
Inlays Screw Head Screw Head White Pearl Pyramids Dots Blue Vine Pearloid (lg leafs) & Abalone (sm leafs) Vine
Fretboard Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood Ebony ('93-'03)
Rosewood (2004+)
Fret 21-24 Scalloped No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fret Wire w6105 w6105 6100 6100 w6105 w6105
Neck Type 1-pc maple 1-pc maple / stripe 1-pc maple 1-pc maple 1-pc maple 1-pc maple
Neck Joint All Access All Access Original Original All Access All Access
Hardware Pearl Nickel Chrome Cosmo Black Cosmo Black Vintage Silver Gold
Pickups DiMarzio Evolution DiMarzio The Breed DiMarzio PAF Pro DiMarzio PAF Pro DiMarzio Evolution DiMarzio Evolution
Tremolo Edge (thru '90) Lo-Pro Edge ('91-2002) EdgePro (2003-present)
Years 96, 97, 98 1999, 2004 89, 90 88, 89 2002-04 1993-present
Quantity Unknown
Note Burnt & stained. Watch, as the matte finish nicks easy. Affordable JEM90. Replaced the BSB in '99. Neck has "skunk stripe" trussrod support. Large monkey grip. Thin Wizard neck. See it on "Die to Live" video (ALS) Large monkey grip. Only JEM w/ all dot inlays. ships Spring 2002. Updated pu's, neck joint & wood from the 777s. Vai's main axe 'Evo".

JEM7BSB Note - The guitar and rear of the neck was burnt and then stained. There is no clearcoat on the guitar so the stain can rub or scratch easily. Fretboard not scalloped on frets 21-24. The color varies from blue to green, with a varying degree of burnt wood appearance. In short, no two BSBs are alike.

JEM7DBK Note - First JEM with the Breed neck and bridge pickups. Unlike the original PAF PROs, the Breed (and Evolutions) come with a "neck" model and "bridge" model. The neck has a bubinga "skunk stripe" truss rod reinforcement. The headstock is plain black paint and does not have the "textured" finish. The neck profile is a bit thinner (front to back) than the traditional JEM neck as requested by Steve Vai. It is described as unique to the JEM but "kind of a Wizard neck at the nut but not at the 12th fret".

JEM7PBK Note - It's neck has the dimensions of the Wizard neck.

JEM7RB Note - The Root Beer model has a wide variety in color. Some are very dark, and some are much lighter.

JEM7VWH Note - First JEM with the Evolution neck & bridge (matched set) pickups. The tremolo arm itself is black (not gold) as Ibanez only makes black bars for the Edge/LoPro. Ultra-bright white done with a special paint process to eliminate "yellowing" with age. From Ibanez: The JEM7VWH "has a super thin 0.5mm basswood veneer on the top and back. We do this with all alder woods because otherwise the finish would settle into the grain and have lines like a strat does in it after a few weeks. We do this with only alder wood that has a solid or metallic color on it. Just to let you know."

VWH Vine Inlay - The VWH vine inlay is perloid (synthetic) for the large leaves and abalone for the small leaves. This offers a visual contrast in the vine, while allowing the guitar to be more affordable as the abalone is more expensive and more difficult to apply & work with.

VWH Scalloping - The scalloped fretboard (frets 21-24) will cause some fading or discoloration to the small abalone inlays on fret 24. This is absolutely normal and not a blemish or defect, and is inevitable due to the scalloping of the inlay itself along with the fretbaord wood. Around 1999 Ibanez began implimenting an improved technique of scalloping the fretbaord (and inlay) so as to attempt at allowing the abalone inlay to appear more vibrant and natural.

VWH Fretboard 2004 change to Rosewood - Ibanez unexpectantly, abruptly and without notice changed the VWH fretboard from ebony to rosewood in 2004 after NAMM. From the geniuses at Ibanez of Japan (paraphrased): Vai's EVO has rosewood fingerboard from the beginning. JEM7VWH is the signature model, so we changed it for matching his own JEM.


JEM 77 Guitars

List Price $3099.99 $1699.99 - $1799.99 $1699.99 +    
Pictures   1 2 Gallery 1 2 3 Gallery 1 Gallery 1 Gallery
Color Blinding rock mirror Blue Floral Pattern Floral Pattern Green Multicolor Purple Multicolor
Body Basswood Basswood Basswood Basswood Basswood
Pickguard Clear Clear Clear Clear Clear
Pickup Color Black Blue Pink Green/Black Purple
Knobs Black Blue Pink Green Green
5-way Tip Black Blue Pink Green Pink
Inlays plastic hex Blue Vine Green Vine Green Vine Purple/Green -> Pink Pyramid
Fretboard Rosewood Maple Rosewood Rosewood Maple
Fret 21-24 Scalloped
Fret Wire w6015 6140 6100

Neck Type

5-pc prestige one-piece maple

Neck Joint

AANJ Original Neck Joint
Hardware Chrome Cosmo Black Cosmo Black Cosmo Black Cosmo Black
Pickups Breed DiMarzio PAF Pro (Humbucker/Single/Humbucker)
Tremolo EdgePro Edge (thru '90) Lo-Pro Edge ('91-2002) EdgePro (2003-present)
Years 2005 91-94 88-99, 2003
(88-03 in JPN)
92, 93 92, 93
Quantity Unknown Unknown Unknown 366 271
Note Mirror pickguard wrapped body with binding. M100C case included in USA. Blue Floral picture (paper) w/ clear coat. Black Floral fabric with clear coat. Hand painted for Ibanez by About Time Designs. Each has a unique swirl color pattern and scheme.

JEM77BFP Note - Features a paper print of the blue floral pattern. It's a slightly out of focus photo, laminated & bursted over.

JEM77BRMR Note - Dubbed the "Bad Horsie" in Ibanez' 2005 literature, this guitar is a production version of the mirror-finish JEM Vai has been playing for a a few years now. The top is a vinyl mirror, like what is featured on the pickguards of the UV777BK and JEM7DBK.

Notable differences of the production model to Vai's mirror JEM include:
  » Vai's has a Fernandes sustainer, the production model does not
  » Vai's has an LED fretboard from Martin Sims, the production model does not
  » Vai's guitar body was originally routed for the Edge/LoPro hence the new EdgePro will not retrofit.
  » Vai doesn't have to pay over $2k to get one shipped to his door ;-P

JEM77FP Note - Every JEM77FP Floral Pattern made features an actual floral pattern cloth on the body front, body rear and headstock. The fabric used for the pattern is bonded to the body, painted over black on the edges and then fully clear coated. It comes in several varieties: three body, three headstock and three rear-body floral patterns exist for 27 possible combos. The actual Floral "Pattern" cloth was modeled after the actual curtains from Vai's parents home in LI, NY. His first few (pre-production prototype) Florals were said to be made with the actual curtains.

To dispel a few myths

None of the JEM77FPs sold were made with Vai's actual curtains.

I REPEAT... every JEM77FP ever made has actual cloth. This writeup here on is WRONG and the source of confusion. Kindly fix it guys :D

The Floral pattern. Well the fabric first came from a place in the USA that we tracked down from Steve's samples from his house. We purchased it in sheets that were a little bigger than a guitar body pre cut. There are three body patterns and three headstock patterns and each could be on any guitar. Then that company went out of business so we reproduced the same fabric patterns in Japan but we needed to purchase a life time supply, so they still have it and still make the FP's made for other counties, I wish they sold here (USA) but they aren't. So the answer is there are three patterns that could be on any guitar so some out there are identical - courtesy of Ibanez sources 2002

JEM77FP Note - the JEM77FP was re-imported into the USA market mid-year and announced at Summer NAMM 2003 as the JEM77FP "15th Anniversary of the Floral pattern". Each FP imported is expected to have at least a Steve Vai signed cover/backplate. In Summer 2003, Hoshino USA was bringing in the last 108 JEM77FPs then there would be a 100% discontinuation in all markets of the JEM77FP.

JEM77GMC/PMC Note - Custom multicolor finish for Ibanez by About Time Designs (ATD), the painters for the JEM2KDNA (Darren Johansen, DMI). Each has a unique swirl color pattern and scheme.


JEM 777 Guitars

List Price       $1699.99 $1699.99  
Pictures 1 2 Gallery 1 Gallery 1 2 Gallery 1 2 Gallery 1 2 Gallery Gallery
Color Desert Sun Yellow Loch Ness Green Shocking Pink Black Desert Sun Yellow Shocking Pink
Body Basswood Basswood Basswood Basswood Basswood Basswood
Pickguard Black Black Black Black Black Black
Pickup Color Pink Pink Pink Green Pink Pink
Knobs Green Yellow Yellow Green Pink Yellow
5-way Tip Pink Pink Green Green Pink Pink
Inlays Green/Yellow -> Pink Pyramid Green/Yellow -> Pink Pyramid Green/Yellow -> Pink Pyramid Green Vine Yellow Vine Pink Vine
Fretboard Maple Maple Maple Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood
Fret 21-24 Scalloped
Fret Wire Dunlop 6100 6140 Dunlop
Neck Type one-piece maple
Neck Joint Original
Hardware Cosmo Black
Pickups DiMarzio PAF Pro (Humbucker/Single/Humbucker)
Tremolo Edge (thru '90) Lo-Pro Edge ('91-2002)
Years 87-96 1987
(Summer '87)
87-89 88-92 89-91 1989
Quantity Unknown 777 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Note Second longest production run after the FP. Each guitar hand numbered and signed by Vai. Prone to fading when exposed to light. Great GMC swirl project guitar ;-) Has the thin Wizard neck. Ease of play makes up for it's looks. Black lions claw and Ibanez headstock logos.

Flourescent Paint (777s) - Hoshino USA had the Deglo (brand paint) in the USA as Paul Gilbert was using it. The Deglos did not really need a white base coat because they were one-shot style paint. When we sent the (LNG, etc.) samples to Japan they told us that there was some type of Radioactive material in there that made them glow and they could not do it. How true this is I am not sure but it made for a good story (editor's note that is no doubt pure BS as Ibanez is known for sourcing Japanese supplies if possible - just as they tried to do the "MKR" UV777MCs in-house instead of from ATD in the USA). Ibanez Japan asked Gen-Gen paints to do a color match and Gen-Gen came up with the White base coat and transparent over coat to simulate the same finish as Deglo, but really none of the Fluorescence we did were as bright as the real Deglo paints. After the fad passed, Gen-Gen and Deglo stopped making the Neon paints so Hoshino USA bought (similar paint) from House of Kolors to do replacement and repairs. It was good for a match but still did not glow like the Deglo. (paraphrased from Jim Donahue's - former #1 at Hoshino USA - book)

JEM777 DY/LNG/SK Note - The original trio of JEMs were essentially the same guitar with different color paint and trim. Features the original "777" neck which was a bit fatter and more "D" shaped. Over time the same dimensions were used but the necks seemed to have an altered profile. In addition, the final hand finish of all JEM/UV necks is responsible for slight variation.

JEM777LNG Note - Each LNG was hand numbered and signed by Vai. LNGs designated for the USA were all signed on the back of the body. Many feature symbols and other drawings along with the signature. Some overseas LNGs were signed just on tremolo cover, presumably because the bodies/guitars were not available for Steve to sign in person at the time.

JEM777SK Note - These guitars were prone to fading of the shocking pink color. There was an obvious problem with some of the paint used as the fade occured from brilliant pink to a dingy orangy color or worse. It is said the fade was enhanced by exposure to light. If your SK has not faded by now, I would not worry too much about it.

JEM777VDY Note - It's neck has the dimensions of the Wizard neck.

JEM777VSK Notes - Never intended for release in the US because the pink "changed colors". AMS (a large mail order shop) bought the leftover run of these from Hoshino and sold some highly discounted in the early 90s. It's neck has the dimensions of the Wizard neck.


JEM 555 Guitars

Pictures Gallery Gallery Gallery
Color Black White White
Body Basswood Basswood Basswood
Pickguard Black pearloid ('94 had plain black) White pearloid White pearloid
Pickup Color Black White White
Knobs Black White White
5-way Tip Black White White
Inlays Pearloid Vine to fret 12. Pearloid dots elsewhere
Fretboard Rosewood, frets 21-24 not scalloped
Fret 21-24 Scalloped No
Fret Wire Ibanez SBB215-150 "Jumbo"

Neck Type

one-piece maple

Neck Joint

All Access Neck Joint
Hardware Cosmo Black
Pickups DiMarzio Evolution (Humbucker/Single/Humbucker)
Tremolo Lo-TRS II (inferior to the Edge) EdgeProII (2003-present)
Years 1994-2000 usa market 1994-2000 usa market mid-1997- 2000 usa market
Quantity widely available
Note Ibanez' designated "JEM Jr".

Only Lefty model JEM available. Too bad it's a 555

JEM555 Note - Ibanez' designated "JEM Jr". Prior to January, 1997 the 555s had "JEM Jr." inscripted on the headstock. These have the All-Access Neck Joint & Evolution pickups. Author's suggestion - avoid these and buy a used JEM7 series instead!

While the 555 has been CANCELLED in the USA in 2000 mostly due to poor sales and horrible feedback, the 555 has been since reintroduced in many areas where JEM7s are higher priced in relative terms vs USA pricing.


Universe 7-string Guitars

List Price $1699.99 $1599.99 $1999.99   $1999.99 $2099.99
Pictures 1 Gallery 1 Gallery 1 Gallery 1 2 Gallery 1 Gallery 1 Gallery
Color White Black Black Multi Color Loch Ness Green Black w/ binding
Body Basswood Basswood Basswood Basswood Basswood Basswood
Pickguard White Black Black Clear Black Mirror
Pickup Color White Green Black Green Green / Yellow Black
Knobs White Green Black Green Yellow Black
5-way Tip White Green Black Green Pink Black
Inlays White Pyramid Green Dot Black Dot Green / Yellow -> Pink Pyramid Green / Yellow -> Pink Pyramid White Pyramid
Fretboard Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood Maple Bound Rosewood
Fret 21-24 Scalloped
Fret Wire Dunlop 6140


Neck Type

one piece maple

Neck Joint

Original Neck

All Access

Hardware Cosmo Black


Pickups DiMarzio Blaze II (Humbucker/Single/Humbucker)
Tremolo Lo-Pro Edge 7
Years 90-93 90-94, 96 97 90-93 91-93 mid '97 - present
Quantity 872 Unknown Unknown 1038 (est)
see text below
340 or so widely available
Note Perhaps the styling precursor for the 7VWH. Look at the PAW liner notes. Neck and neck with the 777SP for ugliest model. Updated looks for new bands Ibanez thinks will sell 'em. Oops thats the RG7620. Stunning. My personal favorite (aside from the JEM10). Close bronze medal for original UV models. This is what UV fans have been waiting for... one Vai would be proud of!
  No Universe guitars were produced in 1995 due to poor sales & low demand

UV7BK - All models were officially called the UV7BK. The '97 monikor is included on for reference to the "all-black" model vs the original "black/green" model. After the one year production hiatus in 1995, the UV7BK returned with the same name... replacing the green trim.

UV7PWH - These have a vintage white appearance. This is a contrast to the ultra bright white finish of the JEM7VWH.

UV77MC - Hand swirled multicolor finish. The original prototype (and Steve's) were done by Darren Johansen (DMI/ATD). After approval of Vai for the UV77MC, Ibanez foolishly created some MCs in Japan without Darren and these are often dubbed MKRs (Mustard, Ketchup, Relish) due to their limited swirl/color palate. Production was soon cancelled by Steve Vai due to lack of quality, where it was mandated that Darren come in and finish the production as originally agreed upon. This explains the vast differences in their appearance. Quoted below is info that Darren shared with the Jemsite Forum. Note - the actual proportion of MKR vs ATD UV77MC swirls is unverified and unknown. Ibanez is known for "overproducing" and understating product totals so take these productin figures with a grain of salt. The percentages of MKR's to ATD's will never be know for fact but there has always been a predominance of MKR's on the market. ATDs are generally speaking more highly regarded and desirous.

Hello. There are [by my estimation] about 60 Japanese swirls out there [editors note - the 60 number is off by hundreds due to deceitful practices by Ibanez Japan]. The guy they had do them [according to Ibanez staff] could only do very few each month. when the project first was put together there were many months between the namm showing and the first production that I did. Ibanez Japan thought that they would have a try at it over there . They figured that they could save alot on shipping and time if they did them thierselves. The first ones shipped to U.S.A. were the Japanese models. When Steve finally got one of these guitars he rejected the project because it looked nothing like the original. About one month later I was contacted about production being on it's way from Japan. If you see the two models together you will notice a distinct color difference . The guitars that I did have neon colors in them very bright, neon green, neon yellow, neon pink, and the black, and that was used through my whole run. The Japanese MKR's, as there known by some, the colors are not neon at all much deeper green a Mustard yellow and a Ketsup red instead of the pink "ok" Rellish green lol "m.k.r".

They did a real nice job on these guitars and many like them. The Japanese-swirled UV77MC's swirl is usually much wider than our's. I acually wanted to meet this guy when I was in Japan. But he had since moved away when I was there.

About the stamp in the neck pocket. I had two of them one with just the name and one with the "about time designs" logo. When I first started doing them I kept up with each one with a photo and a stamp . As time and production got crazy I could not disassemble all of them my self and some did not get stamped but all were photographed for a matter of copyright and history in there raw form (no clear or electronics). I am pretty sure that 80-90% were stamped though as I was doing alot of the disassembly at night after every one went home . I hope this answers some of your questions. Thanks for your interest
Darren / ATD /  

Updated 3/2004: The above commentary has yeilded alot of pointless debate and discussion among zealots who cannot grasp the concept that Ibanez is a Japanese company who is not forthright in sharing information, even among business associates, to put it kindly.

Darren/ATD supplied this info on 1/13/2004 (paraphrased):

Ibanez was shipping [UV77MCs] in cases of ten bodies at ten case lots and as many 20 case lots several times [from the Japanese factory to Darren/ATD to swirl]. All [UV77MC] bodies were shipped back to Japan to be finished [clearcoated and assembed], not to LA, CA [as mistakenly tossed out of the air].

I'm sure Japan must have been still doing some bodies on the sly [swirled in Japan that Vai did not approve] but I do know how many we [at ATD] were doing.

Remember I was the only one swirling but I had a staff of about 15 people who would take the guitars from me once they were done and set them to dry. My drying space was able to hold aprox 150 guitars if not more (I don't totally remember I still have all the drying hardware and I could probably count the racks to find out, I am actually thinking it was more like 200 though) and there were several times where I had it totally full with uni's [UV77MC swirled bodies].

Oh yes and that took about 2-3 days to do and about a week to dry. [The UV77MC bodies were] then shipped back to Bensalem to be put in a container to be shipped back to Japan.

I was told by Ibanez at the time that the guy [in Japan doing the Japanese swirls] could only produce a few a month few meaning aprox 30 I think they said. The mkr's [swirled in Japan not by Darren] are shipped back to this country [USA] as finished with other guitars in the containers. The first [UV77MC] guitar I saw [from production in stores] was a mkr in a store right by my house at the time. I went back to the office and called [Ibanez]. They said the project had been shot down by Steve as soon as he saw the guitar and [production] would only be done if they were produced by us [ATD].

Now where that leads me is that I'm sure they had a bunch done by this time already but only about three to four months worth. I know also for a "fact" that some of those [unused & stored UV77MC] bodies spoken of still there are some of mine and maybe some of the other guys as they had problems [with all MCs] at first with clearing and handling them. I was told that at the time that there was about 50-100 [unused/damaged? MC bodies] that were sitting there.

UV777BK - The return return of Steve Vai in the 7-string Universe. A revamped guitar with all-access-neck, striking looks and attention to detail. Blaze-II pickups retained... why mess with perfection.

Pyramid Inlay Notes - See comparison photo for subtle changes made since the first production run. The shell inlay has never changed but the process of it's finish has, with the intentions of improving the process. The inlay comes... with a silk screen ink print on it: this is the Eye, the three "7" and the Pyramid. The maker also supplies us with the pyramid shaped friskit (Masking) paper. The shell [pyramid inlay] and also the silk print has never changed; it is the same. If you look at the Pyramid up close even on the one with the solid black [Ed. - left of the comparison photo] you can see the line is actually there. The problem is that they masked the area uneven before and the distance between the black line and the outside [thin shell edge] were [sometimes] uneven. We felt people would complain about the inlay so we changed [the process]. But the opposite was true, people compained about no black line [and the thin shell outline border] so...they will go back to the original system but there may be some uneven lines. They feel if they use a clear fristkit they may be able to better lineup the tape.

JEM/UV Guitar - Common Features

Production Years listed: are for USA Marketplace. Often overseas (Japanese domestic market) certain models have continued production.

Guitar Details

JEM Neck Measurements

Universe Neck Measurements

Body: Two-piece American Basswood (except the JEM7VWH, which is Alder). Photos indicate the JEM7DBK is made from 6-pieces.

Neck Pocket Stamp: Ibanez necks and body in the pocket are typically stamped or stickered to identify the model of the guitar body and neck.


DiMarzio pickups in a Humbucker/Single/Humbucker configuration with 5-way switch.

Neck pickup is mounted in reverse - turned 180 degrees, so that the bridge side of the humbucker is closer to the neck

Volume and Tone knob - all knobs are plastic except JEM10 is metal

Recessed input jack - on the body's edge below the bridge strap lock. Prevents the cord from coming out.

Pickguards - some clear (BFP, FP, GMC, MC, PMC); some 3-ply colored

Double locking tremolo - Floyd Rose licensed and improved. The Ibanez Edge (1987-1990) and it's predecessor the Lo-Pro Edge (1991 to present) are IMHO the finest locking tremolo ever available. Many updates of the original Floyd Rose design have been incorporated and the results are amazing.

For 2003, the EdgePro (and EdgePro7) replaces the LoPro Edge on all JEM/UVs.

JEM/UV Case - The JEM/UV case has a combo lock on the outside along with the words Ibanez in pink lettering. It has a large compartment on the inside. The pink lining used since '86 has been changed to burgundy for '97. The original pink-lined 777 case was a bit shorter and was soon made larger to accomidate the UV (with larger headstock).

Miscellaneous JEM Notes

Serial Numbers - details about serial numbers is found here and here. Dating an axe from the heel plate is not 100% accurate, in that dates might not 100% match the real production date. For example many PMCs have 90-91 plates and UV77MCs are typically 90-91 even if they were made/sold later. So if you have a 1990 heel plate on a JEM77PMC you do not have a prototype or something special ;-)

Bubinga "skunk stripe" Reinforcement - The JEM90 and JEM7DBK have JEM necks with a bubinga "skunk stripe" truss rod reinforcement. It is said that the skunk stripe eventually might appear on all JEMs. [Ibanez] doesn't care about spending more money to improve something if we can get a better result. That is why [Ibanez] added a bubinga reinforcemnet at no cost. It costs alot more [to add the bubinga stripe] but the defective production rate is almost nothing on a wizard neck.

JEM DiMarzio pickups - Three DiMarzio "model" pickups have been used in JEMs:

Pickup Model & Number            Output  Treb  Mid  Bass  DC-Resistance
The Breed Neck (DP165/DP165F)     325mv    5    7    8    10.14K
The Breed Bridge (DP166/DP166F)   356mv    6    9    8    17.07K
Evolution Neck (DP158/DP158F)     294mv    7    6    6    12.01K
Evolution Bridge (DP159/DP159F)   404mv    6    7    7    13.84K
PAF Pro (DP151/DP151F)            203mv    6    5    5    8.40K

JEM Single Coil Pickup - The original "JEM Single Coil Pickup" is not available separately from Ibanez or DiMarzio. The closest (exact?) match according to DiMarzio is the HS-2 run in single coil mode. The "JEM Single Coil Pickup" has been tweaked to match the accompanying PAF Pros, Evolutions or Breeds depending on various JEM models.

Scalloped Frets 21-24 - All JEMs have this feature except the JEM10, JEM90, JEM7BSB JEM7DBK and JEM555. It is said to offer more control of the strings at the upper register and allow better feel & sustain.

Expanded Tonal Explaination of Scalloping:
When Ibanez first made the JEM it had a standard neck joint plate. The high four frets go over the body [with no mass behind them] and when you play these notes through an amp the sustain of the [upper four] notes is alot shorter. The reason is all the area of the neck is gone it is just a fingerboard extension [see Guitar Photo Gallery Neck Details]. Billy Sheenan had done this to his basses to keep the sustain [alive for the upper frets laying] over the body, so we did it on the Jem and it made the notes ring the same as the basic neck [below fret 21]. The distance between the frets does not allow your finger in there anyway. When [Ibanez] switched to all access neck joints the scallop thing does not have any purpose anymore. The VWH [was scalloped] but this guitar was actually designed way back in 1989, the first one... had the original neck joint.

Why Some JEMs are Not Scalloped:
Tonally speaking, the AANJ eliminates the need for the scalloped frets 21-24. In addition to these reasons listed above, the production of the JEM neck with scalloped fretboard is very costly due to typical production line yields which result in more defects from the process. Even with Ibanez' policy of strict quality control. The problem with scalloping is [the process] screw[s] up many necks; the reason is the inlays get wacked. Even the JEM7VWH is really bad, usually they turn out black, But we did a new improvement to the VWH that is now shipping [in 1999-2000]. If we scallop the fretboard and the inlay rips out we need to refret the neck. If you ever did a refret on scallops when you pull the fret out, small chips around the scallop come with it then it needs to be sanded down, and refreted then rescalloped. Usually this means throw[ing] the neck away. The plastic screw inlayed dots on the BSB/DBK prohibit the scalloping for similar reasons - It is impossible to scallop these at the 24th fret because of the fretboard radius of 430 mm. The dots are too far out [toward the edge of the fretboard] and can't be done.

Tree of Life Vine Inlay - this features a wooden (or synthetic wooden) stem with leafs made of clear plastic with colored paper applied underneath. This provides a bright color (blue, yellow or green vine for example). The JEM7VWH adds abalone inlays for the smaller leafs, using pearloid plastic for the large leafs. The JEM10 has adds abalone for it's larger and small leaves. The 555 vine stops at the 12th fret unfortunately.

Disappearing Pyramid Inlay - the day-glow color inlays are made of clear plastic with colored paper applied underneath the plastic. The clear plastic (on top of the fretboard) is sanded smooth and to match the radius of the fretboard without dulling the color. The White pearloid pyramids (UV777BK, JEM7PBK) are synthetic perloid plastic.

Lions Claw - this is the scooped out tremolo cavity and was named such for it's apperance that looks like a lion's claw carved out the cavity edge. It is the six scooped ridges on the front of the body by the fine tuners of the tremolo. This is cosmetic in nature as the standard routing allows its tremolo to be raised as well as lowered. It does not improve pull-up or tremolo usage on Ibanez guitars. Vai did this originally on his non-floating trem "green meanie" to allow for pullup... the cosmetic feature was added to all JEMs but the functional feature was added to all Ibanez double-locking trem guitars made after 1987. The Lions Claw is featured on all JEMs but is not found on Universe guitars.

Miscellaneous Universe Notes

Universe pickups - All Universe guitars feature the DiMarzio Blaze-II pickups. There is no Blaze-I pickup. Often in literature, it is simply called the "Blaze" with no distinction between the neck and bridge models. This is referenced to the DiMarzio "Steve's Special" 6-string pickup as the tonal charts are quite similar to the Blaze-II

Pickup Model & Number            Output  Treb  Mid  Bass  DC-Resistance
Blaze-II Neck (DP700)             280mv    6    4    6    15.80K
Blaze-II Bridge (DP702)           380mv    6    3    7    20.75K
Steve's Special (DP161&161F)      390mv    7    4    7    17.89K

UV String Gauges - Universe guitars ship with string gauges .009 .011 .016 .024 .032 .042 .053, which is similar to a standard .009-.042 set with an additional .053 for the Low B-string.

Scalloped Frets - No Universe has scalloped frets 21-24.

Development Time - The Universe took two and a half years from conception to completion Parts development for the Universe took 18 months. The original black UV that Vai photographed with has "JEM" written on the headstock instead of "Universe". This UV was used in promo photos for a guitar magzine contest & Vai was shown with it often. All shipping UVs have "Universe" on the headstock.

Universe Tremolos - There are some Universes out there with the old style Ibanez "Edge" tremolo systems. They're the 7-string versions of the Edge tremolo you'd find on a JEM built thru 1990. All other UVs feature the LoPro Edge7.

No Monkey Grip on the UV- The Universe Guitar was never intended to be produced with the Monkey Grip that was featured on the JEM line. The confusion was created by speculation about the UV77MC from the Passion and Warfare Album (with no monkey grip) and many photos from Guitar Magazines with the same guitar showing a monkey grip. The Passion and Warfare photo was retouched to "airbrush out" the "Monkey Grip" since the production models (and that actual guitar) were slated to be WITHOUT the Monkey Grip. The following info is from Darren at ATD (who did the swirl) who posted on the Jemsite Forum to clarify the issue.

By DARREN JOHANSEN (Atddmi) on Wednesday, November 01, 2000 - 12:31 pm: Well you are all kinda right. The handle was not supposed to be there. The guitar was sent to me [to swirl] but not before going through someone else's hands [ed note - this was Joe D from LI, NY who could not keep his annoying "PAW's off the axe] and they felt it should have a monkey grip. This ended up delaying the project for several months. The [P&W Cover UV] one that had the monkey grip cut into it was the first universe ever to be swirled.

By DARREN JOHANSEN (Atddmi) on Wednesday, November 01, 2000 - 01:17 pm:
[to confirm] The monkey grip was never supposed to be on the Universe, since it was a new model with a new look. The guitar on the cover [of Passion & Warfare] was sytexed -if that's how you spell it - which is a computer color flow technique. The guitar was photographed so much before though [showing the actual Monkey Grip on the actual guitar even when the P&W cover showed the touch up without monkey grip].

Information obtained and confirmed from these sources: My personal JEM/UV collection, Ibanez Guitar Catalogs, DiMarzio catalogs, Jim McCloskey and others at Hoshino USA, Steve Vai TAB books & magazine features and various JEM enthusiasts & sites on the links page. /