I haven't hung around here a lot these last few years but I'm still a JEM/Universe fan.
I always loved the P&W swirled Universe and always secretly wanted one but as everyone around me always HATED its look I never took the jump.
I've owned an ugly and beaten up UV7BK. I got it for 400 euros in 2003, the paint was in bad shape, the Ibanez logo had been erased and replaced with an ugly "custom" drawing, most of the fretboard had been "scaloped" and edges of the body and headstock had been sanded to simulate some kind of "binding".
It was really a pity to look at but it sounded and played like heaven. My favorite guitar.
Almost 2 years ago I decided to restore it to its original state as a friend of mine who's a part time luthier told me could he could swap the fretboard for a new one, paint it again in its original black and put a news green "Ibanez Universe"decal that he could drown under a new coating, everything for a really decent price (it's nice to have friends).
When he told me he could put the disappearing pyramids inlay on the fretboard I thought "What the hell! I need that guitar swirled into a P&W Universe!"
After looking for someone who could do a good swirl, I found Alan from Out of this Swirled. His swirls were perfect for my taste and he even lived in Europe, making things easier for me!
But Alan told me he had stopped swirling guitars for health reasons...
Then I found Livewire, and some of Michael's swirls blew me away!
After a nice contact he told me he could swirl my guitar with a swirl looking like one particular on his site...
After having been quoted 4 weeks for the whole job, I happily sent my guitar body to Florida for a dipp inside a bucket of water and paint.
It took 49 weeks to get my guitar body back... I think you all heard what poor Michael went through.
I wasn't in any kind of rush, my luthier friend working on my neck only when he had spare time it took almost as much time to complete the neck.
Today, my friend finally put the guitar back together and after more than a year of work all around the world I finally have a bitchin' Ibanez Universe MC!
To the pics :
I don't have much pics of my Universe in its previous state as it was so ugly and beaten up I never took pictures of it :
The guitar pretty much layed around at my work for 10 years and I put those a "Not for production" stickers between the pickups as it couldn't stay tuned at wall (wobbly stud insert, fixed by my friend before I sent the body for painting)
A better view of the original paint. Too bad I can't find a pic of the fretboard.
And now... Voilą!
The mother of my children is smiling on the pic but she thinks my guitar is even uglier now...
I think the guitar looks fantastic! I'm reaallly happy I went with Livewire for the paint job.
It's not perfect, there a few things here and there (the paint took a few chip here and there before being coated).
The main thing is the routing on the guitar... I never tought of it but the real UVMC are back routed whereas mine is front routed... I should have asked my friend to fill the front routing and rout it back.
I'll work on a fix for that in the coming weeks, I hope it will work.
The 3 white stickers on the pickup were put for a quick reminder of which one of them was what and which way was up or down (now I know they can be turned around and it doesn't change anything). I was supposed to remove them but I think I'll just let them, like an homage to the "Not for production" stickers those stayed on my guitar for 8 years.
I've read a few things here and there about Michael's swirls being not as neon or consistant in real life than on his pictures. Believe me, those colors are LOUD and his swirls looks more consistent colorwise than most UV REMC I've seen in pictures. In fact, I had to ask him if he could do a swirl with a bit of fading in the colors, as it adds character to the look to me (some of his swirls were too neat, too perfect for me)