What I'm asking for here is your story on how you first heard of Steve Vai and, of course, the JEM line of Ibanez guitars.
I'll start with mine, even though it makes me look completely clueless, which I was.
It all started (typical story beginning
) when I went searching for my first electric guitar when I was a bit younger. when it came to high end guitar brands I had only really heard of one brand... Fender (I was very uninformed).
So you can imagine my confusion when I walked into a good guitar store and couldn't spot a Fender anywhere. Instead, there were sharp guitars with "LTD" or "ESP" on the headstock on one half of the wall, and on the other half were guitars that had interesting, spear like headstocks with sharp logos on them, and bridges that looked beyond the complexity of any Stratocaster.
Of course we asked the attendant what happened to all the Fenders, and he said "we personally don't think their quality is as good as they used to be. THIS is what we go for..."
With that, he took a black guitar off the wall hangar. As he lowered it, I could read the sharp logo on the spear-like headstock:
Never heard of it. (When I said VERY uninformed, I wasn't kidding).
As he explained to me just what Ibanez was, and why he would recommend it instead of Fenders, I started to realise these guitars both looked and sounded better than any Stratocaster I'd messed around on in the past. Obviously, we weren't going to be rushed into the desicion (this salesman wasn't that type anyway), so he gave me the current Ibanez catalogue (2007 at the time) and told me to check out what was in it.
The first section of pages featured what looked like sharpened Strats, many with unusual finishes and no pickguards (which I now easily recognise as the RG series). After the RGs and RGAs came the S series, along iwth its denominators like the SZ, then the Xiphos and VBT (I was starting to realise this was nothing like anything Fender could dish out). Then I turned that page...
The first thing that grabbed my attention was a bright red RG with a reverse headstock and black EMGs (I knew what EMGs were lol). It looked different from the other RGs, but even the picture of the guy with the ugly mask didn't make me think twice. It was another RG, like the rest on that page.
I turned the page again. Now I saw what I thought was a bright red S series guitar with more rounded horns (it was actually the JS1200 CA). And on the other page next to it was a line of "RGs". One was a seven string, but I'd seen one further back. I was getting pretty interested in Ibanez' ability to take the RG series and make so many different variations of it under the one "RG" name. These "RGs" even had a handle carved into them! Later I noticed that these RG's names started with the letters J, E and M, but it didn't really make me twig, as I assumed it just stood for something to do with the handle, and I thought it was still an RG.
I looked through the rest of the catalouge, decided the RG series was my favourite (thinking that it and the S series were the only two large lines), and that was that for the day.
Time passed, and I got my first guitar (an Ibanez, which I'm glad I went for).
More time passed, and I was at school one day talking to my friend, and he mentioned a game he had gotten, called Halo 2. When I got home, I looked it up, and suddenly they were advertising a Halo 3. Out of interest, I watched the trailer, and the orchestral music caught my attention. I liked it, and looked it up. A whole list of different Halo themes popped up. I went for the Halo 3 theme, which was what I had been looking for, but then another one caught my eye:
"Halo 2 - Electric Guitar Theme"
Now, being a guitar lover, I clicked on it, and the song started up. The opening note from the guitar droned into action, and got me interested straight away. After hearing the song, I was interested to see who the guitarist was, and so I looked up the song on Google.
Introducing... Mr Steven Siro Vai!!!
Normally of course this would just be a name, but it twigged something in my memory; it was a name I'd seen somewhere before. I was sure it was in that old Ibanez catalogue, so I opened it up, and there was his name in the top corner, above that row of RGs with the handles in them. But this time I investigated the page more closely, and discovered that not only was the solo I'd heard played on those RGs, but that he designed them, and they weren't RGs at all!
Introducing... the Ibanez JEM Series!!!
This definitely got me more interested in the JEM line, and I learned more and more about them and just how different they were to an RG. A while later, while looking up the series on Google, I decided to be lazy and leave the "Ibanez" out of the search. Therefore, I only typed "JEM". Even then, I was lazy, so I typed "Jem" without the capitals.
This fastracked Google on to a slightly different list of sites to what usually appeared...
One of the top ones read "Jemsite".
I clicked on it, checked it out and left it like that.
1 and a half years later, I stumbled across it again, and decided to join.
So that's my story of how I learned of Vai, the JEM series and Jemsite too. I hope you guys got a good laugh out of my total ignorance of the JEMs as a completely different series, and the fact that they are a signature model.
So, what's YOUR stories?