How to protect autographed JEMs - Discussion of JEM finish & - Jemsite
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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How to protect autographed JEMs - Discussion of JEM finish &

Anyone, please help,

I have seen quite a few JEMs out there that have been signed by Steve Vai. Recently I got my JEM7VWH signed by Steve Vai at "Nothing but guitars" event in New York City.
He signed the guitar with a Sharpie black permanent marker right underneath the bridge on the front of the guitar. The signature looks great!!!

I don't want to sell this guitar. I want to keep playing it. Does anyone know how to protect this signature from rubbing it off without destroying the instrument???

I showed it to a couple of guitar repair centers but they don't want to take the guitar for a re-finishing job because they are afraid to screw it up. They don't give any guarantees.

Everybody keeps telling me that if I had Steve sign the pickguard or the back of the headstock then things would have been much easier. But he has already signed the body. The ink is right on the white finish. It can still be rubbed off with a finger if pressure is applied.

What can I do? I don't know anything about these urethane, polyester, nitrocellulose, etc. lacquers.

Someone mentioned the guy called Phil Patillo in New Jersey but that's about it. I don't know anything else about him.

Should I lacquer it? Put some plastic on top of the signature? or what?

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 05:44 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

cut out some clear plasitc with a sticky back (tape or contact paper) and stick it right where the signature is. *It won't bother you while you're playing and it'll be fairly unnoticable to others.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 05:49 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

Ask Rich Harris about the sticky plastic...I think one of the Donnie's has some sticky plastic covering a Satch signature on the control cavity cover. *I'd personally go with the lacquer IF you don't plan on reselling the guitar. * Either that, or perhaps get some clear static plastic that you can put on when you play the guitar (actually, you could probably leave it on there when you aren't playing as well.). *That way, it's removable easily, yet will still protect the signature.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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How to protect autographed JEMs

Thanks guys,

but I still want to have a guitar that has some value to it. I was thinking that if professionally protected, this signature would actually add to the value of the instrument. I heard that plastic will leave marks if it's removed. The body of the guitar will eventually change color but the part that is covered with plastic will not.

Maybe I can find some cling-on plastic that actually doesn't have glue on it. But I don't even know where to look for it.

Maybe in ten or twenty years I will need to sell it for some reason. That's if I don't screw it up earlier.
What do I do then?

I want to do it right from the first time. I would go with lacquer but I don't want lacquer that will blur
the ink of the signature. I have seen Joe Pickerelli from Mobile Guitar Repairs try to write on his Fender with a Sharpie marker and then spray it with urethan lacquer. The letters got blurred because the spray lacquer diffused into the ink and guitar finish. After spraying the signature looked like it's been made with water-soluble paint.

I tried to call Ibanez in Bensalem, PA. I couldn't get anybody there that would know what I am talking about. They transferred me to some phone number where I kept waiting for 30 minutes and nobody picked up.

I'd give the guitar to someone who knows what he is doing to do whatever is necessary.

Hasn't anybody thought about this kind of thing before?

Nobody lacquered their guitars because of a signature?

Who is Rich Harris???
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 07:44 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

The guy that will tell you that signature is worth about $5, why sweat it? :biggrin:
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 08:12 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

Welcome to the forum... i see you're right around the corner (ie. a few miles away on the Parkway - LOL).

I would not bother trying to cover the signature. This has been discussed many times at the forums here and there is no foolproof solution. First is the risk of smearing or dissolving the sig. Next is the "patch-work" look the clear will have when the borders of the new clear over the old appears.

Without seeing photos, it seems the sig is in a great spot and should last a long time. If anything, the clear over the sig could HURT value... since you're altering in a negative way and the clear could yellow and will have a visible/palpable.. A friend got his VWH signed back in '97 w/ a Sharpie and it looks great today... glen
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 08:29 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

kostik on 7:40 pm on Jan. 31, 2002

Who is Rich Harris???
You will soon know and you will be under his spell. :innocent:

I'm with Glen...leave it as is.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 08:40 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

IMO, unless the guy is dead or I can't possibly get it autographed in person, the sig is worthless. for me, it's just a symbol to remind me that I was there and met the guy. If I didn't, I'll most likely rub it off and get one myself. I suggest you just leave it...who plays behind the bridge anyway?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-31-2002, 08:51 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

I STILL say that if it's worth it to YOU to preserve the signature, a clear cling-vinyl is the way to go. *There are NO adhesives involved, since the material works solely by static electricity. *It's 100% removable and will not alter the signature. *As noted on a post under the JS Topic of this forum, you can find such a product at : may be able to find a sheet of it at any local hobby/craft store.

Just my $.02 worth though!
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-01-2002, 08:57 AM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

I was in the same boot as you are right now about two years ago. I had Vai sign my guitar in the same exact spot and just to be safe I had him sign the back of the head stock also just incase the one on the body rubbed off. At first I was thinking all the same stuff as you. should I clear coat it or put some kind of sticky tape over it? Then I found my self not even playing that guitar much and when I realised that was the reason I was not playing it I thought to my self this is stupid I was enjoying the guitar more before it was autographed. From that day forward i have played that guitar to death and just said screw it as far aas the autograph is concerned. It's been two years now and the autograph still looks great nobody really touches that part of the body much anyway. So I say just play the guitar enjoy it and don't worry about the autograph. It's still too soon for you to relax with it much but give it a little while and Iam sure you will just not care about it anymore. So enjoy that guitar and for god sake keep playing it.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-01-2002, 01:51 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

Steve Signed mine in a rather conspicuous place. I understood that it increased the resale value very little, but resale is not what I was after anyway. I like the signature and actually think it adds to the look. To preserve it I had 3 coats of polyurethane put over the entire front of the body. It looks great and actually made the tone a little bit brighter… a good thing in my book.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-01-2002, 02:20 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

I'd use something like this:

I haven't used their products but I've used a similar material on motorcycles before and it works great. *Tape will probably partially remove the autograph when (if) you ever take it off. *I would think this stuff wouldn't do that.

Good luck,
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-04-2002, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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How to protect autographed JEMs

Thanks, guys,

Your answers have helped me a lot.
I actually got very frustrated at the beginning when I got the guitar signed and couldn't protect it permanently. Then I saw a guy with Les Paul signature on his guitar and he said that he had never lacquered it or did anything to it. It's still there. Right underneath the bridge.

After getting all the good & bad about re-finishing the guitar body, I've decided to put it off.
One guitar repair specialist has suggested to hire an artist to draw over Steve's signature with
black paint with a very thin brush. He said that paint will stick out more on JEM's surface but it will
not be eaten away by lacquer. So lacquer is safe if the marker's ink is covered with paint.

I also thought that it would look cool if the signature was written in gold. JEM7VWH only has white and gold parts except for the whammy bar and pearl pickguard.

I wonder if the arts & crafts supply stores have some sort of paint pens that write in gold.
I would mess with the signature myself instead of hiring an artist to draw over it.
But then again, the final look would be the product of my hand and not Steve's. The signature
would not authentic anymore.

This signature is driving me crazy. I don't know what to do with it. But I still play the guitar.
And if you say that the signature is not worth more than 5 bucks then I shouldn't really suffer
much if the signature gets rubbed off. So far I got more headache than pleasure from having it.

The guitar itself though is the best of all guitars I got. So I will be playing it definitely.

I will see if Sam Ash boys wipe it off with some sort alcohol-based solvent at the next setup that
I have scheduled.

Hey, someone even told me that if Sam Ash boys like the looks of the signature they can swap the body of the guitar and say that the signature got wiped off. It's very hard to prove that the body has been swapped. I haven't seen any serial number on it.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-04-2002, 04:12 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

So I take it you didn't like the idea of the guitar amor or similar stuff that VaiJem777 recommended?

By the way, I have a guitar signed by Chris DeGarmo (ex-Queensryche) and it's also in an area that you would most likely not touch in normal playing. *I've left it unprotected. *I have to admit though that's is a cheap guitar (especially compared to a VWH) so I don't really play it anyway.


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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-04-2002, 06:50 PM
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How to protect autographed JEMs

If I ever get my geetar signed by mister vai, I think it will be on the back of the headstock.
I don't know, maybe thats a bad idea, but it wouldn't fade there, thats for sure!!
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cavity cover , clear coat , guitar body , les paul , pearl pickguard , sam ash , steve vai

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