Your first JEM story - Jemsite
Ibanez JEM, UV, JS & Other Signature Models For discussion of Ibanez JEM, Universe and JS (Satriani) guitars only.

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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-12-2003, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Posts: 86
Your first JEM story

I found "Angel" (JEM7VWH) at a guitar center in Los Angeles when i went on a trip to California. I played her, but she wasn't set up right, but i know she played good. Neck was good, and i loved the scalloped frets. So my mom bought her. We flew back to Michigan and she was in her case all nice and snug. When we got home, i slept VERY little, and played her for hours . can you guys post your memories of when you just got your first JEM?
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-12-2003, 10:27 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Canada
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Mine is a rather sad story

The year, 1992/93, the guitar, a 1991 UV7BK.

I was 16 years old. Getting ready to record my first CD. Ever since PAW had come out in 1990 I was obsessed with the Universe. I had scrimped and saved and scrimped and saved some more.

For Christmas of that year, my parents agreed that if I traded my EC29 Washburn against it, they would split the difference with me for this guitar. Well, the music store ripped me off on the EC29, but I walked out with the UV.

I recorded my first CD "summer nights" with it. When I was 18 I went on the road with it. I taught my first College seminars with it. This guitar was not a guitar, it was an extension of my body. It was everything to me.
Fast forward a few years, to 1999. I wake up to find my studio broken into, my UV gone, a couple RG's, couple acoustics, a PRS, and a bass. None mattered but my UV. The police were no help, useless batch of idiots that they are in this town.

So, insurance was what replaced it. I got my JEM7VWH.

I still miss my UV more than words, but a very incredible person found a mint 91 and gave it to me for christmas last year. I love it almost as much as her.

I'd love my UV back, more than words can say. But, life goes on, and now I have other kewl guitars too
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-12-2003, 11:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 115
I was talking to my other guitar buddy about Steve Vai, and he brought up Vai's guitar, the JEM. Out of curiousity, I started searching for info about it. After seeing some pics, I came here.
2-3 months later (just yesterday) I got my 7VWH. Amazing guitar, a beauty to look at and to hold, not to mention to play!
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Buena Park, CA
Posts: 769
When the 777 first came out, I was in my "Everything Vai" phase and wanted an LNG. I saw an ad in a magazine like Circus or something announcing the new guitar, and had to have it. My parents couldn't see paying the price of one of those, but, that's why grandparents are awesome... My birthday is May 11th, and my grandparents new I was pissed and didn't want the RG560 my parents got me... My grandmother went outside to smoke one of those skinny cigarettes she had, and said, "Mom didn't get the right guitar huh?". Grandma got me the LNG for the following Christmas... I still have both. The 560 was my first electric guitar, and it's heavily modified now, but one of my fave guitars to play in my collection.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 690
Had gotten into Vai just before Eat 'Em and Smile happened. I'd been doing a lot of Vai-inspired mods to my kitted-together guitars (strat-style, with special-ordered Kramer necks). Ads for the Jem were showing up in some of the mags that I read - you know the ones.
Very early '88, I went to a local music store to audition a Mesa Boogie Mark III. I grabbed an Ibanez guitar to rip away for a bit on the amp, just to confirm what I think I already knew; that I wanted that amp more than anything I could imagine. (I don't know /why/ I didn't take my own guitar, come to think of it...)
The salesperson was listening. He said "hang on a second." He walked away to the inaccessible display area. He came back and put a LNG into my hands, saying something about that being 'more suitable.'
Had I not been about to spend a /fortune/ on that amp, I would have immediately taken that guitar. That was the first Jem that I laid hands on - and the only time I've ever examined an Ibanez handrest. That was also the only LNG that I ever saw/handled until late '02, and that one I /did/ keep.
Needless to say, I was immediately convinced; a Jem seemed to embody all of the features in a guitar that I was after. Playability, excellent locking trem, (really wanted/needed a handrest,) and completely versatile in sound.
I got the amp.
Later in '88, after following the info and developments on the Jem series, I ordered in a 77FP direct from box into my hands.
That evening, I remember I had my tools out to tweak the setup of the Jem, and twiddled and tweaked late into the night - it took extra long simply because I kept stopping and /staring/ at the instrument. There'd never been anything before like that fabric finish that I'd ever seen.
I fell asleep right there on the couch, with the guitar in its stand nearby.
(My dealer tried to get me a handrest for it, but as you can imagine, they were not forthcoming...)
The only thing that made that guitar stay in its case was the Universe. In early '91 I was offered to borrow a PWH to try out from that same dealer, the same salesguy that got me the FP, and the very same person (now store manager) that sold me the LNG late '02.
Again; I was convinced. I ordered in a UV7BK straight from the box into my hands. That surprised me by coming with the LoPro 7 (I hadn't seen the new trems yet). That became my exclusive player guitar. The other contraptions had been disassembled with the intention of reassembling them more Jem-like in wiring, etc.
The FP spent many months at a time in its case. Its one physical attribute that went against what I prefer was the Strat-like closeness of the volume knob to the pickup/trem area. I kept hitting it... Of course the UV corrected that (and ultimately, the Jems/RGs also had their volumes moved away to a much better position).
In '93, I made the regrettable decision to trade away that guitar toward something else. Too bad; my first Ibanez and first Jem all in one. It simply was not being played - the UV had me hooked.
In '00 I finally got a second 7-string, an RG7-620GN. Began to share the UV's duty with that.
In late '02, I happened upon that 'project' LNG and got that cheap to satisfy my want to have some piece of what started it all for me. Then, a month ago or so I was alerted to a traded-in FP that was in good shape at the same dealer. Saw it, worked on it a bit, and kept it, also for very cheap. It's meant to make up for the '88 FP that I traded away. The 'new' one is a '91; its volume control is moved away, and it has a LoPro. =]
Things have their way of working out, I guess.

So, UVs and Jems are the instruments I've found out there that require the absolute minimum of mods to make them just right for me (you have to understand, I'm the consumate tinkerer; you wouldn't /believe/ some of the interesting experiments I did on my previous instruments, especially the Kramer-neck contraptions that I still have to this day.)

Wow; long rant. =]

(BTW: I'm 99% certain I have found the fellow who bought that /exact/ LNG that convinced me I wanted/needed a Jem - accidentally found him while visiting another highly-recommended dealer nearby, working as a salesperson - thanks Darren W.!)
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: A Mile High (USA)
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My first JEM was a '93 VWH-the first year of production. I had gone to the '93 NAMM show, and instantly fell in love with the beast. At the time, I was managing a store that happened to be an Ibanez dealer. So, I ordered one right then and there. It took about 6 months to finally get the guitar from Chesbro. Of course, I was more than a little let down when I had to send the first one back- the inside of the Monkey Grip was completely unfinished. It was raw wood. Not sure how they overlooked that minor detail, but...I'd worked my ass off for the guitar and I wanted a perfect one.

The next guitar arrived about 3 weeks later. Unfortunately, the fretjob was about as smooth as a cheese grater. So-back it went. Third time was a charm though! 2 weeks later, #3 arrived and it was completely flawless. It was my #1 guitar up until a few years back when I sold it to get my first PRS Artist. I've since had (3) other VWHs and am currently on #4. Great guitars!
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Delft, The Netherlands
Posts: 376
I first saw a Jem 77 Blue Floral Pattern in 1994 (I guess)...

I just started playing guitar at that time after seven years of violin playing. I knew from that moment on that I HAD TO HAVE ONE SOME DAY. As the years went by I kept on playing, getting a couple of Ibbies in the meantime. When I decided to pursue a hobby/quest as guitar/Ibanez collector that guitar would definately have to play a major part of my collection. Of all the Jems I have seen in my live not even a 7vwh can replace it as my absolute favorite!

After scraping Dutch ebay and other sites for about 2 years finally some guy decided to get rid of his. I literally jumped on it, and in few days we had an arrangement.

It was begin March this year and my Blue Floral pattern finally came home after about ten years . I know it's hard to swallow for most of the guys out here that my seventh Ibanez was indeed my first JEM
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 03:11 PM
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Location: South Jersey
Posts: 25,594
It would have been late 2000' as I was unpacking the last 2 DNA's that would go in the pick-off. I got the "sleeping bag" down to about the single coil and I knew I had my first Jem. I think it was my 17th Ibanez but that's surely just a guess
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Mannheim, Germany
Posts: 221
I was always eyeing the strange flower guitar with some part missing from its body at my local guitar store . When I had a closer look I saw it said: Steve Vai model. Well I knew Steve Vai's name sort of, but not too much about him or any of his guitars. I just liked the look of this thing, especially the grip. Flash forward about a year or two this thing is still in there. By that time I had gotten heavily into Vai and always wanted to try one of them guitars. I knew it had to be good but I was too shy to ask the store clerk or whatever he was to have a play, because it's one of those stores you're being watched all the time and there is no extra room to play. So never tried it.
Then the urge to buy a new guitar (GAS!!) came over me and I convinced my g/f to lend me the 300 bucks downpayment (cost me around 900 ) to buy the FP (I never tried it before, mind you ). I don't regret buying it without testing. I just sort of knew it was a very good guitar (call it faith??). I love this guitar, it's my main axe!

That's my story. Hope I didn't bore ya,

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 08:05 PM
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Location: Pasadena, MD
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I had been a Vai fan for about 6 years, starting from the time I first saw him perform with Zappa in '81.

When the LNG hit my local Ibanez shop in '87 or '88, I was shopping for a guitar to replace my Kramer Pacer as my main axe. I played the Jem, and loved the green finish and the tone, but I don't care for the feel of maple boards. The $1400 price tag at the time was also a deal killer, since it was about twice my budget. I was planning on buying a larger house and my wife was pregnant with our first child. I settled on buying a swamp ash Strat body and maple / rosewood neck from Warmoth, and a used MIJ Kramer Focus, with an original Floyd Rose for $150, to scrap for hardware and electronics.

In early 2002, I did some side work for a friend and netted $1000 on the deal. When the VSBL was announced, the thought of buying a Jem surfaced again. Not only because of the extra cash, but because the blue finish is my first choice of colors. I liked the black of the 7DBK, but the textured finish was a turn-off. None of the other Jems released since the LNG had peaked my interest. In short, I couldn't turn up the extra cash, so I settled on a RG3120TW. (Great axe, by the way.)

Enter March 2003 and the sell-off. I jumped on sleazEbay and listed my RG. It sold the following day, to Trouble311 here on jemsite, for my "Buy It Now" price.

Add $400 out of my pocket, and the blue Jem and UV1000 are all mine!!!! MWAAAHHHAAAHHHAAA!!!!

Whew! 15 years of longing for a guitar, summed up in only 5 paragraphs. [/storytelling mode]

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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 09:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I've been a fan of the Ibanez (RG series especially) and was very unfamiliar with Vai and his relationship with the Jem at the time. April 2001 comes and i was shopping around for a 7 string that would fit my style so I decided to check out a Universe, which I was also really unfamiliar with but thanks to Jemsite, all was answered. Next question was which UV to choose. The black/green scheme of the UV7BK attracted me the most but I've never played one and I've only seen the UV777PBK at a few GC stores but never got to play 'em. Ironically, the UV777GR was last on my wishlist as the yellow/green pickup combo was too glammy for me.
During this time, I saw an ad at a local paper that mentioned about trading an 'Ibanez green 7 string' for an Ibanez 6 string. As skeptic I was, I contacted this person immediately. He drove down from Las Vegas a week later for me to check it out. I met up with him at a hotel where he was staying. Upon opening the case, all I saw was this irrestible green glow and a maple board that looked intense within the pink lining. It was nothing like i've seen on a guitar i've come across beforehand. The setup was horrible and had a bass string for its low B. I knew all it needed was a proper setup and alot of TLC and i knew this guitar would be perfect for me. He was asking $100 when the trade was about to be finalized and I told him that he did not mention anything about cash during that whole time we were discussing on how to undergo the trade. So he simply accepted an even trade for a marbelized RG470 for a beater/players condition UV777GR Today marks 2 years that the GR's been in my hands even after being modded, dinged, and gigged a few times.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 10:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 227
Ok, here's my story, nothing too special, but perhaps a little interesting. The first Jem I picked up was actually a UV777GR. I borrowed it for the weekend from a music store where I worked. I thought it was cool, but not for me (if I only knew then that I'd own one each of the UVs, and quite a few other 7's...).

About a year later later, I saw a new-old-stock Jem 7PBK, I immediately was struck by the clean, classy look. Like many, I was turned away from it by a prce tag that there was no way I could dream of affording. Instead, I hot-rodded the RG750 I owned to mimic the look of the 7PBK. That was my main guitar for a long time.

The next year, my truck was broken into. The only thing taken was my 750. After the initial fury, I calmed down when the insurance check arrived. I had the check in my pocket and walked into the store where I first saw the PBK. To my surprise, the Jem was still there. The owner of the shop took my insurance check, and away I went.

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 10:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 128
I started off with a 1991 balck Universe which I got for free. I had wanted a Ibanez Voyager and I ordered that from a local music store it cost me $2000.00 so i asked the guy in the store what kind of deal he would give me if i bought the Universe that they just received along with the Voyager. He talked to his manager and he said he could sell them both to me for $1950.00 so I jumped on it. Since then I have sold the Voyager and replaced it with a Ibanez JS1000. But I always wanted a Jem finally I seen a Jem 7vwh in another store and tried it out and I knew I had to have it. I was able to talk the store owner down to $1500.00 which also included a Line 6 POD. So I thought I came away with a good deal. I have since sold the JS 1000 but the Jem and the Universe will always be in my collection.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-13-2003, 11:16 PM
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Location: Georgetown, TX
Posts: 124
I saw Steve first at the Cleveland Agora in college during his Sex and Religion tour, but I had been into his music for a whole three months previous to that after hearing PAW for the first time. Oooh... real oldie here...

Anyway, I was reading "The Guitar Handbook" by Ralph Denyer. In it was a picture of Steve in an outdoor concert of some sort playing a Jem77GMC. For some reason.. call it just pure wacky fate, I fell in love with that guitar.

Without having much experience on the used market, and not having found Jemsite, I opted to get a new one. It was 1998 at the time and the JEM90HAM had come out that year. I jumped on one, along with an ok but mediocre Digitech 2120 Artist fx processor. All in it was around 2k.

The 90HAM was a fantastic instrument, but I was by no means a skilled guitarist. I played that sucker, but not every day. Eventually the opportunity came to get a GMC and I took it, selling the 90HAM to Pete here on Jemsite for a steal of a price, but it didn't depreciate much...

The GMC is now in the hands of an expert luthier here in Austin who is hammering out all the kinks. Soon it will be as righteous sounding as EVO, I hope... all I need are a few good riffs... muaha...

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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-14-2003, 01:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: mn.
Posts: 808
I had many rg's and was into 770's,then one day I walked into a pawnshop and saw a 7vwh on the wall.It looked so classy.The clerk said 800.00 and I promptly handed him a wad of bills(it was mint).Within 3mo I had a dsy777,dbk,77fp,and a pbk.I now have a 93vwh,2001vwh, and 2 dbk's(one with a 7vwh neck,the way it should have been).I have since been converting my rg's to jems,swirl and all.The jem is just the coolest guitar on the planet,it just screams all out sonic assault,with looks to match.
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