Ibanez JEM Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've got an Ibanez Universe that I'm really struggling to identify. I've had it for 20 years and it's now virtually unplayed, but I want to know the exact model before I sell it.

It's unusual in that it has pyramid inlays down the neck and non-standard colouring of the pickups: the single coil is green while the hum buckers are white. Also unusual are the fluorescent yellow volume/tone knobs and the fluorescent pink pickup selector knob.

As you can see from the photo of the neck plate, it's model number 000199, which I'm pretty sure means it's an original 1990 model. Note that all parts are original: although I bought it used, the guy I bought it from bought it brand new in that condition.

Any info on the exact model and what it's worth would be greatly appreciated!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's strange: that's the state it was in when it was originally purchased in the UK in the early 90's. Are such mash-ups common? I haven't seen any before. All of the components are originals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm based in London so you're welcome to come and inspect it for yourself. The only things that are missing are the rear covers for the trem and the jack.

How much do original 1990 Universe's normally sell for?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Very interesting. That low serial number also does not match the tremolo. I am pretty sure that more than the first 199 had an original edge 7, before they switched to the lo pro 7.
Is the paint original? Maybe it's just the light, but it looks a bit uneven and the chip at the arm contour looks painted over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's very interesting. Taking a closer look at the paintwork on the body there are one or two slight cracks but nothing I can see that would suggest it was another colour before being painted over. Also, the slight chip in the paintwork (my fault...) just goes from black straight through to the wood, so I can't see any other colours underneath it. That would suggest at least the body is the original colour.

How would I get it accurately valued?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
Agree with the above posters that this is a mutt. How it came to be or where the parts came from I have no idea.

Regardless, the "low" serial number is not a perfect indicator of what bridge a first year UV will have.

Also, since this is a mutt, who knows where that neck plate came from so...

As to the value question:

If you need a value for insurance purposes, contact a custom builder and find out how much it would cost to have a replacement made.

If you need a value for sale purposes, just try and sell it. "It's worth what someone is willing to pay for it" is the prevailing axiom IMO.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,438 Posts
Headstock was distributor at the time and they did a lot of custom order assemblies, this is probably one if it was bought new that way. Alot of oddball mongrels were sold new in the UK.

The UVMC neck is the most valuable part of the guitar
Looking at the dates, I think this one actually pre-dates Headstock taking over as distributor and is therefore probably one brought in by the company FCN (Fletcher Coppock and Newman) in Tonbridge Wells. Back in the early 90s they had access to a lot of Ibanez spares and like Rich said they did a lot of mongrels. Many were sold through one particular local store, the name of which escapes me for the moment. But I think this probably came out of the distributor as is from a bunch of spare parts.

And looking at it, I'm sure I know this guitar from somewhere and if memory serves I do recall this is indeed how it was originally sold.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
637 Posts
So the distributor would assemble these "mongrels" (lol) from spare components lying around and send em off to authorized dealers? Or could you contact the distributor and say "I want this guitar but with the neck from that one? Ibanez was on board with this?
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
26,528 Posts
Looking at the dates, I think this one actually pre-dates Headstock taking over as distributor and is therefore probably one brought in by the company FCN (Fletcher Coppock and Newman) in Tonbridge Wells. Back in the early 90s they had access to a lot of Ibanez spares and like Rich said they did a lot of mongrels. Many were sold through one particular local store, the name of which escapes me for the moment. But I think this probably came out of the distributor as is from a bunch of spare parts.

And looking at it, I'm sure I know this guitar from somewhere and if memory serves I do recall this is indeed how it was originally sold.
Thanks for filling in my blank, yes, FCN. Headstock did continue the odd UK tradition of doing these mongrels though.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,438 Posts
Absolutely, headstock seemed happy to do this, certainly when they first took over the franchise in the mid 90s, although of late I’ve seen less and less of these as if Ibanez itself/Hoshino Gakki has got wind and views it less than favourably... FCN seemed to do it whenever they had too many spare parts and it was never unusual to see the “cool” Ibanez dealers have spare bits (even JEM necks) just hanging around.

That said, making these sorts of things regardless of thendistributer seems to be a UK tradition, along with putting milk in tea and the inability to make a decent cup of coffee.

As I understand it the mongrels were always built from what was around and special orders weren’t either possible or at least were not the norm. What you usually see would be a neck upgrade, or a body swap, so RG550s with JEM necks, certainly in the late 80s and early 90s were if not a regular thing were certainly no real rarity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Hmmm, I don't anything about mongrel model's sold in the UK since I'm in the US, but if I had that Universe, I'd would definitely send the body to Darren Johansen of ATD and have him swirl it since he swirled the first 1000 Universe UV77MC guitars. Then replace the pickups with green DiMarzio Blaze pickups. I agree that the most valuable part of the guitar is the neck with the disappearing pyramid fret markers. I used to own a Ibanez Universe with a ATD swirl. I ended up selling it so I could buy a Veleno guitar. I'm still kicking myself for selling it. Original 1990 model Universe guitars can sell anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000+ on ebay. I'd say for your guitar, I'd list it for a least $1999.00. Good luck, bro!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well well, that’s quite the story! I didn’t realise the guitar was unique. Well, I suppose unique in the sense that it’s not a stock model: I suppose if FCN assembled mine from various parts it could also have done the same for any other. The thing I’m still trying to figure out is the relevance of it having model number 199 on the neck plate: does that even have any meaning if it was assembled from parts?

As far as changing the pickups or paint job, I’d much rather keep it (or sell it) as it currently is. If it’s a one-off I’d rather keep it that way. Even though the body isn’t immaculate — the aforementioned knock to the body plus a few very faint crack lines in the paintwork from age — I’d rather let someone else take ownership of it and then decide what they want to do with it.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top