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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm a long-time lurker, but I've never posted much before. I've owned and played lot of Ibanez guitars over the years, but my favorite by far is my Universe. It's my baby. But I've been wondering about the origin of this guitar, and I thought someone here might have some insight...

I bought this guitar used in 1995. It was on consignment at a music store in Denver that went out of business a long time ago. The salesperson at the time said it was from the private collection of a dude living in Colorado Springs who had played in a death metal band--I wasn't particularly interested in death metal, and I forgot the name of the band the salesperson mentioned.

I figured it was just a plain-jane UV7, and at the time I didn't realize the green dot model would only have come in black. Mine is white, as you'll hopefully see if my photos work. Flash forward to 2001, and I was living in Indiana and working at a music store that was also a Hoshino dealer. I had stripped out one of the locking nuts on the guitar, and decided to order another one. When it arrived, it was clearly too wide to work on this guitar--the low B string and high E string are right at the edge of the neck if I install the new nut. I called my contact at Hoshino to see if there had been a change in the parts over the years, and he swore that the neck width for Universe models had remained consistent throughout all production models. It was then that I realized this model was the wrong color, and maybe was some kind of early prototype.

I didn't think about it again for a while, but around 2007 it popped into my head that maybe the band the salesguy had mentioned was Cannibal Corpse? So I contacted a few guitar players who had worked with them, and it seems that I remembered that one wrong--nice guys, though. Then earlier today I was googling around trying to figure it out, and came upon this thread on the vai.com forum where a person seems to have a similar guitar they're trying to figure out the provenance of:

http://www.vai.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=30456

The body of this guitar seems to be identical to mine: the white finish with the black and green hardware/pickguard that would have been on the UV7BK. My neck is the green dot style instead of the pyramid inlays, though.

So the color and the neck width seem to be leaning toward this being some kind of weird prototype or something. On the other hand, the serial number on the neck plate makes me think otherwise: it's hard to see in the photo below, and it's almost totally rubbed off anyway because I play this guitar all of the time, but the number is 910716: I'd assume that would be from a '91 production model? Of course, not having had this new, perhaps the pieces are cobbled together from a few Universes, but both the neck width and the body color make me suspect the whole thing has some strange story. Or maybe whoever put it together as a narrower-neck prototype just happened to grab that neck plate from a pile waiting for production models?

I adore the guitar and wouldn't sell it for anything, but I'm super curious about the possible origin of this guitar--it's like having an old friend who just never tells me the hidden story of their childhood or something. Here are some photos of it if they're helpful:









On this one, I tried to photograph the new nut I had ordered together with the original nut still installed on the guitar--it's wider, though not as much wider as the photo makes it appear:



I'm going to ask about it in that thread on the vai forums, too, but I wasn't registered there and they haven't approved my registration yet. But maybe you guys will have some ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That doesn't explain the neck width at the nut, though--have you guys ever heard that there was a change in neck width between, say, '91 which I would guess is right from the neck plate, and '99 or '00 when I ordered a replacement nut?
 

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To be honest I think it may just be a normal uv7 painted white, as far as the neck goes it might of been shaved.
 

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I have to agree with the others concerning the finish. The black headstock in particular. As far as the nut though, maybe Rich will know.
 

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the best thing you could do is to remove the neck and check to see what stamps are on the neck heel and in the pocket...... that will go a long way in finding out what is going on.

There are several possibilities:
1. the body was repainted at some point- the neck pocket would probably show evidence of that.
2. the guitar was built to the particular specs of the original retailer- there have been numerous guitars built in this manner over the years.
3. the guitar was built to the particular specs of an endorser- this seems unlikely, but is absolutely possible (again, neck pocket stamps might help show this)

after all is said and done, If the guitar turns out to be original you may want to shoot Dan Donegan (Guitarist for Disturbed) an e-mail. He's was looking for for one exactly like yours about ten years ago, maybe he still is.........
 

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also, if you have a metric scale ruler I would measure the width of the new nut. It seems unlikely, but it could be manufactured wrong. It should measure 48mm wide. The neck should also measure 65mm @ the 24th fret if it is a '91.
 

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i think it is a guitar screwed together with different parts. everything looks okey but not in 1 guitar.thats the only reason i can think of.nothing that special at all.
 

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I agree with brainxtr. It looks like a UV7PWH body paired with the neck + pickguard/pickups from a UV7BK. I've seen one like this before, along with a few others where the owner switched neck between the models to get a different look.

Cheers,
Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the tips, folks.

I have had the pickguard off briefly many years ago, and everything seemed like a normal white paintjob--no black. On the other hand, the finish is relatively matte--all of the other Ibanez guitars I've had feature more of a gloss finish than this thing. Were the old UV7PWH models of that era pretty glossy?

I've not removed the neck--sounds like that will answer more questions than anything. And I'll try to take some accurate neck measurements, and measure these two locking nuts for any official discrepancies. Other than the locknut width, I'd agree that it looks like the body from a PWH slapped on the neck/pickguard/hardware of the 7BK model.
 

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Could well have started out as an Ibanez employee parts guitar - assembled from available genuine parts. I own a Jem777LNG that is exactly that.

Doesn't explain the neck, though... or the oddball nut itself.

Do us a favour; measure the width of the neck at the nut - a standard 7-string neck width for Ibanez is 48mm.

I can say this, though; I tried to fit a new nut onto a 2000 model year RG7, and found it was wider than the original. Not extremely, but it was there... enough to keep me from putting it on, for that same reason; strings wound up too close to the edges, a nono for me for sure.
I think something has changed along the way.

Can you also confirm, btw, that the new nut is 48mm wide?

And, what are the comparitive string center-to-center measurements of the nut on there and the new one you have?

This is curious, for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't know when I'll get a chance to check the neck pocket, but measurements are easy enough: the new nut, purchased in 2001 or so, is a solid 48. the old nut that's still installed on the guitar is generously a 47--it's more like 46.5 measured across the same "zero fret" kind of location. The neck itself right at the nut is 46, a touch narrower than even the old nut that's installed.

And while I'm at it, I get 64 at the 24th fret--I have a copy of the 1990 catalog that indicates it should be 65 for a production model?. Actually the catalog says 65 "at the 22nd fret," ha ha. Anyway, it's definitely a touch narrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'll be honest--I've never taken the neck off a guitar before. This is by far my favorite guitar of all time, and I really don't want to f__ it up. Is there anything I need to be aware of if I want to check out the neck pocket and get it safely back together?
 

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check out the tech section of ibanezrules (at the top of this page). the short answer is.......no. no harm will be done unless you are an absolute bonehead.
 

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I'll be honest--I've never taken the neck off a guitar before.
A week ago I put a shim in the neck pocket and you don't even need to take off the strings.

Easy way:
1) Unlock the locking nut
2) Loosen the strings
3) Unscrew the neck screws
4) Raise the neck and take a look under the neck and the neckpocket
5) Set the neck back in it's place
6) Put the neck screws back and tighten them
7) Tune the strings back to what they were
8) Lock the locking nut

You may want the put a capo or something else to keep the strings in order on the fretboard. If you don't do it, you may mess up the strings when they're loose and all over each other :p
 

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Back when I owned a couple JS1000s I would mess
with neck shims without even unlocking the nut. The bridge need to be blocked up a bit (pop caps work great) to keep it from jumping the posts and dinging your top. The neck needs to pivot up and out but all is well because the tension has been lessened by blocking up the trem. I usually didn't even need to retune afterwards.
 

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but be aware of the shims!!! if you like the way the axe is setted-up, the neck must be shimmed identical (not a difficult performance, i do my own shims since i read how to do it in this site and in ibanez rules).
 

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ah! and remember re-screw first de two screws closest to the body, to assure the shims don´t move and get the neck stuck into the neck pocket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Okay, maybe I'll give it a try. Shims are specifically what I was worried about--I don't want to mess up the neck angle, as I absolutely adore this guitar, and it plays like butter.

To some extent, I don't really care if it's a prototype--I don't want to sell it, and ultimately I just wanted to replace the nut, which sounds like it may be very impractical to do, anyway. So maybe I should just leave well enough alone and appreciate this mongrel guitar for how it plays :)
 
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