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Universe Specs - 7-string Guitars
Written by JEM Site

JEM & UV Specifications

Universe 7-string Guitars

List Price $1699.99$1599.99$1999.99 $7999.99$1999.99$2099.99
Pictures 1 Gallery1 Gallery 1 Gallery1 2 Gallery 1 Gallery1 Gallery
Color White Black Black Multi Color Multi Color
Loch Ness Green Black w/ binding
Body BasswoodBasswoodBasswoodBasswoodBasswoodBasswoodBasswood
Pickguard White Black Black Clear ClearBlack Mirror
Pickup Color White Green Black Green GreenGreen / Yellow Black
Knobs White Green Black Green GreenYellow Black
5-way TipWhiteGreenBlackGreenGreen
Inlays White Pyramid Green Dot Black Dot Green / Yellow -> Pink Pyramid Green / Yellow -> Pink Pyramid White Pyramid
Fretboard Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood Rosewood
Maple Bound Rosewood
Fret 21-24 Scalloped No
Fret Wire Dunlop 6140 SBB216-195
Neck Type one piece maple one piece mapleone piece mapleone piece maple 5 pc. Wizard Maple/Bubingaone piece mapleone piece maple
Neck Joint

Original Neck

All Access

Hardware Cosmo Black


Pickups DiMarzio Blaze II (Humbucker/Single/Humbucker)
Tremolo Lo-Pro Edge 7
Years 90-9390-94, 969790-93 201091-93mid '97 - present
Quantity 872 UnknownUnknown1038 (est)
see text below
100 worldwide (60 to USA)
340 or sowidely available
Note Perhaps the styling precursor for the 7VWH. Look at the PAW liner notes. Neck and neck with the 777SP for ugliest model. Updated looks for new bands Ibanez thinks will sell 'em. Oops thats the RG7620. Stunning. My personal favorite (aside from the JEM10). Includes Flight Case case, PAW poster & Certification.Close bronze medal for original UV models. This is what UV fans have been waiting for... one Vai would be proud of!
No Universe guitars were produced in 1995 due to poor sales & low demand

UV7BK - All models were officially called the UV7BK. The '97 monikor is included on Jemsite.com for reference to the "all-black" model vs the original "black/green" model. After the one year production hiatus in 1995, the UV7BK returned with the same name... replacing the green trim.

UV7PWH - These have a vintage white appearance. This is a contrast to the ultra bright white finish of the JEM7VWH.

UV77MC - Hand swirled multicolor finish. The original prototype (and Steve's) were done by Darren Johansen (DMI/ATD). After approval of Vai for the UV77MC, Ibanez foolishly created some MCs in Japan without Darren and these are often dubbed MKRs (Mustard, Ketchup, Relish) due to their limited swirl/color palate. Production was soon cancelled by Steve Vai due to lack of quality, where it was mandated that Darren come in and finish the production as originally agreed upon. This explains the vast differences in their appearance. Quoted below is info that Darren shared with the Jemsite Forum. Note - the actual proportion of MKR vs ATD UV77MC swirls is unverified and unknown. Ibanez is known for "overproducing" and understating product totals so take these productin figures with a grain of salt. The percentages of MKR's to ATD's will never be know for fact but there has always been a predominance of MKR's on the market. ATDs are generally speaking more highly regarded and desirous.

Hello. There are [by my estimation] about 60 Japanese swirls out there [editors note - the 60 number is off by hundreds due to deceitful practices by Ibanez Japan]. The guy they had do them [according to Ibanez staff] could only do very few each month. when the project first was put together there were many months between the namm showing and the first production that I did. Ibanez Japan thought that they would have a try at it over there . They figured that they could save alot on shipping and time if they did them thierselves. The first ones shipped to U.S.A. were the Japanese models. When Steve finally got one of these guitars he rejected the project because it looked nothing like the original. About one month later I was contacted about production being on it's way from Japan. If you see the two models together you will notice a distinct color difference . The guitars that I did have neon colors in them very bright, neon green, neon yellow, neon pink, and the black, and that was used through my whole run. The Japanese MKR's, as there known by some, the colors are not neon at all much deeper green a Mustard yellow and a Ketsup red instead of the pink "ok" Rellish green lol "m.k.r".

They did a real nice job on these guitars and many like them. The Japanese-swirled UV77MC's swirl is usually much wider than our's. I acually wanted to meet this guy when I was in Japan. But he had since moved away when I was there.

About the stamp in the neck pocket. I had two of them one with just the name and one with the "about time designs" logo. When I first started doing them I kept up with each one with a photo and a stamp . As time and production got crazy I could not disassemble all of them my self and some did not get stamped but all were photographed for a matter of copyright and history in there raw form (no clear or electronics). I am pretty sure that 80-90% were stamped though as I was doing alot of the disassembly at night after every one went home . I hope this answers some of your questions. Thanks for your interest

Darren / ATD / www.abouttimedesigns.com
Updated 3/2004: The above commentary has yeilded alot of pointless debate and discussion among zealots who cannot grasp the concept that Ibanez is a Japanese company who is not forthright in sharing information, even among business associates, to put it kindly.

Darren/ATD supplied this info on 1/13/2004 (paraphrased):

Ibanez was shipping [UV77MCs] in cases of ten bodies at ten case lots and as many 20 case lots several times [from the Japanese factory to Darren/ATD to swirl]. All [UV77MC] bodies were shipped back to Japan to be finished [clearcoated and assembed], not to LA, CA [as mistakenly tossed out of the air].

I'm sure Japan must have been still doing some bodies on the sly [swirled in Japan that Vai did not approve] but I do know how many we [at ATD] were doing.

Remember I was the only one swirling but I had a staff of about 15 people who would take the guitars from me once they were done and set them to dry. My drying space was able to hold aprox 150 guitars if not more (I don't totally remember I still have all the drying hardware and I could probably count the racks to find out, I am actually thinking it was more like 200 though) and there were several times where I had it totally full with uni's [UV77MC swirled bodies].

Oh yes and that took about 2-3 days to do and about a week to dry. [The UV77MC bodies were] then shipped back to Bensalem to be put in a container to be shipped back to Japan.

I was told by Ibanez at the time that the guy [in Japan doing the Japanese swirls] could only produce a few a month few meaning aprox 30 I think they said. The mkr's [swirled in Japan not by Darren] are shipped back to this country [USA] as finished with other guitars in the containers. The first [UV77MC] guitar I saw [from production in stores] was a mkr in a store right by my house at the time. I went back to the office and called [Ibanez]. They said the project had been shot down by Steve as soon as he saw the guitar and [production] would only be done if they were produced by us [ATD].

Now where that leads me is that I'm sure they had a bunch done by this time already but only about three to four months worth. I know also for a "fact" that some of those [unused & stored UV77MC] bodies spoken of still there are some of mine and maybe some of the other guys as they had problems [with all MCs] at first with clearing and handling them. I was told that at the time that there was about 50-100 [unused/damaged? MC bodies] that were sitting there.
UV777BK - The return return of Steve Vai in the 7-string Universe. A revamped guitar with all-access-neck, striking looks and attention to detail. Blaze-II pickups retained... why mess with perfection.

Pyramid Inlay Notes - See comparison photo for subtle changes made since the first production run. The shell inlay has never changed but the process of it's finish has, with the intentions of improving the process. The inlay comes... with a silk screen ink print on it: this is the Eye, the three "7" and the Pyramid. The maker also supplies us with the pyramid shaped friskit (Masking) paper. The shell [pyramid inlay] and also the silk print has never changed; it is the same. If you look at the Pyramid up close even on the one with the solid black [Ed. - left of the comparison photo] you can see the line is actually there. The problem is that they masked the area uneven before and the distance between the black line and the outside [thin shell edge] were [sometimes] uneven. We felt people would complain about the inlay so we changed [the process]. But the opposite was true, people compained about no black line [and the thin shell outline border] so...they will go back to the original system but there may be some uneven lines. They feel if they use a clear fristkit they may be able to better lineup the tape.
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