NAMM 2010: More pics of the Ibanez Universe swirl reissue

Now that I’m back home in Australia I’m sorting through my NAMM photos. Here are some more pics and a press release about the UV77REMC, the new 20th anniversary reissue of the UV77MC.

First up are my pics from the display:

New Ibanez Universe 7-String Re-Issue Rockets 20 Years Back to The Future
January 29, 2010

It was 20 years ago when Steve Vai joined forces with Ibanez to produce his ultimate weapon, the 7-string Universe, the first production 7-string solid-body electric guitar. The groundbreaking Universe was quickly recognized as the “Most Innovative Guitar of the Year” by music retailers at the 1990 Music and Sound Awards.


Originally designed as a virtuoso shred machine, the guitar would have a new life later in the ’90s with its extended low-end range making possible the new breed of rhythmic metal of heavy music players such as Korn and Dino Cazares. Ibanez is proud to recognize Steve Vai’s achievement with the release of the new UV77RE Universe 20th Anniversary edition.


Like the original, the solid body UV77RE reissue is seven strings of fire, ready-made for maximum shred and some of the meanest riffing on the planet. The multi-color swirl motif arrives once again from the original Universe artist, Darren Johansen. Because of the swirl paint process each Universe guitar is uniquely individual in appearance. As with Ibanez’s other Limited Edition Reissues such as the famous Bob Weir model, all UV77RE models are crafted in Japan by the same luthiers who created the originals.


1990 not only brought the Ibanez Universe guitar to the world, it also debuted Steve Vai’s groundbreaking, earth shattering album, “Passion and Warfare,” and each U77RE comes with a commemorative poster of this sonic masterpiece.


Only 100 UV77RE reissues will be available worldwide.

NAMM 2010: Ibanez Joe Satriani acoustics, JS2400

Perhaps one of the more surprising Ibanez offerings at NAMM this year was the pair of Joe Satriani signature acoustics. While he’s used acoustic guitars in the studio for years, Joe’s not exactly the first name that comes to mind when you think ‘acoustic,’ but he’s been playing a prototype of this new model on stage with Chickenfoot lately, and the guitar is now in production. Here are my pics from NAMM (that’s the JSA10 on top and JSA5 on the bottom).

Ibanez Unleashes New Joe Satriani Signature Acoustic Guitars
January 28, 2010

Already world famous for its JS line of Joe Satriani signature electric guitars, Ibanez this year embarks on a shimmering new acoustic adventure with Joe, with the new JSA acoustic guitar. Joe says his JSA acoustic “feels great, plays great and sounds wonderful. And, in all black, it looks so cool! It has outstanding projection and an impressive dynamic range too, with a powerful clear tone essential for live performance. The JSA acoustic has a full and balanced sound that’s perfect for strumming, soloing, or delicate finger picking. It has good access to the upper frets, and the electronics make anything you play sound clear and natural.”

JSA signature acoustics arrive in two models, the all-solid construction JSA10BK and its more affordable version, the JSA5BK. JSA10BK features a solid Engelmann spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. The JSA5BK combines a solid Engelmann spruce top with mahogany back and sides.

Both JSA models feature fine Fishman pickup/preamp electronics, chrome Grover tuners and black high gloss finish and come equipped with D’Addario® EXP™ coated strings.

Ibanez also launched the 24-fret JS2400 which Joe mentioned in my interview with him back in June. Here’s what Joe had to say about it at the time.

“It’s a really cool thing. I’ve always liked the idea of having those frets up there but I never wanted to move the humbucking pickup. That’s always been the problem because the humbucking neck pickup really only works where Gibson stuck it on the Les Paul. To me, that’s the spot, and once you start moving it back towards the bridge it starts to become horrible-sounding. Other guitars that have had the 24 frets and they move that pickup, it’s like, you may as well get rid of it, you know? So I was determined to solve this. And what saved us was the DiMarzio Pro Track. Ibanez got this thing right up against the last fret. It’s amazing how they were able to do it. It’s got a little bit more generous cutaway to the body so you can get up there and play up there. We’re still experimenting with the bridge pickup. I’m thinking it might be a Norton, one of the pickups I designed along with the FRED and the Mo’Jo with DiMarzio. Steve Blucher at DiMarzio is a wizard, so when I say I designed the pickups, that’s a euphemism for me requesting something (laughs). I say “Steve, can you just give me something that goes, like, ‘KKRRR-RURRRR’?” and he goes “Okay. Gimmie a couple of days.”



Specs include basswood body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard, original Edge bridge (by the way, the Edge is now standard on all Prestige JS models – woohoo!), DiMarzio Mo’ Joe bridge pickup and DiMarzio Pro Track neck pickup.

Here’s Ibanez’s page about the JS2400, while this page includes a video featuring Joe talking about the new axe.

NAMM 2010: Performance Guitar booth visit

One of my favourite stops during NAMM was at the Performance Guitar booth in Hall E. I’ve heard of Performance for many years and I know that both Frank Zappa and Steve Vai were early fans of the company, but apart from playing one for about 30 seconds at a guitar clinic by Aussie shredder Joe Cool when I was about 16, I’d never seen one close up. A recent Premier Guitar feature on the company piqued my interest further, so when I saw them at NAMM I zoomed right over to say hello and check out their gear.

I knew about Performance’s guitars, but let’s face it, their guitars come with a price tag which is as high as their quality level (ie: you get what you pay for, which is a good thing!). But what really surprised me was their pedal mods under their TTL (Top of the Line) brand. At NAMM, Performance had set up a rig where you could A/B the modified and unmodified versions of various pedals. I was particularly taken by their Boss DS-1 mod. Performance’s website says:

DS-1 Distortion
$254.00

Original Characteristics:
The original DS-1 has a simple, yet well designed circuitry. It has the right amount of gain and the symmetrical distortion produced by diodes.

What has been Modified and Improved:
The input impedance has been changed to the tube amp standard of 1MΩ. Improvements have been made in the area of picking nuance, quicker response time, and overall sound definition. The even harmonics, especially the second harmonic, have been emphasized to recreate the sound of a fully-driven tube pre-amp. This resulted in the thin sound becoming eliminated completely and the overall sound becoming much richer. The gain factor has been re-evaluated at various frequencies to achieve great distortion, even with a single coil pick up. With respect to the original design principle, no switches were added and overall modifications were kept simple.

The company makes a couple of its own pedals too, including the FZ-85, a filter modulation pedal designed in collaboration with Frank Zappa in the 80s. The site says:

FZ-85( F.Zappa Filter Modulation)
$675.00

There’s an early ’80, Frank Zappa wanted special his own sound. Frank and we collaborate each other to make special effect for Frank. It control and emphasize the particular frequency. This effects pedal has 3 mode select SW. There are low pass mode, band pass mode, high pass mode.

*Low pass mode position cut the higher frequency above the frequency you set up.
*Band pass mode position cut the frequency without the frequency you set up.
*High pass mode position cut the lower frequency below the frequency you set up.

And then you can set up the frequency that you want to make it peak point with “F” control knob. And also you can set up the resonant peak with “Q” control knob. For example, you can have the sound like an eccentric “Wah Wah” with moving the “F” control knob. This effects pedal is different from other effects pedals. Because this effects pedal boosts up the inner voltage. That’s why this effects pedal can get wider dynamic range and works more extremely. You can’t find any other effects pedal like this. You can get this sound only from this one. Frank couldn’t make his sound without this effects pedal. Now this effects is used by Dweezil Zappa, Steve-Vai, Warren-Cuccurullo and many more musicians and they Loved it!!

I was also blown away by the Snake Skin guitar (autographed by Warren DeMartini of RATT) which I used when testing out the pedals. It was very responsive to pick attack and despite the hard rock vibe of the snake skin finish I found it great for bluesier, Hendrixy riffing.

Here are my photos from the Performance booth. Check out that Vai-style flame guitar!

LINK: Performanceguitar.com