Do you spend a lot of time on guitar forums? I do. They can be a great resource for information, networking and secondhand gear deals.

But there’s a downside too: forumitis.

This is when you spend so much time on one particular forum that you begin to develop an unnaturally skewed view of the guitar scene.

If you spend 100% of your guitar forum time on The Gear Page you might start to feel a bit inadequate if you don’t happen to have a 50s Goldtop, a Suhr, or at the very least a Tim Shaw Gibson humbucker that you removed in the 80s and reinstalled years later when players realised they were actually pretty good. But go to Jemsite and you’ll want to hurl yourself off a bridge if you haven’t got a Jem77FP and a Darren Johansen swirl. Tell those folks that you’re thinking of putting a Shaw in your guitar and you’ll probably hear crickets. It’s just not something that comes up very often in discussions among fans of superstrats.

Is it the fault of the forums? Hell no! Each of these sites (and the hundreds of others like them) are great locations for fans of particular types of gear to discuss their passions with like-minded individuals. But if you ask the folks on TGP for advice on Ibanez Jems or some other kind of 80s-style superstrat, you’ll probably get a bit of gently anti-superstrat sentiment (and sometimes even a friendly suggestion to check out Jemsite – TGP is cool that way). Ask a question about Les Pauls on Jemsite and you’ll get a few replies from folks who love LPs but certainly not as many as if you’d asked about when the Jem 7VWH switched from ebony to rosewood fretboards.

These are just examples, of course. There are plenty of other great forums out there too, and you should join several to get a real sense of what’s actually happening in the guitar world. What’s important is that you use these forums to learn and discuss what’s important to you. It can be very easy to slip into the trap of thinking you need a particular piece of gear or that you have to set your guitar up a certain way just because that’s the prevailing trend on whichever forum you spend the most time on. If you spend a lot of time on Jemsite you’ll start to believe that the only acceptable neck size is ‘paper-thin,’ and that anything else is a design flaw. And y’know what? To players who love that kind of guitar, that’s absolutely true. But it’s equally true that for some players there’s nothing better than a humungous neck, fat strings and single coil pickups. Neither style is better or worse than the other, and the most important thing is “What’s right for me?” Don’t go cleaning out your PayPal account in pursuit of amassing a collection that makes you feel like ‘one of the guys.’ Play what you love, love what you play, and never forget that guitar is meant to be fun.

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.