History Of the JEM777 & Steve Vai
The Ibanez JEM777 is the oldest Jem model having been developed back in 1985 and released in 1987 by the merged powers of Steve Vai and Ibanez whilst he was shopping around for a company fitting enough to bring the vision of the Jem into reality. Three different models were produced each labeled as the JEM777DY, JEM777SK, and JEM777LNG, with the color being the only real difference between them, each colored Desert Sun Yellow, Shocking Pink, and Loch Ness Green respectively.
The 777LNG was the first produced of all 777 Jems and only 777 exist each of which was numbered and signed by Steve Vai himself. The numbers produced of the yellow and pink guitars are unknown, but for what it’s worth the pink was produced from 1987 up to 1987 and the yellow from 87 all the way up to 1996. The original 777 models featured a basswood body with a maple neck and fretboard and had an Edge tremolo and DiMarzio PAF Pro pickups. The inlays were also originally pyramids that gradually depleted as they went higher up on the neck.
In 1988 a new black model was introduced which was overall the same save for the inclusion of a rosewood fretboard and the introduction of the now standard vine inlay. The black 777VBK ran until 1992. In 1989 two new models were introduced, or rather to new variations of older models. The 777DY and 777SK models were re released as the 777VDY and 777VSK with the rosewood fretboard and vine inlay, and while the pink didn’t linger past 1989 the yellow lasted up until 1991. It’s also worth mentioning the 777VDY and 777VSK featured Ibanez’s Wizard neck where the other models had thicker necks.
Also, since we’re on the topic, the 777VSK was manufactured, but not for a USA release due to a tendency for the pink paint used to fade. That would be the dictating reason why the pink models did not last past 1989.
While all 777 model Jems have long been out of production the build is not entirely unlike modern JEM7 and JEM77 models. Were one to try and accurately recreate the 777 line you could just buy a JEM77 and pretty much swap out the pickups and you’d be good to go… in theory. The JEM7 line had replaced the basswood body with alder so the JEM77 is probably a better candidate. Though for $2,700 that would be an awful expensive project guitar.
Anyway, back on topic. These days the 777 line is among the most collectible guitars out there. It’s pretty infrequent, but every so often you can catch them on EBay for a substantially high price, and even more rare and proportionately more pricey you can find a Loch Ness Green JEM777. In fact that’s pretty much how this article began. A year ago Jameson actually spotted one and wrote this article. I’m just updating it now because having dead auction links crammed in single paragraph articles tend to look stupid. But you know what doesn’t look stupid? JEM777 guitars. At least if you’re into neon pink they don’t… and if you dig handle grips built into the body.