Ibanez JEM 777 VBK with unique finish
When we recorded demo tape with our student garage band I put my Jackson guitar in the corner and left it to cover with dust. That was about 10 years ago. My short student musical career was over. “Since I was never meant to become a musician I must finish my computer university” I joked. So I finished university of computer science and I got employed.
Later when I recovered financially I browsed on the web and accidentally stumbled across Ibanez JEM guitar with that hole for a handle. Guitar which I wanted when I first saw it in hands of my guitar teacher. I only had a couple of guitar lessons, then I quit since I didn’t like to learn notes. I never could read the notes. But I didn’t forgot that yellow guitar which my teacher had. But in those days that guitar was way out of my budget. And now 5 years after I put my old Jackson guitar in the corner I accidentally stumbled on the Ibanez Jem guitars while browsing on the internet. There were some white JEM guitars with signature of Steve Vai and some guitars with flowers but there was no yellow guitar that my instructor had.
A couple of months later I found Ibanez JEM 777 VBK with unique finish. That finish was amazing. It was the best guitar I have ever seen in my life. It was even more beautiful then my teacher’s guitar. I can’t remember how I found it, but at that moment when I saw it, I said to myself “I must have this guitar”.
At that time me and my wife were already living together and she said »what do you need a guitar for, you haven’t played it for 5 years? « I said »you will never understand this, but this guitar is simply something that I must have, otherwise I will be miserable my hole life. I must have it even if I’ll have it closed in a guitar case for the rest of my life«.
And so I drove to the north east of Slovenia to the region called Prekmurje to a village called Domajinci. That was the first time for me that I have been in Prekmurje. With the owner of the guitar we met in the vicinity of Gornja Radgona near the Austrian border. He said that there was a short cut across the Austria. So we went across the Austria and what a difference that was when we came back to Slovenia. Slovenia in that region looked like a ghost land. Empty villages, abandoned and decaying houses compared to the new houses on the Austrian side. At that time I first realized the harsh reality of Slovenian centralization. That part of Prekmurje seemed to me like forgotten by God, incomparable with Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana and it’s region. In Prekmurje the percentage rate of unemployment was one of the biggest in Slovenia.
I talked a bit with the owner of the guitar and he said that youth is moving away from that region of Slovenia to Ljubljana. They all went to study in Ljubljana and they never came back. Because they had no future in Prekmurje and there were no jobs in that part of Slovenia. My wife had a hard time finding a job in our coast region which was ten times more developed then Prekmurje. I could not imagine how difficult were for those people to find jobs there. One of the best options they had, was to get a job across the border in Austria. Besides guitar this men was selling a lot of other musical stuff. Amps, preamps, effects, even Fender Stratocaster guitar, microphones and so on…. I had a feeling that he wanted to sell everything he had, due to his financial situation, the harsh reality those people had to dealt with every second of their lives.
Then for the first time I saw this Ibanez JEM777VBK guitar with unique finish which was produced in 88. The thing I liked most about this guitar was squirrel or dog or whatever that animal was with its eyes popped out and the green vine leafs that were moving up the guitar’s neck. And the owner of the guitar said to me »just sit down on a couch while I turn the amp on, so you can try the guitar« I have not played a guitar for 5 years and now he put guitar in my hands so I can play to him!?$# I was not ready for this. »What the hell is wrong with this guy« I thought » I did not come here to play you a song«. I couldn’t remember a single riff a single song that I could play. It was all gone out of my mind. But then again I always liked to just improvise, regardless if it sounded bad or not. I started to improvise something in my favorite Blues key from frets 5 – 8. I was sweating and tried not to look like a complete idiot which I probably looked. »I didn’t come here to play a guitar. Just tell me how much it costs and if you give me some discount and that’s it. I give you the money and then I am out of here« I talked to myself. But as it turned out the owner was a very nice guy, so we started to play together and were jamming for about an hour. He showed me all the other musical stuff he was selling and I also tried a few pedal effects. After almost two hours I finally bought my Ibanez JEM777VBK guitar with that funny looking animal.
I asked the guy who made that finish on the guitar. He said to me »I don’t know I bought it in Austria few years ago and it was already painted«. Cool, I now owned a guitar with mystery finish. And today I still don’t know when or who made that finish. So I drove back home with my new guitar and my wife had already been waiting nervously for me to come home. I was thrilled with my new guitar and could hardly wait to play it when I got home.
When I got home I opened the guitar case. And I saw the most beautiful guitar in the whole wide world with that goofy looking animal and green vine leaves that were climbing up the guitar’s neck. But you know beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So when I opened my guitar case and my wife saw the guitar she said »I have never seen such an ugly guitar in my whole life «.»What???« I was completely shocked. »How can you say that? It’s the most beautiful guitar in the world« I yelled. »No. It’s horrible and with that stupid looking animal « she said calmly. »You would only like a guitar if it was pink, I don’t care what you think of it. It is mine. Precious…«
Even today when I open that guitar case the first thing that I see is this animal and the vine leaves climbing up the neck. What a guitar. And you know what, now even my wife likes the guitar and that goofy looking animal. Although the guitar is most of the time closed in the guitar case it’s my guitar and I will never sell it. Maybe when I retire the guitar will weep again….
And if I will ever catch a goldfish one day I will say to her«Grant me three wishes or I’ll put you on the barbecue grill« and the goldfish would say «your wish is my command, tell me what you desire and I will see it done«. And after she would fulfill my first two wishes I would say to goldfish «teach me how to play this song on my guitar« and she would look straight into my eyes and would say «well, my dear Uros, just don’t forget to salt me before you put me on a barbecue grill.«