RESTORING AN ELUSIVE UNICORN Ibanez Jem 77FP RESTORATION PROJECT PART 1 THE SEARCH

A few months ago I started a hunt. I had found a Jem 77FP Neck on Craigslist up in Eugene, OR not too far from here. I emailed the guy then called and he wanted to work a trade for pedals. I was all about that being that I run a small pedal company called Kinnatone.

I got the neck and It was awesome I posted it to Instagram with the caveat if anyone has a body or the fabric for the body on these let me know.

No one knew anything or had anything.

I started looking around the web for a builder to build a square pocket Jem body.

I found Chris Mai on eBay and a few other guys as well but Chris was pretty cool in his emails and I really liked the guy right off. We discussed the body and what I was trying to do. He said he had one of these necks and that he ended up swirling and making it a GMC model. I looked at the pics he sent and was really liking what I saw. Chris does great swirl paint jobs you should really check out his site sometime. http://www.mai-guitar.com

I really want a swirl Jem at some point but this project I had in my head the gawdy pink peony flowers and vines on the black background with the pink pickups. I know its not a manly mans guitar and eccentric as heck, but its what I wanted.

I remember watching a video early 90s of these guitars at the NAMM show and was way into Steve Vai at the time. I was about to tell Chris to go ahead and GMC SWIRL IT.

I even contacted GMW about painting it like the 77FP it would have been quite a chunk of change. The price was good for the work involved but out of my budget. It would have been gorgeous though. He even told me you should really try to find the fabric cause painting it will look nice but that pattern is pretty unique.

You should look up GMW guitar works if you haven't his paint jobs are out of this world! http://www.gmwguitars.com/

I had been looking every evening a few hours here and there for the elusive unicorn of fabric,sometimes staying up way too late doing so on my phone. My wife would wake up from time to time 2 or 3 o clock in the morning and look at me like I was nuts. I was on a mission and really wanted to find this fabric. I'm very determined to get what I want in life and I have found that when I settle for something other than what I actually want I always regret my decisions. Yes I'm a little bit meticulous about certain things but in the business I'm in (insurance sales by day and pedals by night) I have to pay attention to those small details. So I kept looking.

DEAD ENDS

I hit many dead ends in this search. Articles on Jemsite and other guitar builder forums where people tried before to reach Atlantis but had failed along the way.

One night I was looking up floral pattern artists trying to match up the style of flowers.

There is something special about the whimsical way these are drawn and its unique compared to other fabrics. I figured if I could find the artist I can find the fabric.

I had a lead one night looking at fabric over on etsy there was a Sears Roebuck fabric that looked a lot like the fabric on the 77fp only issue is it was green and tan and yellow had birds and stuff. Wasn't correct at all but had a similar quality the way the flowers were drawn. So I did a search for Sears Roebuck vintage drapes. Nothing that evening.