Ibanez UV77MC Review

Ibanez UV77MC Review

Thats the guitar that gets ibanez to known much better in the late 80's. Thats the guitar which is responsible to the 7th string invasion in the mid 90's and 2000's and one of the coolest guitars of entire ibanez electric guitar catalogs, the flagship of universe series, the one you can remember from Whitesnake's "Fool for your Lovin'" of Slip of the Tongue album and the one on the cover of Steve Vai's famous Passion&Warfare...

Technical data firstly;

Body : Basswood
Neck : UV Type Maple
Fretboard : Dark Indian Rosewood w/disappearing pyramid inlay
Bridge : Lo Pro Edge 7 / Edge 7
Neck Pickup : DiMarzio Blaze II (H)
Middle Pickup : DiMarzio Blaze II (s)
Bridge Pickup : DiMarzio Blaze II (H)

When you get the guitar in your hands and gaze, you will realize its unique appearance. This funny finish is called "swirl" and its roots run to the ancient marbling art. One of the most interesting and coolest aspect about this swirl finish is its ramdomness. It is virtually impossible to repeat excitely same pattern on guitars body even with same color combinations. So if you have guitar with swirl finish, then it is only you to have this excite pattern. That's why i love about swirls, part I. As far as i know, it is Darren Johansen who applied this finish first on guitars in the middle of 80's for Dan Smith era of Fender. Those swirled strats are called "Bowling Ball Strats" which are very rare today. In the late 80's, somehow he got in touch with Steve Vai, consequently with Ibanez and the result was what we can see on passion&warfare cover, whitesnake videos or bootlegs etc. In the mass production process, UV77MC varied in two; the MKR and the ATD. Those UV's at the first several months swirled at Darren Johansen's custom shop in US and his shop is named About Time Designs (ATD). Then Ibanez realized this process is way too expensive so began to make this finish complete in Japan. Those are called MKR and because of their poor color quality they are mentioned as "Mustard, Ketchup, Relish" by some. But those MKRs didnt go long because of Steve Vai's dislike about their finish. Nevertheless, as quantity, lots of MKRs were made. Generally ATDs are much more loved and prefered by ibanez fans. So that they can be sold very high prices in the used guitar market.

Lets focus on the guitar again. Lets talk about the neck. If you love wizard and jem neck profiles of ibanez line, there you will love the 7 string version of those necks. Very comfortable for those play like modern shred genres especially. It is slim and not too wide. Thats how Steve Vai always says it is not 6 + 1 stringed guitar, its a 7 string guitar. And even if you might not feel comfortable for first couple of days, after a short while you like the neck. As an addition, the neck profile is slightly different than the current ones. UV77MC has little bit thinner in feel, IMO, and there might also be a slight shoulder difference.

The Bridge

One of the most impressive aspects of the guitar is the tremolo system; lo pro edge 7. Actually, i HATE Floyd Rose and all its derivatives, you know what i mean, all full floating bridges with many troubles. But in the Floyd Rose tremolo types, my fave is this tremolos, lo pro edge besides edge pro of ibanez with locking studs. It is precise and works really well for a Floyd. You can dive the deepest or tighten for the higher levels, you dont go out of tune, if the set up is made right. I played with tremolo by doing crazy stuff of Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai and, yes, it works my friends.

About the Sound

Well, nothing to tell much. If you know how an well made ibanez jem and higher range RGs from late 80's to mid 90's, you may easily guess what to expect. It has quite resonate, lightweight basswood body which means lots of mid mids and poor highs, spongy lows. Pickups have nice bite also. Bridge pickup, DiMarzio Blaze ise the 7 string version of famous Steves Special, well known humbucker of John Petrucci, which is mid scooped pickup and it works well because of its low mid design, low B sound never go extremely muddy. Clean tones of the guitar is way cool if you like to hear clean passages of Dream Theater, some Steve Vai songs or parts etc. Do not wait for a tone like a 57 Strat with swamp ash body and middle and bridge pickups work together. No, dont expect for the vintage tones but more modern clean tones are okay. Particularly 2. and 4. switch positions have very straty sound. The main focus of the guitar is shred, rock&metal and more technical fusion type of stuff in my opinion. So if you look at UV77MC for heavier sounds, yes, thats the bonecrushing, roaring tones you might like to hear. Guitar has impressive versatility also. From Steve Vai to Whitesnake, Morbid Angel to Dream Theater or Fates Warning to Savatage or Opeth to Pain of Salvation or Paradise Lost to Metallica... With proper amp and cabinet choice it is not too difficult...

Baris Sahin, May 2011


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