The Jem Design Contest Fiasco: Ibanez Fooled by a Cheater?

To be honest this shouldn’t be a big deal, and we all know that sometimes people cheat that’s what they do best. But this story is funny enough to be told here (via guitar noize). Well it is funny if you are just watching the thing because I guess that those who entered the design contest are not happy at all. Indeed, Ibanez might have been fooled by a possible cheat on the Jem Design contest I’ve posted about several weeks ago. Finalists, and  Ibanez fans from the Jemsite forum demonstrate that while it is easier than never to cheat, it is also very easy for a community to dig up the truth.

Ibanez Jem Design Winner

Jemsite users/investigators activated the bullshit detector, and what they’ve showed is that the winner of the contest didn’t follow the rules of the competition as he didn’t use an original creation for the future Steve Vai Jem guitar. They have showed that this fractal design was not created for this contest as specified in the rules of the game. The image came from a wallpapers website.

Best case scenario, Alex (the winner) made an honest mistake by using a design he created (this is plausible) but was already published on a website. In that case the design is not valid for the contest if you follow the rule. This is not a big deal anyway, let’s just say that he didn’t properly read the rules.

Worst case scenario, he stole someone’s work that he slightly modified, and adjusted on a .psd file of the Jem guitar. This would be wrong because no one has to read any rules to assume that cheating or stealing someone’s work is unacceptable. Or at least, this is not very nice.

This is not surprising that Ibanez, and Steve Vai could have been fooled by a possible cheat because after all this is virtually impossible to be aware of every designs that already exist out there. What is most surprising is the lack of reactions on Steve Vai’s Facebook page, despite several warning messages informing Ibanez, Vai, and his management about the issue. This is a bit surprising because beyond the possible cheat, they can face some copyright issue. Probably not a big deal considering the fact that they will just make 2 copies of the winner’s design but still.

Anyway, you would be right to say that this is not that big a deal! This reminds me that back then I was planning to enter the contest. Though I am not a big fan of the Jem guitar, I admit this is a hell of an axe! So back a couple of months ago I started my own decadent, and dirty design that I never finished though. The story behind it was the following. Imagine that Steve Vai got the flu… Though he is a bit tired, he is playing an immaculate white Jem guitar. Problem is? Have the flu, will sneeze! And this is how the brand new Ibanez Jerm Steve Vai Signature was born… aaaaatchaaaaa!!

Steve Vai Ibanez Jerm

Notice that I’ve just made a first draft, and never came back to it. Not like all these finalists who did some great work that you can see here. And the winner’s one is very cool anyway!

About Sem

I am the founder of Muzicosphere (that also exists in a French version). In 2011, I also created Guitar Fail, the Guitar LOL place to be. And before that I created GAS a GoGo, a gear giveaways blog in French.


  1. On the Facebook side it’s amazing how many ‘stars’ don’t interact with fans, but just use it for one-way communication.

  2. Good, was not alone in noticing.

  3. I entered this competition afyer reading the rules. The rules and competition told me this was a guitar Design competition. If i had known that Stevie boy just wanted a new upholstery airbrush paintjob i would never have taken the time to totally redesign the actual build of the jem using my decades of playing and dreaming up my Jupiter. I kept the shape mostly but wanted buckeyed burlap on the front, in orange clearcoat, ebony fretboard on full neckthrough design, of bubinga and mahogany and body of mahogany. Inlay on the ebony fretboard was to be jupiter in orange mother of pearl and pickups were to be three single coil looking but stacked humbuckers in a five way dtrat switching configurayion. Where the neck met the body i wanted something similar to washburns Stevens extended cutaway ond reversed headstock. Also all frets from 12th fret would start to scallop a little and more and deeper as the frets became more narrow. Again. This was a competition to find new shirt look to some of Vsi’s shoes, nowhere near a design anything. What a lame joke. And the einning design just looks gay with that color combination. 🙂 word.

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