This is one of several protos made by EBMM for John Petrucci. There are some interesting differences from the final production model.
JP with Black Fire Proto, way back in Oct. of 2000
JP, with proto, being annoyed by clown. Notice the big screen picture behind them.
Here is some correspondence from a previous owner with EBMM regarding this proto:
Thank you for contacting Ernie Ball. While we were in the long process of getting John Petrucci's signature guitar completed, we made some prototypes for him to check out. We have no idea exactly when this was made, or even what color we called it. It was probably made some time in 2000. All we can really verify for you is that it did indeed come from the factory. It was an iridescent color that was never in production.
Dan McPherson Customer Service
This appears to be the "Black Fire" guitar we made for John. It is one of the last prototypes we made before the first hand signed run. The color is Dupont Chromalusion Black Fire, which is something his tech thought would be cool. John liked the Chromalusion concept, but not this specific color, and we then introduced the "Mystic Dream" color.It is also prior to the special design Petrucci knobs.
I made a few prototype preamps for John's earlier prototypes before the module was completed, that were inside the control cavity. This is obviously one of those Prototypes.
I was lucky enough to get a second chance at owning this guitar. It was first auctioned on eBay by a tech who worked for Mr. Petrucci and I was outbid. Lucky enough that guy who won that auction put it up on eBay a year or so later and that time, I was not outbid.
Here are some pics from the ebay auction pointing out the many differences between this proto and the final Pet production model
Back of Body. I purposely erased the piezo component, just in case that info is proprietary.