Ibanez Steve Vai

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About Ibanez Steve Vai

Ibanez and Steve Vai have had a mutually beneficial relationship since the mid 80s when Ibanez produced the Vai-designed Jem guitar. Now over 30 years on, Steve continues to play the Jem with new models appearing yearly in a range that shows no signs of slowing down.

The Ibanez Jem is an immediately recognisable instrument. This 'Steve Vai guitar' has a carrying handle cut into its body for one thing! The Jem also has a wonderful vine inlay travelling up the entire length of the fingerboard as well as a long history of incredible finishes that include swirl designs, floral patterns and bright neon solid colours.

Here at guitarguitar we love Steve Vai and we love Ibanez so we are nearly always the first to get new Jem models in stock in the UK! Some of the more affordable models including the Jem JR are among our best selling guitars (especially in Desert Sun Yellow and Shocking Pink!), so we maintain large stock levels of these models in order to satisfy demand for a guitar range that refuses to conform or compromise.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ibanez Steve Vai

Question: Who is Steve Vai?
Steve Vai is a guitarist, composer and producer best known for playing outrageous instrumental guitar songs. He began his career at 18, transcribing scores for Frank Zappa before going on to play with David Lee Roth and others. He is widely regarded as being one of the most naturally talented guitarists in history and has released a number of Grammy award-winning solo albums. Steve Vai designed what became the JEM guitar in 1987 and is also the inventor of the Universe, the world's first mass production 7 string electric guitar.
Question: When did Steve Vai design the JEM?
Steve came up with the ideas present in the JEM back in the mid 1980s and was approached by several companies about making a production model. None came up to scratch until Ibanez entered the fray and produced exactly the guitar he wanted with all of the features he'd designed and tested out on his own prototypes. The JEM was finally released in 1987.
Question: Why do Ibanez Jem guitars have a carrying handle cut into them?
Steve Vai wanted a carrying handle (or 'Monkey Grip' as it is officially named) for two reasons: the first was to stop companies 'ripping him off' by adding something so distinctive to the guitar. No other companies could really add it to their own designs without clearly having stolen it from him. It was more a way of protecting the other innovations like the Lion's Claw tremolo route, which was a very practical and inspired idea. The other reason was more simple - he wanted an easily distinguishing feature that would show up on stage and on screen in a very clearly identifiable way. This certainly worked - ever since, the Ibanez JEM has been known as the 'guitar with the handle'.