WOW! Here’s one for the ages. The very first Ibanez Universe prototype is being sold by Vai’s former engineer Richard Landers to fund medical expenses in the family.

CLICK HERE to see the listing.

According to this Guitar Player interview, “Vai got his first 7-string, a prototype, while he was working with Whitesnake, and played that guitar on most of Whitesnake’s 1989 album Slip of the Tounge. He suggested a few subtle changes – the original neck was a little too chunky, for example – and the prototype was soon honed into the Ibanez Universe 7-string.”

Here’s Steve with the guitar:

Some more info:

“Here is the ORIGINAL Prototype 7 String guitar as designed by the mystical and magical guitar wizard and modern-day Mozart of melody & noise, STEVE VAI. (Credit also to the fine folks at Ibanez for helping Steve realize his vision of what would become a new entity in the evolution of the guitar.)

We are auctioning this guitar on behalf of Steve’s long-time engineer, Richard Landers, whom he gifted it to in 1990. According to Richard, the guitar was received with much appreciation and stored away and has now only seen the light of day some 20+ years later. He never intended on selling it but is now only considering it’s sale in order to raise funds for some medical needs within the family.

The bridge of the guitar is not one piece, but actually TWO bridges which have been cut and put together to form what is probably the first 7-string locking tremolo. The nut has been fashioned in this way also. You can can see the seams in the close-up photos. Also, the 21-24 frets are scalloped which I understand are not standard on any model Universe guitar.”

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]Want a new Ibanez Universe? The current model is the UV777BK – one of these happens to be my main axe.[/geo-out]

[geo-in country=”Australia” note=””]By the way, Vai is coming to Australia for a master class tour. Read all about it here![/geo-in]