NAMM: A pair of new Ibanez Vai 7-strings


This year Ibanez revamped its Steve Vai 7-string line, shifting the Universe to a Premium model and creating the first ever 7-string Jem. This is an interesting move: the Premium line is made in Indonesia under the approval and training of Ibanez’s J.Custom department, and their output is generally of an incredibly high standard. So a Premium Universe is something to get excited about, especially since the UV70 is essentially a reissue of the old ‘green dot’ Universe. It had DiMarzio Blaze pickups and a basswood body, just like the original green dot.

green dot jem

And then there’s the Jem.



This is the Jem7V7 (buy one here), a 7-string version of Vai’s main Jem7VWH. It features DiMarzio Blaze pickups – the standard Universe pickup – but everything else is pure Jem: alder body, vine inlay, monkey grip, ‘lion’s claw’ trem route… they’ve really done it right, simply creating a seven-string version of the Jem as we know and love it. And it feels incredible. The neck profile is spot-on perfect, the fretwork is great, and it looks beautiful.  One interesting thing to note though: they didn’t widen the vine inlay template to accommodate the extra fretboard space. But hey, that’s not really a problem at all, just some cool trivia.

Which one would you prefer?

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Peter Hodgson Hi! I'm Peter Hodgson. I write for Gibson.com, Australian Guitar, Australian Musician, Mixdown Magazine (including my instructional column, 'Unleash Your Inner Rock God,' which has been running since 2007), BluntBeat (including their weekly hard rock/metal column Crunch) and The Brag. And I'm Assistant Social Coordinator with Seymour Duncan. I've been playing guitar since I was 8 years old, and I've been writing for magazines since I was 18. I've also worked as a guitar teacher (up to 50 students a week), a setup tech, a newspaper editor, and I've also dabbled in radio a little bit. I live in Melbourne, Australia, and my hobbies include drinking way too much coffee, and eating way too much Mexican food. You can check out my guitar playing at Bandcamp or on YouTube, and feel free to email me at iheartguitarblog@gmail.com If you'd like to support the site, feel free to kick in a couple o'bucks using this donation button.

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