Here’s a great interview with Steve Vai from the Ernie Ball booth at NAMM 2016. Steve has been using Ernie Ball strings for quite a while and you can see his artist page here.
Steve Vai Ebay Auction
By the way, Steve is auctioning off a bunch of old gear via eBay – one item per month – and the next item to be offered will be an EPI 312 500 Series Mic Pre, an API 312 mic preamp card originally taken from an old API console and converted for use in the popular 500 series format. It’s features a 2520 Opamp, Jensen 110K input Transformer and API 2622 output transformer. You can keep an eye on Steve’s active auctions here if you’d like to see what he auctions next.
Past auction items have included a 1962/63 Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean with a Lindy Fralin P-90 in the bridge position and a Gibson P-90 from a 1957 Gibson ES-175 in the neck position, painted-on F-holes (way before Paul Gilbert did it, ha!) a maple body and bound rosewood fingerboard with a Bigsby vibrato; and a pair of Melcor GME-20 EQs. Of the Melcors, Steve said, “These are vintage EQs from the 1960s built by Melcor, which is a predecessor to API. They contain two highly sought after 1731 opamps in each. These are unique in that they have been professional converted to work in the 500 series format. These are very rare and as far as I’ve seen the only pair that exists to work in a 500 series lunchbox.”
Check out these pics of the Gretsch, which also came with what the previous owner believed to be the original hand-tooled leather case (although Vai was unable to verify this). This is a really beautiful guitar and whoever owns it now is very lucky indeed.