New Premium Ibanez Jem Brings Back Ebony Fretboard

The Ibanez JEM7VWH has been Steve Vai’s main instrument since it was released at the time of the Sex & Religion album in 1993. Upon release it had a Lo Pro Edge tremolo, an Ebony fingerboard and Vai’s new DiMarzio Evolution humbucking pickups. Since then the VWH has undergone a few changes, including the switch to an Edge Pro tremolo and then to an original Edge, but by far the biggest change that really riled up the Jem community when it happened was the decision to move from an Ebony fingerboard to a Rosewood one in 2004. Sure, this gave the Jem a slightly warmer tone (which helped to cool down those very aggressive Evolutions) but many players preferred the more direct tone and smooth feel of Ebony. 

Now Ibanez is releasing a Premium version of the JEM7VWH, the JEM7VP, which brings back that sweet sweet Ebony fingerboard. There are a couple of other key differences between this and the Japan-made VWH though: it has Jumbo frets and a 5-piece Maple/Walnut Wizard neck instead of the JEM neck shape and narrow/tall 6105 frets, and the Premium’s fingerboard radius is a little more subtly rounded than the VWH.

I can imagine a lot of players being very happy with this model. A) It’s more affordable than the VWH which is a seriously-priced piece of kit; B) Yay Ebony; C) The smaller frets and flatter radius of the WVH just don’t feel as Ibanezzy to players who are used to the RG neck. One point to note: it does not have scallops on frets 21-24.

This is also pretty smart marketing by Ibanez. It gives players something in between the top-of-the-line JEM7VWH and the budget JEM Jr, a guitar that a lot of folks buy to upgrade to more VWH-like specs. 

I used to have a VWH and while it was a phenomenal guitar, eventually I traded it for a Strat because it just never really felt like ‘mine.’ But I’m certainly tempted to get the JEM7VP because there will always be a place in my heart for the white Jem, and I think I would like this model’s neck a little more. What do you think?

The World’s First 24-Fret 7-String Shred Machine?

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I was just scanning some recent guitar auctions, as I am wont to do, and I saw something super cool at a Guernsey’s auction from February 27: Tony Mottola’s 1952 7-string, 24-fret Gibson Custom Super 400CES. Mottola was a legendary session musician who played with Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. He also played in the Doc Severinson Orchestra on The Tonight Show. This guitar has a carved spruce top with maple back and sides, and custom P90 pickups with seven pole pieces. It was offered for auction with its original hard case and a copy of the production ledger for March 1992. The serial number is A 9934. What an amazing piece of history. Following are some more guitars – including instruments belonging to Eddie Van Halen and Richie Sambora – but first here are some more pics of the 7-string: Read More …

Fascinating Facts About Steve Vai’s Passion And Warfare

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Steve Vai’s Passion & Warfare turned 25 years old this past July, and the guitar has never been the same. Part hard rock, part psychedelia filtered through 80s neon, part Looney Toons soundtrack, part Zappa, Passion & Warfare found Vai breaking out on his own with an incredible level of focus and determination. Read More …

Ibanez Premium Universe & Jem Reissues!

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Whoa! Christmas came early to subscribers to Steve Vai’s newsletter! In 2015 Ibanez will be releasing reissues of the blue floral Jem and the white Universe. The blue Jem – eh, I can take or leave that one – but the white Universe? Vai recorded “For The Love Of God” on a white Universe! And Korn fans are going to flip out over these too. Vai also announced that the super-affordable Jem Jr (previously only available in certain markets to combat counterfeits) will now be available worldwide! Read More …

INTERVIEW: Steve Vai

steve vai the story of lightSteve Vai has been a frequent visitor to Australia over the past decade. He’s been out here for a few G3 tours (first with Joe Satriani and John Petrucci, and then with Satriani and Steve Lukather), he’s been a guest of Dweezil Zappa during the first Zappa Plays Zappa tour, and he even shared some pretty deep musical insights during a masterclass tour. But in that time we’ve only had one Vai solo tour, back in 2004. And you really don’t get the full Vai experience from a short G3 set, a guest appearance or an admittedly amazing masterclass. No sir, for the full Steve Vai experience, you have to see a full Steve Vai show. Read More …

NAMM 2012: Year Of The Sea Foam Green

One thing that really, really stood out to me at NAMM this year was the prevalence of Sea Foam Green. It’s not quite blue, it’s not quite green, but it’s definitely cool this year. Hell, Steve Vai seems to like this shade so much that it features on his new signature Ibanez Jem70V Premium model and his new Carvin Legacy III amplifier. See?

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