Steve Vai is a legendary guy. The stories of his musical prowess with the guitar and his voice have traveled around the world and back many times. He has sung songs that have struck the minds and hearts of teenagers, who are now adults, and changed lives for the better, or worse. Whatever you think of him, he is a great man. So when a guitarist decides to take his name, I get a skeptical look. Let us take a closer look at the Ibanez JEMJRWH Steve Vai Signature guitar and see whether it lives up to the name or not.
The first thing we will discuss is the design of the guitar. The guitar picks up the classic telecaster shape and sticks with it. This is opportune because Steve Vai played a telecaster at one point or another. The shape is definitely beautiful and well known. It is comfortable and fun to play as well, so triple bonus for that. Yet the guitar does something which other guitars rarely dear – a hole is put straight through the solid body of the guitar and a handle is created. A cool design choice definitely but I’m not sure how useful it is. If you are carrying the guitar you are probably doing it in a gig bag or with a strap over your shoulder. Yet the design has existed for decades now and has been very successful.
The body of the guitar is made out of mahogany, which is always an exciting little piece of information to have. Mahogany has a whole load of properties that make this an exciting guitar. The tonewood is first and foremost known for its effect on the tone of the guitar. The sounds feel very warm, with the bass tones being enhances to a beautiful degree. The sturdiness of the wood is definitely a great thing to have on a guitar. While there is a limit to how hard you can hit it, the probability of denting, scratching or god forbid, breaking, is very low. The only drawback is the weight, which should not be too hard to handle once you get used to it.
The neck of the guitar is made out of maple, which is a great combination with the mahogany. This allows the guitar to be steady, sturdy, and nigh impossible to dent. Still, being careful is better than being sorry, as always. The weight might scare some people off, but don’t forget that a large chunk of the mahogany body as been taken out. This keeps the guitar relatively lightweight and fun to play. The fretboard of the instrument is made out of rosewood, which is great go-to wood.
The bridge of the guitar is an Ibanez standard. The full name goes Standard Ibanez Double Locking Tremolo System. This gives a nice raise to the strings for some amazing action, easy restringing to the guitar, great string stability and also gives you a chance to play with that tremolo bar. A great pick.
The nut of the guitar is made of synthetic bone, which is a decent pick. It strikes a balance between being cheap and handling the string buzz very well.
The tuning machine guitar is very nice, especially for the price. It can keep its tuning for a long time, even if you abuse the tremolo bar. This is a great feature since nobody likes to re-tune their guitar often.
The guitar is equipped with three very interesting pickups. A combination of a Humbucker, single coil, humbucker, it allows the guitar player to emulate Steve Vai in sound to a very close degree. The quantum neck humbucker and the quantum bridge humbucker are powerful and impressive in their tone and sustain. The single coil middle pickup is a great tool for nuanced sound with a flavor and a little bit of twang, just like Steve likes it. The combination is utterly lovable and powerful.
The controls are fairly standard. Two knobs for volume and tone and a lever for determining the pickup configuration.
Ibanez JEM JR Sound
The guitar sound wild, just like Steve Vai would like it to. The deeper tones are extremely well expressed in the guitar. Playing the sounds feels like the guitar is growling through its pickups, yet the single coil adds the little bit of strangeness that we all want in our music. The guitar is perfect for high-energy rock and roll, as well as metal. The small chunk taken out of the body does not affect the sound at all.
The guitar bears the name of Steve Vai for a reason. It is a good guitar with a tendency to go wild without a single repercussion. High energy, beautiful and strangely affordable, this instrument is highly recommended to anyone looking for a good guitar.
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