This year Ibanez will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of seven-string guitars, through the release of the highly limited 1990 Reissue Universe, with its number one endorsee, Steve Vai.
The uniquely ‘swirled’ seven-string guitars will be available in “highly limited numbers” according to Ibanez (though they have yet to reveal how ‘highly’ they mean) and are replicas of the many models Mr Vai had made for him in 1990.
Sporting the amazing paint-swirl design that epitomises the trippy creativity that Steve Vai is so famous for, the guitar features a basswood body, rosewood fingerboard, five-piece maple neck and a slightly tapered ‘C’ shape to the neck contour.
On the hardware side of things this seven-stringed sensation is loaded with two DiMarzio BLAZE humbuckers (in the bridge and neck positions) and a single-coil version in the middle pickup. Topped off with a Ibanez Low-Pro floating bridge, the guitar really opens up loads of playing possibilities.
A video released on Steve Vai’s official YouTube channel tells the story of how he collaborated with the guitar giant 20 years ago. In it, he explains how he stumbled across the idea of a seven-string purely by accident.
“I was sitting in a room with one of the guys from Ibanez and he was telling me about a guitar he had that had eight strings, and I said […] ‘Seven strings I can understand’ and it was then I thought up the idea of putting a seventh string on a guitar.”
Steve goes on to say how the mere idea of a seven string, and particularly when he finally had some killer prototypes in his hands, really opened up a huge number of possibilities in his playing.
Some of which are incredibly apparent on the album he was recording at the time, Passion And Warfare.
Check out the video, as well as the product page on the Ibanez Japan website and the cool ‘1987-2010 JEM & Universe Chronicle’ which let’s you feast you eyes on Steve Vai’s immense array of guitars over the past 23 years.
Given the highly limited nature of these axes, and the way they’re produced, they’re not gonna be cheap so you best get saving now!