Guitar News


You'll have to be quick to be able to grab one of these rare bad boys

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.

These psychadelic axes are the holy grail for Steve Vai fans

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!

Fancy soaking up some of the Steve Vai magic? Then look no further!

That’s right, folks, legendary guitarist and melter of faces Steve Vai will be gracing our shores to give a master class at London’s Guitar Nation Festival in May.

The neck-shredding extrodinaire will be teaching budding guitarists on creativity and “what you need to know to move yourself forward and reach that higher plain as a musician”. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? To be taught by one of the greatest axe masters in guitar history!

Tickets for the event, taking place at the London Olympia on the 8th and 9th of May, are on sale now, so grab them while you can!

For more information about what else is going down at the festival that weekend, visit the Guitar Nation website.

Other appearances include Whitesnake bassist Bill Murray and master classes on finding your sound featuring Phil Beaumont from Orange amps, so if Mr. Vai isn’t enough then there’s plenty on offer.

Grab your tickets before they sell out!

Sources: Steve Vai Official Website, Guitar Nation 2010 Website

The Dean Band, featuring MAB, rocking out.

So this weekend saw the Dean Owners of America (DOA, for short) holding their annual guitar bash for anyone who owns, or just loves, Dean guitars – the ‘of America’ is slightly misleading, given that anyone of any nationality can join.

It’s basically just a big weekend where all the members of DOA (mainly members of the company’s forum) hook up at the Dean HQ in Tampa, Flordia and have a good time. Jamming with Dean’s endorsees, parties, factory tours and drinking way too much alcohol always seem to be on the cards.

Michael Angelo Batio was one of the big stars at this year’s event.

He took to the stage to perform a blisteringly shred-tacular set, and even went along with other DOA members on the Dean factory tour, where members got to see the ins and outs of what goes into making a Dean.

A custom shop floyded ML built for Randy Cooper from southern-rockers 'Texas Hippie Coalition'.

Right from choosing the wood, to the body being routed out by a CNC machine to winding and wiring Dean’s line of pickups, the fans got to see the whole process from start to finish.

This was all the morning after the night before. The Friday night of DOA is when everyone gathers at Dean HQ to jam some songs live, drink some beers and meet the new faces of the club.

The coolest recoded moment of the night seems to have been Michael Angelo Batio joining Jen from Genitorturers on stage to jam Highway To Hell.

Name me one other guitar company who does this for their fans? Sure, other companies put on quite a show and dance…when it comes to sales. But this isn’t for the money, this is about bringing all the fans together and putting on a killer weekend for all their loyal customers.

You don’t see many endorsees joining forces (even with other DOA members) and getting up on stage to put on a good show for the fans. That’s how to treat your customers. Jackson, ESP, Ernie Ball…take note – I love these companies as much as my Deans, so step up to the bar!

This year saw another year where I couldn’t attend – flying to the US for the weekend is not a cheap affair, but year in year out, the guys who do go share their marvellous memories with us all. Whether they won a shiny new Dean V in the raffle, or just picked up a few…er, pickups for their axe everyone had an amazing time and has a story to tell.

So my pick of the stories goes to Brad (forum member BradWorld) for his post-DOA airport security woes. Oh the turmoil of being a guitarist…!

Security: excuse me sir, is this your bag?

BradWorld: Yes sir it is.

S: What is in here, a bunch of battery packs?

B: no sir, they are guitar effects pedals, and guitar pickups.

S: pickups? Why do you have them?

B: because I am a guitarist.

S: WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MANY????

B: ummmmm…. because I was at a guitar event, and got them there….

S: well they must have be cheap then… move along..

I sure would’ve loved to have seen the security staff’s look of disappointment when he realised he hadn’t rumbled a terrorist mastermind.

Keeping tearing it up ’til I get there, DOA!

Props to forum members DOOMZDAY and sabbathtozzy for the pictures, and to sabbathtoozzy for the video. Rest assured, when I go in 2011 the pictures and video will be my own!