Tag Archives: “Steve Vai”

STEVE VAI’s ‘Modern Primitive’ + ‘Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition’ To Be Released In June


Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Steve Vai‘s “Modern Primitive / Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition”, a celebratory 2CD collection of classic tracks and previously unreleased music, on Friday, June 24.

Steve Vai and Legacy Recordings are commemorating the 25th anniversary of “Passion And Warfare” with a special 2CD edition of the album which includes the first-ever release of Vai‘s “Modern Primitive” songs and recordings. Based on song sketches and works-in-progress penned and recorded by Vai following the release of “Flex-Able”, his debut album, in January 1984, the music on “Modern Primitive” has been completed by Vai for release as a full album disc and the second CD is the bonus remastering of the “Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition”.

“The music on ‘Flex-Able’ is so vastly different from ‘Passion And Warfare’, one could wonder if the same guy actually made both records,” Steve writes in his liner notes for the collection. “‘Modern Primitive’ is the missing link between these two records. It’s sort of Cro-Magnon Vai.”

Newly remastered from the original analog tapes, the “Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition” disc includes, as bonus tracks, four previously unreleased recordings from the “Passion And Warfare” sessions.

“Modern Primitive / Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition” is being released as a 2CD physical collection while each disc will be available as a separate title on all digital platforms.

The 2CD “Modern Primitive / Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition” will be housed in a 4-panel soft-pack with a 20-page “Modern Primitive” booklet and a 24-panel “Passion And Warfare” poster fold.

In addition to the first-time release of his “lost” “Modern Primitive” music, composer/producer and electric guitar virtuoso Steve Vai will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his landmark album “Passion And Warfare” with a world tour starting on May 28 featuring — for the first time ever in concert — full performances of his groundbreaking instrumental rock masterpiece in its entirety.

“Performing this record from top to bottom (with some very special surprises in the works) is something I’ve always dreamed of doing,” Vai said. “There are songs here I’ve never performed before, and I’m delighted that 25 years after its release, I feel as though my guitar chops are as much up to the task as ever before.”

Often cited as one of the greatest and most influential instrumental rock guitar albums ever recorded, Vai‘s “Passion And Warfare” was originally released through Relativity/Epic in September 1990 and has been certified gold by the RIAA. Inspired by a series of dreams Vai had experienced as a young man, “Passion And Warfare” has been described by the artist as “Jimi Hendrix meets Jesus Christ at a party that Ben Hur threw for Mel Blanc.” Recorded at The Mothership, Vai‘s home studio in the Hollywood Hills, “Passion And Warfare” includes the classic track “For The Love Of God”, cited as one of the best solos of all time in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll.

“Modern Primitive / Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition” track listing

“Modern Primitive”

01. Bop!
02. Dark Matter
03. Mighty Messengers
04. The Lost Chord
05. Upanishads
06. Fast Note People
07. And We Are One
08. Never Forever
09. Lights Are On
10. No Pockets
11. Pink and Blows Over: Part 1
12. Pink and Blows Over: Part 2 (Mars Attack)
13. Pink and Blows Over: Part 3 (Jazzbo Paddle-foot)

“Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition”

01. Liberty
02. Erotic Nightmares
03. The Animal
04. Answers
05. The Riddle
06. Ballerina 12/24
07. For Love Of God
08. The Audience ls Listening
09. I Would Love To
10. Blue Powder
11. Greasy Kid’s Stuff
12. Alien Water Kiss
13. Sisters
14. Love Secrets
15. Lovely Elixir (Bonus)
16. And We Are One (Solo #2) (Bonus)
17. As Above (Bonus)
18. So Below (Bonus)

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Original : http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/steve-vais-modern-primitive-passion-and-warfare-25th-anniversary-edition-to-be-released-in-june/

Steve Vai’s Bo is back

SteveGreat news everyone: Bo, Steve’s mirrored JEM that went missing this past weekend, has been found left in the bushes at the gate on Steve’s property. We do not have any more details on how it got there and will perhaps forever remain a mystery. The entire Vai camp is grateful for all the amazing outpouring of support we have seen regarding this issue over the last week. Bo is now ready for 2016 and all the notes she will once again be singing from Steve’s fingers and soul.

Steve Vai’s Guitar Stolen Outside L.A. Benefit Concert

Mark Davis, Getty Images Mark Davis, Getty Images

Steve Vai‘s “Bo” guitar was stolen outside a benefit concert today (Dec. 12) for Tony MacAlpine. Guitar tech James Shotwell is now offering a reward.

The instrument, a mirror Ibanex JEM with blue LEDs pictured above, vanished from the loading area of the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Vai is appearing there with Zakk Wylde, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, Mike Portnoy and John 5.

Vai’s Facebook page includes detailed information on “Bo,” including distinctive wear marks. “This is a one-off, irreplaceable guitar,” says Shotwell, who has worked for Dio Disciples’ Craig Goldy and the Lucky Strike Live venue in Los Angeles. “Anyone sees this guitar, contact me immediately! This isn’t hard to spot and is very unique.”

This wouldn’t be the first guitar Vai has lost. In fact, his web site lists a number of missing axes that have been “stolen, misplaced or loaned and never returned” – including a guitar used in the “Yankee Rose” video during Vai’s tenure in David Lee Roth‘s band, a black Ibanez loaned to a second studio engineer, and others.

MacAlpine, who is fighting colon cancer, has previously worked in bands with Vai (The Breed) and Sherinian (Planet X) as well as Portnoy and Sheehan (PSMS). Sheehan and John 5 are also Roth band alumni. Tragically, MacAlpine’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in June.

Read More: Steve Vai’s Guitar Stolen Outside L.A. Benefit Concert | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/steve-vai-guitar-stolen

EM7V SBL (Sparkle Blue)


The Ibanez JEM7V,also known as the JEM7V SBL (Sparkle Blue), is a JEM guitar guitar model and signature model of American guitarist Steve Vai.

Features include DiMarzio pickups, a double locking tremolo, a special Sparkle Blue finish and matched blue vine fingerboard inlays. It was introduced in 2002 as a finish variant of the white JEM7V. Other differences with the JEM7V WH were the hardware color and the rosewood fingerboard. It was discontinued, after three years, in 2004.

In 2003, the Lo Pro Edge tremolo was replaced with the new Edge Pro.

Specifications for JEM7V (Sparkle Blue)
Name: JEM7V
Years: 2002-2004
Areas: Worldwide
Made in: Japan
Finishes: SBL (Sparkle Blue)
Body material:
Alder with Basswood veneers
Neck joint:
2002: Lo Pro Edge
2003-2004: Edge Pro
Hardware color:
Vintage Silver
Neck type:
JEM Prestige
Neck material:
1-Piece Maple
Scalloped frets 21 to 24
Blue Vine
24 / W/6105
PU Config:
Neck PU:
DiMarzio Evolution
Mid PU:
DiMarzio Evolution
Bridge PU:
DiMarzio Evolution
1 Volume / 1 Tone / 5-Way Lever

“The Crank Master” Neil Zaza (Interview)

Neil Zaza, AKA “The Crank Master”, is an independent guitar player from Ohio, who is carving out a career in music using some very creative methods. A blistering guitarist who shames most other guitar-wielding human containers, Zaza balances his technical mastery with a keen melodic sense as well as a challenging compositional style. Zaza has consistently aimed for control over his musical career, and has definitely hit the bullseye.

Dan McAvinchey asked Zaza about his influences and musical goals, the advantages of digital home studio recording, and his ideas for others wishing to follow in his footsteps.

Dan McAvinchey: Neil, how did you get interested in music, and who were some guitarists that influenced your musical tastes?

Neil Zaza: I just always loved music and when I found that I could play it if I wanted to, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. To try to list some of the bands and/or players that influenced my own playing…that would be a very long list. I have to say that my number one influence from the beginning was Van Halen. I don’t think I sound like him at all, but I really was influenced by him in a fanatical way early on. I still listen to the first four records (the REAL Van Halen) and it still give me chills how great he was.

Another player that I feel has had a lasting impact would have to be Neal Schon. His phrasing and sense of melody are just outstanding and that is the stuff I try to emulate these days. Guitar playing is not about technique, but about melody and the translation of emotion.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us about the guitars and other gear you are using to get the Zaza sound.

Neil Zaza: I have been changing gear around a lot lately. I have just fell in love with an amp that I just purchased from Dr. Z. Amplification here in Cleveland. It is a handmade, class A, hand soldered amp that just KILLS! It has the best tone I have ever heard in an amp and it is all over anything I am doing in the studio as well as live.

Other amps and stuff include a 5150 combo/half stack with a STRAIGHT cab, Rocktron PatchMate, Replifex, Rack Interface, Power Station, tube screamer, mxr phase 90, mxr flanger and a Lexicon Jam Man all controlled with an All Access pedal.

That is the live stuff. In the studio I have been using the Z as well as a Peavey Classic 30 with a 112 e cab. Guitar wise, I have been using my EVH Music Man, some Zion Ninety Telecasters, a G&L ASAT classic custom, and a G&L George Fullerton model. I love ’em all!

Dan McAvinchey: What are you hoping to achieve musically?

Neil Zaza: I am hoping to bridge the personal gap of what I feel inside, translating that to the instrument and finally to the audience. I really have come a long way from the “shredder” that I used to be. I have spent some time finding what it is that I want to say on guitar and how I want to say it. I really focus on melody as opposed to just riffs now which I feel really helps my playing as well as my compositions. I really am just trying to be myself.

Dan McAvinchey: What is your most recently completed project and what’s up for the future?

Neil Zaza: My just completed Christmas CD would have to be the most current one. I also am going to LA to record a project with drummer Robin DiMaggio (Steve Vai, Toni Braxton, Boyz 2 Men, Mariah Carey, etc.) that will be some heavy funk stuff.

headline Dan McAvinchey: How do you compose your music?

Neil Zaza: I really compose all the stuff I write with a guitar and a little hand held tape recorder to capture the idea. I really just play the guitar and hum the melody and go from there. I find that if it sounds good in that state, it is a good song.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you record at home or rent time at a commercial facility?

Neil Zaza: I do record in both my home studio as well as a commercial facility. I feel that I can get the best of both worlds like this. When I record at home, I can take the time to do the recording the way I want and take time on things that I feel are important to concentrate on. I don’t have to look at the clock and think about the bill that is running at the time. Then, I go to a bigger studio to do some of the tracking that I can’t do at home (drums) as well as mixing some of the material. In terms of digital editing and recording, I really have it great at home. I never knew that the command “undo” could cause so much creativity in me. I can’t screw anything up and I can take chances with crazy punches and riffs because all I have to do is press “undo” and I am out of it.

Dan McAvinchey: What went into the decision to form your own record label and release an independent record?

Neil Zaza: The real basic premise is that no one else is going to put records out the way I want them done. I don’t want be one of the millions looking for that elusive deal that never comes or when it does, it is not right. I can record anytime I want, set my own budget, and release things when I have something musically to say. That is a great freedom that I really could not live without. I know it is not Geffen or Warner, but at least my music is getting out right now.

Dan McAvinchey: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician?

Neil Zaza: The only real thing with it is that you have to do it all. That is the good as well as the bad. You get it done just like you want, but you have to do it yourself. I would love to have a great company do it for me, but for now this is how it is.

Dan McAvinchey: Care to share any marketing or promotion tips for musicians about to release their first independent record?

Neil Zaza: There are a few thing to be very cognizant of. One is that you have to have a good promotion budget and not to skimp corners when it comes to this. You can have the greatest album and if no one knows that you have one out and available, it really is no good. Utilize all that you can with local publications and national ones as well. Always think of the nation as your market and not just your town. You can be the biggest thing in your hometown and unless they know you around, it really is not going to help you. Be a big fish in a big pond.

Always stick to your vision of the music that you want to play. Do not be swayed by trends. Be true to yourself and your art. If you are not, you and your music will suffer. Great music will survive if it comes from the heart.

(Source: www.Guitar9.com)


Ibanez JEM 777 DY Guitar Specifications



   _DSC3193 Item: The Original JEM777DY Our Replicated JEM777DY
Finish: Desert Sun Yellow Desert Sun Yellow
Body Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Wood: Basswood Basswood
Body Construction: Bolt-on Bolt-on
Neck Wood: Maple Maple
Neck type: JEM JEM
Fretboard: Maple Maple
Inlays: 3-Color Pyramid Inlay 3-Color Pyramid Inlay
Scale Length: 25.5″ 25.5″
Frets: 24 24
Bridge: Edge High-quanlity OEM
Pickup Switching: 5-Way Selector 5-Way Selector
Controls: 1 volume, 1 tone  1 volume, 1 tone
Hardware: Black Black
Pickups: DiMarzio PAF Pro(H-S-H) Wilkinson(H-S-H) 


The Story of Steve Vai and the Ibanez JEM777

Steven Siro Vai(born June 6, 1960) is an American guitarist, songwriter and producer who has sold over 15 million albums. After starting his career as a music transcriptionist for Frank Zappa, Vai recorded and toured in Zappa’s band for two years, from 1980 to 1982. He began a solo career in 1983, has released eight solo albums and won three Grammy Awards. He has also recorded and toured withPublic Image Ltd., Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake. Vai has been a regular touring member of the G3 Concert Tour G3 which began in 1995. In 1999 Vai started his own record label Favored Nations.

JEM777 is an electric guitar and first produced in 1987. It was revealed at the 1987 summer NAMM Show.The guitar’s most notable user is its co-designer, Steve Vai. So aside from being today’s #1 Rock guitarist, Steve Vai has some very definite ideas about guitar design. After carefully checking the elements that made his favorite guitars work, Steve drew all the best features together into one instrument, unique in both form and function. The features include the “Monkey Grip” handle, the “Disappearing Pyramid” inlays, lions claw and so on. For those who like to know, why they are called JEM and not SV or something like that. Joe Desagni, a friend of Steve Vai owned a company that called JEM guitars that made custom guitars. When naming this guitar, Steve Vai decided to use JEM finally.

The JEM777 was available in three different and, at the time, unique finishes and started the famous Jem-line. Of the Loch Ness Green version(LNG) was the first being produced and only available in 1987, only 777 were made (All signed by Steve Vai). The Desert Sun Yellow version(DY) was produced from 1987 until 1996. The Shocking Pink version(SK) was available from 1987 until 1989. All three have the 3 colours green, yellow and pink in it. And they all share the 3-color pyramid inlay.


Features of the JEM 777DY Guitar

1987 JEM777 in Desert Sun Yellow was made for and owned by Steve Vai- customized personal favorite guitar used on David Lee Roth “Skyscraper” tour. Steve Vai gave this away for a children’s hospital charity. On the back, it was Steve Vai’s declaration: “To a worthy cause-this is my personal favorite guitar-Skyscraper ’88- Steve Vai”

The Ibanez JEM 777 DY is beautifully made from the basswood body to the maple neck. They are in accordance with the original JEM777. Although the body is a little heavy it offers lots of resonance giving the guitar very high levels of sustain. It is a totally balanced sound. Neon color combination and look!!! The Ibanez JEM 777 DY has a yellow body and black pickguard, green knobs and pink pickups, switch and lion’s claw. It looks fantastic!


3 Color Disappearing Pyramid.



Another feature of the JEM777 is the famous lion’s claw The lion’s claw is the space under the tremolo. Although the claw itself is just cosmetic, the space under the tremolo makes it possible to pull the tremolo as much as a 5th. The original JEM777 have 2 humbuckers and 1 single coil. We have duplicated it as well. Together with the special 5-way switch, they give a beautiful tone to the guitar  when it comes to playing metal or hard rock as the pickups offer an excellent bass and treble response allowing you to get the perfect sound for those crunching, muted chords.











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Ibanez JEM Models and Variations

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JEM Anniversary

There are four sub-models of the JEM Anniversary.


The model was created for JEM’s tenth anniversary in 1997, although production started in 1996. “This sub-model of Anniversary JEM includes numbered letter of authenticity hand-signed by Steve Vai. The aluminium pickguard has an engraved vine and its JEM10 serial number. JEM10s designated for the USA have a silver tweed JEM case with outside plaque and inner silk screened protective shroud. Later numbered JEM10s going to the USA have their JEM10 plaque screwed onto the case, instead of riveted/glued on.” There are 852 JEM10 guitars around the globe (210 of them are in the United States), and each guitar has its own serial number. #1 is at Hoshino USA, #2 is at Roland (Roland/Meinl) in Germany. #3, #5, #7, and #9 went for sale in the US and JEM10 #16 was given away by Steve during G3.


HAM stands for Hoshino Anniversary Model, which was made for the 90th Anniversary of Hoshino. The specifications are similar to the JEM10 model, as both use the same type of wood, pickups, hardware and tremolos. There were exactly 72 guitars brought by Ibanez to the US of the 831 available worldwide.


The most notable aspect is the color, as Vai added his DNA (blood) to the mixture of the paint. The painter of the guitar, Darren Michaels/Darren Johansen of ATD (About Time Designs), stated on Jemsite.com, “For the record if you own a DNA you have a good amount of the “DNA”. The “blood red” paint that I mixed was mixed at a ratio  of approximately 8:1 [paint:blood] so the content is quite high. There had to be pigment mixed into the paint to hold it onto the guitar as well as a carrier. If you purchase a canvas you get a picture of myself and someone mixing [the blood] in to the color. Also a picture of the room we did the guitars in too. The canvases also have the same content as I mixed all the DNA left into the paint when I left Japan and brought the paint back with me . I hope this clears things up for you”The guitars were made in the year 2000, represented in the model series, JEM2KDNA (2000). Around the world, there are exactly 300 guitars.


In 2007 Ibanez announced the 20th Anniversary JEM guitar. This guitar is made of acrylic with multicolour paint streaks running through it. When the tone control is pulled up a set of green LED’s light up within the body.

Standard Production Models


From six different variants, currently Ibanez produces only the JEM7VWH series as it was Steve Vai’s main guitar that he used for live performances. Steve Vai has one JEM7VWH with exactly the same specification as the guitars on the market, which he named “Evo”. The main features of JEM7 variants are the monkey grip, which are located above the pickups and the scalloped fingerboard that applies from the 21st fret up to the 24th. This series is also equipped with DiMarzio Evolution pickups. In 2003, the 7VWH specifications were changed from an ebony fingerboard to a rosewood fingerboard. According to Ibanez officials, this was done because “Evo” and “Flo” also had their necks changed to rosewood fingerboards.

Complete list of JEM7 variants:

  • JEM7RB – dot inlays, Root Beer, American Basswood body (production 1988,1989)
  • JEM7PBK – disappearing pyramid inlays, Pearl Black, American Basswood body (production 1989,1990)
  • JEM7VWH – vine inlay, White, Alder body (production 1993–present)
  • JEM7BSB – screw head inlays, Burnt Stained Blue, American Basswood body (production 1996 – 1998)
  • JEM7DBK – screw head inlays, Black with texture, American Basswood body (production 1999 – 2004)
  • JEM7VSBL – Blue vine inlay, Sparkle Blue, Alder body (production 2002 – 2004)
  • JEM7EAFX – fixed bridge, vine inlay, Black, American Basswood body (production 2009)
  • JEMVLWH – vine inlay, White, Alder body (production 2009) Lefthand model of the JEM7VWH


The older 77 guitars use the DiMarzio PAF Pro pickups, where the new 77BRMR (discontinued) and the 77VBK (discontinued) are equipped with DiMarzio Breed pickups. Steve Vai used to use the JEM77BRM model as his other main gear, named “MOJO”. Steve’s version of the 77BRMR has a few modifications that are not in the production model, such as blue LED light fingerboard inlays. The 77FP and 77BFP featured a flower pattern, that was a real fabric, put over the black painted guitar body and then clearcoated onto the guitar. The 77FP was re-issued as the 15th anniversary model, with exactly the same specs as the older 77FP. Therefore the 77FP is widely available on the used guitar market and the cheapest collectors model. The new Flower Pattern is the 2010 release of Ibanez, the Ibanez Jem77FP2. It features a basswood body clad in actual floral pattern fabric chosen specifically by Steve, and then clear-coated. The guitar features a 5pc maple and walnut neck with a rosewood fingerboard, and vine neck inlay with red accents to match the body design.

Complete list of JEM77 variants:

  • JEM77FP – vine inlay, Flower Pattern, American Basswood body (years of production 1988 – 2003)
  • JEM77BFP – vine inlay, Blue Flower Pattern, American Basswood body (production 1991 – 1994)
  • JEM77GMC – vine inlay, Green Multi Color, American Basswood body (production 1992 – 1993)
  • JEM77PMC – disappearing pyramid inlay, Purple Multi Color, American Basswood body (production 1992 – 1993)
  • JEM77BRMR – dot inlay, Black Rock Mirror, American Basswood body (production 2005 – 2006)
  • JEM77VBK – vine inlay, Black, American Basswood body (production 2007–2011)
  • JEM77FP2 – vine inlay, Flower Pattern 2, American Basswood body (2010 – present)


The JEM777 variants are the oldest variants among all JEM models. Currently no 777 model is in production. There are exactly 777 JEM777LNG (which stands for “Loch Ness Green”) guitars around the world, which is also the first variant produced. One of the most noted users of these was the late Denis D’Amour of Canadian band Voivod. The Loch Ness Green guitars were also hand signed by Steve Vai. From a technical point of view, all JEM777 guitars have more or less the same specifications with the other two JEM models (JEM7 and JEM77) . All Jem777LNGs have been signed and numbered by Steve Vai with a differing squiggle/graphic underneath making each guitar very unique.

_DSC3177The Ibanez JEM 777DY

Complete list of JEM777 variants:

  • JEM777LNG – disappearing pyramid inlay, Loch Ness Green, American Basswood body, personalized signature (years of production 1987)
  • JEM777DY – disappearing pyramid inlay, Desert Sun Yellow, American Basswood body ( years of production 1987 – 1996)
  • JEM777SK – disappearing pyramid inlay, Shocking Pink, American Basswood body ( years of production 1987 – 1989)
  • JEM777VBK – vine inlay, Black, American Basswood body (years of production 1988 – 1992)
  • JEM777VDY – vine inlay, Desert Sun Yellow, American Basswood body ( years of production 1989 – 1991)
  • JEM777VSK – vine inlay, Shocking Pink, American Basswood body ( year of production 1989)

JEM 555

All the JEM555 variants are not widely available in the USA currently, as Ibanez received a great deal of negative feedback from consumers. However, in 2000, the variants have been reintroduced in many different countries thanks to high demand. Unlike the other JEM variants, the 555s are Korean-made rather than Japanese and are of lower quality and specs. Most years have the script JEM Jr. on the headstock.

Complete list of JEM555 variants:

  • JEM555BK – vine/ dot inlay, Black, American Basswood body (years of production 1994–2000)
  • JEM555WH – vine/ dot inlay, White, American Basswood body (years of production 1994–present)
  • JEM555LWH – vine/ dot inlay, White, American Basswood body (years of production 1997 – 1999)

JEM 505

Complete list of JEM505 variants:

  • JEM505BK – black dot inlay, Black, Basswood body (years of production 2010–2011)
  • JEM505WH – black dot inlay, White, Basswood body (years of production 2010–2011)

JEM 333

These are currently only available in East Asian and South American countries. In essence it is an RG350EX with the monkey grip, using the same Infinity pickups instead of DiMarzio pickups that even the JEM555 used, and the Ibanez Edge III tremolo.

(Unfortunately, there are some companies in Asia (China) that produce JEM counterfeit copies. These are cheaply made and are sometimes sold on US auction sites. They’re referred to as “Chibanez” models in the US. These are not to be confused with the authentic Ibanez JEM333 models.)

Universe 7-string

The Universe series is not a JEM sub-model. It was designed from the start as its own model separate from the JEM despite its similarities.


From 1987 to 1992 all Ibanez JEM models came standard with a DiMarzio PAF PRO (Humbucker) neck pickup in the neck position, a DiMarzio PAF PRO (Humbucker) bridge pickup in the bridge position, and a DiMarzio JEM (Single Coil) in the middle position.

In 1993 the JEM7VWH was introduced. One of the new features of this guitar was the new DiMarzio EVOLUTION (hence the guitar also being known as EVO) pickups in the neck and bridge position, but the DiMarzio JEM middle pickup was still featured on the model introduced in 1993. This pickup configuration was standard on all JEM7’s, JEM77’s, and special edition JEM’s from 1993 to 1998 (JEM777’s were not produced after 1992). A slightly different pickup configuration has been featured of JEM555 models ever since their original production in 1994, JEM555 feature an EVOLUTION middle pickup in addition to the EVOLUTION neck and bridge pickups (a feature that was not standard on other JEM’s with EVOLUTION pickups until later in the JEM’s history).

In 1999 the JEM7DBK was the first JEM with DiMarzio BREED pickups.

The JEM7VSBL which was originally produced in 2002 was the first JEM that was not a JEM555 to feature a DiMarzio EVOLUTION single coil pickup in the middle position.

All JEM’s introduced in 2003 or after have either all Dimarzio EVOLUTION or BREED pickups except for the JEM-JR (JEM333), the JEM20th, and the JEM505.

The Acrylic JEM20th featured DiMarzio TranceJEM pickups.

The Birth of the Ibanez JEM series

Ibanez JEM is an electric guitar manufactured by Ibanez and first produced in 1987. The guitar’s most notable user is its co-designer, Steve Vai. As of 2010, there have been five sub-models of the JEM: the JEM7, JEM77, JEM777, JEM555, JEM333, and JEM70V. Although the Ibanez JEM series is a signature series guitar, Ibanez mass-produces several of the guitar’s sub-models.

The design of the Ibanez JEM series was heavily influenced by the superstrat style of guitars of the early 1980s such as the Jackson Soloist, Kramer Beretta and Hamer Chaparral. This type of guitar is more aggressively styled in terms of shape and specifications compared to the Stratocaster on which they are based.

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Earlier guitars

Previously, Vai used a handbuilt guitar by Charvel Jackson. With Joe Despagni and Tom Anderson he created various custom guitars and used Tom Anderson’s model to record the demo of the David Lee Roth album Skyscraper. Vai also began to bring his Tom Anderson guitars on tour:

“… He built this for me after my old green monster, which I used out on the road last year until it died. I was pulling on the whammy bar and ripped the bar right out of the guitar [laughs]; it was actually ripped out before the show at Madison Square Garden. I was dying. So I started using Tom’s guitar as my main guitar for the rest of the tour, and I really like it because it has a very heavy sound to it. So I took the best of the sounds from that guitar and had them incorporated into the Ibanez.”

Ibanez and Steve Vai

Vai decided to stop using his Anderson guitar in favour of a guitar deal with a bigger company. Just before Christmas 1986 Ibanez received Vai’s guitar specification; they were similar to Despagni’s guitars. Ibanez built one of their “Maxxas” guitars for him with a palmrest for the tremolo. Vai liked the model and decided to produce that particular guitar with Ibanez. It took five months to make the new model samples in Japan, the JEM guitar and the RG range which launched at the NAMM Industry Trade Show in June 1987.

Design and production

Steve Vai with Ibanez JEM

After the JEM series was launched at the NAMM show, Ibanez with Steve Vai began to design and produce the guitar actively. Rich Lasner of Hoshino explained that Vai used a “Chinese menu approach” to design the guitar (i.e. choosing from many different categories). The first design was by Vai, when he sent Hoshino his ideas from many different guitar features he liked and combined it into one guitar. The essential considerations were the weight, wood types and pickups. For the latter specification, Vai decided long before Ibanez contacted him, that he would use DiMarzio pickups for his guitars.

Later, Lasner asked Vai to explain the guitar specifications further: “‘The first thing he did” Lasner explains, “was disassemble them on the spot. Neck from body, pickguard off, tremolo out… took ’em apart. I was shocked, to say the least. But Steve looked at me nonchalantly and said, ‘Relax, I do this all the time.’ He wanted to check Mace’s detail and craftsmanship.””[2] Mace Bailey, who was also involved in the production, later went to Japan to the Ibanez factory to really begin producing the guitar. He sat there with the craftsmen and made ten guitars for Vai.

Naming conventions

Ibanez has not revealed much about the naming system of the JEM models(JEMxxx) but letters always refer to the name of the color pattern used for each models (JEM777LNG > LochNess Green). However, it is known that the number 7 came from Steve Vai himself as he likes the number 7. Steve Vai has also released an album titled “The Seventh Song” which contains ballad songs from albums before “The Seventh Song”. Steve Vai  stated on the CD cover, “Traditionally, I have made the 7th song on all my CD’s the mellifluous guitar ballad that serves the melody on a silver platter. In numerology, the number 7 is shrouded in mystique. In a record sequence, it has always felt like the sweet spot. These songs are more devotional in nature than technical. They are a reflection of one man’s desire to expose a glimmer of the depth of his longing for spiritual communion.”

There are 4 JEM sub-model numbers: 7, 77, 777 and 555. JEM777 was the first JEM sub-model, created in 1987. Currently Ibanez no longer sells this model, thus some of these models are quite rare, especially the JEM777LNG, which was a limited run and each model was hand-signed by Steve Vai. On the other hand, JEM77 models are more widely available compared to the JEM777 guitars. Some of the 77 models are very easy to make out and are especially interesting for collectors-these are models with a floral or multicolor pattern, for example, the JEM77FP (Floral Pattern) and the JEM77PMC (Purple MultiColor). However, a variant of JEM77, the JEM77BRMR is not a multicolor guitar, but it has dot inlays on the fingerboard and a “rock mirror” finish and the 77VBK, which is basic black with a mirror pickguard and the vine inlay. The JEM 7 series was derived from Steve’s current main guitar, “Evo” and is still in production, with the 7VWH being the longest run production model of all JEM guitars. The 7VWH is still in production today. Different from other JEM models, JEM555 is produced in Korea and in terms of quality, this variant is considered by many to be poorer than the others. As of 2008, the only production model JEM guitars are the 7VWH and the 77VBK. The cheaper Korean- made 555 was discontinued in 2000 for the USA market. JEM505 needs mentioning, the JEM333 is no where to be found, the other jem77 models. etc. etc. In 2008 there were more models than the 7vwh and 7vbk.

80s guitars 2

JAM with an Ibanez JEM 777DY

As the artist Farlake I’ve made a video of a jam with the Ibanez JEM 777DY.
To get some more visits I use the famous name of my grant grant grant (etc.) father; Johannes Vermeer. A famous Dutch painter (1632 – 1675)

I’m using the following parts:

  • Ibanez JEM 777DY (Desert Yellow)
  • Carvin Legacy 3 Amp
  • 2 x C212E Cabinets
  • Morley Bad Horsey Wah (2)
  • Ibanez Jemini
  • Digitech Harmonyman
  • Logic X Pro
  • Addictive Drums
  • Vintage Organs
  • Trilian Bass