This limited-edition Ibanez 30th Anniversary JEM777 solidbody electric guitar is the instrument that immediately comes to mind when a guitarist brings up Steve Vai's signature model. It shares the same bold look and performance-first features that put the instrument and its player on the map 30 years ago. The incredibly fast JEM neck profile has been a favorite of 6-string technicians for years. And the Steve Vai signature DiMarzio Evolution pickup set is perfect for thick, distorted lead tones and clear, snappy cleans. Celebrate 30 years of the guitar that popularized the monkey grip and audacious style — the JEM777.
At the genesis of his career, Steve Vai was looking for a guitar company that could craft him an instrument that allowed him to play the technically demanding music that was swirling around in his head. Ibanez answered the call with the original JEM guitar line and this brand new concept in electric guitars quickly caught on. Features such as deep cutaways, HSH pickup combinations, and other radical building techniques became the standard by which all other rock guitars were judged. And the new JEM777 keeps the legend going strong 30 years later.
To pay homage to the first JEM electric guitars, the Ibanez 30th Anniversary JEM777 features much of the same appointments and aesthetics that made the model legendary — monkey grip and all. The basswood body delivers an even tone with plenty of sustain, while its contours fit your body comfortably. The 5-piece maple and walnut neck is unbelievably stable, even with its fast and thin JEM profile. And the JEM777 is loaded with an Ibanez Edge double-locking tremolo for near-infinite pitch manipulation and tuning stability.
Like all Steve Vai Universe and JEM model solidbody electric guitars, the JEM777 is outfitted with a set of DiMarzio Vai signature humbucking and single-coil pickups. Vai helped voice the JEM777's Evolution humbuckers for a bold sound with plenty of output. The pickups feature DiMarzio's patented dual-resonance configuration for added harmonic overtones. And the neck humbucker is wound for less output to ensure you'll enjoy a balanced signal across all five humbucking and single-coil pickup selector positions.
Steve Vai is a virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer, and consummate producer who sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery. At age 12, he started taking guitar lessons from Joe Satriani. At 18, he began his professional musical career transcribing for, and then playing with, the legendary Frank Zappa. More than three decades, 15-million in album sales, and three GRAMMY Awards later, Vai has proven himself, in his own right, one of music's true originals.
Vai's work has been recognized with a long list of awards, including an even dozen from Guitar Player. Most recently, the TEC Foundation honored him with the prestigious Les Paul Award, created in 1991 to salute those who have set the highest standard of excellence in the creative application of technology. Past winners include Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock, Steely Dan, and Bob Clearmountain. In bestowing it on Vai, TEC noted, "Steve Vai's sheer breathtaking facility on the guitar is acclaimed in the rock world and beyond… Vai has dedicated his talents to creatively advance the language of music. While many artists fit easily into a single category, Steve Vai remains unclassifiable. He is a musical alchemist of the highest order."
The latest product of Vai's alchemy is 2012's The Story of Light, his 16th solo album. It follows up the 2009 live tour de force Where the Wild Things Are, and was released on Favored Nations Entertainment, founded by Vai in 1999 to present works by musicians who have "attained the highest performance level on their chosen instruments." The label's roster features artists including Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Lukather, Eric Johnson, Billy Sheehan, and Larry Carlton, and more than 70 releases.
Vai's full discography encompasses more than 60 albums, including many with Zappa, others from his stints with David Lee Roth (just after he left Van Halen) and Whitesnake-at the peak of its popularity-live releases, collaborations, compilations, and orchestral works. Highlights include 1990's groundbreaking Passion and Warfare, and 2007's Sound Theories Vol. 1 & 2, performed with the Netherlands' Metropole Orkest. Vai's other orchestral compositions include "The Middle of Everywhere," which had its world premiere in 2011 with the Noord Nederlands Orkest, whose director Marcel Mandos said, "Steve Vai's music can easily compete with that of famous contemporary composers."
The Story of Light follows the cosmic journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment, and redemption. It continues a narrative arc begun on Vai's 2005 album Real Illusions: Reflections (his last solo studio release). Largely instrumental, The Story of Light spotlights guest vocalists including singer-songwriter Aimee Mann-dueting with Vai on "No More Amsterdam," which she also co-wrote-and Beverly McClellan, a season one finalist on The Voice, appearing on "John the Revelator." The track was inspired by a vintage recording of blues singer Blind Willie Johnson, whose acid-soaked vocals are sampled in the mix as well.
Throughout, Vai's lead guitar lines bend sounds and listeners' minds in equal measure. Looking ahead, he envisions a third set of songs that will unravel the mysteries and reveal truths woven through The Story of Light and its predecessor. The completed trilogy, envisioned as cinematic-even operatic-in scope, will include lyrics, narration, and visuals.
Vai's signature instruments include the Ibanez JEM guitar, which he designed in 1985 with first-of-its-kind features including the floating tremolo and the monkey grip. The JEM is now one of the longest running, most successful signature series guitars in history, and for over a decade its sister model-the RG-is second in worldwide sales only to the Fender Stratocaster. Also for Ibanez, Vai designed "The Universe," the first commercial 7-string electric guitar. This instrument inspired a revolutionary metal subculture that started in the mid '90s. Among his many other innovative collaborations with equipment manufacturers, he designed the Steve Vai Legacy V3 series of all-tube amplifiers with Carvin Corporation.
In the film realm, Vai has credits including Executive Producer for the acclaimed 2008 Hank Garland biopic Crazy, in which he also appears as Hank Williams. In the 1986 feature Crossroads, inspired by the legend of blues icon Robert Johnson, he appears as Jack Butler, "the devil's guitarist"-and collaborated with Ry Cooder on the music scenes.
In 1998, Vai established (with Ruta Sepetys) the Make a Noise Foundation to provide instruments and music education to young musicians without means. "Music educates the whole person as an integrated individual. It educates the mind, the senses, and the emotions," says Vai. "Those interested in music should not have to sacrifice their ability to develop important skills and express emotions due to limited financial resources." A Steve Vai Guitar Scholarship will be awarded in 2012 as part of a collaboration between Make A Noise and the Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music.
|Number of Strings||6|
|Body Material||American Basswood|
|Neck Material||5-piece Maple/Walnut|
|Fingerboard Inlay||Disappearing pyramid|
|Number of Frets||24, Jumbo|
|Nut Material||Locking nut|
|Bridge/Tailpiece||Edge Zero II|
|Neck Pickup||DiMarzio Gravity Storm|
|Middle Pickup||DiMarzio Evolution|
|Bridge Pickup||DiMarzio Gravity Storm|
|Controls||1 x master volume, 1 x master tone, 5-way blade pickup switch|
|Case Included||Hardshell Case|
|Manufacturer Part Number||JEM777-DY|