Ever since it was designed and built in 1987, Steve Vai’s signature Ibanez has been one of the most instantly recognizable guitars in rock. Numerous visual features make this one

Ever since it was designed and built in 1987, Steve Vai’s signature Ibanez has been one of the most instantly recognizable guitars in rock. Numerous visual features make this one really stand out from the pack: the monkey grip, the Lion’s Claw trem cavity, and the Tree of Life fretboard inlay all help make this a truly memorable guitar.

The sonically relevant appointments are just as unique: the rosewood fretboard attached to the five-piece maple and walnut neck is scalloped above the 21st fret to allow better control in the upper register, and the DiMarzio Evolution pickups were also designed exclusively with Vai’s input.

Steve’s main guitar, “Evo,” is a JEM7V identical to the one pictured here, but “slightly battered” after years of touring with one of the most exuberant guitarists of the past thirty years. Vai also uses a JEM77 with DiMarzio Brood pickups, nicknamed “MOJO,” and a UV777 Universe sevenstring guitar.

Thanks to Teddy Gordon of Make’n Music in Chicago for making this piece available on Gear Search. Whether you’ve got the funds for a limited piece or are looking for something a bit more common and affordable, chances are it’s on Gear Search. There are more than 47,000 pieces of gear listed, including some of the hardest-to-get gear in the world.

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We’re almost finished with the aging process on our project guitar. Let’s work on the fretboard, nut, and truss rod cover, and prepare the headstock for the last hurrah.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. This month we’ll continue with our relic’ing project, taking a closer look at the front side of the neck and treating the fretboard and the headstock. We’ll work on the front side of the headstock in the next part, but first we must prepare it.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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