inviolate

Steve Vai strikes a pose with a stunning black and gold Ibanez PIA, his latest signature guitar, introduced in 2020. The JEM’s signature “monkey grip” is gone, but don’t fret, it’s been replaced by a “petal grip.”

Photo by Larry DiMarzio

The maestro invents a new instrument, recovers from two surgeries, and releases the barn-burning Inviolate—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as he reveals the source of his seemingly limitless creative power.

About halfway through my call with Steve Vai, I’m brimming with enthusiasm and feeling energized and inspired. Sure, it’s fun to talk to Vai—he’s a hero to so many of us, so it’s naturally exciting—but there’s more to this: He’s giving me a motivational pep talk.

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