Steve Vai on how Frank Zappa inspired him to design the Ibanez JEM – and why the Japanese guitar builder succeeded where others failed

Steve Vai's signature guitar, the Ibanez JEM
(Image credit: Future)

Since developing the Ibanez JEM in 1987, Steve Vai’s ability to guide his artistic vision to fruition has always been strong. 

Here, he reminds us of the strides he took to bring the initial JEM guitar to life, and why – after three decades with this original signature guitar – he decided it was “time for a little change” with the PIA.

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Robin Davey is is an English-born, LA-based musician, record producer, musical director and videographer. Robin formed UK blues rock band The Hoax, who were signed to East West records in the mid-90s. Other bands include The Davey Brothers, The Bastard Fairies, Well Hung Heart and blues rockers Beau Gris Gris & the Apocalypse, who also feature his partner Greta Valenti on vocals. The two run a video production house, Growvision, and produce our Pedalpocalypse series.