Steve Vai’s prototype Hamer JEM – one of many models built before the virtuoso partnered with Ibanez – goes up for auction

Steve Vai's Hamer pre-JEM prototype
(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

A prototype Hamer JEM that was built at the behest of Steve Vai while the electric guitar virtuoso was auditioning potential brand partners has gone up for auction.

As the history goes, in the ‘80s – a decade in which Vai worked as Frank Zappa’s guitarist and kickstarted his solo career – many major guitar brands approached Vai with an eye on having him endorse and use their guitars. 

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer,

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.