Steve Vai is planning an entire album of 8-string instrumental guitar

Steve Vai performs at the Ibanez PIA launch event in Anaheim, California
(Image credit: Olly Curtis/Future)

Steve Vai is well-known as one of the original proponents of the 7-string guitar with the iconic Ibanez Universe, but as of yet, we’ve yet to see any recorded evidence of the virtuoso wielding an 8-string guitar… but it seems that may change in the not-too-distant future.

In an interview with, Vai revealed that he has three new albums in the works - one of which features his most extended-range compositions yet.

“My original plan was to record three trio-based instrumental guitar records that have no overdubs,” Vai says.

“One record was going to be all clean guitar tones. The second one was going to be my normal dirty tone. The third one was going to be this tuned-down eight-string stuff, like the heaviest stuff I could possibly dream of.”

Oh, and there’s the small matter of two more releases on the cards, too.

“There’s also the Real Illusions trilogy - I’ve already released two records, so I decided that I should do the third one,” Vai continues. “I’ve started to pull that together.

“On one of my Alien Guitar Secrets, I did an acoustic and vocal version for a song, The Moon And I. The response was so great that I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to make an acoustic record.’ Just solo acoustic guitar and vocals.”

Unfortunately, we shouldn’t go expecting any of these releases any time soon.

“It’s difficult for me to talk about them because my plans change,” Vai admits. “Once I let something out that I’m doing, people expect it right away. So I should preface this with, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Vai has, at least, released one track from the “all clean” album he refers to - last month’s “joint-shifting” extravaganza, Candle Power.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.