Steve Vai is no stranger to unique guitars. Throughout his career of establishing himself as one of the most talented heavy rock and metal electric guitarists, brushing shoulders with the likes of Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, and Frank Zappa, he has garnered quite an impressive collection of axes—ranging from the reliably classic to the breathtakingly beautiful.
While he does keep a variety of Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters in his collection, it’s the fast action and shredability—for lack of a better term—of the Ibanez’s that has seemed to be his comfort zone for most of his illustrious career. Last week, Vai shared the newest addition to his treasure trove via an exquisite reveal video, and it toes the line between absurd and utterly unimaginable.
Enter: The Hydra.
The Hydra arrives as a triple-neck, steampunk-inspired monstrosity that looks as mystical as it sounds mythological. Custom built by Ibanez, The Hydra contains one somewhat typical seven-string neck, a 12-string neck that has only eight frets, and a bass neck that has frets on only two of the four strings. On the body of the guitar, Ibanez also added 13 harp strings.
It’s not just the amount of necks and strings that make this such a peculiar axe—though that certainly helps—but the amount of hardware and electrical work that makes it all come together. While each neck has its own on and off switch, the guitar contains single-coil, humbucking, piezo, sustainer, and even MIDI pickups. It’s got two hardtail and one floating tremolo bridge in addition to its own phase splitter, among countless other personalized specifications.
“We absolutely respected this instrument by having the brilliant Garson Yu and his team at yU+co create this phenomenal Hydra reveal video,” explained Vai in a press release.
“The guitar geek in me is stunned every time I see it. This video captures the splendor and mystique of the Hydra in intimate detail. The conception and construction of the instrument was a monumental feat of creativity by a whole group of inspired people, and I could not be more happy with the way this video came out. Imagine being a half an inch tall and exploring the Hydra as an adventurer. It would be like exploring an alien planet. Sign me up!”
Check out The Hydra reveal via the video player below.
The Hydra Reveal Video
In other Steve Vai news, the guitarist will release his long-awaited 10th studio album, Inviolate, on Friday, January 28th. Inviolate follows 2016’s Modern Primitive and will be available on a variety of physical and digital platforms. Head here to pre-order and pre-save the album and check out the latest single, “Zeus In Chains”, below.
Steve Vai – “Zeus In Chains” [Official Visualizer][H/T Guitar World]