Vai Reveals Last Guitar Dream

Steve Vai has played two of the three dream guitars on his bucket list - and still hopes to play the third.

Ultimate Guitar

Steve Vai has played two of the three dream guitars on his bucket list and still hopes to play the third.

And the virtuoso, who started his musical career with Frank Zappa, credits the great man with not only giving him a valuable education, but also securing his financial future.

Vai, who recently told how he dreamed his entire career as a boy, tells Noisecreep: "Frank was very independent and I was very young. I was with him for six years you can imagine how impressionable you are at that age. I was just a sponge. Every day I exercise skills I learned from Frank.

One of the first things I asked was what advice he'd give a young musician. I was expecting some lofty, philosophical answer but Frank was always right to the point.

He said: "Keep your publishing". I was like, "What's publishing?"

He gave me the phone number of an attorney and said, "Go see this guy". I bought an hour of this guy's time, and it's the best money I've ever spent. He set up a publishing company for me and I have made a lot of income that many artists see go down the drain.

All thanks to Frank: he knew the impact of his words and the impact it could have if you had the ears to really hear it".

Vai's workhorse guitar is an Ibanez, which he helped design another move he credits to Zappa, who inspired him not to stick with Gibson or Fender instruments if he wasn't happy with them.

But asked if there are any historic axes he'd like to play, he says: "There are three, and I've gotten to play to of them.

Once was Hendrix's Woodstock guitar. When I was on the Hendrix Experience Tour we called to see if they'd send it out for a show. They did, and I got to play it. One layer of me was, "Okay, it's a Strat". The other layer was, "Holy shit this is the Strat Hendrix played at Woodstock!"

The one I was absolutely fascinated by was Brian May's. He had a guitar he built when he was a kid. When I first moved to Los Angeles working for Frank, I met Brian at the Rainbow and he invited me to a Queen rehearsal. He was just so kind and he let me play that guitar. A real iconic moment for me. But it sounded like me playing, not Brian."

The last guitar on his list, Vai says, is: "Jimmy Page's double-neck. That hasn't happened yet - but I'll keep my fingers crossed."

Vai recently released concept album The Story of Light, a mainly instrumental work featuring the voices of guest vocalist including Aimee Mann and The Voice finalist Beverly McClellan.

Thanks to Classicrockmagazine for the report.

56 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "There are three, and Ive gotten to play to of them." *two "Once was Hendrixs Woodstock guitar." *One "featuring the voices of guest vocalist including Aimee Mann and The Voice finalist Beverly McClellan" *vocalists I'm going to correct the spelling, punctuation and grammar of every news article I read until you hire me as a proofreader. PM me for my rates.
    Normally, I would blow my whistle, pull out a card and shout "Grammar Nazi!", but in this case you're right. Even if they just "copy and paste" a report, they can always cast a quick look over it see if there are any blatant mistakes.
    Back on topic: There's only one guitar I would really like to play...David Gilmours' Fender Strat Ser. Nr. #0001
    Like ya profile picture
    Jimmy Page has stated: "Over my dead lifeless corpse will Vai EVER play my bloody double neck! That poser has some nerve even dreaming it!"
    I would be willing to proofread these articles for free if it would make all the people stop talking about the grammar in the comments section, and start talking about the content of the article instead. Yes, I realize that I just used a run-on sentence.
    Wait... so you're going to do your job for free until they hire you? Wonder how that'll work out.
    You missed one, mate, so you might want to consider lowering your rates "Vai recently released ____ concept album The Story of Light" - should be a "the " or "his " in there.
    "Vai recently released concept album The Story of Light" is fine. A "the" or "his" would also be correct, but surplus to requirements. My rates will remain sky-high, and I will continue to stack mad Benjis.
    'The Story of Light' is an album name, so also needs italics or inverted commas. I actually am an English teacher, and I charge competitive rates for my services...
    It's funny to read this article about Vai's guitar bucket list... seeing as how Vai's EVO guitar is on my guitar bucket list.
    hey. why didn't he say he wants to play MY guitar? i swear to god, it is the most normal guitar in the world, and however it works very well. don't miss this chance, steve. call me.
    Eh...never been a fan of Steve Vai. I mean hes an okay guitarist but I can pretty much never get into his stuff...
    listen to sex and religion, more of a band than a solo project vibe.
    Veronique Vega
    Yes! Featuring Devin Townsend on vocals, Terry Bozzio on drums, and T.M. Stevens on bass. This, and Real Illusions: Reflections are my favorite Vai albums
    The wangcaster. In all seriousness though, I'd rather have a go on a bunch of the guitars that were never released or barely bought at their time. I see Fender are re-releasing a good few of them, but there has to be some out there that only had one made surely? Failing that, the goat guitar from the American Dad episode where Stan befriends a Satanist.
    The SRV strat, the Rory Gallagher strat and Gray Moore's Greenie les paul
    Funny thing is I bet if Steve got a hold of Jimmy and asked he would probably be more then happy to oblige, I watched a video of when Gibson picked up his Les Paul to make the fist Page signature guitar he was cool with the dudes checking it out and stuff and that thing is like a child to him.
    nice to see some musicians still having the little kid in them, still being who they were before they became famous = FANS. I'd love to play Jerry Cantrell's original G&L Rampage guitar. that'll blow me mind
    If I was left handed, i'd really want to play Iommi's Old Boy guitar. Other than that, I really can't think of any guitar i'd want to play.
    I dunno... I'm more interested in playing Flo than Evo for a Vai guitar. My list would include Hetfield's Ken Lawrence, Satriani's Crystal Planet and Chromeboy and Morello's Soul Power.
    Just leave Jimi's guitar alone... Steve Vai's music is boring as shit anyway. (Please don't get buhtthurt if he's your idol or something... He is a good player :] )
    my three bucket list guitars would be jason beckers carvin he played in the 80's uli john roths sky guitar and batio's 4 neck guitar
    The orig MAB's 4 neck was stolen and sent to mars so that martians can relate to earth's languages.
    Vai's saving best for last. But then again that isn't just his dream guitar to play.
    RR Concord prototype sounds nice. Misha Mansoor has some nice pieces that I'll probably never lay my hands on but one can hope... That and, Chad Ginsburg's signature Ibanez. Hell, I'd even like to try Deon Miller's Parker when he was endorsed by them..
    I'd like to play Robert Fripp's 57 Gibson Les Paul Custom, the one he used with King Crimson in the 70's.
    I probably wouldn't be able to play Page's double neck because of fidgeting fingers from nervousness. Another guitar I'd like to play would be the original Frankenstrat, but I wouldn't be able to play that because it is so tailored to Eddie's taste.
    my dream guitar to play would be matt heafys white dean 7 string ML, the one he recorded the rhythm tracks of shogun with
    I've played a few famous guitars - one notable one being the Flaming Lips' twin neck (with the six string neck removed). I've also handed Slash one of his guitars at a gig, but sadly wasn't able to play it...
    Early 80's Frankenstrat version. SRV Strat. Marty Freidman mid 90's area Jackson Kelly. I'd be happy the rest of my days
    I would kill my own mother to play either Kurt Cobains real Jaguar (not the fender copy), or Jonny Greenwoods Telecaster plus!
    ace man
    hell id be happy if my father sold the life insurance so i could attend berklee