You don’t have to be eagle-eyed to notice the interesting instrument Steve shows off beginning at the 1:59 mark in the video. The one-of-a-kind instrument was built by Music Man master luthier, Dudley Gimpel. Dudley explains the design process behind the instrument:
“It is the Sitar / Guitar we made for Steve Vai. Sterling Ball requested it for Steve, and there were several phases of R&D on it before we arrived at the final design. Steve named it “Divya Dora”, but we mostly think of it as the “Vaitar” around here.
It has a Floyd Rose tremolo with Music Man designed and built sitar saddles. There are 13 sympathetic strings, which also have sitar saddles made from Camel bone. Pickups are DiMarzio Steve Vai signature models. The body is African Mahogany with vintage Italian celluloid binding, and the neck is Honduras Mahogany. The fretboard and bridge plates are Ebony.”
Steve sat down for a Q&A with Sterling Ball at NAMM 2016. Check out their conversation about how Steve plays “from a completely different part of the playground”, discovering guitar as a teenager, and more.
Steve Vai plays Ernie Ball Slinky electric guitar strings. Do you? Try a set.