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Ibanez release Steve Vai Passion and Warfare limited edition Universe guitars
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Ibanez release Steve Vai Passion and Warfare limited edition Universe guitars

by Stephen Charlton2016/08/09

In September 1990 Steve Vai released his most enduring album, Passion and Warfare. Countless wannabe shredders have since tried to master “For the Love of God”, both on real guitars and on Guitar Hero. Ibanez have released three limited edition Passion and Warfare Universe guitars to commemorate the album’s 25th anniversary. The company first teased fans with the guitars at NAMM in January. The guitars, priced at a hefty $6,999.99, are now available for pre-order.

Ibanez Passion and Warfare Universe models handmade in Japan

Ibanez Steve Vai Passion and Warfare limited edition Universe guitar silver

The Ibanez Passion and Warfare Universe Silver finish.

The seven-string Universe models are handmade in Japan. They come equipped with three DiMarzio Blaze pickups: Two humbuckers and a single coil in the centre. Ibanez have dubbed the three finish options Passion, Warfare, and Silver. The psychedelic designs are eye-catching, just like Vai’s original Universe axe that was so prominently featured on Passion and Warfare.

The anniversary models each feature a LoPro Edge 7 tremolo bridge, one-piece Maple neck, American Basswood body, Jumbo frets with Prestige fret edge treatment and Rosewood fretboard with the classic Disappearing Pyramid inlay. There’s also a traditional Tilt-Neck Joint and an included hardshell case.

Steve Vai ushered in new direction in guitar playing with Universe axes

Ibanez Steve Vai Passion and Warfare limited edition Universe guitar model 2

The Ibanez Universe Passion finish.

The Ibanez Universe axes used by Vai are notable for ushering in a new era of increasing use of extended range instruments. Within a couple of years, seven-string guitars were picked up by Korn and helped launch an entirely new direction within heavy music. Nu metal may not be fondly remembered but the extended range instruments used by those bands are here to stay throughout many areas of modern heavy music.

Unreleased material surfaces from Passion and Warfare-era

Next month Vai will kick off an extensive North American Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour. Earlier this year Vai released a dual-disc expanded version of Passion and Warfare. The new album features remastered songs from Passion and Warfare as well as bonus tracks from the original sessions. It also features a bonus album titled Modern Primitive, which features material written in between Vai’s first solo album Flex-Able and Passion and Warfare. Vai said it fills a gap between the releases:

“If you’re familiar with Flex-Able, it’s a very strange record: I recorded it when I was 20. And if you listen to Passion and Warfare, it seems [like] a completely different guy. So what happened in between? Where’s the missing link?”

Vai recorded additional guitar parts to the existing Modern Primitive recordings, perhaps inspiring the title of the album. The original material was written and recorded between 1984 and 1990. He will play the entirety of Passion and Warfare on his upcoming US tour as well as material from Modern Primitive. However first Vai will have to wrap up his Alien Guitar Secrets Master Class tour which will see him appear at eight dates in Italy later this month.

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

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