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Guitar World
Guitar World
Phil Weller

“I'm auctioning these for some wonderful charities”: Two of Steve Vai’s Ibanez JEMs found their way back to him after auction – so he’s selling them again to raise even more money for charity

Steve Vai.

Steve Vai is selling two of his Ibanez electric guitars to raise money for two charities, and both are currently listed on Reverb.

Interestingly, the guitars were part of his 2022 auction in partnership with Julien’s, but they’ve since been returned to him so he can sell them again and raise even more money for good causes.

“I originally sold these guitars in a Julien's auction some years ago to a good friend, Mark Burnstein,” Vai details via an Instagram post. “Mark started a charity organization in the name of his departed son, the Alexandar David Burnstein Memorial Fund for Musical Performance.

“[He] donated my old guitars back to me to put up for auction to raise funds for this charity, and also Extraordinary Families, a leading non-profit foster family adoption organization that serves greater Los Angeles.”

The two guitars available to the highest bidder are both JEM models; Vai's signature Ibanez signature guitar, which was originally inspired by Frank Zappa.

The first is a JEM LACS Braxis – a 2014-built prototype that Vai had ordered in a bid to experiment with a fatter neck profile and a compound radius fretboard. The neck is unfinished, and no volute can be found at the back of the headstock – a feature typically found on Vai's LACS builds.

It also features jumbo EVO gold fret wire and an Ibanez Backstop trem-setter. Further still, a push/pull volume control was added to allow the guitarist to engage a high pass filter on the taper of the volume control.

The guitar sees Vai deviating from his usual DiMarzio Evolution pickups, with a set of DiMarzio Breeds assembled instead in a HSH configuration. Vai’s signature can be seen scrawled across the back of the headstock, dated September 2018.

This experimental Vai build is currently listed at $25,000.

(Image credit: Reverb)

Also known as the JEM77B RMR – or the JEM77 Rock Mirror – the second guitar is another JEM model, albeit it with an unmissable mirrored finish.

Made in Japan by FujiGen, there's American basswood underneath that reflective finish, which is paired with a bolt-on maple and walnut neck, and a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard.

This guitar also gets its snarl from DiMarzio Breed pickups, again offering a HSH setup, with an Edge Pro double-locking tremolo and Gotoh locking tuners also featuring.

(Image credit: Reverb)

Released in 2005, the JEM77B was discontinued a year later. While Vai's wizard-like fingers have danced across its rosewood 'board, the seller notes that it “hardly looks played.”

Owning it will cost you a far humbler sum of $3,769.84, with just under $200 slashed off its original listing price.

Head to Steve Vai for more information about the two guitars.

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