Steve Vai is in the enviable position that he can ask master luthier Tak Hosono to build him just about anything he can think of guitar-wise. Luckily for us, someone had the great foresight to make a video diary of the whole process at Ibanez’s Custom Shop and Vai has just shared it on YouTube.
The ‘Woody’ JEM was released last year, with the production version – the ‘JEM77WDP Premium’ – marking a big departure from Steve’s usual fluorescent over-the-top JEM variations.
So to see how this design came into being and also the amount of work that went into building the original Woody is, I feel, a great thing to behold. Master luthier Tak Hosono really does most of the work by hand. The version you and I can buy may not be quite so hand-crafted as Steve’s original, but it’s great that Mr Vai has shared the birth of a JEM online and you get to see a lot of the process close up.
If you have a spare 18 minutes in your life I would suggest that you watch the YouTube video below and see exactly how much work went into building Woody. The guitar was all hand-built at Ibanez’s Sun Valley workshop in California, so if you really want one of your own you’ll need to make a few enquiries there; they do take custom orders, but it won’t be cheap!
We thank Mike Orrigo for filming this and, of course, Mr Vai for sharing on his SteveVaiHimself YouTube channel. It is well worth a watch, so go put the kettle on, make a cuppa and enjoy it.