Steve Vai Announces Mammoth Gear Auction

Five guitars owned and played by Steve Vai
(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

Steve Vai has announced a massive auction of guitars and other gear from his personal collection via Julien's Auctions.

Featuring dozens of electric guitars, a couple of acoustic guitars, a number of rack effects units, guitar amps, pedals, and – because why not – a motorcycle, the auction will take place on November 12 in-person at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City and online.

We'll take you through some of the highlights of the mega-auction below. 

Steve Vai's "Sofia" Experience Hendrix 2011 Ibanez Custom Shop JEM 77

Steve Vai's "Sofia" Experience Hendrix 2011 Ibanez Custom Shop JEM 77 (Image credit: Juliens Auctions)

As one might expect, Vai's collection features a number of his signature Ibanez JEMs. One of the most notable of these to go under the hammer is a custom JEM that Vai dubbed "Sofia."

Featuring a gorgeously psychedelic coral and blue paint job, the guitar was used by Vai extensively during the 2011 Experience Hendrix tour. Said to be in "excellent" condition, the guitar has already – as of this writing – smashed its estimated value of $8,000 - $12,000, with bids currently up to $22,500.

Steve Vai's "Muscle Boy" Ibanez JEM77

Steve Vai's "Muscle Boy" Ibanez JEM77 (Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

Also part of the auction's 'JEMs with crazy paint jobs' category is a custom "Muscle Boy" JEM77.

Used by Vai in the late 1980s, the guitar is also valued at $8,000 - $12,000, with bidding already hitting $8,000 as of this writing.

Steve Vai's 2009 "Camo" Ibanez JEM 77

Steve Vai's 2009 "Camo" Ibanez JEM 77 (Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

Another highlight of the up-for-auction collection is a "Camo" JEM 77 created for Vai in 2009.

One of only two of its kind, and housed in a black hardshell case, the guitar is valued at $8,000 - $12,000 as well, with bidding at $6,000 as of this writing.

Steve Vai's Custom 1990s-eras Conklin seven-string guitar

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

For those not quite interested in JEMs, there are a number of other fascinating guitars in the Vai collection as well.

The most eye-catching of these non-JEMs is a striking custom seven-string designed for Vai by Bill Conklin.

"This wild piece of 7 string art was gifted to me back in the late '80s or early '90s," Vai says of the guitar. "It actually plays very well, but it can bite at times if you play wrong notes."

Dressed in a purple sparkle finish with 3D carved cobras and hieroglyph inlays on its rosewood fretboard, the "Lonlin," as Vai dubbed it, has an estimated value of $4,000 - $6,000, with bids currently sitting at $4,000.

Steve Vai's 1976 Ibanez 6/12 doubleneck guitar

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

It's not just custom-made models that are set to go under the hammer, either.

Vai's 1976 Ibanez 6/12 doubleneck model – which the guitarist purchased online as a replacement of sorts for a 6/12 that he owned in his youth but was stolen in 1980 – is also part of the collection.

Though it has a faulty select switch, the guitar is otherwise said to be in good condition, and is valued at just $1,000 - $2,000. The current bid for the instrument is $2,000. 

All of this isn't even taking into account the dozens of studio and stage-used rack effects units (one of which, a '70s-era Eventide Clockworks 1745M digital delay, was gifted to Vai by his mentor, Frank Zappa), pedals, amps, and stage outfits that are also part of the sale. 

Notable among the non-guitar offerings are all six prototypes of what would become Vai's signature Ibanez pedal, the Jemini, and a 1976 Harley Davidson Pan Shovel motorcycle that was wildly customized until it became a so-called "Vaimobile."

The first prototype of Steve Vai's signature Ibanez Jemini pedal

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

A portion of the proceeds of Vai's gear auction will go toward Kicking The Stigma, Indianapolis Colts CEO Jim Irsay's national initiative to raise awareness about mental health issues, and erase the stigma around them.

For more info on the full collection of guitars and gear, visit

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, and

Jackson is an Associate Editor at and He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.