Guitar Interactive Magazine toggle menu

Product News

Emerald Guitars' Ultra Guitar on Tour with Steve Vai

Emerald Guitars' Ultra Guitar on Tour with Steve Vai -

Emerald Guitars, based in beautiful Donegal, Ireland, is proud to announce that Grammy Award-winning master musician Steve Vai is playing Emerald's "Ultra" guitar onstage during his 2012-2013 world tour. Featured onstage in the Steve Vai song "The Ultra Zone," this one-of-a-kind custom guitar is sure to generate a lot of discussion with its unearthly design, built-in lasers, and its chameleon-like tendency to change color (and even seem alive) under the right light.

Steve Vai is a virtuoso guitarist and visionary composer who has sold over 10 million albums, and whose 16th solo record was released this month. Starting in 1980 as Frank Zappa's "stunt guitarist," Steve Vai proceeded to work with major artists including David Lee Roth, Whitesnake, Joe Jackson, Alice Cooper, and Meat Loaf among many others. Vai is frequently featured on the cover of major guitar publications and is constantly cited in countless lists as one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time. Official Steve Vai website:

Steve Vai, on the Ultra guitar:

"At first I wasn't sure if I should plug it in and play it or crawl inside of it and fly it to Venus, so I did both... at the same time. After handling it, it was obvious that it was not just a masterpiece extravaganza of a carving frenzy, but it was also a very well crafted and playable instrument. In the years following my receiving the Ultra guitar, Alistair has continued to create unique guitars that are constructed from original designs and materials that produce stunning visual and audible heights, but mine is the only one that can fly to Venus and back without missing a beat."

For Alistair Hay of Emerald Guitars, seeing Steve Vai embrace the Ultra guitar and use it onstage each night is tremendously gratifying, and marks a return to the original point of inspiration for building the instrument.

"Steve Vai is truly one of the most creative, accomplished, influential guitarists of his generation and to see him perform onstage in front of thousands of fans playing the guitar I made for him... it's a real milestone for Emerald Guitars and for me, personally, it's a dream come true."

The Ultra guitar was created specifically for Steve Vai as a tribute andoriginated from a concept drawing by illustrator Aaron Brown for the cover of Steve Vai'sThe Ultra Zonealbum.

Unconventional custom designs are standard at Emerald Guitars, where master guitar maker Alistair Hay creates a variety of electric and acoustic instruments using carbon-fibre instead of wood. Emerald's building techniques allow for non-traditional body shapes and ornamentation, and most importantly, consistent and incredible tone that surpasses most other guitars in the world. Because the carbon-fibre body doesn't react to climate conditions like wood (ie: warping etc.), Emerald guitars thrive in any climate. Other well-known Emerald custom guitars include the Bahamut dragon guitar.

A full line-up of Emerald Guitars can be viewed at



Issue #74

Jim Root

Out Now

Read the Mag