Ibanez UV70P

Affordable seven-string Vai vibes

The new Ibanez Premium Series centres on the firm's core rock market with a range of guitars built in East Java, Indonesia. First up is a faithful take on the Steve Vai-developed Ibanez Universe 7, the UV70P.

As Paul Oldfield from Ibanez's UK distributors, Headstock, explains: "The quality and expertise that is associated with the Japanese-made Prestige series models has been utilised for the Premium Series guitars to create a more affordable instrument, but still with Prestige-style appointments."

The seven-string Ibanez Universe was originally launched back in 1990 with three colour schemes: black and green, white, and the most visually striking multi-coloured swirl.

Each of the latter models boasted unique patterns applied by artist Darren Johansen, and thanks to its appearance with Vai - both visually and sonically - on Whitesnake's huge-selling Slip Of The Tongue album and tour, not to mention his solo opus Passion And Warfare, it's arguably the most famous version. However, the fan- favourite remains the black and green, affectionately referred to as the 'Green Dot'.

"On first impression, it appears very similar indeed to the original"

"The UV70PBK is a tribute to the UV7BK from 1990," confirms Mike Taft, artist relations manager at Hoshino USA (the American arm of Ibanez's parent company).

"We constantly receive requests to release reissues of our older models, but we had the idea to release the UV70P in the Premium line to make the guitar more affordable."

On first impression, it appears very similar indeed to the original. The green of the pickguard, knobs and pickup bobbins seem a little more garish than we remember, but in appearance it remains a striking guitar.

The Wizard-7 neck measures 48mm (1.89 inches) at the nut in order to accommodate the extra low B string, and is composed of a five-piece sandwich of maple and walnut that's further reinforced with titanium rods.

The basswood body features the classic Vai-sized cutaways and is fitted with an Edge-Zero II double-locking whammy (Japanese Ibanez guitars usually feature the top-of-the- range Edge vibrato). It's loaded with a brace of Blaze pickups that are slighter cooler in output than the Evolution models DiMarzio still produces. They also feature on Vai's latest Japanese seven-string, the JEM 7V7, and the Blaze II was actually the model used on the original Universes.

The guitar sits nicely when strapped on, and although the neck is undeniably wide, its thin profile and flat radius shouldn't get in the way of the initial curveball thrown at your technique by that extra string.

Sounds

"Compared with other models on the market, the UV is fairly restrained"

It takes a bit of mental gear-shifting to get to grips with a seven-string, but compared with other models on the market, the UV is fairly restrained. While upping the amp gain and riffing on the low B is a rite of passage, the sound is nicely balanced and doesn't mush too nastily. Higher output pickups would possibly increase clarity for extreme metal, but single notes down low do sound good, as they do all over the fretboard.

Such is Vai's control as player, it might be assumed he uses a fairly low-gain tone. Don't believe a word of it: he likes it dirty, and the UV can deal with substantial levels of rock gain. It does clean up nicely, too, and any of the three settings that include the central single coil are perfect for glassy notes or trebly chordal passages.

Of course, the neck is wide, but it's more than playable and the only thing that will hold you back with the UV is you: a mantra Vai himself could perhaps have come up with after 10 days of fasting.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Classic vibe. Versatile low-down tones, price tag.

Cons

Not the best option for extreme metal.

Verdict

A must for Vai fans, the UV will effortlessly transport you back to the early 90s. Multi-coloured version next, please, Ibanez.

No. of Frets

24

Scale Length (Inches)

25.5

Country of Origin

Indonesia

String Spacing

64

String Spacing (In)

2.5

Weight (lb)

8.7

Left Handed Model Available

No

Neck Material

Maple/walnut

Nut

Locking/48mm (1.89")

Circuitry Type

5-way lever pickup selector switch volume, tone

Scale Length (mm)

648

Weight (kg)

3.95

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Guitar Body Material

Basswood

Pickup Type

DiMarzio Blaze pickups with green bobbins: DP702 humbucker (bridge), DP701 single coil (middle) and DP700 humbucker (neck)

Body Style

7-string solidbody signature electric

Available Finish

Black (as reviewed)

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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