NAMM 2020 VIDEO: Steve Vai on his new Ibanez Paradise In Art signature model

NAMM 2020: Ibanez has unveiled the next evolution of Steve Vai's signature JEM series, the frankly stunning Paradise In Art (PIA).

The PIA retains much of the decorative panache of the JEM. There is multi-coloured blossom inlay spiralling up the fretboard. There is gold hardware, evocatively titled finish options of  Stallion White, Envy Green, Panther Pink and Sun Dew Gold. It is unmistakably a Steve Vai guitar.

(Image credit: Ibanez)

But the big dinner party talking point is that the Monkey Grip has been replaced by the Petal Grip. In a statement, Steve Vai explained the thinking behind it.

“The petals signify the bond that two people have when they resonate together, and this is represented in the art of the guitar,” explained Vai. “The petals are also reminiscent of the Yin and Yang sign which is thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. The petals are also the most beautiful and attractive part of a flower and intended to signify a message of unity and companionship. It is the ethos that guided the artistic design of the guitar.”

The PIA has a solid alder body, a five-piece maple and walnut neck, and rosewood fingerboard with 24 jumbo stainless steel frets and Prestige edge treatment. 

It is equipped with an all-new DiMarzio HSH pickup set, which is as yet unnamed, and a Floyd Rose Edge tremolo. 

Speaking to our friends at Guitar World, Vai said that the design expanded on the JEM's player-first appointments.

“Just like the JEM, it’s a very sleek, very kind of ‘metal machine,’" he said. "It’s built for tone, for speed, for intonation, for real performance. The way it sits on me, the way it sounds, the way it plays…it just feels like home. The minute I got my hands on it, I instantly felt a deep connection to the instrument.”

There are no prices listed for the PIA yet but we would imagine it to be in line with the JEM's current pricing. 

See Ibanez for more details.

Check out our NAMM 2020 hub for more gear news. 

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.