Ibanez and Steve Vai officially unleash The Hydra guitar, and it's a beast

As we previously reported, Steve Vai's new album Inviolate has brought with it a new Ibanez guitar and a track to showcase it. Although calling the Hydra a guitar feels like it's underselling it somewhat. This one-of-a-kind instrument is ambitious even by Steve Vai's standards and five years in the making.

The Hydra is a many faceted creature with two-headstocks, three-necks that host 7 and 12-string guitars; a 4-string ¾ scale length bass; 13 sympathetic harp strings; half-fretless necks; single-coil, humbucking, piezo, MIDI and sustainer pickups; floating and hardtail tremolo bridges and phase splitters.

Steve Vai

(Image credit: Larry DiMarzio)

Check out the stunning reveal video above, soundtracked by Steve Vai's new track Teeth Of The Hydra from Inviolate. The new song was written using the Hydra and showcases its sonic versatility. 

“I feel this instrument has the potential to be historical," notes Vai. "It’s unique in various ways and its construction is inspired. And there’s a song that was written on it that honours the potential of the instrument."

The conception and construction of the instrument was a monumental feat of creativity by a whole group of inspired people

“We absolutely respected this instrument by having the brilliant Garson Yu and his team at yU+co create this phenomenal Hydra reveal video," adds Vai of the reveal. "The guitar geek in me is stunned every time I see it. This video captures the splendor and mystique of the Hydra in intimate detail. 

"The conception and construction of the instrument was a monumental feat of creativity by a whole group of inspired people, and I could not be more happy with the way this video came out. Imagine being a half an inch tall and exploring the Hydra as an adventurer. It would be like exploring an alien planet. Sign me up!"  

Steve Vai

(Image credit: Larry DiMarzio)
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Steve Vai

(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

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Ibanez Artist Relations Manager Mike Orrigo saggs, “’The Hydr’, as Mr Vai has appropriately dubbed it, started off as a concept that Steve approached Ibanez with several years ago. While it was understood then that the task to turn Steve’s vision into reality would be a tremendous undertaking, we were undeterred by the challenge. 

Fuelled by Steve’s inspiration, our team of designers, engineers, and luthiers worked tirelessly together in order to create a truly one-of-a-kind instrument, remaining as true to the initial vision as possible. This incredible reveal video, produced by yU+co, perfectly captures the same feeling of awe and amazement that this magnificent beast of an instrument imparts on to all who are able to witness it in person!”

The reveal also marks the announcement of Steve Vai's first NFT release. On January 28, the day of the Inviolate album's release, the Hydra reveal video will be auctioned.  The winning bidder will also get unlockable bonus content that will be revealed to them upon purchase. Additional assets will be added over time for the winner to access.  The auction will go live over on OpenSea.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.