“I wanted to create an instrument that could carry an entire piece of music”: Steve Vai walks us through the Hydra in new YouTube video

The Hydra is Vai’s triple-neck guitar which was made in 2022.

Steve Vai playing his Hydra triple-neck guitar

Credit: Steve Jennings/Getty Images

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Steve Vai has offered a brand-new look at his monstrous triple-neck guitar, the Hydra, in a new YouTube video with journalist Kylie Olsson.

In the video, which is taken from her TV series Life In Six Strings, Vai walks Olsson through a few of his guitars before she spots the Hydra, asking, “What is this mystical creature?”

Vai removes the sheet covering the triple-neck axe to show it to the camera, and explains that he calls it the Hydra after the snake-like monster in Greek and Roman mythology – which, of course, had multiple heads.

“What happened was, I wanted to create an instrument that could carry an entire piece of music,” Vai explains. “So I needed a bass,” he says, gesturing to the bottom neck, “And a seven-string that’s tuned down to drop A,” gesturing to the middle neck, “And a 12-string,” gesturing to the top neck.

However, the Hydra also has a guitar synthesiser, a sample and hold, and piezo and sustainer pickups, among other features.

Vai explains that it took two years for him to get inspiration for the Hydra, and that it came after watching the guitar scene in Mad Max: Fury Road. He says that, originally, the Hydra had blowers on it that would blast smoke.

He lets Olsson hold the Hydra, calling it a “good look” for her, and she plays it, telling Vai that she’s had the “best time” before the video ends.

In a recent interview, Vai said that he’s not interested in collecting vintage guitars and prefers guitars with “unique functions.” Well, the Hydra is certainly one of those.

Vai is currently on tour in the US with Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani as the original G3 trio tour for the first time in two decades. But if you weren’t able to bag tickets, you can watch the video of Olsson with Vai and the Hydra here instead:

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