Steve Vai has shared he hopes to play his Ibanez-made triple-neck Hydra Guitar on his upcoming US tour alongside the guitar’s namesake track, Teeth of The Hydra.
- READ MORE: “I’ve never even scratched the surface of the guitar’s potential”: Steve Vai on why new album Inviolate pushed him out of his comfort zone
In a new interview with eonmusic.com ahead of his Hellfest appearance in France last weekend (23 June) Vai shared that he originally wanted to play the guitar during his European appearances but could not as his shoulder is recovering from a surgery he had a year and a half ago, saying, “I couldn’t play the Hydra for this [current] European tour as it takes like a year to heal, but I was absolutely determined to take it, because I can play it, absolutely! Of course I’m disappointed I couldn’t bring it, but I can’t play it right now”.
“That was part of the plan, but what happened was, about a year and a half ago, I had to get my shoulder fixed, and it takes like a year to heal. And halfway through it, I had another tear and I had to get it fixed again”.
Vai also detailed the difficulty of wielding the Hydra, as he explained, “It was difficult because it’s a heavy instrument, and I use a strap that goes around my waist, so all the weight is on your legs. And it doesn’t move like a guitar; it doesn’t go ‘this’ way, or ‘this’ way, and if you move, the Hydra thinks you want to go all the way over there!”
Vai released the music video for the ambitious six-minute track Teeth Of The Hydra back in the beginning of April following what he says was a struggle as he was preparing to enter surgery a handful of days after the shoot.
The Hydra itself features an absurd array of features. There’s a 12-string neck that’s fretless from around fret eight, with a humbucker, a piezo and an active-sustaining pickup. The middle neck is a seven-string, with two humbuckers, a floating vibrato and what looks to be 24 frets. The final neck is a bass neck, with a fretless fingerboard underneath the two lowest strings, and a fretted board underneath the two higher strings.
Additionally, there is MIDI output, and 13 sympathetically-resonating harp strings towards the back of the instrument. The volume of each part of the guitar can be adjusted with an array of sliders and knobs found all across its body.