Is Your Guitar Ratio® Tuned Like Steve Vai's?

An American guitarist, songwriter, singer, composer and producer, Vai was voted the 10th Greatest Guitarist of all time by Guitar World magazine...

If you’ve heard of guitars, you probably know a thing or two about Steve Vai.

An American guitarist, songwriter, singer, composer and producer, Vai was voted the 10th Greatest Guitarist of all time by Guitar World magazine. As a three-time Grammy Award winner and a 15-time nominee, he’s recorded with artists like Mary J. Blige, Ozzy Osbourne, Alcatrazz, and Whitesnake.

Vai has developed and co-designed several guitars, including the Ibanez JEM, the Ibanez Universe, and the first commercially produced, seven-string guitar.

Photo Credit: Guitar World

Anyone could’ve guessed that a musician at Vai’s level would have an enviable guitar collection. But how are those guitars outfitted?

We got a chance to speak to Steve’s guitar tech, Thomas Nordegg, to see how he sets up the guitars -- and, more interestingly, how he’s been using Graph Tech gear on them. “The only tuners I will recommend and use are the Graph Tech Ratio machine heads. The Ratios are the best tuners out there, they make so much sense and they are so quick. The concept of having the same spin on each string is brilliant. It’s the only tuner I will put on any guitar. I am a total fan of these machine heads. I love them”. - Thomas Nordegg


One of Steve’s main career guitars, the FLO III (also known as the Ibanez JEM7V WH Steve Vai Signature Electric Guitar), was the first Vai guitar to be equipped with Ratio® Tuners.

The FLO III is a top of the line, six-string solidbody, with the ability to traverse extremely wide sonic ranges. The five-piece, maple-walnut neck is made for easy riffing and has a lead-friendly thin and flat profile. Its alder body, Rosewood fingerboard, and single coil/humbuckers are the perfect combination for even the most demanding player.


Below is another versatile axe favoured by the great Vai: the Fender Roland G5 Stratocaster -- also outfitted with Ratio® Tuners.

The G-5 infuses the highly desired Fender Stratocaster sound and functionality with the advanced features of Roland’s COSM technology. The G-5 also offers an impressive built-in library of modeled pick-up tones, as well as unique ones like a humbucker with an ultra-wide tone and a single coil with a full, bold tone.


One of Steve’s gold top guitars.

Steve’s Super Les Paul.

Steve’s James Tyler VARIAX LP.

Steve’s EASTWOOD Fretless AMPEG.


Ratio® Tuners are more than just another entry into the machine head market. Rather, these tuners are a reinvention of the interaction between musicians and their guitars.

The gear ratios have been tuned to each string size, so each string responds the same to any tuning adjustment. This allows for fine tuning on the thicker core strings, and coarser tuning on the thinner core (i.e., a plain G string is a thick core, hence, very sensitive to tension changes).

CLICK HERE to find out why some of the greatest musicians and industry professionals alike are opting for Ratio® Tuned Machine Heads.

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