Steve Vai's Charvel Green Meanie

Charvel "Green Meanie" Serial # 3733


original version pictured
Original body closeup


Repainted Green - body closeup


Picture - body closeup

Vai's comments

"My main guitar is a hideous looking green Charvel." - GFPM 3/86
"It's so ugly that it's beautiful; it's got a personality of it's own" - GP 10/86

Originally a sunburst finish, this Charvel guitar was loaned to Steve by Grover Jackson and never returned. Thought to be Vai's Loch Ness Green prototype... a true hall of fame guitar. It had the Charvel modified strat shaped body, maple fretboard, Charvel neck with the original Charvel Fender style headstock. It featured a floating Floyd Rose tremolo, colored DiMarzio pickups (humbucker-single-humbucker) and was Vai's main recording guitar.

San Dimas Charvel fans will know that Fender issued a cease & decist order against Charvel, forcing them to stop using Fender's patented headstock shape in the early 80s. One of the earlier pictures of the Green Meanie is in the Carvin Guitar Catalog and Ads for the X100B amps, where Vai was holding it in front of a stack of Carvin amps. This is picured above and the full ad is in the "Archive" section of the site. Songs credited as having been recorded with the Green Meanie include most of Eat Em and Smile: Yankee Rose, Shy Boy, Elephant Gun, Big Trouble & Goin Crazy. Vai credits the guitar in the PAW Tab book as well. Can be seen in the CD liner notes of Flexable also.

Notice on the earliest pictures the GM does not have the neck coutout as severe as in later versions. The chrome peg heads and tremolo have been replaced with black ones too. Later versions had the pickups changed and black pickguard replacing the original white one.

On later pics of this guitar Vai added a plastic wrist support above the tremolo. This is because this Charvel was built before the tremolo recessing was perfected. Due to this, the tremolo was higher off the body of the guitar than Steve liked, since he (at that time) rested his pick hand on the guitar body. Without raising the bridge height you could not really pull notes sharp with the bar so the quick fix was a wrist support. You will see a clear wrist support on the Pink Jackson guitar too. This was cured in the JEMs by recessing the tremolo further into the body and increasing the neck joint angle to allow for good action with the sunken bridge. All versions pictured show the Lion's Claw tremolo routing!

Vai's main squeeze is the remainder of a green Charvel Strat. This ax was originally built for Grover Jackson, who let Steve play it one day and hasn't seen it since. "Steve always has that ax within arm's reach; that guitar is Steve," says Elwood. The body is made up of basswood and is loaded with custom made DiMarzio pickups; two humbuckers and one single-coil in the middle position. Steve had the inside of the lower cutaway shaved away to just up to the edge of the pickguard to increase his reach on the neck (GW 1/87)

"I Recorded 80% of the album [Eat Em & Smile] with my green Charvel. The others were a pink Jackson and a couple of Guilds" - Vai (GP 10/86)

"... my old green monster, which I used out on the road last year until it died. I was pulling on the whammy bar and ripped the bar right out of the guitar [laughs]; it was actually ripped out before the show as Madison Square Garden. I was dying. (GW - 5/88)

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