Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Long Island, NY
All of the Universe models are "Steve Vai models" in the same way that the Jems are. *
He had his hand in designing them and I'm sure had the final approval before the model got released.
It bears similar features to the Jems because both guitars were made to the same person's specs and are essentially targeted at the same part of the market.
The reason (as I understand it) that the Monkey grip and the Lion's claw were done away with was so Ibanez didn't have to pay licensing money to Joe Despagni, the original JEM builder. *It's close enough to a Jem that it's still a "Steve Vai" model, but far enough away so they don't have to pay out more money to the person who came up with a few of the ideas that make a Jem a Jem.