Guitar Gear Review: Ibanez EP5 Euphoria Steve Vai Acoustic Electric Guitar

There are many aspects to look at when buying an acoustic guitar. The wood, the neck, the size of the body and these days in most cases the electronics. There are varying body and neck sizes to provide different leaves of comfort, most importantly they offer different tones.

Larger guitars like a Jumbo or Dreadnought will produce move volume and project more bass. While being loud seems to be the goal for most guitar players these guitars are also sometimes cumbersome. The neck size also has a lot to offer the tone of a guitar.

A thicker neck usually accompanies a larger guitar. The pros of a larger neck are added sustain, the drawback for most is diminished speed and comfort.

Ibanez seem to have balanced the pros and cons of these design factors with the Ibanez EP5 Euphoria Steve Vai acoustic electric guitar. The EP5 is an entry level version of the EP10 Steve Vai plays in concert. While there are slight differences in the electronics and trim, this is a sonic powerhouse.

The EP5 is an incredibly thin acoustic guitar. It boasts a very shallow body and an electric style thin neck. My biggest concern about this guitar before hearing it was would this guitar have enough projection unplugged. Outfitted with a spruce top and a larger sound hole the EP5 is a not only loud but also beautiful sounding guitar.

The neck is made from solid mahogany adding stability to the instrument and plenty of sustain. The neck meets the body at the 14th not the 12th fret giving comfortable access to higher notes. The classic Florentine cutaway takes over at the 14th fret giving you access to the entire two-octave neck.

Plugged in the EP5 really shines. The EP5 is outfitted with a Fishman Sonicore Pickup and an Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp. The electronics include an onboard tuner and built-in phase switch. The Fishman Sonicore Pickup is very clean and true to the sound of the acoustic guitar.

In short, like its namesake this guitar is a speed demon. You will find yourself ripping fast runs down the neck of this guitar sometime forgetting you are even playing an acoustic. This is a guitar that will perform as well around the campfire as it will in live situations. The The EP5 also looks as good as it sounds. Its beautiful black pearl finish is eye catching, as is the custom Vai rosette and the caramel tuning pegs.

The EP5 has a modest street price of $499, it does not come with a case but a Ibanez AS100C hard-shell case for AS series guitars is a perfect match and can be had for under $99 dollars.