Ibanez (アイバニーズ,Aibanīzu) is a Japanese guitar brand owned by Hoshino Gakki. Based in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, Hoshino Gakki were one of the first Japanese musical instrument companies to gain a significant foothold in import guitar sales in the United States and Europe, as well as the first brand of guitars to mass-produce the seven-string guitar and eight-string guitar. Ibanez manufactures effects, accessories, amps, and instruments in Japan, China, Indonesia and in the United States (at a Los Angeles-based custom shop). As of 2017[update] they marketed nearly 165 models of bass guitar, 130 acoustic guitars, and more than 300 electric guitars.
The Hoshino Gakki company began in 1908 as the musical instrument sales division of the Hoshino Shoten, a bookstore chain. Hoshino Gakki decided in 1935 to make Spanish-style acoustic guitars, at first using the "Ibanez Salvador" brand name, and later simply "Ibanez."
The modern era of Ibanez guitars began in 1957. The late 1950s and 1960s Ibanez catalogues show guitars with some wild-looking designs, manufactured by Kiso Suzuki Violin,[model 1]Guyatone,[model 2][model 3] and their own Tama factory established in 1962. After the Tama factory stopped manufacturing guitars in 1966, Hoshino Gakki used the Teisco and FujiGen Gakki guitar factories to make Ibanez guitars, and after the Teisco String Instrument factory closed in 1969/1970, Hoshino Gakki used the FujiGen Gakki guitar factory to make Ibanez guitars.
Ibanez in 1980s–2000s
In the 1960s, Japanese guitar makers mainly copied American guitar designs, and Ibanez-branded copies of Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker models appear. This resulted in the so-called lawsuit period. During this period, Ibanez produced guitars under the Mann name to avoid authorities in the United States and Canada.
Hoshino Gakki introduced Ibanez models that were definitely not copies of the Gibson or Fender designs, such as the Iceman and the Roadstar series. The company has produced its own guitar designs ever since. The late 1980s and early 1990s were an important period for the Ibanez brand. Hoshino Gakki's relationship with guitarist Steve Vai resulted in the introduction of the Ibanez JEM and the Ibanez Universe models; after the earlier successes of the Roadstar and Iceman models in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Hoshino Gakki entered the superstrat market with the RG series, a lower-priced version of their JEM series.
Hoshino Gakki also had semi-acoustic, nylon- and steel-stringed acoustic guitars manufactured under the Ibanez name. Most Ibanez guitars were made by the FujiGen guitar factory in Japan up until the mid- to late 1980s, and from then on Ibanez guitars have also been made in other Asian countries such as Korea, China, and Indonesia. During the early 1980s, the FujiGen guitar factory also produced most of the Rolandguitar synthesizers, including the Stratocaster-style Roland G-505, the twin-humbucker Roland G-202 (endorsed by Adrian Belew, Eric Clapton, Dean Brown, Jeff Baxter, Yannis Spathas, Christoforos Krokidis, Steve Howe, Mike Rutherford, Andy Summers, Neal Schon and Steve Hackett) and the Ibanez X-ING IMG-2010.
Cimar and Starfield were guitar and bass brands owned by Hoshino Gakki. In the 1970s, Hoshino Gakki and Kanda Shokai shared some guitar designs, and so some Ibanez and Greco guitars have the same features. The Greco versions were sold in Japan and the Ibanez versions were sold outside Japan. From 1982, Ibanez guitars have also been sold in Japan as well.
Guitar brands such as Antoria and Mann shared some Ibanez guitar designs. The Antoria guitar brand was managed by JT Coppock Leeds Ltd England. CSL was a brand name managed by Charles Summerfield Ltd England. Maurice Summerfield of the Charles Summerfield Ltd company contributed some design ideas to Hoshino Gakki and also imported Ibanez and CSL guitars into the UK from 1964 to 1987. The Maxxas brand name came about because Hoshino Gakki thought that the guitar did not fit in with the Ibanez model range and was therefore named Maxxas by Rich Lasner from Hoshino USA.
The "lawsuit" guitars
Mid-1970's "Lawsuit Era" solid body, Set neck, Mann/Ibanez electric guitar
Harry Rosenbloom, founder of the (now-closed) Medley Music of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, was manufacturing handmade guitars under the name "Elger." By 1965, Rosenbloom had decided to stop manufacturing guitars and chose to become the exclusive North American distributor for Ibanez guitars. In September 1972, Hoshino began a partnership with Elger Guitars to import guitars from Japan. In September 1981, Elger was renamed "Hoshino U.S.A.", retaining the company headquarters in Bensalem, Pennsylvania as a distribution and quality-control center.
After the lawsuit, Hoshino Gakki abandoned the strategy of copying "classic" electric guitar designs, having already introduced a plethora of original designs. Hoshino was producing their original Artist models from 1974, introducing a set-neck model in 1975. In 1977, they upgraded and extended their Artist range and introduced a number of other top-quality original designs made to match or surpass famous American brands: the Performer and short-lived Concert ranges which competed with the Les Paul; through-neck Musicians; Studios in fixed- and through-neck construction; the radically shaped Iceman; and the Roadster which morphed into the Roadstar range, precursor to the popular superstrat era in the mid-1980s. The newer Ibanez models began incorporating more modern elements into their design such as radical body shapes, slimmer necks, 2-octave fingerboards, slim pointed headstocks, higher-output electronics, humbucker/single-coil/humbucker (H/S/H) pickup configurations, locking tremolo bridges and different finishes.
Ibanez J. Custom
The J. Custom series are the most exclusive and high-end custom shop guitars Ibanez offers. They are "Envisioned to be the finest Japanese-made guitar in history". Built by some of the most skilled luthiers Ibanez has to offer, they "represent every advance in design and technology Ibanez has developed over the last 20 years". They feature aftermarket pickups (Seymour Duncan Jazz & Custom 5 in the 6 string model and DiMarzio PAF-7 pickups in the 7 string model,) 5 piece maple/wenge necks with Titanium reinforcement rods, a rosewood fingerboard with a tree of life fret board inlay, and Edge Zero tremolo systems.
The Prestige guitars are Ibanez's top of the line models that are built in Japan. They feature higher quality materials, high craftsmanship, and higher quality bridges compared to other models.
The Premium guitars are similar to other models but are built in Ibanez's Indonesian premium factory to premium quality standards.
The main characteristics that are common among all Ibanez RG guitars (RG stands for Roadstar Guitar[model 4][verification needed]) are that they feature 24 frets and use thin necks, known as "Wizard", which allows for faster playing.[model 5] The RG features a line up of guitars with both floating tremolo systems and fixed bridge systems.
The Ibanez RGA was introduced at a time when the Ibanez RG series only had tremolo bridges. Since then, the RG series has introduced fixed bridge models, but Ibanez still produces the RGA series with an arched top to differentiate from the RG series. The arched top allows for added comfort while playing the guitar.[model 6]
The Ibanez RGD guitar was developed for heavy metal guitar players.[model 7] The RGD features a 26.5" scale which allows for lower than standard guitar tuning while retaining standard string tension without use of thicker gauge strings. It also features an extra deep scoop cut on the lower horn for easy high fret access. Ibanez currently makes two Ibanez RGD Prestige models.
The Ibanez S (Saber[model 8][verification needed]) guitar has an extremely thin body made out of mahogany, and is available in 6, 7 and 8-string models. They may come with either 22 or 24 frets, depending on year of manufacture. The standard line currently have Wizard III necks that are slightly wider and thicker than the original Wizard. All S models have bodies that are thicker in the middle where the pickups are, and taper off towards the outer edges. The guitars use ZR (Zero Resistance), Lo-TRS, and variants of the Edge bridge system as well as fixed bridges.[model 8] Ibanez currently makes 8 Prestige S-Series guitars.
The Ibanez DN guitar (DN stands for Darkstone) was developed for heavy metal guitar players. The main features of the DN are that it has a set-in neck for speed and playing comfort, medium frets, and coil tapped pickups. This guitar is currently discontinued.
The Ibanez Artist guitars were designed for heavy playing such as for heavy metal or traditional rock. The Artist ARZ is a single cutaway, 24 fret, 25" scale guitar that features a wide variety of bridges and pickups depending on the specific models.[model 10] The Artist ART is a single cutaway, 22 fret, 24.75" scale guitar that features a hard tail bridge.[model 11][verification needed] The Ibanez AR is a reissued series originating from the 70s. The AR series features a set-in neck, double cutaway, with 22 frets on a 24.75" scale.[model 12]
The Ibanez FR is a simple body type guitar that is designed to be played in many genres.[model 13]
The Ibanez Mikro series are small form factor[when defined as?] guitars designed for children, beginners, or guitar players looking for a guitar that is easy to transport.[model 14]
The first Ibanez Artcore models were released in mid-2002 whose goal was to offer an affordable range of full-hollow and semi-hollow body guitars that appealed to entry level guitarists who were unable or unwilling to pay big money on high-priced guitars.
Ibanez Artcore Custom
Headstock from an ARTCORE series guitar
The Artcore Custom is Ibanez's flagship model for the Artcore series. The bodies of the guitars are made of maple, the neck has a set-in construction type, and features wood control knobs and hand rolled frets.[model 15]
The Ibanez AK is a guitar designed for jazz and blues type playing. It features a slim set-in neck with a body designed to easily access the higher frets.[model 16] The AK is easily distinguishable by its sharper lower body horn (Florentine cutaway ?) that other Artcore guitars do not have.[clarification needed]
Ibanez R series, also known as the Radius series, are famous for having lightweight aerofoil-profiled basswood bodies. The main endorser was Joe Satriani before he was given his own Signature JS series. The Radius series is now discontinued.
RT series – Superstrat design with 24 frets. Discontinued in 1994.
RX series – Superstrat design but with 22 frets instead. Discontinued in 1998, and currently only exists as GRX (budget model of RX series).
AX series – Extreme version of the artist model, aimed towards metal players – currently only exist as GAX model and Guitar Center exclusive model.
MC – Musician series – Discontinued – Neck-through construction (except for MC-100, which has a bolt-on neck), with 24 frets (two octaves) – As with the Artist models of the late 1970s, some of these guitars were equipped with trisound switches, and some models (MC 400 and MC 500) were equipped with active electronics.
ST – Studio series 1977–82 offset double cutaway ranging from bolt on to fixed and through necks with pairs of V2 distortion humbuckers. 24 frets and 25.5" scale.
CN – Concert range 1977–79 like a bolt on neck Artist with slightly offset cutaways.
IC – Iceman a radical shape endorsed and used by Paul Stanley, Various pickup combinations.
BL – Blazer series 1980–82 – fixed bridge strat-like with maple necks and mahogany or ash bodies sporting 3 single coil pickups (Super 6 or BL) or 2 Super 70 humbuckers.
ARC-100/300 (Retro Series)
ARX-100/300 (Retro Series)
AR-100/200 (black vintage top)
V Series – Flying V's – discontinued
Ibanez Artcore Series – Ibanez's full and semi-hollow guitar line, with some models discontinued since their debut in 2002.
CN Concert Series – This was a short lived series produced in 1978 then discontinued soon afterwards. It features an asymmetric double cutaway body with two humbuckers, a hard tail bridge and a bolt on neck. The top end model (the CN250) was one of the earliest guitars to feature "half vine" fingerboard inlays.
Power II series (540PII) - extended length lower cutaway, wide (1 3/4")nut,available in H-H or H-S with edge trem. Often erroneously assumed to be an Alex Skolnick signature model due to his picture in the 88-89 catalogue with a 540PII. Primarily released for the Japanese market, although it has the Bensalem Penn. neck plate.
Middle-class model range in the new millennium, though it included expensive high-end and top-of-the-line Japanese models in the late 1980s and 1990s. Later top offerings were branded as Signature and SR Prestige models for clearer segmentation, and all non-Prestige model production moved outside Japan. Current models from the SR250 and up feature soapbar-style humbuckers with active EQ.
High-end versions of the Ibanez Soundgear (SR-5004/5/6 & SR-4004/5/6) Bass Guitars made in Japan using exotic woods and high-quality custom Bartolini pickups & new "PWC-III" Power Curve III 3-band EQ with EQ bypass switch to bypass the electronics and take the bass signal directly from the pickups to the output jack. All Japanese-built current production models are in the Prestige series.
Nordstrand pickups. Indonesian-built.
ARTCORE Series- Archtop Basses
AFB200 – Hollow-body bass guitar
AGB200 – Semihollow-body bass guitar
ATK 300 4 string model
ATK 305 5 string model
ATK 1200, the Prestige version of the standard ATK, has extra neck pickup
ATK 800E, to be released in 2012, a Premium version of the standard ATK. Has extra neck pickup
ATK 805E, to be released in 2012, a Premium version of the standard ATK. Has extra neck pickup, 5-string model
BTB (Boutique Bass) Series
BTB 400QM (discontinued)
BTB 406QM (Special Edition 6 String Model)
BTB Prestige – High-end range which are made in Japan.
A custom 5-string Soundgear design w/ "K5" Inlay centered on 12th fret. It was based around a late-1990s then-top-of-the-line Soundgear SR885 owned by the artist, retaining the shape and electronics, but with different colour options and a change of woods to suit his preferences. Early models were Japanese-built, but production later moved to other Asian countries, around the same time Japanese models were rebranded with the Prestige moniker and positioned as the absolute top of the line.
A300AVV acoustic/electric single cutaway (Ambiance series)
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer
Ibanez DE7 Delay/Echo Pedal
In the 1970s, the Nisshin Onpa company who owned the Maxon brand name, developed and began selling a series of effect pedals in Japan. Hoshino Gakki licensed these for sale using the name Ibanez outside Japan. These two companies eventually began doing less and less business together until Nisshin Onpa ceased manufacturing the TS-9 reissue for Hoshino Gakki in 2002.
Most Ibanez models with this serial number format were made by FujiGen Gakki. Exceptions are the Ibanez Blazer models which were made by Dyna Gakki and the Axstar by Ibanez models AX40, AX45, AX48, AXB50, AXB60, AXB65, AX70, AX75 which were made by Chushin Gakki. The Ibanez Axstar AXB1000 model was made by FujiGen Gakki.
^"Ibanez RG Series". Ibanez.co.jp. 2015. IRON LABEL ... For the ultimate in playability we took our legendary super-thin, ultra-playable Wizard neck, and upped the ante to Nitro Wizard - as fast and comfortable but with added road-tested durability. ...
^"Ibanez RGA8". 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. Add 3-D curves to the concept of the RG and you've got the RGA. ...those curves enhance playability. ...
^"Ibanez AR720FM". 2015. The AR is a classic among Ibanez guitars. It was one of the first original designs produced by Ibanez and continues to be a sought after guitar. The AR series continues that legacy with pride. ... Set-in neck: AR720FM features smooth heel for superb playability. ... Scale: 628mm/24.75"
^"Ibanez FR Series". Ibanez.co.jp. 2015. FR Standard - With its simple, refined body shape, the FR is a chameleon when it comes to musical genres. The Ibanez CCR pickups bring more punch to the midrange tones while the Tight-End bridge provides maximum sustain and playing comfort.
^"Ibanez miKro GRGM21". GRG miKro puts out sound way beyond its size. Perfect for young rockers on the way up or seasoned road warriors on the tour bus. ... Scale : 564mm/22.2"
^"Ibanez Artcore Custom". Ibanez.com. 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. The Artcore Custom is the flagship of the Artcore series, featuring beautiful maple bodies and maple/walnut set-in neck construction, producing a warm yet punchy tone. Wood control knobs and matching pickguard enhance the exquisite appearance of the Artcore Custom. ... Hand-rolled frets for ultimate playablity
^"Ibanez AK95". Ibanez.com. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Jazz and blues history is filled with the warm tones of full-hollow body guitars. The AK is the answer to those who loves traditional sweet tones and easy accessibility to higher frets. ... Slim & comfortable 3-pc Artocre set-in neck