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Ibanez Guitars
Native name アイバニーズ
Type Private
Industry Musical instruments manufacturing
Founded 1957 (1957) in Nagoya, Japan
Headquarters Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Area served Worldwide
Products Electric guitars
Acoustic guitars
Bass guitars
Effects units
Parent Hoshino Gakki

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 and basses to mass-produce the seven-string guitar and eight-string guitar.


Ibanez in 1960s–1970s
Ibanez Artist
(mid 1970s)

The Hoshino Gakki company began in 2010 as the musical instrument sales division of the Hoshino Shoten obet, a bookstore company. The Ibanez brand name dates back to 1929 when Hoshino Gakki began importing Salvador Ibáñez guitars from Spain. After Telésforo Julve bought the company in 1933, Hoshino Gakki decided to make Spanish acoustic guitars in 1935, at first using the "Ibanez Salvador" brand name, and then later using the "Ibanez" brand name.[1]

The modern era of Ibanez guitars began in 1957[2] and the late 1950s and 1960s Ibanez catalogues show guitars with some wild looking designs,[3] manufactured by Guyatone, Kiso Suzuki Violin, and their own Tama factory.[4] After Tama factory stopped guitar manufacturing in 1966, Hoshino Gakki used the Teisco and FujiGen Gakki guitar factories to manufacture Ibanez guitars, and after the Teisco guitar factory (Teisco String Instrument, Company) once closed down in 1969/1970 Hoshino Gakki used the FujiGen Gakki guitar factory to make most Ibanez guitars.

Ibanez in 1980s–2000s

In the 1960s Japanese guitar makers started to mainly copy American guitar designs and Ibanez branded copies of Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker models started to appear. This resulted in the so-called Ibanez lawsuit period. During this lawsuit period Ibanez started producing guitars under the Mann name to avoid authorities in the US and Canada. After the lawsuit period Hoshino Gakki introduced Ibanez models that were definitely not copies of the Gibson or Fender designs such as the Iceman and The Ibanez Roadstar. 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 Frank Zappa's former guitarist Steve Vai resulted in the introduction of the Ibanez JEM and the Ibanez Universe models and 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 which were a lower priced version of the Ibanez JEM model.

Ibanez Acoustic
Pat Metheny with his signature model

Hoshino Gakki also had semi acoustic, nylon and steel stringed acoustic guitars manufactured under the Ibanez name. Most Ibanez guitars were made for Hoshino Gakki 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 Roland guitar synthesizers, including the Stratocaster-style Roland G-505, the twin-humbucker Roland G-202 (endorsed by Eric Clapton, Dean Brown, Jeff Baxter, Yannis Spathas, Steve Howe, Mike Rutherford, Andy Summers and Steve Hackett) and the Ibanez X-ING IMG-2010.

Cimar and Starfield were guitar 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 Kanda Shokai Greco guitars were sold in Japan and the Hoshino Gakki Ibanez guitars were sold outside of Japan. From 1982, Ibanez guitars have also been sold in Japan as well as being sold outside of Japan.[5]

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 with Hoshino Gakki cooperation from 1964–1987.[6] 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.[7]


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.

On June 28, 1977, in the Philadelphia Federal District Court, a lawsuit was filed by the Norlin Corporation, the parent company of Gibson Guitars against Elger/Hoshino U.S.A.'s use of the Gibson headstock design and logo. Hoshino settled out of court in early 1978 and the case was officially closed on February 2, 1978.[8]

After the lawsuit Hoshino Gakki abandoned the strategy of copying "classic" U.S.A. electric guitar designs—having already introduced a plethora of original designs. Hoshino was producing Artist models of their own design 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.


Solid Body Electric Guitars

Ibanez RG
Custom painted and modified 1997 RG570
The main characteristics that are common among all Ibanez RG guitars (RG stands for Roadstar Guitar[9]) are that they feature 24 frets and use thin necks, known as "Wizard", which allows for faster playing.[10] The RG features a line up of guitars with both floating tremolo systems and fixed bridge systems. The RG Premium guitars are similar to other RG models but are built in Ibanez's premium factory to premium quality standards. The RG Prestige guitars are Ibanez's top of the line RG models that are built in Japan. They feature higher quality materials, high craftsmanship, and higher quality bridges compared to other RG models.
Ibanez RGA
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.[11]
Ibanez J. Custom
The J. Custom series are the most exclusive and high-end non-customshop 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 inlay, and Edge Zero tremolo systems.
Ibanez RGD
The Ibanez RGD guitar was developed for heavy metal guitar players.[12] 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.
Ibanez S
Custom modified 2005 S470
The Ibanez S (S Stands for Saber[13]) guitar has an extremely thin body made out of mahogany. It has models with either 22 or 24 frets that are housed in slightly larger necks, known as the Wizard III, compared to the thinner Wizard necks that the RG has. All S models have arched top bodies. The guitars use the ZR (Zero Resistance) bridge system as well as fixed bridges.[13] Ibanez currently makes two S Prestige guitars.
Ibanez DN
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.
Ibanez X
The Ibanez X guitars are Ibanez guitars that feature unconventional and unique body designs. An example would be the Ibanez Xiphos, which is stylized to look like the letter X.[14] For all X guitars currently available and for more information, check the Ibanez Electric Guitar page here.
Ibanez Artist (AR)
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 model.[15] The Artist ART is a single cutaway, 22 fret, 24.75" scale guitar that features a hard tail bridge.[16] 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.[17]
Ibanez FR
The Ibanez FR is a simple body type guitar that is designed to be played in many music types.[18]
Ibanez Gio
The Ibanez Gio are Ibanez' budget guitars, designed for high playability at low costs. Many high end Ibanez guitars are recreated in the more affordable Gio form, such as the RGA and ART models.
Ibanez Mikro
The Ibanez Mikro series are small form factor guitars designed for children, beginners, or guitar players looking for a guitar that is easy to transport.[19][19]

Hollow Body Electric 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.[20]
Ibanez AK
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. The AK is easily distinguishable by its sharper lower body horn that other Artcore guitars do not have.[21]

Discontinued Guitars

Production Signature Models

Ibanez JEM 555BK

Discontinued Signature Models

Bass Guitar Models

SR (Soundgear) Series
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.
SR Prestige
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.
SR Premuim
Nordstrand pickups. Indonesian-built
K5 Fieldy
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.
  • ARTCORE Series- Archtop Basses
    • AFB200 – Hollow-body bass guitar
    • AGB200 – Semihollow-body bass guitar
  • ATK Series
    • 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
  • Blazer
  • BTB (Boutique Bass) Series
    • BTB 400QM (discontinued)
    • BTB Prestige – High-end range which are made in Japan.
  • DWB (Doug Wimbish) Series
  • Ergodyne Series - Ergodyne stands for polymer (non-wood) body.
    • EDA Series
    • EDB Series
    • EDC Series
  • EWB Series
  • GARTB 20
  • GATK 20 – More affordable version of the ATK.
  • GAXB Series (discontinued)
  • GSR Series- A lower-cost version of the Soundgear Series
    • GSR 100 – The original GSR bass guitar (Discontinued)
    • GSR 100 EX
    • GSR 105 EX
    • GSRM 20
    • GSR 250 M
    • GSR 200
    • GSR 200 FM – The GSR but with different color designs such as sunburst.
    • GSR 205 – Nominated for Ibanez's "Best of Model" award
    • GSR 205 FM
  • GWB (Gary Willis) Series
  • ICB (Iceman) Series
  • JTK (Jet King) Series
  • JUMPSTART Series- Similar to the GSR Series, named for the Jumpstart Pack which comes with amp and other accessories.
  • Musician Series
  • ROADGEAR Series
  • SRX (Soundgear) Series
  • EX series
  • Roadstar Series
  • Roadster Series
  • S series
  • TR Series

Acoustic Guitar Models

  • AE Series
    • AE5LG
  • AES Series
  • AW Series
  • DT Series
  • EP9 Series
  • EW Series
  • GA Series
  • JAMPACK Series
  • MANDOLIN Series
  • MANN Series (Canadian distribution only)
  • MASA Series
  • PF Series
  • PC series
  • TALMAN Series
  • V Series
  • Concord
  • SAGE Series

Effect pedals

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screammer
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 of Japan. These two companies eventually began doing less and less business together until Nisshin Onpa ceased manufacting the TS-9 reissue for Hoshino Gakki in 2002.

Tube Screamer

Ibanez endorsers: past and present

Serial numbers

See also

Ibanez Artcore series


  1. ^ Hoshino Gakki History.
  2. ^ Ibanez, The Untold Story by Paul Specht (Michael Wright, Jim Donahue) ISBN 0-9764277-0-2
  3. ^ Vintage Ibanez Guitar Site – 1960's Models, Early Imports. Retrieved on 2012-01-12.
  4. ^ "富士弦楽器とIbanez" [FujiGen and Ibanez]. Matsumoto GUITARS [Guitar manufacturers in Matsumoto City] (in Japanese). The Junk Guitar Museum Matsumoto. 
  5. ^ Fujigen Gakki. Retrieved on 2012-01-12.
  6. ^ a b Ibanez: The Untold Story, 2005 Hoshino, USA
  7. ^ Rich Lasner interview. (1984-12-04). Retrieved on 2012-01-12.
  8. ^ Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars by Zachary R. Fjestad page 331. Alfred Music Publishing 2008. ISBN 1-886768-74-9, ISBN 978-1-886768-74-1
  9. ^ [1]. RG3550MZ
  10. ^ [2]. Ibanez RG Guitars
  11. ^ [3]. Ibanez RGA
  12. ^ [4]. Ibanez RGD
  13. ^ a b Ibanez S
  14. ^ [5]. Ibanez Xiphos
  15. ^ [6]. Ibanez Artist ARZ
  16. ^ [7]. Ibanez ART
  17. ^ [8]. Ibanez AR
  18. ^ [9]. Ibanez FR Series
  19. ^ a b [10]. Ibanez Mikro Guitars
  20. ^ [11]. Ibanez Artcore Custom
  21. ^ [12]. Ibanez AK95

External links

  • Official website
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