Ibanez Guitars - an introduction to Ibanez guitars
About 90 years ago a man name Hoshino Gakki began distributing musical instruments in Nagoya Japan. In 1935 the Gakki group began manufacturing stringed instruments some years later they began to distribute a Spanish guitar they named ‘Ibanez’. The choice of the name Ibanez was partly due to their need to have a non Japanese sounding name, so to avoid post war America’s aversion to Japanese products.
The Ibanez we all know and love first surfaced in the 1970’s, when the company began manufacturing copies of already popular guitars. This came at a time when American manufacturers were increasing prices, making the cheaper, quality ‘rip-offs’ extremely popular. This age of exact copies came to an abrupt stop in 1976, when Gibson successfully sued Ibanez, fortunately Ibanez was well on its way to establishing itself as a guitar innovator in its own right.
Probably the most recognised range of guitars Ibanez created was their vast collection of ‘super strats’. This gave the artist all the comfort of a Strat with all the beef of a twin humbucker arrangement and the ‘dive bombing’ versatility of a locking tremolo. This style of Ibanez was is most famously endorsed by Joe Satriani, one of the most technically accomplished guitarists in the world with three signature model guitars to his name, the JS100, JS1000 and the JS1200. Satriani not only famous for his technical prowess is also a highly respected guitar tutor, with an impressive list of former students including Larry LaLonde (Primus), David Bryson (Counting Crows), Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and Steve Vai. Steve Vai himself now with his own four Ibanez signature guitars UV777P, Jem 555, Jem 77B and,JEM7V.
Although Ibanez has many other notable signature models such as George Benson’s GB10, GB100 and GB2000 models and let’s not forget Korn’s testosterone fuelled K7 seven string. The Ibanez brand covers a varied range of different styles of guitars.
From the iconic Iceman(IC400) with its unmistakable shape and chunky tone, to the JetKing JTK2 with it’s modern take on a guitar of the past.
The majority of the Ibanez electric guitar range is, as I mentioned earlier the ‘superstrat’. The GAX and AX series guitars could however be described as a fat bottomed Gibson SG. With a mahogany body and two humbuckers these guitars are simple and effective. Priced from as little as £120 GAX30 these guitars have a low action and are set up and ready to go straight out of the box. Also the two obnoxiously powerful humbuckers never fail to put a smile on the players face.
Ibanez as a brand is not limited only to electric guitars, it sports an extensive range of bass guitars. From the entry level BTB200. To the SR1000EFM-NTF with its Premium woods, Prestige thru-necks, Bartolini® electronics the high level of consistent quality remains.
It’s this consistency which has provided the backbone for the Ibanez reputation. In this guitarist’s opinion, having played a great deal of Ibanez guitars and basses the difference in playability between the entry level Ibanez guitars and the £600+ guitars is not incredibly obvious. Of course the higher end guitars are built with better quality woods and use better machined and branded hardware. The attention to detail and care taken during construction remains across the board. Present day Ibanez is truly one of the most sought after, endorsed and recommended brands of our time. With a whopping 155 endorsees of its guitars and basses, Ibanez really has resounding relevance in modern music production and performance.
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