This article is about the guitar manufacturer. For a list of people named Ibáñez see Ibáñez (disambiguation)
The Hoshino Gakki company begun in 1908 as a musical instrument sales division of the Hoshino Shoten bookstore company. In 1935 they began manufacturing their own stringed instruments. The company had little presence in the Western world until the mid-1960s.
In 1954, Harry Rosenbloom opened a music store in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, northwest of Philadelphia. Due to the post-World War II music boom, his sales soon outstripped his inventory, and he began a company called Elger Guitars in an attempt to manufacture enough guitars to fill his needs. The Elger Guitar company made a relatively small number of hand-built, high quality guitars through the early 1960s.
By 1965 Rosenbloom had decided to stop manufacturing guitars and chose to become the exclusive North American distributor for Hoshino Gakki instruments. At the time, the phrase "made in Japan" was considered to have negative connotations of low quality, so Hoshino Gakki and Rosenbloom wanted to distribute the instruments under a "non-Japanese" name. Hoshino had recently acquired a small Spanish guitar company named Ibanez, and it was decided to market the instruments under this brand name. In 1971 Hoshino purchased Elger Guitars, renaming the company "Ibanez U.S.A." and retaining the company headquarters in Bensalem, Pennsylvania as a distribution and quality-control center.
In the early 1970s Ibanez began making guitars that were almost exact copies of popular models by Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker. Using somewhat cheaper materials and greater automation in manufacturing, they were able to sell these guitars for a significantly lower price than the originals. The low price combined with the relatively high quality of the guitars made these models very popular. Many guitar aficionados feel that the early- and mid-70s mark a low point in the quality of guitars from the major manufacturers, which helped contribute to the popularity of the Ibanez copies. These guitars have become known as "lawsuit" guitars and have become somewhat collectible.
The actual lawsuit referred to was brought by the Norlin Corporation, the parent company of Gibson guitars, in 1977, and was based on an Ibanez headstock design that had been discontinued by 1976. Ibanez settled out of court, and by 1978 had begun making guitars from their own designs.
Abandoning the strategy of copying "classic" electric guitar designs, the newer models began incorporating more modern elements into their design, such as radical body shapes, slimmer necks and flatter fingerboards (which allowed for faster playing), higher-output electronics and colorful finishes. This led to an increasing popularity with heavy metal musicians. The company also began an extensive program of consulting with well-known guitar players and creating signature models made to the players' specifications.
This is the current product line-up of Ibanez U.S.A, which may subject to change. Their current range is very limited in contrast to their earlier product lineups, which featured many more models, too many to list here.
- AT300 for Andy Timmons
- GB10 and GB300 for George Benson
- JEM77B, JEM7V and UV777 for Steve Vai
- JS100, JS1000, JS1200 and JS2000 for Joe Satriani
- JSM100 for John Scofield
- K7 for Head and Munky
- MMM1 for Mike Mushok
- NDM1 for Noodles
- PGM301 for Paul Gilbert
- PM100 and PM120 for Pat Metheny
- DMM1 for Daron Malakian
Solid-Body Electric Models
- Artist Series
- AX Series
- GAX70 (Left-handed model availible, GAX70L)
- GRX Series
- GRX20Z (Left-handed model availible, GRX20L)
- GSA Series
- Jetking Series
- RG Series
- Non-prestige models
- RGT42DX (Neck-thru model)
- RG370DX (Left-handed model availible, RG370DXL)
- RG7321 (Seven-string model)
- Prestige models
- Prestige neck-thru models
- Prestige fixed-bridge models
- S Series
- S2075FW Prestige
- SA Series
- SA2020FM Prestige
- SA260FM (Left-handed model availible, SA260FML)
- SZ Series
- SZ2020FM Prestige
Semi-Hollow Electric Models
- ARTCORE CUSTOM Series
- AF & AK Series
- AS Series
- AG Series
- AM Series
- AFS Series
- AXD, AWD and FWD Series'
In the 1970's, the Maxon company developed and began selling a series of effect pedals in Japan. Ibanez licensed these for sale under their name outside of Japan. The two companies eventually began doing less and less business together until Maxon ceased manufacting the TS-9 reissue for Ibanez in 2002.
Tube Screamers - Based on the earlier Overdrive I and II pedals, Ibanez began releasing the first Tube Screamer, the TS-808 in the late 1970's. These contained the famed JRC4558D IC. Many players consider this one of the best solid state pedals to emulate the sound produced by overdriven vacuum tubes. Over the years, Ibanez released many different kinds of pedals bearing the Tube Screamer name. The first was the TS-9 Tube Screamer, which included only a few component changes, and different IC's. Then in 1986, the Power Series was introduced, which included the TS-10. Like many of the Power Series pedals, there were not many differences in the circuitry between these and their 9-series counterparts. To make production cheaper, these pedals used cheaper switches and circuit board-mounted pots and jacks. In 1992, Ibanez began re-issuing the TS-9. Then in 1996, Ibanez added a "CE" to the back of the pedal, which is required for it to be sold in Europe. In the late 90's, Ibanez released the Soundtank series, which had cheap plastic enclosures and like the Power Series before it, used less expensive parts. Shortly after came the Tone Lok series, and the TS-7, which included a switch for added gain. In 1998, the new TS-9DX was introduced, which included a 4-way switch for capacitor changes and changes in the clipping section. Then in 2002, Maxon stopped production of the TS-9 for Ibanez. Post-2002 circuit boards say Ibanez instead of Maxon. Due to popular demand, Ibanez reissued the TS-808 in 2004, complete with the JRC4558D chip. Original TS-808's, and to a lesser extent, TS-9s, have become highly collectible. Many overdrive pedals in production, especially those by "boutique" manufacturers, are a modified version of the Tube Screamer circuit.
- History of Hoshino Gakki Co., Ltd.
- Origins of Ibanez and the Lawsuit Models
- Ibanez Register - Gallery of past and present Ibanez guitars and basses.
- IbanezRules - Buy/Sell used Ibanez guitars, technical guides, catalog scans, manuals, wiring diagrams, etc.
- JEM Site - An Ibanez JEM series fansite
- Ibanez JS Site - Ibanez Joe Satriani fansite
- Ibanez History - Ibanez Historyda:Ibanez