Ibanez Guitars
Native name
Company typePrivate
IndustryMusical instruments manufacturing
Founded1957; 67 years ago (1957) in Nagoya, Japan
Area served
ProductsElectric, acoustic, resonator & classical guitars
Electric & acoustic basses
Effects units
ParentHoshino Gakki

Ibanez (アイバニーズ, Aibanīzu) is a Japanese guitar brand owned by Hoshino Gakki.[1] 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 the United States (at a Los Angeles-based custom shop). As of 2017 they marketed nearly 165 models of bass guitar, 130 acoustic guitars, and more than 300 electric guitars. After Gibson and Fender, Ibanez is considered the third biggest guitar brand.[2]


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

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 in honor of Spanish luthier Salvador Ibáñez, and later simply "Ibanez".[3] Accordingly, the brand originally was spelled Ibanyesu (イバニェス) in Japan, reflecting the Spanish pronunciation, before changing its spelling in 1986 to the current name, which represents an English pronunciation of Ibanez.

The modern era of Ibanez guitars began in 1957.[4] The late 1950s and 1960s Ibanez catalogues show guitars with some wild-looking designs,[5] manufactured by Kiso Suzuki Violin,[model 1] Guyatone,[model 2][model 3] and their own Tama factory established in 1962.[3][6] After the Tama factory stopped manufacturing guitars in 1966, Hoshino Gakki contracted the Teisco String Instruments Company to make Ibanez guitars. After the Teisco String Instrument factory closed in 1970, Hoshino Gakki contracted with FujiGen Gakki to make Ibanez guitars.

Ibanez in 1980s–2000s
Ibanez S
Ibanez RG
Ibanez UV777

In the 1960s, Japanese guitar makers mainly copied American guitar designs, and Ibanez-branded copies of Gibson, Fender, and Rickenbacker models appeared. This resulted in the so-called lawsuit period.

As a result of the lawsuit, 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.

Ibanez Acoustic
Pat Metheny with his signature model, the Ibanez PM
Ibanez AS200
Ibanez EW20ASE (Exotic Wood)

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 Roland guitar 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.[7]

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.[4] 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.[8]

The "lawsuit" guitars

Mid-1970s "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 Township, 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.[9][10]

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 expensive guitars Ibanez offers. They are "envisioned to be the finest Japanese-made guitar in history". Built by some of the most skilled luthiers in Japan, they "represent every advance in design and technology Ibanez has developed over the last 20 years". As of 2022, they feature aftermarket pickups of the Dimarzio brand (DiMarzio® Air Norton™, DiMarzio® True Velvet™, DiMarzio® The Tone Zone® and DiMarzio® PAF® 7), 5 piece maple/wenge necks with Titanium reinforcement rods, ebony fingerboard with a tree of life fret board inlay, and Edge Zero tremolo systems. Even among J. Customs there are two tiers: most of the standard production J. Customs (the ones that appear in catalogs) are produced by FujiGen Gakki while the more limited production models are produced by Sugi Guitars. The Sugi-made models are typically produced in very limited numbers from one-offs to maybe a dozen copies of a single design.
Ibanez Prestige
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.
Ibanez Premium
The Premium guitars are similar to other models but are built in Ibanez's Indonesian premium factory to premium quality standards.
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.
U.S.A. custom
USA custom range. Late 1980s to mid-1990s. Also known as Ibanez LACS (L.A. Custom Shop), services only their endorsed artists today.[11]

Solid body electric guitars

Ibanez RG
2017 Ibanez RG652FX WH
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.
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.[model 6]
Ibanez RGD
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.
Ibanez S
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.
Ibanez DN
The Ibanez DN guitar (DN stands for Darkstone[citation needed]) 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.[model 9] For all X guitars currently available and for more information, check the Ibanez Electric Guitar page in 2013. (as of 2013, variations may be: Halberd XH300 and Glaive XG300, Mick Thomson Signature MTM100, MTM10)[clarification needed]
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 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]
Ibanez FR
The Ibanez FR is a simple body type guitar that is designed to be played in many genres.[model 13]
Ibanez Mikro
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]

Hollow body electric guitars

Ibanez Artcore series
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]
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.[model 16] The AK is easily distinguishable by its sharper lower body horn (Florentine cutaway ?) that other Artcore guitars do not have.[clarification needed]

Production signature guitars

JS10th Chrome Boy
PGM models

Discontinued guitars

Discontinued guitars
  • 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).
  • Axstar (a.k.a. Axstar by Ibanez) – discontinued
  • EDR/EXR – Ergodyne series – discontinued
  • 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.
  • SB70 – Studio & Blazer spot build: Mixing Studio series double cutaway, ash bodies with Blazer series 21 fret bolt on maple necks, and sporting a fixed brass bridge, 2 Super 70 Humbuckers, 1 vol, 2 tone knobs, a pickup selector switch, and a phase mini-toggle switch (which gives a unique strat-like quack sound), an estimated 300-400 of these were assembled, mostly in 1982. A cult following has emerged, as these guitars are rare, and sell for 3x-4x their original price. Learn more at The Unofficial SB70 Registry: https://www.ibanezcollectors.com/forum/index.php?topic=20623.0
  • 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.
  • Ibanez Jet King 2 and Jet King 1 – A modern remake of the Ibanez Rhythm maker, vintage looking and sounding guitars.
  • Radius series – discontinued, a modified version is now taken over by the Joe Satriani signature series which features a multi-radius neck.
  • EX Series – Manufactured in Korea and Japan (rare).
  • PL – Pro Line series
  • RR – Rocket Roll
  • DT – Destroyer
  • IC – Iceman - a radical shape endorsed and used by Paul Stanley, Various pickup combinations.
  • Talman Series – discontinued
  • 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.
  • AFD – Artfield
  • GR – Ghostrider series, arched-top double cutaway design. 2434" scale length. Most notably played by Shawn Lane.
  • Cimar by Ibanez
Discontinued signature guitars

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 soap bar-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 Premium
Nordstrand pickups. Indonesian-built.

Signature basses

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.

Acoustic guitar models


Guitar amplifiers

Bass amplifiers

Acoustic amplifiers

Effect pedals

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.

*ToneLok Series

Ibanez endorsers: past and present

Main article: List of Ibanez players

Serial numbers


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  2. ^ "Ibanez at AMS". American Musical Supply. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
  3. ^ a b "Hoshino Gakki History". HoshinoGakki.co.jp.
  4. ^ a b c Ibanez: The Untold Story 2005
  5. ^ "Vintage Ibanez Guitar Site – 1960's Models, Early Imports". VintageIbanez.tripod.com. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  6. ^ "富士弦楽器とIbanez" [FujiGen and Ibanez]. Matsumoto GUITARS [Guitar manufacturers in Matsumoto City] (in Japanese). Matsumoto: Junk Guitar Museum. Archived from the original on 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  7. ^ Rainer Daeschler. "Fujigen Gakki – From the Cowshed to the Top". Daeschler.com. Retrieved 2012-01-12. (based on Germany version on stratomaniac.com); Originally published as "Fujigen vom Kuhstall zur Weltspitze". Fachblatt Musikmagazin. 1987 (2).
  8. ^ "Rich Lasner, Designer & Artist Relations, USA 1984–1989". (interview), Nuno – The Ibanez Interviews, IbanezRegister.com (1984-12-04). Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  9. ^ Zachary R. Fjestad (2008). Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars. Alfred Music Publishing. p. 331. ISBN 978-1-886768-74-1.
  10. ^ "A Brief History of Ibanez Guitars: From Importer to Industry Leader". reverb.com. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  11. ^ "USA Custom Shop". www.jemsite.com. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Paul Stanley Guitars". Paul Stanley. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  13. ^ Thompson, Art (Jan 2010). "Ibanez: AT100CLSB Andy Timmons signature". Guitar Player. Vol. 44, no. 1. Future US, Inc. ISSN 0017-5463. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
  1. ^ Star Musical Merchandise Catalog No.591, Nagoya, Japan: Hoshino Gakki Ten, Inc., 1950s, archived from the original on 2011-08-20, retrieved 2015-05-17.
    Note: the wide variety of musical instruments in this catalog reflect their full-time export business during that era. The arched-top guitars and violin-family instruments suggest the involvement of Suzuki Violin in Nagoya and its brother factory, Kiso Suzuki Violin in Kiso. Their third brother in Matsumoto, Shin'ichi Suzuki was a founder of the Suzuki method, and their cultural activities influenced the establishment of FujiGen in Matsumoto, according to a co-founder of FujiGen, Yuichiro Yokouchi Archived 2013-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ 1960 Star Catalog, p. 4, archived from the original on 2011-08-20, retrieved 2015-05-17 (Models: EG 80, EG 80-B, EG 80-H, EG 90)
  3. ^ 1961 Ibanez Electric Guitars, p. 1, 2, archived from the original on 2011-08-20, retrieved 2015-05-17 (Models: No. 1830 (2pu), No. 1850 (3pu), No. 1860 (2pu with tremolo), No. 1880 (3pu with tremolo), No. 1950 (bass))
  4. ^ "Ibanez RG3550MZ". 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-08-01.
  5. ^ "Ibanez RG Series". Ibanez.co.jp. 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-05-16. 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. ...
  6. ^ "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. ...
  7. ^ "Ibanez RGD2127Z Prestige". 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2015-05-16. The RGD is Ibanez's ultimate metal machine.
  8. ^ a b "Ibanez S Series". Ibanez.co.jp. 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-08-12.
  9. ^ "Ibanez Xiphos Series". Ibanez.co.jp. 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2015-05-16.
  10. ^ "Ibanez ARZ6UC Prestige". 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2015-05-16. The 24 fret, two-octave fretboard of the ARZ surpasses the boundaries of traditional single-cutaway guitars. ... Scale: 638mm/25.1"
  11. ^ "Ibanez ART Series". Ibanez.co.jp. 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-07-04.
  12. ^ "Ibanez AR720FM". 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-05-23. Retrieved 2015-05-16. 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"
  13. ^ "Ibanez FR Series". Ibanez.co.jp. 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2015-05-16. 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.
  14. ^ "Ibanez miKro GRGM21". Archived from the original on 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2015-05-16. 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"
  15. ^ "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
  16. ^ "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