5 Things You Didn't Know About Ibanez Guitars

Probably didn't know, that is...

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So the fun facts feature is back and this week we'd like to focus on Ibanez!

Dating way back to 1929, the company wasn't exactly off to a blistering start, and took decades before finding its signature vibe and significant share of the market.

In related stuff, here's 12 Things You Didn't Know About Les Paul, 10 Things You Didn't Know About PRS, 11 Things You Didn't Know About Fender Stratocaster, and 10 Things You Didn't Know About Gibson SG.

The Name of the Company is Spanish, But They're Actually From Japan

The arrival of the Ibanez brand dates back to 1929, when Japanese Hoshino Gakki company - a musical instrument sales division of a bookstore company called Hoshino Shoten - began importing six-strings from a Spanish luthier called Salvador Ibáñez. The name stuck around, and we ended up with a Japanese company carrying a bonafide Spanish name.

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They Were Copycats Until the '70s, When a Lawsuit Pushed Them to Be Original

For quite a while, Ibanez didn't exactly have grand plans. After the humble start, they continued as pretty much a low-key company, mostly making copies of famous models of Fender and Gibson guitars.

However, as the company grew, they got on the big guys' radar, and were successful sued for plagiarism. After the lawsuit, the company dropped the copycat approach and began crafting original models, such as the iconic Iceman guitar. You can check out the old Goldentone model below via VintageIbanez.

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They Made the First Ever Mass-Produced 7-string Guitar

Introduced back in 1990, the UV7 came as a part of the Universe series and a signature model for Steve Vai. It featured a basswood body, a set of DiMarzio Blaze II pickups and a double locking tremolo. Apart from Vai, other notable players who wielded this seven-string include John Petrucci of Dream Theater and the guys from Korn.

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The First 7-String Wasn't Initially Supposed to Have a Low B String, But a High A String

So Vai's attention was piqued by the idea of an extended range, but it wasn't specified in which sonic direction would that extension go. It turns out that the company's initial experiments focused not on the low B string, but a high A string that would go below the high E string.

Seeing that the low B string changed a lot of things in the world of rock and metal, it's intriguing to think about the direction guitar music would have taken with the high A instead...

Interestingly enough, Fender also worked on a 7-string guitar featuring a high A string three years before Ibanez. Although several prototypes were created, the guitar never reached the mass production stage.

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The First Ever Mass-Produced 8-String Was Also Crafted By Ibanez

Continuing the path of innovation, Ibanez was also at the forefront of the 8-string movement. They introduced RG2228, the world's first mass-produced 8-string guitar, at the NAMM show in 2007.

Much like the seven-string, this instrument also ended up in the hands of innovative musicians who pushed the envelope and spiced up the world of guitars with new flavors. These folks include Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, Fredrik Thordendal and Marten Hagstrom of Meshuggah, and Dino Cazares of Fear Factory.

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45 comments sorted by best / new / date

    pressureproject
    You haven't played a guitar until you've played a Prestige. Japanese are very detail oriented...and it shows in the Prestige, as well as the earlier Ibanezes that were MIJ.
    Anemo
    I almost bought one of them but eventually went for a US made Jackson but the Prestige guitars are definetely beautiful and well made. The one thing that pisses me off is that motherfucking black plastic thingy with two black screws around the pu selector on SA models; I understand having them on entry level instruments but I'm not paying a grand and a half to have a cheap looking piece of plastic right in the middle of the guitar's body.
    Woffelz
    Not just on the SA models - also on the S models. Those pieces of plastic look dreadful. I don't understand the point of them.
    Haunted Boy
    My Prestige 8 string is still the star of my small collection. Especially since it was given to me for free by a person I barely knew just because he said my playing inspired him. He messaged out of the blue one day a few weeks before Christmas, asked if I'd seen any cool guitars online, and I mentioned that I'd just seen Meshuggah with 8 strings. He messaged back, "I just ordered you one, it'll be there in a few weeks" I was FLOORED. $2,200 guitar at the time. My response was, "Dude, really?? I didn't even get you a Christmas card!" He laughed and said, "Just put it to good use, and maybe throw me a few lessons and we'll call it even." So that's what happened.
    tonello
    I like the sound of Ibanezes, but I can't get over the necks. Way too thin for me. I prefer something with a bit more heft.
    anguskilminster
    I learned to play on a DestroyerII (Explorer copy) & it was a great guitar. Borrowed from a friend of mine, he gave me 1st dibs on buying it, at a discount price. Wish I had the money to buy it
    bobathin
    So with that Spanish influence...does that mean you actually pronounce it as E-Bon-Yez?
    MrZEDO
    I think it would be E-BAH-nyehz (Ibáñez), but Hoshino Gakki got rid of the accents; so that would make it more like E-bah-nez (Ibanez). I wonder how the owner of the company says it...
    Bollockser
    I highly recommend Ibanez' all-mahogany acoustics, the wood is gorgeous and there's no coating on it so the tone is amazing. For $200 you can get an acoustic that sounds better than lots of $1000+ guitars
    minor7
    Jazz players actually went both ways with the 7 string LONG before Ibanez did. George Van Eps had built a 7-string with an extra low A by the 1930s, 1940s at the latest and then in I think the 70s, Lenny Breau came up with the idea for the extra high A string.
    CurlOfTheBurl
    Yes, Van Eps technique is fascinating if you play 7 strings. He usually used the low A as a way to put 4ths and 5ths (mostly) as the bass notes for chords
    sambargun
    Spot on. But I think Lenny Breau used catgut or something different for the high A string as the strings made out of regular copper or bronze kept on breaking.
    acmemetal
    There was no "successful lawsuit". The lawsuit was over the headstock design which was already changed by the NAMM show when Gibson showed up with the paperwork intending to confiscate any guitars with an offending headstock. Instead gibby had nothing but their dick in there hand. Thing # 6 about ibanez you don't know is ibanez invented the double neck guitar while they were still being made in Spain.
    Bedside Shred
    Ibanez is a sweet company, I used to have an RGX I think it was called. Also I have played one of those old 70s Les Paul copy Ibanez's and it was solid. Currently own an Ibanez Euphoria Steve Vai signature electric/acoustic, in emerald green. Fucking beautiful guitar and sounds sweet plugged in, but it'd made in Korea so the acoustic sound is not the best considering the price tag. Still very playable and fun as hell to jam on.
    dropdeadjarrett
    I think I knew at least 4 of these, but I'm also a loser! Cool article, hope we see more like it.
    jim.casey321
    While more expensive one's may be quite cool, cheap ones are of a very low quality. In my experience, if you're looking for a cheap guitar it's way better to go for LTD or Schecter.
    OldIronsides
    One of the best gig guitars I ever had was a starter pack Ibanez (G10 I believe). It didn't have a high-end tone that rang from it, but ring it did. The sustain, for a cheap, bolt-on neck was phenomenal. I beat that guitar to pieces, but it never lost tune. The action was low, it was light, and the neck was thin. I'm thinking I'll try to find another!
    fte85
    The ones posted here are beautiful. Time to upgrade the gio to something better.
    6...6...6...
    Should rename it 5 things every guitar nerd in the world knows about Ibanez. Seriously, not one thing mentioned was new to me.
    CurlOfTheBurl
    Although they have seemingly fallen out of favour with the guitar community as of late (though they seem to be pulling them back), I adore Ibanez guitars!
    alehanro999
    These are some of the most well understood things about Ibanez. You can literally find them on the Wikipedia in a like 2 minute read. Not particularly esoteric here UG.
    oliwilton
    The Edge III trem is a piece of shit. Or did we already know that?
    browndaisy865
    til I looked at the draft which had said $8465 , I accept that my friends brother was like trully making money in their spare time on their apple labtop. . there aunt haz done this less than 1 year and recently cleard the loans on there house and bought a gorgeous Saab 99 Turbo . view .... Clik this link in Your Browser [b] ===== http://www.pathcash30.com[/b]
    LivingW/Nathan
    My main guitar is a 1978 Ibanez S-type, more or less a strat copy. Both the guitar and I are left handed, so it was a true gem to find.
    blizzboy
    The last two points are just extensions of the one before them and really don't have much to do with Ibanez. Lazy.
    vikkyvik
    Not the most interesting article, but I do love my Ibanez guitars/basses: SZ720FM Artcore something-or-other...totally blanking on which one. SR405 SR406
    deth312
    Only thing I didn't think was common guitarist knowledge was the High A string
    6...6...6...
    Also, it should be added that the RG as we know it today was introduced as a more affordable alternative to the JEM. And that the purpose of the bright and flashy colors was to attract customers by making them stand out and catch your attention the moment you entered the store.
    Polaris2040
    Love Ibanez, however Ibanez doesn't have a factory, the high-end ones are built by Fujigen in Japan.
    CJax
    The real reason ibanez got slapped with a lawsuit is because they were building les pauls better than gibson could. Gibson was pretty butthurt. But their guitars never got any better, so who really won?