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Ibanez Electric Guitars: A Brief History

Ibanez have garnered a reputation for crafting instruments that are of outstanding quality with unique appointments and stylistic elements, whilst retaining an affordable price tag. Their ‘60s models that included the - still - extraordinary Iceman and the more conventionally-shaped Roadstar, paved the way for radical collaborations with renowned artists in later years including Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, and many more.

Arguably, their most notable and enduring collaboration was their work with Steve Vai in the 1980s, which led to the design and manufacture of the JEM and Universe models. Based on a design borne out of ideas generated by Vai, his guitar tech Elwood, and Vai’s friend Joe Despagni, Ibanez delivered a superstrat that ticked all the boxes for a world touring super shredder. As popular ever some 30+ years later, the JEM in particular would go on to influence another Ibanez favourite, the RG. Known as the model of choice for many a metallers, the RG is a sleek yet powerful shred machine that offers an in for players no matter what their budget. There are RG Gio for absolute beginners through 400 series for intermediate players, Premium and Prestige right through to Japanese Custom Shop (j.Custom) models that offer the highest levels of guitar craftsmanship from elite luthiers.

Nowadays the broad ranging model ranges features subsets within them such as Iron Label models that aimed squarely at those of the metal fraternity with baritone renditions as well as extended range models that can dig deep into the depths. Ibanez are the masters when it comes to building 7-, 8-, 9-string guitars without breaking a sweat.

Performance-inspired Ranges

A recent addition to the Ibanez stable is the AZ range, which infuses decades of accumulated guitar building knowledge alongside a striving for perfection in meeting the demands of today’s guitarists. With ever more players blending, experimenting, and fusing together a plethora of styles, the AZ caters to players who like to do things a little differently. Although not a new range, the S series is possibly one of the most exquisite in the Ibanez family. Super slender – we can’t overstate just how slender and streamlined, curvy but comfortable, a neck that plays faster than you could imagine, and with tonal flexibility that allows it to swim in any musical waters, well, what more could you want? Again, you can start with the SA and 500 series and move right up to the Prestige for the cream of the crop.

Rock-Ready Solid Bodies

The AX and AR models are refined individuals that can also tear it up when needs be. Featuring a body shape that will be somewhat familiar to most, the deep double-cutaway profile makes it easy to wield whilst the tonal offering is always ready and waiting to let loose some rock-inspired riffage. Jazz-Inspired Hollow Bodies Who can forget Ibanez’ illuminating hollow body models? When you have players like George Benson, Pat Metheny, John Scofield on your roster amongst thousands of artists from around the world, you know that you must be doing something right.