The history of Ibanez goes back to pre-World War 2. If you want to be more specific their origins go back nearly 90 years. This is when Hoshino Gakki first started distributing musical products in Nagoya, Japan. Then about forty years ago, Hoshino began distributing a Spanish guitar named Ibanez.
Although Ibanez’s history dates back rather far, their “modern history” pretty much started when they opened an office near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So it was in the 1970’s that the company became most known. They duplicated many designs of famous guitar companies including Fender and Gibson. These Guitars looked and sounded as good as if not better than the Guitars produced by the Guitar Giants. However, they were a lot more affordable.
Ibanez has always put the musician ahead of all else. Those in charge at Ibanez did not want to continue to produce only imitations of other guitars. Over the years, the company became more innovate and was not imitating the competitors so much anymore. They had Artist series guitars for George Benson, the Iceman Model for Paul Stanley of KISS and the Destroyer for Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden. Their guitars were now being used by great players of their time.
At one point Ibanez had to stop making copies of guitars made by their competitors because of a lawsuit against them. However, by now it really did not matter. They had already started making their own creations such as the Iceman mentioned above. Many of Ibanez’s guitars from that time period are collector’s items today.
By the mid 1980’s, Ibanez had better endorsements than their competitors. One of the reasons is because they had more cash to pay for endorsements. They collaborated with players Including Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and many others. As a result of these collaborations, they brought out the JEM, JS, RG and S models. The majority of these guitars had thin necks and very low action. Fast and technical playing was the emphasis as achieved by the design of these guitars. It was easy to run up and down the fretboard because of the low action and think necks.
The lbanez RG's are seen on stage in 1986. These guitars could stay in tune even after taking a pounding. The guitar was a Strat style. The body was lightweight and it had a locking tremolo system. Over the years, Ibanez was responsive to changes. They made new designs and even better values. Later the company created seven-string models.
Today Ibanez continues to collaborate with guitarists from new bands. There is now emphasis on the overall sound and songs, not just on lead playing. Now their guitars are once again a more classic design. Ibanez continues to march forward in the guitar industry.