The answer to the question in the title is YES. But of course, since nobody is perfect, no company or no brand is perfect too. Looking at the brighter side, we will be considering a brand with very minimal or yet unnoticeable flaws. Also, let’s not forget that the goodness of something depends on our standards. Let’s look if the Ibanez guitars suit your standards.
IBANEZ - A Good Brand Of Guitar?
Ibanez is continuously improving their guitars through the years to serve its clients better
Before Ibanez produced their stand out guitars of today, they also undergo a lot of struggle finding their own original identity. Ibanez is a Japanese guitar brand owned by Hoshino Gakki. Why “Ibanez” does not sounds like a Japanese word when its owner is a Japanese? Well, it was named after its maker who is Salvador Ibanez from Spain. Hoshino Gakki is just an importer of Ibanez’ guitar but later on, decided to make his own Spanish style guitars and retained the Ibanez as its brand name.
In the 1950’s, Hoshino Gakki started to make modern styles of this guitar but most of it looks wild. It didn’t flourish that much in the 1960’s. Thus, the company started to copy the guitar designs of other brands like Gibson, Fender, and Rickenbacker. This thoughtless action brought them into the court because the maker of Gibson filed a case against Hoshino U.S.A. accusing them of copying the headstock of their guitar. It was in 1977 and was only settled after a year. After the case, this is the only time Hoshino Gakki decided to make their original design. Ibanez continuously improved its own design and set-in necks. Though at first, they were copying the designs of America’s guitar manufacturers by that time, they were also thinking on how to improve their own products even to have small changes or adjustments to make as their own designs. This is the reason why they were able to release new designs after the lawsuit.
The new release designs after the case was settled include the Iceman, the Artist, and Professional series. They collaborated ideas with some professional players like Bob Weir who suggested to Ibanez to make a single-neck version rather than a double neck and like the idea of a sliding pickup that can transfer to different tones together with some humbuckers but later on they just decided to make the pickups in a fix position. Also, Bob Weir wanted a larger headstock so they produced it. Thus, the Professional and Cowboy Fancy were born. Another was George Benson, who like the shape of Les Paul but since they are avoiding copying other designs, they made a design which is in between of the shape of Johnny Smith and Les Paul and with French curves. From here the GB10 was born. There were lots of other artists whom they talked to for ideas and sometimes, other artists were the one looking for them to let them make their own custom guitars so the collection of the Ibanez guitars starts to advance.
They do not only depend on the artists. They also made their own ideas from the workers like the Iceman. The Iceman has a three-coil pickup and it droves the attention of other artists like Steve Miller. The early designs were the basis of other improvements on the later versions of these guitars.
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From a wide range of guitars that Ibanez has in the market today, there are some models which are really popular. The topmost is their RG series. RG means ROAD GEAR Series. The high-end version of this guitar is called RG Prestige. The production of RG Series started in the 1980’s. They are the superstrat guitars. RG Series has 24 frets. It has also a thicker body which is preferred by most players. The 80’s style and shape of the body of the RG Series are still very common today. Since the RG Series are the most popular, you can find it in every store that you will go. RG Series are mostly made of basswood that gives it a very lightweight but some pieces uses ash or mahogany. RG Prestige is usually made of ash and mahogany bodies. The sound of RG is a little bit edgy because of the basswood that gives off deep and dark with a very good resonance. The RG Series uses a rosewood fretboard but there are some models that use ebony and maple fretboards.
The next is S Series. S means SABER. S Series has a standard of 22 frets. It has also a thinner body. Its top also is a bit arch. The S series uses mahogany for its body so its sounds richer and a little bit sweeter. It has a very good sound resonance. It has also rosewood fingerboards.
The RG Series and S Series have a lot in common. Actually, most of their built is the same. Some components are originally made by the manufacturer of the Ibanez and you can see it on RG and S Series. For example, on the neck, the Wizard design is both found on the RG and S Series. It goes the same also with their pickups. RG and S Series only differs greatly on its body composition especially on the woods used.
Next is the GRG Series. Actually, GRG is just RG Series but of lower cost. A friendly budget guitar. Its body is also a basswood but is of lower grade. It has a floating bridge and inlays that are dotted except for the DX model. The similar features of GRG Series and RG Series are the neck and coil configuration.
The ART Series is another popular guitar by Ibanez. This is a solid body electric guitar. It is based on Ibanez Artist models like ARC and ARX. It has a single cutaway. It has also a dual humbucker pickup configuration and the bridge is fixed. It has a mahogany body with a set-in neck. The unusual thing about this is the inlay where you can find it at the 12th fret. There are 22 frets and they are jumbo. The fretboard is also made of rosewood. The sound is a bit darker and bigger. The bridge gives a good treble and bass. It works fine in metal.
Then, there is the JEM. A signature model of Steve Vai. It has many custom features. It has three pickups that are arranged uniquely in the 2nd and 4th positions that split the humbuckers into a single-coil combining with the middle pickup. The result is a Stratocaster style. JEM also has a bright finish on its parts that attract attention. Though some of the features of JEM have been innovated as time pass by but the original feel is still there. JEM models can also be customized. Even RG sometimes are being converted into a JEM-style guitar by changing its colors into some flashy tones.
Ibanez Guitar Lines
Ibanez has four guitar lines. The first one is the Standard Series. These include the guitars which are very budget-friendly but they are all fit for all levels of players. The Premium Line is the next higher than the Standard. The guitars in this line have upgraded components. The next level is the Ibanez Prestige. Of course, when we say Prestige, this is the line of the high-end guitars of Ibanez. When you speak of their bodies, you will be really dealing with amazingly pretty and gorgeous top. Also, its electronics and hardware will not ever disappoint you. Everything is in its high performance and it is very versatile. Lastly, we have the Iron Label guitars. These guitars play ultimate metal. These are newcomers in the market which are just recently produced in 2013. Most of the models don’t have a tone knob and fretboard inlays.
Which Series Should You Choose?
It depends on the player. Some determine their decision by listening to the sounds each model makes. Some would choose the versatility of a piece that it offers. Some are really chained with the designs and the composition of the body - wood used, layout, thinness or thickness, etc. So it depends really on you because you cannot get all of the things you want in the single piece. It will always include a feature that you don’t like. You have to bear with it but look for a series that can almost satisfy your needs and standards before you regret anything.
Always remember, Ibanez has been always the best budget guitars. It can give you a quality guitar in a lower price range compared to its competitors.
Ibanez Through the Years
Ibanez guitar designs do not have so much difference through the years. But innovation for their series and models is continuously ongoing to meet their clients’ needs. You will always be sure that they are doing their best to produce quality guitars.