Friday, February 27, 2009

Fender - See also

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fender - Instruments

The core of its instrument line — the Telecaster, Stratocaster, Precision Bass and Jazz Bass — remains largely unchanged from the 1950s and 1960s originals (Roberts, Jim. 2003. American Basses:A Illustrated History).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fender - Fender today

In 1985, in a campaign initiated by then CBS Musical Instruments division president William Schultz (1926-2006), the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company employees purchased the company from CBS and renamed it the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Behind the Fender name, the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has retained Fender's older models along with newer designs and concepts.

Fender manufactures its highest quality guitars at its Corona factory in California and manufactures its mid to high quality guitars at its Ensenada factory in Baja California, Mexico. Channing Ward is the lead designer of the 2009 stratocaster. Fender also contracts Asian guitar makers to manufacture Fender guitars and to also manufacture the lower priced Squier guitars. The older and American built Fender guitars are generally the most favoured, but pre-1990 Fender Japan guitars are now highly regarded as well. Fenders built in Ensenada, Mexico took over the main export role from the Japanese made Fenders and Japanese Fenders are now manufactured mainly for the Japanese market, with only a small number marked for export.

Squier was a string manufacturer subsequently acquired by Fender. The Squier brand has been used by Fender since 1982 to market inexpensive variants of Fender guitars intended to compete with the rise of Stratocaster copies, as the Stratocaster was slowly becoming more popular. Squier guitars have been manufactured in Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia and China. The Squier name adorns many inexpensive guitars based on Fender designs but with generally cheaper hardware, bridges and electronics.

In recent years, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has branched out into making and selling steel-string acoustic guitars, and has purchased a number of other instrument firms, including the Guild Guitar Company, the Sunn Amplifier Company, and other brands such as SWR Sound Corporation. In early 2003, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation made a deal with Gretsch and began manufacturing and distributing new Gretsch guitars. Fender also owns: Jackson, Charvel, Olympia, Orpheum, Tacoma Guitars (based in Seattle, WA), Squier and Brand X amps. The Californian guitar giant has recently purchased Kaman Music Corporation, which owns Ovation acoustic guitars, LP and Toca hand percussion products, Gibraltar Hardware, Genz Benz Amplification, Hamer Guitars and is the exclusive U.S. sales representative for Sabian Cymbals and exclusive worldwide distributor of Takamine Guitars and Gretsch Drums.

In February 2007 Fender announced that it would produce an illustrated product guide in place of its traditional annual Frontline magazine. This change was made in large part due to the costs associated with paying royalties in both print and the Internet. With the new illustrated product guide, this removed print issues. The new guide contains its entire range of instruments and amplifiers along with color pictures and basic specifications. The New Fender Frontline In-Home will be produced during the year, keeping customers up to date with new products. These will be available through guitar publications and will be directly mailed to customers who sign up to the Fender website. As well as these printed formats, Fender Frontline Live was launched at the winter NAMM show in January 2007 as a new online reference point, containing information on new products and live footage from the show.

The German distribution for Fender instruments is hosted in Düsseldorf.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fender - Sale to CBS

In early 1965, Leo Fender sold his companies to the Columbia Broadcasting System, or CBS for $13 million. This was almost two million more than they paid for The New York Yankees a year before. CBS entered the musical instruments field by acquiring the Fender companies (Fender Sales, Inc., Fender Electric Instrument Company, Inc., Fender Acoustic Instrument Company, Inc., Fender-Rhodes, Inc., Terrafen, Inc., Clef-Tronix, Inc., Randall Publishing Co., Inc., and V.C. Squier Company), as well as Electro-Music Inc. (Leslie speakers), Rogers drums, Steinway pianos, Gemeinhardt flutes, Lyon & Healy harps, Rodgers (institutional) organs, and Gulbransen home organs.

This had far-reaching implications. The sale was taken as a positive development, considering CBS's ability to bring in money and personnel who acquired a large inventory of Fender parts and unassembled guitars that were assembled and put to market. However, the sale also led to a reduction of the quality of Fender's guitars while under the management of "cost-cutting" CBS. Several cosmetic changes occurred after 1965/1966, such as a larger headstock shape on certain guitars. Bound necks with block shaped position markers were introduced in 1966. A bolder black headstock logo, as well as a brushed aluminum face plate with blue or red labels (depending the model) for the guitar and bass amplification became standard features, starting in 1968. These cosmetic changes were followed by a new "tailless" Fender amp decal and a sparkling orange grillcloth on certain amplifiers in the mid-1970s. In the early 1970s, the usual four-bolt neck joint was changed in favor of using only three and a second string tree for the two middle G and D strings has been added in late 1971. These changes were said to have been made to save money; while it suited the new 'improved' micro-tilt adjustment of the neck (previously requiring neck removal and shimming), the "Bullet" truss-rod system and a 5-way pickup selector on most models, it also resulted in a greater propensity toward mechanical failure in the guitars.

During the CBS era, the company did introduce some new instrument and amplifier designs. The Fender Starcaster was particularly unusual because of its semi-hollow body design (while retaining the Fender bolt-on neck) and completely different headstock. The Starcaster also incorporated a new Humbucking pickup designed by Seth Lover. This pickup also gave rise to 3 new incarnations of the classic Telecaster. While more recent use by Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead has raised the Starcaster's profile, CBS-era instruments are generally much less coveted or collectable than the "pre-CBS" models created by Leo Fender before selling the Fender companies to CBS in 1965.

The culmination of the CBS "cost-cutting" may have occurred in 1983, when the Fender Stratocaster received a short-lived redesign without a second tone control and a bare-bones output jack as well as redesigned single-coil pickups, active electronics and three push-push buttons for pickup selection (Elite Series). In addition, previous models such as the Swinger (also known as Musiclander) and Custom (also known as Maverick) were perceived by some musicians as little more than attempts to squeeze profits out of factory stock. The so-called "pre-CBS cult" refers to the popularity of Fenders made before the sale.

After selling the Fender company, Leo Fender founded Music Man in 1975, and later founded the G&L Musical Instruments company, which manufactures electric guitars and basses based on his later designs.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fender - Origins

Sketch of Leo Fender's lap steel guitar from 1944 patent application

The company began as Fender's Radio Service in late 1938 in Fullerton, California, USA. As a qualified electronics technician, Leo Fender had been asked to repair not only radios, but phonograph players, home audio amplifiers, public address systems and musical instrument amplifiers. (At the time, most of these were just variations on a few simple vacuum-tube circuits.) All designs were based on research developed and released to the public domain by Western Electric in the '30s, and used vacuum tubes for amplification. The business also sidelined in carrying records for sale and the rental of self-designed-and-built PA systems. Leo became intrigued by design flaws in current musical instrument amplifiers, and he began custom-building a few amplifiers based on his own designs or modifications to designs.

By the early 1940s, he had partnered with another local electronics enthusiast named Clayton Orr "Doc" Kauffman, and together they formed a company named K & F Manufacturing Corp. to design, manufacture and sell electric instruments and amplifiers. Production began in 1945 with Hawaiian lap steel guitars (incorporating a patented pickup) and amplifiers, which were sold as sets. By the end of the year, Fender had become convinced that manufacturing was more profitable than repair, and he decided to concentrate on that business. Kauffman remained unconvinced, however, and they had amicably parted ways by early 1946. At that point Leo renamed the company the Fender Electric Instrument Company. The service shop remained open until 1951, although Leo Fender did not personally supervise it after 1947.

The first big series of amplifiers were built in 1948. These were known as tweed amps, because they were covered in the same kind of cloth used for luggage at the time. These amps varied in output from 3 watts to 75 watts. This period was one of innovation and changes; While Leo made a Tweed Princeton in 1948 for his Professional 8 string Lap Steel guitar [very short lived, as later he would focus on 6 string Student models] later the Princeton would become a push-pull class AB tube amp, in 1948 it was a single ended Class A amplifier similar to the Fender Champ, with the output transformer mounted to the speaker frame and bereft of any negative feedback. Also, in 1964, the Tweed Champ amp would be reissued in black tolex in small numbers along with the newer model with the slant front panel and controls; the stacked plywood boxes Leo used often went uninventoried. In late 1963, he found a couple hundred Tweed Champ chassis boxes in these bins. He had had them chromed and printed in 1958; being frugal, he built them in black tolex with a chrome and black Champ nameplate, as he had money tied up in them already.

Fender moved to Tolex coverings for the brownface amps in 1960, with the exception of the Champ which kept its tweed until 1964. Fender also began using Oxford, Utah and CTS speakers interchangeably with the Jensens; generally the speaker that could be supplied most economically would be used. Jensens and Oxfords remained the most common during this period. By 1963 Fender amplifiers had a black Tolex covering, silver grille cloth, and black forward-facing control panel. The tremolo was changed to a simpler circuit based on an optical coupler and requiring only one tube. The amps still spanned the spectrum from 4 watts to 85, but the difference in volume was larger, due to the improved, clean tone of the 85w Twin.

Fender owed its early success not only to its founder and talented associates such as musician/product engineer Freddie Tavares but also to the efforts of sales chief, senior partner and marketing genius Don Randall. According to The Stratocaster Chronicles (a book by Tom Wheeler; Hal Leonard Pub., Milwaukee, WI; 2004, p. 108), Mr. Randall assembled what Mr. Fender's original partner Doc Kauffman called “a sales distributorship like nobody had ever seen in the world.” Randall worked closely with the immensely talented photographer/designer Bob Perine. Their catalogs and ads — such as the inspired "You Won't Part With Yours Either" campaign, which portrayed people surfing, skiing, skydiving, and climbing into jet planes, all while holding Jazzmasters and Stratocasters — elevated once-staid guitar merchandising to an art form. In Fender guitar literature of the 1960s, attractive, guitar-toting teenagers were posed with surfboards and Perine's classic Thunderbird convertible at local beachside settings, firmly integrating Fender into the surfin’/hot rod/sports car culture of Southern California celebrated by the Beach Boys, beach movies, and surf music. (The Stratocaster Chronicles, by Tom Wheeler; Hal Leonard Pub., Milwaukee, WI; 2004, p. 108).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fender - History

Fender offered the first mass-produced solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar, the Telecaster (originally named the 'Broadcaster'; 'Esquire' is a single pickup version) the first mass-produced electric bass, the Precision Bass (P-Bass); and popular Stratocaster (Strat) guitar. While Fender was not the first to manufacture electric guitars, as other companies and luthiers had produced electric guitars since the late 1920s, none was as commercially successful as Fender's. Furthermore, while nearly all other electric guitars then were either hollow-body guitars or more specialized instruments such as Rickenbacker's solid-body Hawaiian guitars, Fender had created versatile solid-body electric guitars. These guitars were and still are popular for musicians in a variety of genres.

The company makes acoustic guitars, electric basses, mandolins, banjos, and violins, as well as guitar amplifiers, bass amplifiers, and PA (public address) equipment. Other Fender brands include Squier (entry level/budget), Guild (acoustic and electric guitars and amplifiers), Rodriguez (classical guitars), Benedetto (jazz guitars), SWR (bass amplification), Tacoma, Jackson and Charvel Guitars, X Brand (bass amplifiers) and collaborated with Eddie Van Halen to make the EVH guitars and amplifiers.

On October 28, 2007, Fender announced its intention to buy Kaman Music Corporation (owners of Hamer Gutars, Ovation Guitars, Genz Benz amplifiers, Gibraltar Hardware, along with many others, and exclusive distributor for Sabian cymbals and Takamine Acoustic Guitars.

Other Fender instruments include the Mustang, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Starcaster, Duo-sonic, and Bronco guitars; basses such as the Jazz Bass, the 'Telecaster Bass' reissue of the original 1950s Precision Bass; a line of lap steels; three models of electric violin, and the Fender Rhodes electric piano.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

Type Music Company
Founded 1946
Founder(s) Clarence Leonidas Fender
Headquarters Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Area served Global
Key people Chairman and CEO William (Bill) Mendello
CFO Richard Kerley
Industry Musical instruments
Operating income
Subsidiaries Squier
Jackson Guitars
Guild Guitar Company
SWR Sound Corporation
Brand X

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation of Scottsdale, Arizona is a manufacturer of stringed instruments and amplifiers, such as solid-body electric guitars, including the Stratocaster and the Telecaster. The company, previously named the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, was founded in Fullerton, California, by Clarence Leonidas "Leo" Fender in 1946. Leo Fender also designed one of the first commercially successful solid-body electric bass, the Precision Bass (P-Bass), which has become known in rock, jazz, country, funk and other types of music.

The company is a privately held corporation, with the controlling majority of its stock owned by a group of its own company officers and managers. William (Bill) Mendello is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer and Richard Kerley is Chief Financial Officer.

Fender's headquarters are in Scottsdale, Arizona with manufacturing facilities in Corona, California (USA) and Ensenada, Baja California (Mexico).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PRS - Discontinued models

  • 513 Rosewood (Brazilian rosewood neck)
  • Custom 22 Soapbar
  • Mark Tremonti Model (Stoptail; 12th fret "Mark Tremonti" inlay)
  • CE22
  • CE24
  • CE22 Alder body
  • CE24 Alder body
  • McCarty
  • McCarty Standard
  • McCarty Soapbar Standard
  • Modern Eagle (ME)
  • Singlecut Tremolo Modern Eagle (SCT ME)
  • Santana I
  • Santana III
  • Santana SE
  • McCarty Archtop
  • Singlecut - replaced by SC 245 (a 24.5" scale Singlecut) and SC 250 (a 25" scale Singlecut) in 2007
  • All Left-handed models

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

PRS - Limited editions

  • Signature model (about 1003 made - though only 1000 "officially" made - a few duplicate #'s - officially made from 1987-1991 but more than a few early sigs were made in 1986 like #'s 14, 19, and 30)
  • Signature 'Limited Edition' 1989, 1990 Semi-Hollow Body Tune-O-Matic (about 303 made. #300/300 was made twice - VERY rare with maple top since most had cedar or redwood tops - a few had tremolo instead of a TOM - this was also the first officially 'limited' run of guitars PRS ever did, the 1003 sigs were not originally intended to stop at 1000 guitars)
  • Mark Tremonti Tribal (Only 100 made - signed by Tremonti and numbered)
  • McCarty (Supposed to be the 100 signed by Ted McCarty and numbered but some unsigned McCarty's predate (by serial number)the "first 100")
  • Artist I, II, III, IV & the very rare Artist LTD (only 68 made)
  • Dragon I, II, III, 2000, 2002 and 2005 Double Dragon
  • Rosewood Limited (tree of life inlay on finished East Indian RW neck - 100 made - numbered - some were semi-hollow - a few had tremolo)
  • Golden Eagle (only 10 made)
  • 20th Anniversary (made though 2007 - special 20th anniversary bird inlays - thousands made)
  • Brazilian McCarty (Solid Brazilian necks - 250 signed and numbered - NOT a BLE)
  • Brazilian Singlecut (Solid Brazilian necks - 250 signed and numbered - NOT a BLE)
  • McCarty Brazilian Limited Edition (BLE) models (Brazilian Rosewood fretboards - 500 numbered)
  • CU22 Brazilian Limited Edition models (BLE)(Brazilian Rosewood fretboards - 500 numbered)
  • CU24 Brazilian Limited Edition models (BLE)(Brazilian Rosewood fretboards - 500 numbered)
  • Custom 22 semi-hollow body (not really a limited edition PRS - just hard to find)
  • Private Stock, one-off instruments (not really limited editions - just custom orders)
  • 1986 Single Pick-up 24 Fret Standard (3 made - 1 red and 2 blue - the EVH PRS - not really a limited edition, more like prototypes)
  • Singlecut Semi-Hollow (no f-holes - only 90 made - not numbered or signed)
  • SC-J Thinline(single cut, jumbo, hollowbody with optional Bigsby vibrato)
  • Archtop Artist

Monday, February 16, 2009

PRS - Partial List of PRS Guitar Models

A more extensive list is available at the PRS website. Many of the listed guitars are available with an option of stoptail or tremolo bridge; the finish options are complicated and depend on the model.

  • The PRS Guitar (1985 and 1986 -- all mahogany - optional bird inlays -- now known as the pre-standard)
  • PRS Custom (PRS Guitar with maple top - optional bird inlays - name changed to 'Custom 24' after the 22 fret model was introduced in the mid-nineties)
  • Metal Model (VERY rare solid mahogany 24-fret PRS with pinstripe top)
  • Custom 22
  • Custom 22/12 (a 22 fret 12 string)
  • Custom 24 (the same as the PRS Custom - just renamed CU24 after the CU22 was introduced)
  • SC245 (24.5" scale 22 fret single cut)
  • SC250 (25" scale 22 fret single cut)
  • SC250 Satin
  • McCarty (22 fret neck -- thicker body than the CU22 - thinner headstock set at a different angle)
  • McCarty II
  • McCarty Korina
  • Smokeburst McCarty
  • Mira
  • Mira Maple Top
  • Mira X
  • Santana 1, II, III, Brazilian, and the new Santana MD
  • Johnny Hiland Model
  • Dave Navarro Model
  • Mark Tremonti Model
  • 513 (mahogany neck)
  • Standard 22
  • Standard 24
  • Standard 22 Satin
  • Standard 24 Satin
  • Corvette Standard 22
  • Hollowbody I, II and Spruce
  • Hollowbody I Singlecut
  • Hollowbody Singlecut Standard (all mahogany body)
  • Swamp Ash Special
  • Starla
  • Santana SE II
  • Soapbar SE II
  • Soapbar SE II Maple
  • SE Custom
  • SE Paul Allender
  • Singlecut SE
  • SE EG
  • Tremonti SE
  • SE One
  • SE Soapbar
  • Sunburst 22
  • Sunburst 245
  • Starla

Sunday, February 15, 2009

PRS - Legal Issues

In 1998 PRS released their "Singlecut" guitar, which bore some resemblance to the venerable Les Paul, Gibson Guitar Corp filed a trademark infringement against Paul Reed Smith. An injunction was ordered[1] and PRS stopped manufacture of the Singlecut at the end of 2001. Federal District Court Judge William J. Haynes, in a 57-page decision ruled "that PRS [Paul Reed Smith] was imitating the Les Paul" and gave the parties ninety days "to complete any discovery on damages or disgorgement of PRS's profits on the sales of its offending Singlecut guitar."

In 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court decision and ordered the dismissal of Gibson's suit against PRS. The decision also immediately vacated the injunction prohibiting the sale and production of PRS’s Singlecut Guitar. Paul Reed Smith Guitars announced that it would immediately resume production of its Singlecut guitars.

Paul Smith, the founder of PRS, stated "We are delighted that the appellate court affirmed what we and the industry have long known: the PRS Singlecuts are musical instruments of the highest quality that would never be confused with a competitor’s product."

Gibson tried and failed to have the case reheard by all twenty-four Sixth Circuit judges (denied in December 2005) and then by the United States Supreme Court (denied June 2006), which was their last chance to have their original injunction upheld.

In the litigation, Gibson alleged that concert goers in a smoky concert hall might not be able to differentiate a PRS Singlecut from a Gibson Les Paul. The appellate court rejected that trademark theory out-of-hand, emphasizing Gibson’s concession in court arguments that “only an idiot” would confuse the two products at the point of sale.

While no changes to the design of the Singlecut occurred as a result of the lawsuit (given that Gibson lost), some Singlecut owners and sellers have erroneously adopted the term 'pre-lawsuit' to differentiate their Singlecut from others.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

PRS - Artists who use PRS Guitars

Friday, February 13, 2009

PRS - Non-American PRS (Student Edition or SE Models)

To keep up with demand, PRS introduced a new low-end budget line in the late 1990s. The Student Edition line, is manufactured in Korea and is notable for opaque finishes and lower quality tone-woods though some models also include figured maple veneers such as the Soapbar II. The PRS SE models are increasing in popularity among hobbyists, whereas the higher-end PRS models tend to be geared towards professional musicians.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

PRS - Current Manufacturing Methods

As demand grew during the mid 1990s, PRS had to switch from partially hand manufactured and assembled guitars to partially automated manufacture and assembly. Bodies and neck blanks are now CNC (computer numerically controlled) routed, though sanding, assembly, and finishing are still done by hand. CNC machines are more accurate than the previously used duplicarvers. The main line of PRS guitars are designed and constructed wholly in the United States of America. This and the exacting standards of the PRS factory contribute to their price.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

PRS - Finishes

PRS is known for "popping the grain" on their figured maple topped instruments, a process that accents the '3D' quality of the maple through a multistep staining process. Finishes are transparent, translucent (often with bursts), or opaque and are automotive-grade polyurethane or satin nitrocellulose, meaning that in some instances, the paints were intended for automotive use.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PRS - Pickups

Pickups are designed and wound in-house; PRS is more secretive about magnet and wire type and construction than some aftermarket pickup manufacturers. PRS humbucking pickups have gone by many names, including HFS (Hot, Fat, and Screams); Vintage Bass; McCarty; Santana I, II, and III; Archtop; Dragon I and II; Artist I through IV; #6, #7, #8, #9, and #10, RP (after the initials of the designer, Ralph Perucci) and Soapbar. Further adding to the obscurity, many of the above pickup types are actually a pair of pickups wound in opposing directions, one intended for the neck and one for the bridge position.

Monday, February 9, 2009

PRS - Hardware

Close-up of the 3rd, 5th, and 7th fret bird inlays.

Nuts are synthetic; tuners are of PRS' own design, although some models feature Korean-made Kluson-style tuners. PRS guitars feature three original bridge designs: a one-piece pre-intonated stoptail, an intonatable is unique to PRS and can be used because PRS manufacturing tolerances are so tight, guaranteeing that the distance between witness points will be within a few thousandths of an inch from guitar to guitar. This design does not however allow intonation to be adjusted to compensate for variations in string thickness or drop tuning. This is a result of PRS.' CNC (robot-assisted) manufacturing process. Two other designs are the PRS tremolo, which resembles a vintage Fender Stratocaster unit but with much better tonal stability due to less friction, and the more recent compensated wrapover tailpeice, which allows for height and intonation adjustment.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

PRS -Materials

PRS Custom

Wood selection plays a major role in crafting a PRS guitar. The bodies are crafted of mahogany, with a maple top on most models (maple tops are graded on a 1-10 scale according to their "figure", referring to the visual character of the wood). PRS guitars often feature highly figured tops, including flame maple and quilt maple and even fantastically figured maple creating the effect of tiger stripes. PRS necks are usually made from mahogany, although some models feature maple or Indian or Brazilian rosewood necks; fingerboards are made of rosewood. PRS's signature fret markers include the lower end moons, and the higher end birds. The moons appear similar to standard dot inlays, but have a crescent more prominent than the rest of the dot. The bird inlays feature nine or ten different birds inlayed at the appropriate frets. Inlay materials have included semiprecious stones; all sorts of iridescent shells, including abalone and abalone laminates; gold; and even such exotic and costly materials as unearthed ivory from the (extinct) woolly mammoth.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ibanez - Discontinued Signature models

Friday, February 6, 2009

PRS Guitars

Type Private
Founded 1985
Founder(s) Paul Reed Smith
Headquarters Stevensville, Maryland, USA
Area served Worldwide
Industry Guitar manufacturing
Parent self-owned

PRS Guitars is an American guitar manufacturer headquartered in Stevensville, Maryland. PRS Guitars was founded by guitarist and luthier Paul Reed Smith in 1985. Paul Reed Smith Guitars is a leading manufacturer of high-end electric-acoustic guitars. PRS guitars were originally crafted for local musicians. Guitars made by PRS have become highly prized by musicians and collectors around the world.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ibanez - Pickup Serial Numbers

Ibanez and Greco Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) pickup serial number format consisting of 5 numbers up to and including 1977. Ibanez Super 70 pickups have the same serial number format.

  • First number = Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) pickup code (1, 2, etc)
  • Second number = Year (7=1977)
  • Third number = Month (0=Jan ... 9=Oct then .=Nov, X=Dec)
  • Fourth and Fifth number = Day of Month (01-31)

Ibanez and Greco Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) pickup serial number format consisting of 6 numbers from 1977 to 1982.

  • First number = Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) pickup code (1, 2, etc)
  • Second number = Year (9=1979)
  • Third and Fourth number = Month (01=Jan ... 12=Dec)
  • Fifth and sixth number = Day of Month (01-31)

Ibanez "Super 70" pickups made by Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) had a alnico 8 magnet. Ibanez "Super 58" pickups made by Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) had a alnico 3 magnet. Ibanez "Super 80" pickups made by Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) had a ceramic magnet. All of the above pickups DC resistance is approximately 7.5-8.0 kilohms.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ibanez - Approximate Ibanez Serial Numbers (non Acoustic)

Japanese Ibanez Serial Numbers

1997 and after (CE logo designation)

  • F = FujiGen
  • YYXXXXX format
  • YY = year (98=1998)
  • XXXXX = production number


  • F = FujiGen
  • H = Terada
  • I = Ida Gakki (Iida)
  • YXXXXX format
  • Y = year (2=1992)
  • XXXXX = production number


  • MYYXXXX format
  • M = Month (A = Jan to L = Dec)
  • YY = year (82=1982)
  • XXXX = production number

Most Ibanez models with this serial number format were made by FujiGen Gakki. Exceptions are the Ibanez Blazer models which were made by Dyna Gakki and the Axstar by Ibanez models AX40, AX45, AX48, AXB50, AXB60, AXB65, AX70, AX75 which were made by Chushin Gakki. The Ibanez Axstar AXB1000 model was made by FujiGen Gakki.

Korean Ibanez Serial Numbers

C = Cor-Tek (Cort), S = Samick(1990-1995), S/SQ = Saehan(Sunghan), P = Peerless (Iida), Y = Yoojin, A = Sae-In.

  • YYMMXXXX format
  • YY = year (03=2003)
  • MM = month (01=Jan..12=Dec)
  • XXXX = production number

E = Sung-Eum

  • YMMXXXX format
  • Y = year (9=1999)
  • MM = month (01=Jan..12=Dec)
  • XXXX = production number

W = World

  • MYXXXX format
  • M=month (1=Jan .. 9=Sep, X=Oct..Z=Dec)
  • Y=year (3=2003)
  • XXXX = production number

Indonesian Ibanez Serial Numbers

I = Cor-Tek (Cort) Indonesia, K = KWO

  • YYMMXXXXX format
  • YY = year (03=2003)
  • MM = month (01=Jan..12=Dec)
  • XXXXX = production number

Chinese Ibanez Serial Numbers

Z = Yeou Chern, J=Sejung

  • YYMMXXXXX format
  • YY = year (03=2003)
  • MM = month (01=Jan..12=Dec)
  • XXXXX = production number

Odd Ibanez Serial Numbers

  • 2940000 Acoustic
  • 2 = Cor-Tek (Cort) Taejan
  • YYXXXX format
  • YY = year (94=1994)
  • XXXX = production number
  • Ibanez Ghostrider model numbers GR=Cor-Tek (Cort), MGR=Samick

Older Acoustic

  • YYMM (Kato)
  • YY = year (82=1982)
  • MM = month (01=Jan..12=Dec)

Silver Cadet model

  • Z = Woo-sin

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ibanez - Tube Screamers

Effect pedals

Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer Pedal

Based on the earlier Overdrive I and II pedals, Hoshino Gakki began releasing the first Ibanez Tube Screamer, the TS-808 in the late 1970s. These contained the famed JRC4558D integrated circuit (IC). Many players consider this one of the best solid state pedals to emulate the sound produced by an overdriven vacuum tube guitar amplifier.

Over the years, Hoshino Gakki released many different kinds of pedals bearing the Ibanez Tube Screamer name. The first was the TS-9 Tube Screamer, which included only a few component changes and often, but not always, different ICs. In 1985 the Master or L series were introduced and sold only for a year. Many claim that in this series, there's no Tubescreamer. Looking closer circuitwise shows that there is one but in the disguise of the Metal Screamer with slightly changed component values. The name change was most likely for marketing reasons.

Based on the Master series but with slight changes in housing in 1986, the Power Series were introduced, which included the TS-10. Like many of the Master and Power Series pedals, there were not many differences in the circuitry between these and their 9-series counterparts. To make production cheaper, these pedals used circuit board-mounted potentiometers (pots) and jacks. In 1992, Hoshino Gakki began re-issuing the Ibanez TS-9. Then in 1996, Hoshino Gakki added a CE mark to the back of the Ibanez pedal, which is required for it to be sold in Europe.

In the early 1990s, Hoshino Gakki released the Ibanez Soundtank series, which, except for the first run which was metal, had cheap plastic enclosures and like the Power Series before it, used less expensive parts. Around 2000 came the Tone Lok series, and the TS-7, which included a switch for added gain. In 1998, the new TS-9DX was introduced, which included a 4-way switch for capacitor changes and changes in the clipping section. Then in 2002, Nisshin Onpa stopped production of the TS-9 for Hoshino Gakki. Post-2002 circuit boards say Ibanez instead of Maxon.

Due to popular demand, Hoshino Gakki reissued the Ibanez TS-808 in 2004, complete with the JRC4558D chip. Original TS-808's, and to a lesser extent, TS-9s, have become highly collectible. Many overdrive pedals in production, especially those by "boutique" manufacturers, are a modified version of the Tube Screamer circuit.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ibanez - Effect pedals

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 of Japan. These two companies eventually began doing less and less business together until Nisshin Onpa ceased manufacting the TS-9 reissue for Hoshino Gakki in 2002.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ibanez - Acoustic guitars

  • AE Series
    • AE5LG
  • AES Series
  • AW Series (sr900)
  • DT Series
  • EP9 Series
  • EW Series
  • GA Series
  • JAMPACK Series
  • MANDOLIN Series
  • MANN Series (Canadian distribution only)
  • MASA Series
  • PF Series
  • TALMAN Series
  • V Series
  • Concord
  • SAGE Series

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ibanez - Bass guitars

Headstock from an ARTCORE series guitar
  • ARTCORE Series- Archtop Basses
    • AFB200 - Hollow-body bass guitar
    • AGB200 - Semihollow-body bass guitar
  • ATK 300 and 305, 4 and 5 string models, upon which Paul Gray's signature PGB bass is modeled.
  • Blazer
  • BTB Series
    • BTB Prestige - High-end range which are made in Korea.
  • DWB Series
  • EDA (Ergodyne) Series
  • EDB (Ergodyne) Series
  • EDC (Ergodyne) Series
  • EWB Series
  • GAXB Series
  • GSR Series- A lower-cost version of the Soundgear Series
    • GSR 205 - Nominated for Ibanez's "Best of Model" award
  • GWB Series
  • ICB (Iceman) Series
  • JTK (Jet King) Series
  • JUMPSTART Series- Similar to the GSR Series, named for the Jumpstart Pack which comes with amp and other accessories.
  • K5 Fieldy- A custom 5-string Soundgear w/ "K5" Inlay centered on 12th fret
  • Musician Series
  • ROADGEAR Series
  • SR (Soundgear) Series
    • SR Prestige - High-end range which are made in Korea.
  • SRX (Soundgear) Series
  • SDGR Series
  • ATK Series
  • EX series
  • Roadstar Series
  • S series
  • TR Series

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ibanez - New Guitars for 2008

  • Xiphos 7-String - XPT707 (X-Series)
  • S-Series Prestige - 24-fret
  • SV-Series Prestige - 24-fret, vintage tremolo
  • Iceman - ICT700 (return to the Ibanez catalogue - IC-Series)
  • E-Gen - Herman Li Signature - EGEN18 (derivate of the S-Series)
  • STM - Sam Totman Signature - STM1 (derivate of the IC-Series)
  • NDM - Noodles Signature - NDM2 (return to the Ibanez catalogue - derivate of the Talman Series)
  • ORM - Omar Rodriguez Signature - ORM1 (derivate of the JTK-Series)
  • SZR - 22-fret, new version of the SZ series, SZR520 and SZR720 (with vine inlay & gold hardware)
  • Montage Hybrid Guitar

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ibanez - Production Signature Models

Ibanez JEM 555BK

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ibanez - Electric guitars

Ibanez RG220
  • Ibanez GIO series are budget priced Ibanez guitars. They have the GIO name assigned to their headstock above the Ibanez logo. The GIO series are the budget priced copies of the Ibanez RG, RX, SA, SZ, and AX series. The GRG mikro, the sole Ibanez 3/4-sized guitar, also belongs to this category.
  • Ibanez RG series (previously named Roadstar Guitar, hence the name RG), are the Ibanez superstrat guitars, all featuring 24-fret slim necks. Most of the Ibanez RG models have bolt-on-necks with high-performing tremolos, although some are neck-thru or fixed bridge models. The first Ibanez RG was the 550 in 1987, which was the cheaper version of the Ibanez JEM, Steve Vai's signature model. It featured pretty much the same specifications except for the "Monkey Grip", the "Lion's Claw" below the tremolo, the Vine or Pyramid inlay and the DiMarzio pickups. Shape, colors, pickup configurations and woods were pretty much the same. From 1987 to present the RG came out in many different versions, some having different pickups and pickup configurations (HSH, HH, HSS, HS etc), some lacking the pickguard and some with different woods, bridges and a variety of solid and transparent finishes. It is not clearly known how many versions have appeared since 1987. In 2003, Japanese-made RGs became the RG Prestige series, which featured an all-new neck construction (much more reliable now), a redesigned tremolo (Edge-Pro) and a 6-step special treatment to the fretboard for even more comfortable playing. It has the following subseries: RGT Prestige (neck-Thru) and the RGA Prestige (Arch-top and fixed bridge) however some newer models have floating bridges. In 2004 there was a little modernization of RG-series, after what the new RG 1570 appeared. These redesigned RGs were available with a DiMarzio HSH pickup configuration and Edge Pro locking vibrato systems.
  • Ibanez S series also known as the Saber series are famous for having ergonomic and lightweight mahogany bodies. A notable endorser of the Ibanez Saber series was Frank Gambale, who obtained his namesake FGM signature guitars in 1987, and the main endorser of this series is the world famous Joe Satriani with his JS series guitars like JS100, JS1000, JS1200, JS1600 and JSBDG to name a few. As of 2008, Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li (a long time S series player) uses the E-Gen signature guitars, which are made from an S series Ibanez guitar with some modifications. The series has the following subseries:
    • S - The S models use the "zero resistance" floating tremolo, which enables the strings to stay more in tune. Also available as S Prestige, high-end range which are made in Japan/Korea - S2170, S4170 AB.
    • SZ - The SZ or SZR (introduced in 2008) models have hardtail bridges and thru-body stringing, as well as a 25.1 scale set neck that has a different feel than the S and SA's guitar's bolt on 25.5 scale neck. Also available is the SZ Prestige, high-end range which are made in Japan/Korea. (The SZ Model was discontinued and has been replaced by the SZR)
    • SC - Similar to the SZ models. No longer in production.
    • SA - The SA models feature a flatback body (S models feature a curved back), and have synchronized tremolos. Also the basic SA models have a hidden plate bolt on neck design. Subseries include the SAS, basic SA models with Set-in neck design, and the SA Prestige.
    • SV - The SV models have a thicker neck and a TZ100 tremolo bridge.
  • 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).
  • AX series - Extreme version of the artist model, aimed towards metal players - currently only exist as GAX model and Guitar Center exclusive model.
  • Axstar (aka Axstar by Ibanez) - discontinued
  • EDR/EXR - Ergodyne series - discontinued
  • Artist Series - In the mid-70's Ibanez started producing a line of double cutaway solid body guitars. Some of these featured tri-sound switches which enabled the player to alter the humbucking pickups to single coil or out of phase modes. There were various models, the best known of which, produced in the 1980s, are the AR100, AR105, AR150 (all without the tri-sound) and AR300, AR305, AR350 (all featuring the tri-sound). The artist series established the company as manufacturers of high quality original instruments. Early endorsers included Bob Weir and Steve Miller. The AR300 has since been reissued as a cheaper, downgraded model.
  • MC - Musician series - discontinued
  • 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. Subseries are
    • AF (Full hollow)
    • AK (Full Hollow)
    • AFS-75t (Full hollow vintage vibrato)
    • AG (Full hollow)
    • AGS (Semi hollow)
    • AS (Semi hollow)
    • AM (Semi hollow)
    • AXD (Semi and Full hollow)
    • AWD (Semi and Full hollow)
    • FWD (Semi and Full hollow)
  • Ibanez Jet King 2 and Jet King 1 - A modern remake of the Ibanez Rhythm maker, vintage looking and sounding guitar
  • Radius series - discontinued, a modified version is now taken over by the Joe Satriani signature series which features a multi-radius neck.
  • RS Roadstar Series - Consists of the Talman, Radius and Saber series
  • EX Series - Manufactured in Korea.
  • X Series - Various X-shaped and star-shaped instruments geared towards metal players
  • PL - Pro Line series
  • RR - Rocket Roll
  • DT - Destroyer
  • IC - Iceman
  • CN Concert Series - This was a short lived series produced in 1978 then discontinued soon afterwards. It features an [Asymmetric|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.
  • Ibanez j.custom - Previously an exclusive custom range available in Japan only. Now available worldwide.
  • U.S.A. custom - USA custom range.
  • AFD - Artfield
  • (M)GR - Ghostrider
  • Cimar by Ibanez

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ibanez - Lawsuit

Harry's Rosenbloom, of Medley Music, based in Ardmore, 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 1971 Hoshino purchased Elger Guitars, renaming the company "Hoshino U.S.A." and retaining the company headquarters in Bensalem, Pennsylvania as a distribution and quality-control center.

The lawsuit was brought by the "Norlin Corporation", the parent company of Gibson guitars against Elger/Hoshino U.S.A. in 1977, and was based on an Ibanez headstock design that had been discontinued by 1976. Hoshino settled out of court, and by 1978 had begun making Ibanez guitars from their own designs

After the so-called lawsuit Hoshino Gakki abandoned the strategy of copying "classic" USA electric guitar designs and moved 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, flatter 2-octave fingerboards (which allowed for faster playing), slim pointed headstocks, higher-output electronics, humbucker/single-coil/humbucker pickups, locking tremolo bridges and more colourful finishes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ibanez - History

The Hoshino Gakki company began in 1908 as the musical instrument sales division of the Hoshino Shoten a bookstore company. The Ibanez brand name dates back to 1929 when Hoshino Gakki began importing Salvador Ibáñez guitars from Spain. When the "Salvador Ibáñez" workshop was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, the "Ibanez Salvador" guitars were no longer available, so Hoshino Gakki bought the "Ibanez Salvador" brand name rights and started making Spanish acoustic guitars in 1935, at first using the "Ibanez Salvador" brand name, and then later using the "Ibanez" brand name.

The modern era of Ibanez guitars began in 1957 and the late 1950s and 1960s Ibanez catalogues show guitars with some wild looking designs. Japanese guitar makers in the 1960s were mostly copying European guitar designs and some of the late 1960s Ibanez designs were similar to Hagström and EKO guitar designs. Hoshino Gakki used the Teisco and FujiGen Gakki guitar factories to manufacture Ibanez guitars after they stopped manufacturing their own guitars in 1966 and after the Teisco guitar factory closed down in 1969/1970 Hoshino Gakki used the FujiGen Gakki guitar factory to make most Ibanez guitars.

In the 1970s Japanese guitar makers started to mainly copy American guitar designs and Ibanez branded copies of Gibson, Fender, Dan Armstrong and Rickenbacker models started to appear. This resulted in the so called Ibanez lawsuit period. After the lawsuit period Hoshino Gakki introduced Ibanez models that were not copies of the Gibson or Fender designs such as the Iceman and Ibanez Roadstar. 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 Frank Zappa's former guitarist Steve Vai resulted in the introduction of the Ibanez JEM and the Ibanez Universe models and 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 which were a lower priced version of the Ibanez JEM model.

Hoshino Gakki also had semi acoustic, nylon and steel stringed acoustic guitars manufactured under the Ibanez name. Tama acoustic guitars were made from 1974-1979 at the Tama Drum factory. In 1979 the Tama acoustic guitars were renamed as the Artwood Series and were also made at the Tama Drum factory. Most Ibanez guitars were made for Hoshino Gakki 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 GR-505, the twin humbucker Roland GR-202 and the Ibanez X-ING IMG-2010.

Sometimes stencil (template) guitar designs were shared by Japanese guitar companies and distributors so an early Hoshino Ibanez branded guitar might look the same as another brand name guitar produced by a different Japanese distributor but only Ibanez, Cimar by Ibanez and Maxxas branded guitars were made for Hoshino Gakki and are the only guitar brand names that have appeared in Hoshino Gakki catalogues. Cimar guitars were not produced by Hoshino Gakki but "Cimar by Ibanez" guitars were produced for Hoshino Gakki by Cimar.

The Starfield guitar brand was also 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 Kanda Shokai Greco guitars were sold in Japan and the Hoshino Gakki Ibanez guitars were sold outside of Japan. From 1982, Ibanez guitars have also been sold in Japan as well as being sold outside of Japan.

Guitar brands such as Antoria 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 with Hoshino Gakki cooperation from 1964-1987. 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

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Type Private
Founded Nagoya, Japan 1957
Headquarters Japan
Industry Musical instruments
Products Ibanez Guitars and Basses, Amplifiers, Effects

Ibanez (pronounced /ˈaɪbænɛz/ or /aɪˈbænɛz/) is a guitar brand owned by Hoshino Gakki and based in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Hoshino Gakki were one of the first Japanese musical instrument companies to gain a significant foothold in the United States and Europe.

Custom Search