Why I love Ibanez Guitars!
What I have learned
Many people around the World play the guitar and I have been fortunate to have enjoyed playing the guitar since 1970. You would think by now I would be the hottest guitarslinger on the Planet, but alas, life often gets in the way of teenage dreams. I continue to play and grow which is the important thing about music.
I started with the cheapest guitar my parents would buy and that meant an acoustic guitar with strings high off the finger board. Today, with computer controlled manufacturing, even starter guitars are EASY TO PLAY and they sound great too!
I am now a more experienced musician and like most guitarists, I experimented and found a brand of guitars that fits my musical needs - Ibanez!
My first electric guitar was also not very high quality but I had a limited budget. My hands are not large or my fingers long so I struggled. I did not let that stop me! I had to make it work but in the process learned more about guitars in general. Soon I was playing with other guitarists and hanging out at the music store so I played a variety of name brand guitars. What I found was that with some brands the neck was too thick, and on others the neck was too wide. Some it was both!
Then I played an Ibanez and WOW, it felt fantastic! Ibanez guitars have a neck profile that is thinner than average and less wide. This combination fits my hand and I can play with comfort for long periods of time. This encouraged me more than ever to practice and become a better musician.
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Part of the Hoshino Gakki company based in the city of Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, the Ibanez brand has a history that stretches back to 1908. At the beginning, it was just the musical instrument department of a book store. They began importing Spanish made guitars and later acquired the name Ibanez through that arrangement. In 1935 Hoshino Gakki started manufacturing their own line of acoustic guitars under the Ibanez brand name.
In the late 1950′s Ibanez electric guitars began to appear and through the 1960′s Ibanez electrics looked quite a bit like European electrics and the designs were often wild looking by today’s standards (but, hey, it was the 60′s!).
In the 1970′s the headstock on many Ibanez guitar models looked too much like American brands so there was a lawsuit and a settlement reached in 1978 and from then on Ibanez forged t’s own path. By the way, those “lawsuit” Ibanez (and other Japanese guitars) from the 60′s and 70′s are highly collectible today.
Fast forward and Ibanez is a name brand of high quality guitars, basses, ukuleles and amplifiers and many famous musicians in all styles of music play Ibanez guitars.
My Ibanez Electric Guitar
A few years ago I decided I needed a dedicated jazz guitar but one that was flexible enough for rock and blues. I knew I wanted an Ibanez and began checking out the current models in my price range. I narrowed it down to a semi-hollow, double cutaway model, of which Ibanez makes several.
Then a strange thing happened. I found an 1997 Ibanez AS80 in Transparent Butterscotch finish (with hard shell case) that had several things going for it. The AS80 is no longer manufactured and this one was from the years when this model featured the same pickups as the John Scofield Signature Model (more on him later) and the George Benson Signature Models. The color was not common and the guitar was in excellent condition.
This guitar is flexible, allowing me to play a wide variety of styles and I get a big smile on my face every time I play her. Yes, for some reason guitars are usually female, don’t ask me why. Maybe the hourglass shape?
Why a Semi-Hollow Body Guitar?
Guitars are simple but how they are constructed makes a difference in how they sound. Over time different styles of guitars have become associated with genres of music.
For example, the solid body electric guitar is associated with Rock music. One reason is that the body does not vibrate much. That means that the volume can be louder through the amplifier before the sound feeds back and the guitar and electronics begin to regenerate an uncontrolable sound. Controlled feedback is fun and many rock guitarists use it to increase sustain and energy. I'm cool with that and have used this technique but my sound developed more into a jazzy style and I do not want feedback.
Hollow body guitars are common in traditional Jazz and do feed back easily but these guitars are played at a lower volume than rock guitars. Jazz music is normally softer so this works well. Now some Jazz (known as Fusion), combines elements of Jazz and Rock and this brings us to the Semi-Hollow body guitar.
What if you take a hollow body guitar and make it about half as thick? Then down the center line (from the base of the neck to the tail) you fill the body with a solid piece of wood? You get a guitar that will sound great in both the Rock and Jazz worlds! The Semi-Hollow body guitar is also at home in the blues realm but Blues also has elements of both Rock and Jazz.
Ibanez AS93 Artcore Semi-Hollow Body Guitar
This is the closest model to mine in the current line up. The Ibanez Artcore AS93 Semi-Hollow Body Guitar is one that will cover your needs from rock to jazz and pop musical styles. Don't forget the case!
Another Reason I chose this Guitar
One of my favorite guitar heroes is John Scofield. "Sco" as he is sometimes known by, is a guitarist fully at home in the Rock, Blues and Jazz genres. He has his own signature guitar made by (surprise) Ibanez!
Scofield played with Miles Davis for over three years and was a big part of the gritty, blues based Fusion Jazz Miles was cranking out back then. Scofield also has played traditional Jazz but his own music is very eclectic Jazz that appeals to my tastes in modern music.
My Ibanez AS80 is as close as I could afford to get to the John Scofield Model, at least so far. Who knows, maybe I will own one someday but until then I will enjoy the one I have. At least I am in great company as not only does John Scofield play an Ibanez guitar, my other two Jazz favorites do too. George Benson and Pat Metheny!
John Scofield - A GO GO
Although not one of his latest, "A Go Go" is still one of my favorite John Scofield Albums.