Dating vintage ibanez guitars
I'll explain the reasons behind this in a moment, but first, take a look at text from an ad run during the 1970s: That gets right to the point.Hoshino Gakki (the Japanese trading company that owns the "Ibanez" brand name) took great pains to address the issue way back then, but these days, nobody seems to take their word for it.In this sense, any MIJ (or made in Korea, China, wherever) guitar that looks like a Fender strat or tele; or a Gibson Les Paul, SG, ES-335; or a Martin acoustic; or a Guild or Rickenbakker; can be labeled as a "lawsuit" model.The use of "lawsuit" in an ad is usually backed up with an explanation that "[INSERT MIJ BRAND HERE] was sued by [INSERT US BRAND HERE] to stop production because the MIJ copies were better than the US versions". subsidiary at the time, "Elger") was the only company actually sued by an American guitar maker over its designs.Beginning in the late 1960s, Hoshino began contracting with Fujigen to produce Ibanez-branded instruments.
During the 1970s, Hoshino used a single Japanese manufacturer for its electric guitar production. Currently Fujigen makes its own line of self-branded instruments, but in the 1960s up through the present, it also contracts with a number of other companies to produce instruments with other brand names on them.First number is year, since yours has 7 numbers, that means it was made from 1997-present.I have been playing, collecting, repairing and analyzing vintage Ibanez (and other MIJ guitars) for over 30 years, and I am often asked this question.The reason I get asked it is because many people who are selling an old guitar without the Ibanez brand on it put something to this effect in their ad: So, if you have found this article because you are considering buying a cool old guitar, the information I have presented below should help you avoid paying more for a guitar than it is actually worth, or finding out later, when you go to sell it, that it really isn't an Ibanez at all.Let me get right to the point: If a guitar does not have a valid "Ibanez" logo on its headstock, then it's NOT an Ibanez guitar.But the fact of the matter is that there was just ONE lawsuit ever brought by an American guitar builder against a foreign distributor or builder during the 1970s. The suit was brought in 1977 by Norlin (the then maker of Gibson guitars) and the suit focused narrowly on Hoshino's use of Gibson-style, "open book" headstocks.Fujigen Gakki, as manufacturer, was also named in the suit.To confuse matters more, Kanda Shokai (the Greco brand owner) entered into a contract with Fender and Fujigen to produce the first of the "Joint Venture" Squier stratocasters and telecasters, beginning in 1982. The result is that people get confused about WHERE a guitar was made and WHO it was made for.Since Fujigen is one of the major Japanese guitar manufacturers, people assume that any guitar they've made was "made at the Ibanez factory" or was "made for Ibanez under a different brand". To add to the confusion, there were other large guitar manufacturers in Japan at the time (Matsumoku was one and Kasuga was another) and people have made the leap to say that literally ANY guitar stamped "MADE IN JAPAN" must have been produced at the Ibanez factory or for Ibanez.Hoshino owns no manufacturing facilities beyond a small custom shop in California.All of its guitars are built by various manufacturers around the world.