IBANEZ
Model Search
Select Category
IBANEZ
Instruments currently produced in Japan since the early 1960s, Korea since the 1980s, and China since the early 2000s. Ibanez guitars are distributed in the U.S. by Ibanez USA (Hoshino) in Bensalem, PA. Other distribution offices include Quebec (for Canada), Sydney (for Australia), and Auckland (for New Zealand).
The Ibanez trademark originated from the Fuji plant in Matsumoto, Japan. In 1932, the Hoshino Gakki Ten, Inc. factory began producing instruments under the Ibanez trademark. The factory and offices were burned down during World War II, and were revived in 1950. By the mid-1960s, Hoshino was producing instruments under various trademarks such as Ibanez, Star, King´s Stone, Jamboree, and Goldentone.
In the mid-1950s, Harry Rosenbloom opened the Medley Music store outside Philadelphia. As the Folk Music boom began in 1959, Rosenbloom decided to begin producing acoustic guitars and formed the Elger company (named after Rosenbloom´s children, Ellen and Gerson). Elger acoustics were produced in Ardmore, Pennsylvania between 1959 and 1965.
In the 1960s, Rosenbloom traveled to Japan and found a number of companies that he contracted to produce the Elger acoustics. Later, he was contacted by Hoshino to form a closer business relationship. The first entry level solid body guitars featuring original designs first surfaced in the mid-1960s, some bearing the Elger trademark, and some bearing the Ibanez logo. One of the major keys to the perceived early Ibanez quality is due to Hoshino shipping the guitars to the Elger factory in Ardmore. The arriving guitars would be re-checked, and set up prior to shipping to the retailer. Many distributors at the time would just simply ship product to the retailer, and let surprises occur at the unboxing. By reviewing the guitars in a separate facility, Hoshino/Ibanez could catch any problems before the retailer - so the number of perceived flawed guitars was reduced at the retail/sales end. In England, Ibanez was imported by the Summerfield Brothers, and sometimes had either the CSL trademark or no trademark at all on the headstock. Other U.K. distributors used the Antoria brand name, and in Australia they were rebranded with a Jason logo.
In the early 1970s, the level of quality rose as well as the level of indebtedness to classic American designs. It has been argued that Ibanez´ reproductions of Stratocasters and Les Pauls may be equal to or better than the quality of Norlin era Gibsons or CBS era Fenders. In any event, the unauthorized reproductions eventually led to Fender´s objections to Tokai´s imports (the infamous headstock sawing rumour), and Norlin/Gibson taking Hoshino/Ibanez/Elger into court for patent infringement.
When Ibanez began having success basically reproducing Gibson guitars and selling them at a lower price on the market, Norlin (Gibson´s owner at the time) sent off a cease-and-desist warning. Norlin´s lawyers decided that the best way to proceed was to defend the decorative (the headstock) versus the functional (body design), and on June 28th, 1977 the case of Gibson vs. Elger Co. opened in Philadelphia Federal District Court. In early 1978, a resolution was agreed upon: Ibanez would stop reproducing Gibsons if Norlin would stop suing Ibanez. The case was officially closed on February 2, 1978.
The infringement lawsuit ironically might have been the kick in the pants that propelled Ibanez and other Japanese builders to get back into original designs. Ibanez stopped building Gibson exact reproductions, and moved on to other designs. By the early 1980s, certain guitar styles began appealing to other areas of the guitar market (notably the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal genre), and Ibanez´s use of famous endorsers probably fueled the appeal. Ibanez's continuing program of original designs and artist involvement continued to work in the mid- to late 1980s, and continues to support their position in the market today (source: Michael Wright, Guitar Stories, Volume One).
In 2011, Ibanez announced that they were bringing all U.S. distribution to the Hoshino Bensalem, PA location.

From Blue Book Publications:


No part of this information may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, by photograph, mimeograph, fax transmission or any other mechanical or electronic means. Nor can it be broadcast or transmitted, by translation into any language, nor by electronic recording or otherwise, without the express written permission from the publisher.