Ibanez Signature built by not Ibanez in the 80's? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-28-2002, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Ibanez Signature built by not Ibanez in the 80's?

Back in 1987 a very well known guitarbuilder got a visitor from Norway. The guy from Norway was then, and still is a very well known salesperson with good connections in the US. This guitarbuilder had about ten Ibanez guitars ready to be painted. He had built them all, and they were made to the artists, not for sale. I won't tell his name here yet, I have to make sure that it's true. After what my norwegian friend could tell, this was excellent guitars, beautiful wood and flawless craftmanship.

My friend asked why he had Ibanez guitars, and possibly Jems, in his workshop. He was told that the signature models were made to the artists by him, and some other people painted them. I have told my friend to ask this US guy if he can recall what guitars he made, possibly how many.

This is something that I have never heard of before with Ibanez. I know it's the case with some other guitarmodels. Like the Takamine Springsteen model.

I know this got a hush, hush signal from Ibanez. Could someone verify that this happened? And maybe fill in some more info on how, who and where?


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-28-2002, 07:46 AM
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I can't verify anything, but I think it's quite possible. Ibanez has outsourced certain lines along the way, the USRG's are a prime example as are the American Master series. Back in the mid 80's the current Ibanez line was just shaping up, so I don't see why the prototypes couldn't have maybe been built in a workshop of a luthier. Check out the story of the JEM's origin HERE maybe the luthier in question was involved in these
or other prototypes.

Evo, Vai's main guitar isn't a production line model, it's prototype, so it had to be hand built somewhere by some dedicated individual(s) I would have thought that these days Ibanez would do it "in house" but back then, who knows?... Well, probably Glen or Rich actually
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-28-2002, 09:00 AM
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It's pretty well known that there's usually a difference between the models that the artists plays and their endirsed signature models. The models the artists plays are usually handbuilt to the specs of the signature models, but with much more of an eye for scrutiny, wood type and quality, etc.

It wouldn't shock me to find out that there were a few Jems in the bunch. What I find odd is that Vais early career guitar choices were rarely consistent; he tended to play Florals, Desert Yellows and most of the other colors and styles available up until the "Slip Of The Tongue" era when he changed over to the 7 strings, and then later the VWH models. If they did outsource guitars for him then they had to have done at least one of each style; mentally I can recall at least one picture (non-promo but performance) with him playing just about one of each model. It's not impossible but it is peculiar.

If you can find out mroe it might make for a great story.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-29-2002, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Like you say, Jono, the prototypes were most likely not built by the usual Ibanez machineries. I'm working on getting a picture of the workshop and hopefully the guitars. The luthier I'm thinking of is not mentioned in the link you posted Jono. But I won't tell any names before I know for sure that this is more than a rumour. What I feel is not right about it being prototypes is that there were several models. And to my knowledge, not many prototypes of different Ibanez guitars where made during short periods. And like Skarekrough says about Vais choice of guitars makes me think that it's would be very demanding of a luthier that he would have to build that many models to one artist. After all it takes time to build them, and Vai used every Jem model made at one point or another.

I'll dig some deeper and lurk some corners. I never thought history could be this interesting.


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