Believable or not but Japans official number is 12. 8 prototypes and 4 production. Production had straight jacks. This will not include what slipped out or was given away by LA from their own attempted production.
It’s strange they would put them in the catalog and then only make a under 12 for sale. I thought 💭 they made a batch, sold them and people returned them 🏻 as they peeled. Seems Ibanez wasn’t really making a killing on joes designer axes in the first few years as they had to pay the girls whatever that was and Donnie $300 a guitar, then add shipping costs 3 times for completion.
They had no plans on making them. Joe wanted one for himself, they finally got one good enough to stay together, Chromeboy. Joe was on Headbangers ball with it and looked into the camera and said if you want one too just go to your nearest dealer and put down a deposit. Hoshino freaked, they had no confidence they could do it after just getting Joe a couple to play, but they put it in the catalog. I own the catalog guitar. They had Japan, LA, and Bensalem all trying to find a way to make it work. There was no way it was ever going to work for production so they gave up and cancelled the model.
All the graphics were the most expensive solid body guitars Ibanez sold, only the GB10 was a little higher. They were cleared and finished in Bensalem and LA. They never shipped back to Japan. They didn't sell well because they were twice the price of a JS1.
That’s really interesting information... I assumed the JS3-5 were just sold originally from Japan as a home base, then distributed throughout the world to certain dealers.. USA gets 20, Japan gets 10 ect ect ect... But then there was one store in NY that had 4 js3’s.. How the hell did that happen.. The only one I ever saw was at the grand opening of GC on Comm Ave Boston 1993. So that would mean they weren’t all custom order only right!? I mean who buys a guitar from a catalog in 1990s? You go to daddy’s junky music and just play and pay..
HOG had more than 4, they ordered everything in quantity, at the dismay of their accountants, but they always made it work. They just had 4 left when Roman made the trip to raid their NOS inventory in 97'. And then he didn't have a clue, he priced them at $2500. He sold the last one for $7500 3 years later.
Special order doesn't mean a customer has to order it, any dealer could order anything in the catalog, back then. Today, not so much. You have to be mastered, not on credit hold, not breaking dealer policies, and the reps pretty much decide who gets what based on your volume. In 2000 my little local store that never had anything higher than an RG470 got me 6 DNA's and 5 Crystal Planets. They couldn't sniff 1 of either today.
But yes, customers also ordered because they were in the catalog, thru their local dealer. I bought one from a dealer that lowballed a player in dire straights and the guy had waited a year and a half for it to come in, and it was in the first batch, and a 91'. So there were 91's in the first batch Donnie sent to Bensalem.
I wouldn’t say I gave up hope of ever finding a Donnie but I search the as many random stores across the world that I can because .... because I thought that 1/2 of them would be over seas.. So maybe that search is a bit of a waste.. I’ve heard of 2 in France and one in Australia but about 40 in US... I’ll keep checking pawn shops, estate sales & reverb as much as I can! The last 77fp I saw at music dispatch in mass was found in a basement clean out and the owner said that’s my sons old guitar you can have it if you want... haha oh God.
My JS2 came from Australia, via Chicago. It was the catalog guitar then sent to Australia for the music fair there, was loaned to a shop with strick orders not to sell it, and of course they did. The case still has the flight tags on it to Australia from Japan.
Roo's is in Australia, it'll never be for sale, and the one that popped up on Gumtree for $10,000 and sold in 2 days was in Australia. Jean had 2 in France but he sold them both, and one was from the US he snipped out from under me. All's fair. He had a JS2 also, was a player and had strap pin holes in the back of the upper horn and I wasn't paying attention to the Euro dropping. It got down to a price I would have paid but he got it, long gone now too, I think it went to Germany. The Donnie I bought out of France was originally sold in Switzerland. The one I bought out of Germany was the 91' catalog guitar and was sent from NAMM over to Germany for Musik Messe. Meinl himself gave it to Robert who in a pinch ran the Rolland booth by himself, so Reinhold doesn't even have a Donnie. He has a JS2 though 8O Robert put it on ebay, 20 years ago when you actually had to click on a country to see what was on that countries ebay. A friend send me a link to it, I recognized it as the catalog guitar but it didn't make sense, even though everything else did you were always worried about it being a copy, there was no logo on the headstock like in the catalog. Asked JD and the answer was typical Ibanez hilarious. 91' was of course the year they started putting the logo's on all the sigs [not just the JEM/UV which always had them] but they had no necks yet so they took a waterslide logo, licked it, and stuck it on the headstock to take the catalog shots. They all fell off as soon as they dried and why the actual guitar never had the logo. Bought it and it's still a prize. Any catalog guitar is always a jewel.
Bought another one out of Germany that was supposed to be dead mint, with a crack through the headstock and about 5 dings. No offense to Germans but they are notorious overgraders. My experience only. I have a new neck for it but just never put it on.
I heard a story of 2 Rainforests hanging in the same store in the Netherlands in 93'. I know of a player Donnie in France but it's beat and had a full scallop on the fretboard.
There are some overseas but the US is where the vast majority are. Then again 2% of them are owned by Spinal Tap 8O