This Ibanez was offered to me at a very keen price and I bit. I know absolutely nothing about the brand and if a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, then none at all is potentially catastrophic. Actually, I probably got what I paid for.

Ibanez is a Japanese make with a long history of quality guitars. At the start of the twentieth century Matsujiro Hoshino sold books, sheet music and musical instruments. At the start of the twenties he started importing instruments from Europe and the USA including classical Spanish guitars by luthier Salvador Ibanez. In the thirties, demand was so high that the family started their own guitar production. They dropped the Salvador name but kept Ibanez for their own products.

The war saw an end to production but in the mid-fifties imports were restarted by the company, now renamed Tama Seisakusho. In the sixties they once more resumed production of the Ibanez brand. They also built guitars for other companies and in 1967 the first Ibanez guitars were imported into US.

In the seventies they began producing copies of expensive US brands such as Fender, Rickenbacker and Gibson. Although much cheaper than the instruments they effectively ripped-off , Ibanez were always high quality and sought after by musicians. In the eighties, when cloning became legally more problematic, Ibanez began producing their own designs. Some production was moved to South Korea. It is a tribute to Ibanez that some of their products were themselves cloned as cheap Chinese copies.

The economies of Chinese production were finally recognised by Ibanez themselves and production of a cheaper range of Artcore instruments was moved to China. The model I have is a Chinese Artcore AS73-T-TCR. The quality seems very good and there are no signs of it being a cheap knock-off. The keyboard is a little broad for my taste but well made. The guitar is a typical Gibson 335/355 type with a central block and double bat wings. It is reputed to have a maple body with a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. I doubt it will become one I play a lot but it was very inexpensive. It has a Bigsby style arm but which is labelled not Bigsby but Ibanez and I was worried that it may not be puka but I have been on the Internet and seen that there are Ibanez copies of Bigsbys. I’ve also seen a guitar from a reputable dealer exactly like mine so I guess it’s all OK. The serial number tells me it’s China made in 2009.