Book Review: The Ibanez Electric Guitar Book

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The Ibanez Electric Guitar Book

By Tony Bacon

Published by: Backbeat Books

ISBN: 978-1-61713-453-1 Soft Cover, 176 pages.

Price: UK £16.95 – US $24.99

Fabulous though the products of the great American guitar makers have been, sometimes you have to wonder if there can be anything new left to say about them. The stories of Martin, Gibson and Fender have been told over and over again and individual models have received obsessive scrutiny – great if you are desperate to date your old 335, but sometimes a little too much detail for the rest of us!

That doesn’t mean, however, that there is nothing left to write about – far from it, as the respected guitar historian Tony Bacon demonstrates in this new book, finally telling the story of Japan’s most prominent guitar brand, Ibanez.

Though he doesn’t say so, this can’t have been an easy book to write, Japanese businesses tend to be less open than (most) of their American counterparts and the infamous ‘copy era’ brings into play all sorts of legal pitfalls that have to be handled delicately. As we might have hoped, however, Bacon does this with his customary skill and attention to detail. It’s all here, including the parts played in the Hoshino/Ibanez copy era by the US and UK distributors, who not only actively encouraged the Japanese company to copy famous US guitars, but sent them vintage examples to use as the templates!

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One of the many things that makes this book stand out is its thoroughness. If you want to read the truth about the copy era, it’s all in here. So are the Vai and Satriani stories (complete with interviews). So are details of the Ibanez Jazz guitars (often, unfairly, overlooked). Then there is the the thorny question of ‘who actually made what?’ – often a sensitive area with Japanese brands. There is even a section at the end of the book enabling owners to date their Ibanez guitars depending on the country of manufacture – and if anyone feels like handing out awards for ‘difficult tasks undertaken by the intrepid’ that must surely qualify!

So, from the ‘looks like an American guitar – heaven knows if it actually plays!’ days of the 1950s and ‘60s right up to today when Ibanez rules (sorry, ‘roolz’) Metal, then gazing into what may be the future where Ibanez leads the way with ‘extended guitars’, it’s all in this book, in painstaking – yet always highly entertaining – detail.

Fabulously illustrated, microscopically researched, written with flair – Tony Bacon has produced the finest book yet in the field of Japanese guitar brands.

We have two copies of this superb new book to give away. Never before has anyone attempted to penetrate the mysteries surrounding the ‘copy era’ of Japanese guitar production, nor trace the history of Ibanez, from a bookshop in Nagoya in 1908, all the way to today’s fire-breathing JEMs and tomorrow’s eight string monsters.

If you want to get a piece of this fabulous action – well, you can buy the book (of course!) or enter our competition, in which we have two copies to give away! Here’s how.

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All you have to do is answer the following two questions, then email your answers ( e.g. Q1 – A) marked ‘Ibanez Book’ along with your name, email address and daytime phone number to competitions@ Make sure we receive your entry no later than 26th August. The same rules apply as for this issue’s Hughes & Kettner competition, so we’re not going to waste space by repeating them.

All you really need to know is that you must be a subscriber to enter: it’s easy and it’s free! Click Here

OK.. . here are the questions.

1/ Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny has a signature A/ The Rocker Ibanez model?    

A/ True

B/ False

2/ The highly regarded Ibanez advanced trem (vibrato) system is known as?:

A/ The Rocker

B/ The Edge

C/ The Bridge

Remember – entries to marked ‘Ibanez Book’ must reach us by no later than 28th August 2016. Good luck!

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