Sunday, September 21, 2008

Playing the Guitar

Playing the Guitar - The History of Ibanez Guitars by Ignatius Gluck

Not only does the guitar itself have a rich and varied history but the companies that manufacture them are interesting as well. Everyone writes about the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Strat but today let's talk about Ibanez guitars. Ibanez guitars have built a name and reputation for themselves. Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Pat Metheny, Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman of The Offspring all work their magic on Ibanez guitars. Vai designed the Ibanez JEM and Universe electric guitars. Satriani plays an Ibanez JS Series axe. Metheny tools around on an Ibanez PM120 guitar. Wassermann punks out on an Ibanez NDM series guitar. Many more artists have discovered Ibanez instruments.

The company that manufactures Ibanez guitars, Hoshino Gakki of Japan, went through a period of lawsuits brought against it for copying various models of Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker guitars. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all if you can get through trademark infringement.

Ardmore, Pennsylvania was the home of the "Elger" guitar, handmade instruments which were produced for a music store called Medley Music. Opened by Harry Rosenbloom in 1954 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania the business was having trouble finding guitars to sell. Guitars were very popular and manufacturers were having trouble keeping up with demand. To solve the problem Rosenbloom created a guitar manufacturing company called Elger Guitars. His children Ellen and Gerson were the inspiration for Elger.

In 1964 Rosenbloom ended guitar building and became a guitar importer. Elger Guitars signed on to be the North American distributors for the Hoshino Gakki Gen Company, the maker of Ibanez guitars. To appeal to guitarists with limited funds Ibanez produced axes that resembled Gibsons, Fenders and Rickenbackers and sold them for a lot less than the big name guitars.

Norlin, the parent company of Gibson, filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement. Ibanez settled out of court and began producing their own original guitar designs and vastly improved the quality of their products. Today Ibanez produces not only guitars, both electric and acoustic, but amps, effects boxes and assorted other guitar paraphernalia.

Whether you choose Ibanez, Gibson, Fender or another of the myriad guitar models available, just get your hands on one and learn how to play. Save gas and learn at home. The guitar courses I've reviewed are available at

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