Ibanez Launches Largest Series of Custom Shop Instruments in Hoshino USA’s 50th Anniversary
Hoshino USA, the American subsidiary of Ibanez’s parent company, Hoshino Gakki, turns 50 this year, and Ibanez is launching its largest series of custom instruments.
The project sees the Ibanez Japan Custom Shop in Aichi Prefecture, Japan working in tandem with its counterpart in Los Angeles to create some of the most stunning electric guitars and basses you can buy.
Rest assured, the specs will be ridiculously stacked. There will be quilted maple, figured maple bindings, imaginative tonewood combinations, stainless steel frets with Premium fret edge treatment, and high-end hardware from Gotoh. While we’re still awaiting details on each individual instrument, with anniversary models set to be announced today via dealers worldwide, it looks like there will be something for everyone.
For the grinder, there are high-performance RG models, some with what looks like a thru-neck construction – a recent development from 2022, as they are usually exclusively bolt-on. For the fashion-forward jazz cat, there appears to be a single-pickup AF variant finished in warm canary yellow. And we know from experience that Ibanez always likes to deploy exotic woods for their bass guitars.
“Just as no two years are ever the same, each of these guitars and basses are completely unique from each other,” Ibanez said in a statement. “They come with a unique style and feature set, mostly inspired by the master luthiers who built them.”
Ibanez has taken a closer look at three of the new 50th anniversary models from Japan’s (JPCS) and LA’s (LACS) LACS Custom Shops. We’ll take a look…
LACS5 ‘Root Beer Float’
It’s great to see an Iceman in the lineup, and here’s a wonderful vintage angle on the design with a Light Root Beer Burst finish on a flamed maple top about half an inch thick. There’s also the unusual Iceman spec of a maple fingerboard here with a 12-inch radius, on a three-piece maple and korina neck.
Di Marzio’s 36th Anniversary PAF style humbuckers are featured here and the hardware includes Gotoh Magnum locking tuners and a Gibraltar 1 bridge.
Flame maple neck binding and gold hardware accents enhance the ’70s feel. A custom flame maple stem cover features the Ibanez “spaghetti” logo.
LACS18 ‘Hang 10’
The Talman has had a mini-rebirth lately thanks to Yvette Young and this one is truly a rare bird; a construction through the neck rather than the usual Talman bolt. This striking finish is also quite special; Turquoise Blue Stain finish on a 1-inch-thick quilted maple that puts the surf in surf rock style here.
The neck here is three-piece maple/purpleheart with a 16-inch radius rosewood fretboard and Luminlay side dots.
The 25.5-inch “Hang 10” scale features a five-way pickup selector switch, Gotoh Magnum locking tuners and Gibraltar Std. II bridge.
The best bass of the year? Sakura (Japanese for “cherry blossom”) is going to be tough to beat. The top of this bass is encrusted with as many cherry blossoms as you like, made from various types of wood and shells.
The inlay work here is super detailed and involves individually cutting, sanding and seating over 90 individual pieces of shell and wood. Even the Nordstrand Big Singles pickup covers have cherry blossom inlays.
The bass has a burl maple top over an alder body and a Yozakura blue finish, with a burl and Lauan headstock inlay creating the look of a mountain top. The result is where the instrument and the artwork merge to stunning effect.
The five-piece maple/purpleheart neck center is another eyebrow-raising feature; it’s Timeless Timber Maple ‘Salvaged from the depths of lakes and rivers after what are sometimes hundreds of years, timeless hardwoods are special, rare and highly coveted.’
Other features include five-piece maple stainless steel frets, ebony fingerboard, Gotoh RES-O-LITE tuners and an Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-band EQ.
To learn more about the Hoshino USA 50th Anniversary Custom Shop series, visit Ibanez.