Ibanez entered the guitar market in the mid 70's making cheap knockoffs of classic Gibson guitars such as the Explorer (like James Hetfield plays) and the famous Flying V. While the quality of the these guitars is suspect, their close emulation of the beautiful Gibson shapes has nonetheless made them quite collectible.

The later lines have shown much higher quality woods and workmanship from the Ibanez's luthiers.

I own a couple Ibanez guitars, an RG 570, and an RG 470, both of which I bought used, for around $250 each. Mine seem to be pretty solid, well built and playable instruments. The RG 570 plays and feels every bit as good as my Jackson RR1 which cost considerably more, (though I bought that one new). The R5 470 is just noticeably inferior to the 570, but still not bad, certainly not a "pos", as herbman puts it. I suppose though that maybe mine aren't "low-end" RG series, but more "middle of the line" RG series.

And since I originally wrote this, I bought an Ibanez Prestige which totally kicks ass (despite its stupid name). And, I did see in a catalog, a low-end RG series... apparently the "RG" designation is being diluted, or perhaps it never meant what I thought, as this one did look like somewhat of a piece of shit, with a non-locking vibrato.

Ibanez is a major creator and contributor to the pool of available guitars, amplifiers and even effects pedals today.

Ibanez began before World War II largely in Spain, but Ibanez was only truly recognized after the 1970's. In the 70's they came out with some Fender and Les Paul copies which often sounded as good or better than the real things but were priced much lower, making them popular among those who couldn't get their hands on the better equiptment.

Pretty soon some guitarists that were poor and played Ibanez like George Benson, Adrian Smith and Paul Stanley started getting real famous and making big bucks. This really helped Ibanez's reputation and business. Soon Ibanez really began innovating and coming up with great products from jagged destroyers to the more modern RG Series guitars both originally made for the insane lead guitarist in a heavy metal band.

Ibanez also created the legendary TS-9 Tubescreamer effect pedal deliverying very tubey distortion, still considered today to be the holy grail of distortions and overdrives.

Today Ibanez is played by guitar heroes like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai and is bigger and better than it ever was, still expanding vastly with a new Tone-Lok pedal line-up, the S series guitars and much more. They are now largely based in Japan.

I myself own an Ibanez S-Classic SC420, and having a decent amount of knowledge as a guitarist can tell you that Ibanez makes some of the best guitar and effects there are and at a very affordable price.

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