Hoshino USA, the US subsidiary of Ibanez parent company Hoshino Gakki, is 50-years-old this year, and Ibanez is launching its largest ever series of custom shop instruments.
The project sees the Ibanez Japan Custom Shop in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, working in tandem with its Los Angeles counterpart to create some of the most jaw-dropping high-end electric guitars and bass guitars you can buy.
Rest assured, the specs will be ridiculously stacked. There will be quilted maple, figured maple binding, imaginative tonewood combinations, stainless steel frets with Premium fret edge treatment, and top-shelf hardware from Gotoh. Although we are still waiting for details on each individual instrument, with the anniversary models expected to be announced via dealers worldwide today, it looks like there will be something for everyone.
For the shredder, there are high-performance RG models, some with what looks like a neck-through build – a recent 2022 development, as typically these are exclusively bolt-on. For the forward-thinking jazz cat, there looks to be a single-pickup AF variant finished in hot canary yellow. And we know from experience that Ibanez always likes to roll out some exotic tonewoods for its bass guitars.
“Just as no two years are ever exactly the same, each one of these guitars and basses are totally unique from one another,” says Ibanez in a statement. “They are instilled with their own unique style and feature set, principally inspired by the master luthiers who built them.”
Ibanez has allowed a closer look at three of the new 50th anniversary models from the Japan (JPCS) and LA (LACS) LACS Custom Shops. Let's 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 an approx half-inch-thick Flamed maple top. There's also the unusual Iceman spec of a maple fingerboard here with 12-inch radius, on a maple and korina three-piece neck.
Di Marzio 36th Anniversary PAF-style humbuckers feature here and hardware include Gotoh Magnum locking tuners and Gibraltar 1 bridge.
Flamed Maple neck binding and gold hardware accents enhance the '70s feel. A custom-made Flamed Maple truss rod cover features the Ibanez 'spaghetti' logo.
LACS18 'Hang 10'
The Talman has had a mini renaissance of late thanks to Yvette Young and this one is a rare bird indeed; a neck-thru construction rather than the usual Talman bolt-on. That striking finish is pretty special too; Turquoise Blue Stain finish over a 1-inch thick quilted maple that puts the surf into the surf rock style here.
The neck here is three-piece maple/purpleheart with a 16-inch radius rosewood neck and Luminlay side dots.
The 25.5-inch scale 'Hang 10' features a five-way pickup selector switch, Gotoh Magnum locking tuners and Gibraltar Std. II bridge.
Best looking bass of the year? Sakura (Japanese for ‘cherry blossom’) is going be hard to beat. The top of this bass is inlayed as many cherry blossoms as you'd ever desire, made from various types of wood and seashells.
The inlay work here is super detailed and involved individually cutting, sanding and seating over 90 individual pieces of shell and wood. Even the pickup covers for the Nordstrand Big Singles have cherry blossom inlays.
The bass has maple burl top over alder body and Yozakura Blue finish, with a burl and Lauan headstock inlay creating the appearance of the peak of a mountain. The result is where instrument and artwork merge to stunning effect.
The centre of the five-piece maple/purpleheart neck is another eyebrow raising feature; it's Timeless Timber Maple 'recovered from the depths of lakes and rivers after what sometimes amounts to hundreds of years, timeless timber hardwoods are special, rare, and highly coveted.'
Other features include a five-piece maples stainless steel frets, ebony fretboard, Gotoh RES-O-LITE tuners and Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-Band EQ.
For more on the Hoshino USA 50th Anniversary Custom Shop series, head over to Ibanez.