Ibanez loves to make a statement and its new headless Quest range and ICHI10 signature guitar for Japanese musician, producer and YouTuber Ichika Nito doesn't disappoint on that front. It's also made him the company's first ever Japanese signature artist.
Ichika's incredibly intricate and melodic compositions have earned him over 1.5 million YouTube subscribers and over half a million followers on Instagram. He is one of the leading lights in a new generation of progressive guitarists and announces his first signature electric guitar in the video above accordingly ; with a beautifully played solo track showcasing his innovative approach to melodic tapping.
In the video, Ichika explains that Ibanez reached out to him early in his career. The ICHI10 brings that relationship to fruition with the guitarist becoming the brand's first Japanese signature artist.
"The biggest benefit is probably the light weight," Ichika says of the headless design of the ICHI10. "It looks so compact, it's lighter and easier to handle without the headstock. I feel less stress with this, and I'm always practicing. A headless guitar is convenient to always have right next to me."
Ichika's signature is based on the new Ibanez Q54 (read on for more on that) with some personal touches. His love of Ibanez's Talman design is reflected in the ICHI1-'s rounded neck profile and cream finish.
A nyatoh body enhances the lightweight advantage, with a three-piece maple/bubinga neck. The fretboard is roasted birdseye maple with 24 Jescar EVO Gold frets and also features decorative mother-of-pearl step off-set dot inlays.
Unlike the models in the new Quest series, all three pickups are R1 single-coils here. Unsurprisingly for a player who favours crystal clean tones.
Like the Quest models, the guitar debuts the new custom string lock and Mono-Tune bridge.
"The feeling hasn't really sunk in yet," says Ichika on becoming an Ibanez signature artist. "I am really happy. I'm still not confident enough to say that Ibanez was right to choose me as their first Japanese signature artist, but I know I will make a strong effort as a musician to make them feel that they made the right choice."
Now on to the five headless models in the Quest series…
Ibanez Q52 ($999)
The Blue Matte finish model also features a lightweight, ergonomic nyatoh body. The Wizard C three-piece neck is roasted maple and bubinga neck with roasted birdseye maple fingerboard featuring 24 Jescar Evo Gold frets.
The Q58 humbuckers are a new design with a switching system to fully explore tonal variation for single-coil sounds too. In addition to a five-way selector switch there's an Alter switch for the dyna-MIX10 system we first saw on the Ibanez AZ models to bring offer 10 combos. There's also master tone and master volume controls..
Again, Ibanez's new one-piece string lock unit features here and throughout these models. Paired with a Mono-Tune bridge featuring individual string saddles to bring stability to drop tunings.
Ibanez QX52 ($999)
The spec here is largely the same as the Q52 but this has slanted frets as an eight degree angle for enhanced upper fret playability. The finish is Black Flat.
Ibanez Q54 ($999)
The Q54 comes in a sleek Black Flat finish or more classic Sea Foam Green Matte. Apart from that, the key difference with the Q52 is the pickups here.
Here's there are the alnico R1 single-coils neck and middle single-coils in the neck and middle positions, with a Q58 humbucker in the bridge.
The Q54 featured dyna-MIX9 switchin and Alter Switch for nine tone variations.
Ibanez QX54QM (($1,099)
Things are a little pricier now with spec variations from the previous two models in slanted frets at an 8-degree angle for those of a shreddier, tappier and… er slappier persuasion.
Pickup combo is the same as the Q54 but the Blues Sphere Burst Matte finish is unique to this model in the series.
Ibanez QX527PB ($1,199)
Last but most definitely not least is the Antique Brown Stained QX527PB – a seven-string model with poplar burl top on a nyatoh body. The neck is a five-piece roasted maple/bubinga here.
This has the slanted frets too and Q58-7 humbuckers to account for the seven-strings and a dyna-MIX10 switching system.
For more info on these new models visit Ibanez.