NAMM 2023: Ibanez has launched seven new signature guitars for some of its most high-profile guitar players on its artist roster, including four stunning limited edition models for long-time endorsees Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Paul Stanley, plus new Lari Basilio, Martin Miller and Ichika Nito electric guitars.
Basilio, Miller and Nito’s new models will be join the regular Ibanez lineup. Basilio’s is perhaps the least surprising. It has been teased for some time that her LB1 was going to be made available in White, and that’s what we’ve got here.
All the other specs are the same; there’s the solid ash body, the roasted birdseye maple fingerboard and neck – aka Ibanez’s S-Tech Wood – plus Basilio’s signature Seymour Duncan pickups, a Gotoh T1702B vibrato and Gotoh Magnum Lock tuners, and all the features that make the LB1 a true do-it-all guitar. The LB1 in White has an estimated street price of $2,699.
The new Martin Miller model should look familiar. The MMN1 takes the MM1’s AZ-N-inspired profile, its Transparent Aqua Blue finish, but reimagines the contemporary S-Style in an HSS pickup configuration, with Miller going for a set of Seymour Duncan Fortuna pickups, controlled via Ibanez’s dyna-MIX9 switching system with Alter Switch.
- Martin Miller: “Guitar players need to talk about intonation a lot more. We don’t tune our ears towards it because it is never a topic that is brought up in tuition”
Fundamentally, the guitar is constructed of a solid mahogany body, capped with a 4mm piece of flame maple. It has a roasted maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard, stainless steel frets, and the same Gotoh hardware as the LB1.
Feel-wise, it might be a little similar, too, as both Basilio and Miller have gone for a 9” to 12” compound radius ‘board. Both guitars have, of course, Prestige fret edge treatment, Luminlay side-dot markers, and ship with a hard-shell guitar case. The Martin Miller MMN1 has a list price of $3,466.
Ichika Nito’s ICHI00 rounds out the production line signature models with a guitar based on the Ibanez Talman, the compact electric favoured by the likes of Yvette Young.
It arrives in a dairy White finish, and while not that far evolved from the TM1730 that inspired it, it has some premium appointments such as a roasted maple neck carved into Ibanez’s super-speedy Wizard C profile, Gotoh MG-T locking tuners, and a trio of ICHI-S single-coil pickups.
Best of all, Nito wanted his nyatoh-bodied bolt-on to be affordable, and with an estimated street price of $699, it is by far the easiest on the budget of Ibanez’s NAMM announcements so far.
And now to the real fancy stuff; four models you’ll have to dig deep for. Let’s start with a guitar that celebrates 35 years of partnership between Steve Vai and Ibanez, the PIA77BON.
- Steve Vai: “One ear has been pulled towards rock my whole life, the other towards high-information music; my brain mixes it up and that’s when you get the weird Vai s**t”
This takes Vai’s signature PIA format and refinishes it in a hydro-dipped multicolour swirl finish, which was newly developed for this limited run. Vai, of course, picked the colour scheme, and it’s one that references some classic JEM and UV models in his collection. The finish, by the way, is called “Brilliance of Now”, hence the “BON” in the designation. It has an estimated street price of $8,499.
Not cheap, but then it is for the collectors. It is also as high-performance as an Ibanez electric gets. You’ve got the alder body, with the Petal Grip carry handles, the five-piece maple and walnut neck, the Low-Pro Edge double-locking vibrato, and there’s even a high-pass filter on the volume control. Pickups are Vai’s signature DiMarzio UtoPIA set.
Joe Satriani, meanwhile, gets not one but two new limited-edition JS models, and like Vai’s these are vintage Satch. Well, again, we’ve got a 35th anniversary to celebrate with Satch so it’s time to dig out the good stuff.
Pulling focus and reflecting light in all directions there is the JS3CR, a JS model that references Satch’s ‘Chrome Boy’ model with a solid basswood body finished in a metallic mirror chrome finish. Just the thing for checking whether you’ve got some spinach in your teeth before you head out onstage.
It has a DiMarzio Satchur8 humbucker at the bridge and and a PAF Pro ‘bucker at the neck. Satch also has a high-pass filter on the volume control, and there’s a coil-tap on the tone pot, too. Other features include a maple neck, rosewood ‘board, 22 medium frets, Edge tremolo, and top-shelf Gotoh tuners. The JS3CR has an estimated street price of $5,399.
If a chrome finish ain’t your thing, well, what about a Paisley pattern finish? Satch’s other limited edition option is the JS1BKP, and was designed by Satriani in collaboration with the Ibanez Custom Shop in Los Angeles.
The JS1BKP obviously has a similar profile to the JS3CR but is quite a different guitar, with a body of solid alder and a pickup configuration comprising a SUSTAINIAC Driver neck pickup, and a DiMarzio Satchur8 humbucker at the price. It has an estimated street price of $3,499.
Finally, how about a Paul Stanley Iceman with a Cracked Mirror finish to round things out? With KISS currently circumnavigating the globe many times over for their last ever tour, why not mark the occasion with a PS3CM. Technically, it has been designed to mark 45 years of the PS10 but it’s kind of timeless.
One of the most aggressive and out-there body shapes in the Ibanez catalogue, the PS3CM has an African mahogany body, topped with maple, a three-piece maple neck, an ebony fingerboard with medium frets (and Prestige fret edge treatment as standard).
The hardware is by Gotoh. The pickups are from Seymour Duncan, with the KISS frontman going for a ’59 and Custom 5 humbucker pairing. The PS3CM has an estimated street price of $6,999.
For more details, head over to Ibanez.