Ibanez players who made the humble Japanese brand their go-to axe
We’ve heard them across hundreds of records, from rock to jazz to metal, the Ibanez is the axe of choice for many a guitarist with so many Ibanez players gaining notoriety the world over.
For the metal heads, the humble Japanese company was the first to mass produce seven and eight-string guitars, as well as being one of the first Japanese musical instrument companies to gain a significant foothold in import guitar sales in the United States and Europe.
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The company has only grown in popularity and has since spawned a large amount of Ibanez players loyal to the brand famous or not, with the pool to draw Ibanez players from being a large one.
Today, we’re diving into some of the most prolific Ibanez players.
Let’s start with arguably the most well-known guitarist to ever hold an Ibanez in his large hands, Paul Gilbert. His monstrous impact on the world of modern rock and roll has seen him teach guitarists like Steel Panther’s Satchel, and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Buckethead.
Gilbert’s Ibanez: Paul uses the FRM300, one of the few Ibanez varieties without a whammy, usually relying on his vibrato for the sound movement.
With a career playing with artists from Jeff Beck to Michael Jackson, Jennifer Batten has traversed some of the coolest areas of music. Her guitar prowess has seen her drop some killer solo releases too, each receiving a bunch of critical acclaim.
Batten’s Ibanez: Jennifer has a custom Ibanez Roadstar, it appeared on Michael Jackson’s iconic Bad tour, and has even been played by Slash.
One of the most important and iconic guitarists out there – Ibanez aside – Steve Vai has brought instrumental rock music to the front and centre, his decades of work with artists like Devin Townsend, David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake has helped garner millions of loyal fans across the world. Bringing the Japanese axemakers back into the frame, Vai is possibly one of the most lauded Ibanez players around.
Vai’s Ibanez: Vai has used the visually stunning Ibanez Jem 777 for decades, alongside his signature DiMarzio pickups, he’s truly made it his own over the years. Also check out the three-necked Hydra they unveiled earlier in the year.
Continuing the guitarists who were trailblazers in their fields, Joe Satriani has been a staple of the scene for almost 50 years now. His music blends elements of heavy metal and blues, and he’s played with artists ranging from Mick Jagger to Deep Purple.
Satriani’s Ibanez: Joe’s got his own signature series with the manufacturer, the ‘JS’ group. Each are covered with a shiny matte finish, really making sure they pop on stage, and on a list of most iconic Ibanez players.
Nili Brosh has been behind some of the coolest projects recently, playing guitar for Metalocalypse, Cirque Du Soleil, and even popping up on Danny Elfman’s recent solo rock album, Big Mess.
Brosh’s Ibanez: Nili uses the RG1527, a 7-stringer with some killer humbuckers, really making sure the metal comes through hard.
Current Megadeth axeman Kiko Loureiro is one of modern music’s most original guitarists, doing something a little different with his music. His 2005 solo album No Gravity was loved by fans and critics alike, with Lourerio playing all instruments on the release besides drums.
Loureiro’s Ibanez: Kiko’s got his own series with Ibanez, the aptly titled KIKO. It’s got a rosewood fretboard and DiMarzio pickups, perfect for all things heavy metal.
When you think of Ibanez players and guitars, one of the first names to come into your head is usually Nita Strauss, a guitarist who is doing something really cool with the axe. She’s been popping up in some of the coolest places, most recently as guitarist for Alice Cooper.
Strauss’ Ibanez: Nita’s got the signature JIVA series, a guitar she’s been quietly designing since she first picked one up.
The jazz icon has been dazzling fans with his unique guitar stylings since 1964, and he is still as prolific as he’s ever been, recently hitting Australia on a sold-out tour. He’s played with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Gorillaz.
Benson’s Ibanez: George and Ibanez have been working together for around 40 years, with the guitarist using one of their signature hollow bodies.
Marty Friedman has worked with some of the biggest names in music, from Megadeth to Cacophony to Shout. His solo career has seen him tour the world multiple times, and play his unique stylings to many adoring fans.
Friedman’s Ibanez: Marty’s got his signature MFM series, first hitting stores way back in 2006.
It can’t be a list of iconic guitarists without mentioning the icon that is John Frusciante. We know he’s used a bunch of guitars in his time that are far more connected to his brand, but the Ibanez popped up on one of the most iconic releases from the muso.
Frusciante’s Ibanez: Most notably appearing on Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1989 release Mother’s Milk, Frusciante would often use the Ibanez RG760, which was reportedly the only guitar he owned when he joined the band.
It’s not too often we see a bass player with an Ibanez, but Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott brought them front and centre and led a wave. The Thin Lizzy frontman was only active in the industry for around 20 years, but had a career that still continues to influence many years on.
Lynott’s Ibanez: Lynott would often use the Blazer Bass, a no-frills axe that gives a killer raw sound, the same thing we heard across many Thin Lizzy releases.
Who did we miss on our list of most iconic Ibanez players? For local enquiries on Ibanez products, head to Australis Music.