Inside Ibanez's Signature Series

After a quick glance over the list of guitarists spotlighted on the Artist Roster page on ’s official website, one word comes to mind:  Diversity.  From the sound it, that’s all part of the guitar brand’s vision.

The Ibanez brand itself is owned by Hoshino Gakki, a Japanese musical instrument manufacturer, and in speaking with Bill Reim, the CEO of Hoshino USA who distributes Ibanez stateside, he said, “When looking to work with an artist, we’re looking for musicians who are looking to do something different.  The players we’re looking at must have some sort of musical momentum, and most importantly, we’re looking for true artists.”

While Ibanez counts the likes of KISS’ Paul Stanley, Noodles from The Offspring and Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch and Munky among their “Signature Artists,” Reim was involved in the making of Signature Models for Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, citing Vai was “very specific” when it came to scalloped frets, the handle in the body of the guitar and, of course, the guitar’s bold color schemes.  For Satriani, Reim was hands on, literally.  While he says Satriani’s model is “still evolving to this day,” Reim actually sculpted the body of Satriani’s guitar and recalled the guitarist going in and out of the studio during the recording of one of his solo albums giving the “OK” to various specs.

Considering those details, how long on average does it take for a Signature model to be produced?  Reim says, “That depends,” said Reim.  “It takes about a year for Signature Models, but that all depends on whether a guitarist is real decisive or not.”

Which leads to the question of questions:  Who are your favorite guitarists?/Who would you love to work with?  Like Ibanez’s artists page, Reim’s list was diverse naming icons like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Frank Zappa but also offering a nod to some unsung guitarists like Henry Cow’s Fred Frith, King Crimson’s Robert Fripp and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields.

For more information about Ibanez’s complete line of guitars and other branded gear, head over to where you can also find the closest authorized Ibanez dealer near you.


Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.