When the topic of Winter NAMM comes to Ibanez, one would ask what all they brought to show. The simple answer, if not a tad predictable, would be “what didn’t they bring?” It brings me little satisfaction to stoop to such a level to kick start an article, but in all of my mastery over the English language that was the best I could do. Besides. You’re not looking at this for that kind of opening sentence. You’re hear to check out cool gear, and thankfully I can use Ibanez’s delivery as compensation for my brain dead moment.
This article could stand to be monumentally huge if I include everything they’ve announced, so for this article I’m gonna cover the immediate eye catchers.
The DT420 Destroyer
Fun fact: Ibanez’s Destroyer model is actually one year shy of its 40th birthday. While the 39th birthday doesn’t quite sound as sexy the company has still unveiled a new model none the less. That model is the DT420.
With mahogany to set the foundation with the set neck and body and rosewood for the fretboard. The DT420 uses TOM bridge, and a set of Classic Elite humbuckers.
Last year Ibanez presented a prototype for the behemoth RG9 nine-string guitar. As guitars have been getting more strings like they’re cowbells, Ibanez has wasted no time setting the groundwork for the next step. It looks like this year the RG9 will see a commercial release. Two releases, actually. The RG9 and the RG9 Prestige.
Overall both models are mostly the same. They have a 28” neck, a basswood body, a rosewood fretboard, and a Gebralter Standard 9 bridge.
The differences, however, are worth mentioning. The RG9 uses a QM-9N bridge in the neck position and a QM-9B pickup in the bridge position, and it’s given a black finish. The RG9 Prestige (or RG90BKPISH) uses a pare of Bare Knuckle Canine humbuckers with an Invisible Shadow finish. The RG9 looks like it’s going to have a street price of $799.99 (not bad, not bad) while the Prestige has yet to have a price announced. Release dates are up in the air still.
And a moment of nostalgia
I remember it was approximately ten years ago when Meshuggah got their eight-string guitars from Ibanez. The seven-string guitars had had a bit of a surge in mainstream popularity a few years before that when Meshuggah guitarists had decided to edge in and go a bit lower. With guitarists like the previously alluded to Fredrik Thordendal and Marten Hagstrom, and Charlie Hunter, the eight string guitar’s been around and had some solid attention, but only in the last few years has it really rocketed into super stardom like now with the likes of Tony MacAlpine, Ihsahn, Tosin Abasi, and plenty more super hero guitarists.
Ibanez is obviously not wasting any time to lay the ground work for possible future trends, but I’m curious if it will take as long for the design to take off. Of course if I’m to think from all possible points, I’m also a bit curious if it will take off. How many strings can a guitar have before guitarists say “enough”? At some point the guitar will be so deep that it will be felt in the shaking floor rather than heard.
After 35 years Ibanez is also celebrating the legacy of the Tubescreamer is living on in 2014 with the unveiling of the new TS808DX in a much bigger chassis. The TS808DX features four knobs for overdrive, tone, and boost, plus a Pre/Post toggle switch. The fourth knob, used for boosting, is activated by a separate foot switch allowing you to get that “turned up to 11” sound on a whim.
Iron Label IL15
Speaking of things Ibanez set in motion from previous years. The Iron Label model has extended from the metal-by-design guitar line to amps made to match the style. The IL15 is the first installment as an amp and it offers guitarists two 12AX7 and two EL84 tubes in a 15 watt package that pumps its sound out through two Celestion Seventy80 12” speakers.
Guitarists are given two channels – a clean/crunch channel that offers volume, bass, middle, and treble, and a lead channel with gain, volume, bass, middle, and treble, plus a fat toggle switch for more umph. These channels are accompanied by a master volume and reverb knobs. For that stylistic zing, as well as the luxury of seeing in low lighting, the controls are all backlit.
The TSA5TVR, on the other hand, takes Ibanez’s Tubescreamer amps and puts a new (or old, depending on your perspective) spin on it. With a more vintage television aesthetic, the TSA5TVR packs its 5 watt punch in a cream and seafoam green vinyl cover. Inside is a Jensen C8R Ibanez Special speaker. The control panel offers volume, bass, treble, and reverb, plus a separate Tubescreamer control panel for overdrive, tone, and level with a separate on/off toggle switch.