102 years ago when Western music was just reaching Japan, Matsujiro Hoshino opened a music business. In 1908 he opened a facility to sell sheet music and organs.
By 1935, Hoshino began in the Spanish guitar business and sold guitars domestically under the brand name, Ibanez-Salvador. It seems that Asian and European companies like to put Spanish sounding names on guitars.
The Ibanez factory was destroyed during WWII.
By 1955 the company opened as an export only business. 1962 was the start of the British Invasion and guitar craze and Hoshino began exporting guitars under the Greco brand that were manufactured by subcontractor. They also manufactured, exported and sold drums under the brand name Tama.
By 1971, Hoshino had established a U.S. distributorship through the Elger Company of Pennsylvania.
A meeting occurred between Hoshino, which made Ibanez guitars, and Kanda Shokai, which manufactured Greco instruments and FujiGen one of the largest guitar factories in Japan. Their goal was to come up with an original design, build the guitar and create a marketing plan. This meeting resulted in the Iceman/Mirage design. Each distribution company would have distribution rights to it in different global markets.
The Ibanez Iceman sported Super 2000, Triple Coil and V2 pickups.
The Greco Mirage used their own version called Greco Dry picups and also DiMarzio Super II pickups on the Greco Mirage.
|Greco Mirage Guitars|
Wood, pickups and neck joint construction varied on each version, based on model numbers and quality.
The earliest Ibanez Iceman models from 1975 were called Ibanez Artist models. Not until 1978 did Ibanez use the designation became The Iceman guitar. The original model guitars have the elongated headstock with three on a side tuners. In 1979 Ibanez produced several different models varying in price and quality. Some came with fixed necks and some had bolted on necks.
|Ibanez Iceman Artist|
In 1976 Paul Stanley of KISS was approached by Hoshino to endorse a guitar He chose the Artist 2663, which was the original designation of the Iceman. Stanley was allowed a lot of input in this guitars design.
The resulting signature guitar was dubbed the PS10.
Stanley is quoted as saying, “The Iceman and the PS-10 have about as much in common as a Chevy and a Rolls Royce.” Needless to say, Stanley preferred the Artist Model over his own namesake instrument.
Daron Malakian of System of a Down favoured this guitar from the early days of System of A Down.. Daron had his own signature model, the Ibanez DMM1. It was a limited edition run based on the Ibanez Iceman ICX shape and features a special graphic design painted by Daron’s father, Vartan Malakian. Only 300 were made.
The Iceman was also redesigned by Paul Gilbert, who is another Iceman endorser and has a signature model.
On this model the body of an Iceman was flipped upside down and given a cutaway in order to reach the higher frets. The 2 new designs had natural wood finishes, one mahogany with cherry top, and one with korina wood and three single coil pickups.
The pickups on the Gilbert model are Dimarzio Area 67 single coil hum-cancelling models. The designation Fireman is due to the reverse body, since Fire is the opposite of Ice.
Essentially it is an Iceman with a 24-fret neck-through neck and Edge III tremolo instead of a hardtail bridge. This is the first production Iceman since the 1990s to have a whammy bar.
The majority of Ibanez Iceman guitars sport a 24 fret, two octave neck with a 25.5 inch scale and come with two pickups.
Many models use DiMarzio pickups D Activator pickups that deliver a powerful sound without active circuitry.
The fixed bridge models feature the Gibraltar Custom bridge and thru-body stringing. Most tremolo models feature the Edge III trem system.
The necks are made of 5 piece maple and walnut laminate. The fretboard is made of bound rosewood with reversed sharktooth inlay and is topped with Jumbo frets. The body is made of mahogany. The controls are simple; one volume and one tone potentiometer and a 3-way toggle.
From 1975 to 1983 Ibanez and the other distributors built eight different models that ranged in price from $400 to $800. Steve Miller played an Iceman IC210 on Fly Like An Eagle.
By 1983 as sales dried up, Ibanez only manufactured two models of Iceman. However serious guitar collectors realized The Iceman was a very well made and unique instrument that would eventually rise in value.
I guess Karma works sometimes, since there are a couple of Iceman replica guitars floating around.
One manufacturer is producing Iceman copies using the Hondo II brand name. This instrument is an excellent copy of the real thing, while another is manufactured by a company using the brand name Odessa. Finally, a company named Antares also made Iceman replica guitars.