The roots of Ibanez guitars go all the way back to Nagoya, Japan, to a company named Hoshino, which was founded in 1908 as a sheet-music store and later broadened its line to include other music products. A few decades after it began, Hoshino started selling a Spanish guitar model called the Ibanez, which, in 1957, became the namesake for the company.
The 1960s and 1970s are known today as Ibanez’s lawsuit period—the company produced a variety of imitations of guitars by Fender, Gibson, and others. The imitations earned a reputation for low prices and relatively high quality, but Ibanez’s strategy ultimately resulted in a lawsuit brought by the parent company of Gibson in 1977.
After settling the lawsuit, Ibanez began focusing more on its own models and partnerships with leading guitarists, especially as the 1980s heralded a focused attention on guitar solos and virtuosity. Paul Stanley of Kiss, for example, stuck with the Ibanez Iceman model, whereas Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden generally used the Ibanez Destroyer.
Ibanez guitars are still popular today among hard rockers and jazz players, alike, and the company produces a number of very popular bass guitars, as well.