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Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

Hello everybody
I just found out Gibson made maple-necked Les Pauls only from 1976 until 1980. Ibanez had a maple-necked Les Paul model far before that period (I own one without a serial nr., so it is from before mid-1975). Now I wonder: did Gibson steal this idea from Ibanez? Who copies who?
Greetings, Harry
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2001 - 7:35 am:   

Hi everyone!
Just to draw your attention to my question above: I guess a lot of you missed it, because I sent it in just before the "s**t-where-has-the-collector's-board-gone-to?" era. As many of you I also check out only the new-come tributes, so I guess that's why nobody reacted to the question above. Anyone out there?????
Greetings, Harry.
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2001 - 11:49 am:   


As to who copied who, I'd have to say that if there was never a Gibson, there would not have been an Ibanez. Who invented the 3-piece maple neck, anyway?

I think the real question is why did Gibson favor the mahogony necks when Ibanez standardized on 3-piece maple for their necks?

Setting the "sonic" qualities of the 2 woods aside, my first guess is that smaller strips of maple must have been cheaper, at the time. Remember that Ibanez's goal was to make their version of the guitar cheaper. One way they did this was to use laminates where Gibson used solid woods. I think it just so happened that properly constructed laminates aren't nearly as bad an idea as "purists" once believed.

Interestingly, the earlier AM200/205 and AS200 had 1 piece mahogony necks (so does my Martin D-35, who copied who?). The last catalog I have that gives the construction details says they are now 3-piece mahogony/maple (which is what the LR10 was from the start, btw).

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I've heard that a 3-piece maple neck (with the grain running in opposing directions) is more resistant to warping than a 1-piece neck of any wood. Is that why Ibanez changed the AM/AS200 neck specs? Or is just cheaper? Then again, isn't that why the invented the truss rod.

Here's another neck feature that I've heard Gibson flirted with; the volute at the peghead joint. From the mid-70s, Ibanez made this a standard on almost every one of their non-replica guitars. But I'm sure they didn't invent it. Did Ibanez copy Gibson on this too?

Is the volute a fundamentally better design feature that Gibson dropped for no good reason? (Ask the guy holding his LP peghead in one hand and the rest of the guitar in the other. J)

Just to be fair, have any Ibanez owners ever heard of or seen, a guitar with a volute, where the peghead snapped off?

As you can see I have lots of questions and no answers. J
Mark Munchenberg
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2001 - 2:20 am:   


I gave you a reply before the move but it got lost when the move occurred. I to don't believe the maple had anything to do with copying. I simply believe it was to do with cost.

Mahoghany is a more expensive timber than maple.


You are right on the 3 piece being stronger than the one piece. In high end guitars, a 3 piece neck usually starts out as a one piece. It is then cut into 3 fillets, and the centre fillet is reversed.

The opposing grains gives more strength. Not to mention that good glue joints are actually stronger than the timber that surrounds them.

The neck volute has been around since the 19th century. Gibson's volutes were ugly and interfered with the left hand action. Ibanez's design was very different, quite attractive and functional.


Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2001 - 5:14 am:   

Hi John, Mark.
Sorry I wasn't quite correct in giving the right information and putting you on the wrong track. Where I wrote about a "maple neck" I ment a maple fingerboard. I was wondered about the fact that already in the early seventies Ibanez was the first to use a maple fingerboard on a Les Paul-type guitar. Ibanez was not copying there because at that time this feature didn't excist on any Les Paul. Maybe they had the idea that such a guitar could please both Gibson- and Fender lovers? An own vision on what might turn out to be a kind of cross-over, "the best of both worlds"? As I told you, I own one and I must say that it looked and felt kinda strange in the beginning. The neck has a feel quite similar to a Telecaster and in combination with a Les Paul style body you first don't really know what to think about it. Sounds great, by the way. And of course I know that Ibanez also wasn't true to the original by using bolt-on necks and a bent-in-shape plywood top, but I found the use of the maple fingerboard very remarkable, because not until some years later (from '76 till '80) Gibson started producing Les Paul Customs with a maple fingerboard also. Strange, isn't it?
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2001 - 1:35 pm:   

Ohhh, a maple fretboard! I guess that idea would come very natural to a manufacturer who had already embraced the "Fender bolt-on" way for necks.

Unfortunately, there is so little documentation on specific features and when Ibanez introduced them. Most of the times the only guesstimating that we can make for a guitar without a serial number is a "pre '75".

Currently, I don't own any guitars with a maple fretboard. But that should change in the next few weeks. There are some Ibanez Strat copies a few miles up the highway. One has my name on it.

Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 4:46 am:   

Hi John
Wow, these are beauties! Wich one has "your name on it", the upper or the lower one? If I had to choose I really wouldn't know wich one to take with me and wich one to leave behind (with tears in my eyes). Did you had the chance to play them both and if so, was there a difference that made it easy for you to prefer the one above the other?
Besides: what's wrong with bying both? Matter of price? Anyway: congratulations!
Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 12:33 pm:   


I haven't seen any of these in person, yet. Just have the pictures. These are owned by Maniac Mike G. He's got more than the 2 shown. So, as soon as I can get up to his place to check them out (and the million or so other Ibanezes he's hording) I'll get one. Which ones he's willing to sell and which I end up with is the mystery! He's got a dead mint white one. But I'm not likely to be coming home with that one.

Mike is quite enamored with these Strat replicas. And he does own some real nice Fenders to compare them to.
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2001 - 8:50 am:   

I can confirm the fact that these stratcopies are really good. I own one too, a 1977 Silver series strat. Aged white with a white pickguard and a maple neck. When I bought it it was in miserable condition: pickguard only attached to the (extremely dirty and beaten-up) body with just one screw, one volume pot out of order, replacement 5-way switch that didn't fit and was completely wrong-wired too, only one rusty d-string, etc. Some laquer was missing from the fretboard in the higher positions. I took the whole guitar apart and fixed the defects as good as I could. I cleaned every part but I left the body and the neck as they were (after cleaning them too, of course), with the scratches, the missing laquer etc. because sanding down to the wood and refinishing it is not an option for me. Better a beaten-up original Ibanez than a shiny refinished one, don't you agree?). This guitar has been heavily used (mistreated?) but boy, does she sing! It's a great playing and sounding guitar and she looks really vintage. I own a lot of guitars, but somehow this baby immediately draws everybody's attention.
You won't regret owning one in the future....
Bye, bye, Harry
mike g.
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 10:20 pm:   


You are correct about the dead mint white one.That's a keeper!
BUT,the good news is I found another one with white one just like it with 1 ding in the paint on the back.
I'm sure when you see it,you'll dig it.
As for the Burnt Zebra Ash models,One is already gone to a new happy owner in Canada,sorry.
The other is another keeper.
I had to sell the one to help pay for the 2630 and AM205 that joined my house of guitars.

By the way,The upcoming guitar show (Feb.) is at Brookdale college and I hope to join you there.

It is a one day event (Sunday) and I hope to see more goodies to ponder and maybe even sell a few who knows !

Mike G.
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 8:31 am:   


Ahhhh! You're selling stuff without telling me?!!!

Now, my beloved Zebra is gone! That's it. From now on, no Strats can be sold without my final approval.J

Seriously, we have to get together, soon. My problem is weekends are booked til nearly the end of Feb. That means I can't make the Brookdale show, either. I'll email you.

You scored an AM205, too? Wow, you're busy!
mike g.
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 9:51 am:   


Sorry bout that chief,the irony of it is that it was sold by someone who posted a want ad at this site !

Too bad we can't hook up for the Brookdale College thing.I'll keep an eye out for you on whats there.

Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 2:57 pm:   

Hey Mike and John, is the Brookdale College show the one on the Jersey Shore?
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 1:50 pm:   


I think so. There's an advertisement for it in the back of the lastest Vintage Guitar magazine. Exit 109 off the Garden State Parkway...Sunday only, though.
Fred B.
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 8:30 pm:   

Hi all,

Here's the website:


Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 12:15 pm:   

Thanks Fred!

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