Ibanez is a guitar manufacturer started by Hoshino Gakki in Japan. Back in 1900 when the company first began they were called the Hoshino Gakki Company and they only started making string instruments in 1935.
These early stringed instruments were not known in the West until the 1960s when Gakki paired up with Harry Rosenbloom, a Pennsylvania music shop owner. Together, they decided to give the guitars the name of Ibanez to make it more marketable to a western audience.
By the time the 70s hit, Ibanez began making guitars modeled after popular styles that companies like Gibson and Fender were putting out. Though they were almost exact replicas, they were made with cheaper materials and were therefore inexpensive.
However, Ibanez has changed. They no longer model their guitars after other styles put out by different companies. They have their own makes and models that are endorsed by some pretty high level players.
The newer Ibanez guitars are more modern in design and style. You can find some with interesting shapes and designs. Also, artists such as Steve Vai work closely with the company to manufacture special models with their own artistic flare. (For example, Vais tree of life pattern on the fretboard).
Another modern style element includes the fact that they have slimmer necks and flatter fingerboards than the classic style guitars. This makes doing intricate and accurate speed work a lot easier. Also watch out for different models with different finishes and electronics.
An example of some of the guitars you can find include the Prestige Series guitars, the Vai Signatures, Pat Metheny Signatures, Korn Signatures, Joe Satriani Signatures, and the Andy Timmons Signature guitar. These signature guitars were designed with or by the artists themselves. Other models include the S-Series guitars, special models for left handed players, and the Artcore guitars.
There are also certain artists who use and endorse the brand. These include Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, two highly regarded instrumental rock guitarists who often tour together. Andy Timmons, Korn, Pat Metheny, George Benson, Terry Balsamo of Evanescence, Fran Cosmo of Boston, Marty Friedman, John Scofield, and Matt Roberts of 3 Doors Down.
Here is what some people have to say about Ibanez guitars (source Harmony Central):
I have been playing for about 3 years now and this is my consideration of my first real guitar. I have always played Ibanez, I just like the look, feel and sound of them. If this were stolen I would definitely get another one of these and I plan to replace my GRX170 with another one, yes I want another one call me crazy but I wanna have another guitar with a normal string arrangement on it. I love everything about this guitar, the look, the feel, the sound, it definitely has a character of its own. (Harmony Central User concerning the RG32Q0S)