An Exceptionally Fine 1974/75 Ibanez Howard Roberts (Lawsuit Model)
1974 Ibanez (Japan) Howard Roberts 2453 (Lawsuit)
This 16-inch-wide, 3 3/8 inch deep very slight archtop guitar weighs just 7.10 lbs. Two-piece book matched 'flamed' maple top with an oval sound-hole decorated with eleven black & white rings. One-piece stained maple neck with a nice, fat nut width of 1 11/16 inches, a scale length of 24 3/4 inches and a very comfortable medium profile rising gently from 0.81 behind the 1st fret, 0.84 behind the 3rd fret, 0.86 behind the 5th fret, 0.90 behind the 5th fret, and 0.92 behind the 9th fret. Bound ebony fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and inlaid 'slotted-block' pearl position markers. Black faced, multi-bound headstock with inlaid pearl "Ibanez" and 'Vase' design. Black over white plastic bell-shaped, truss rod cover secured by three screws. The body of the guitar has three-ply binding on the top and single-ply binding on the back. Individual Ibanez 'Grover-style' Roto-Matic tuners with bell-shaped metal buttons. Single Ibanez fulls-size floating humbucker with an output of 7.76k. Three controls (one volume, two tone) on lower treble bout. Gold plastic barrel-shape "Speed" control knobs. Ebony pre-set compensated saddle on height-adjustable ebony base. Ibanez hinged 'L-5' style tailpiece with engraved white metal insert. All hardware gold-plated. The pickguard has been removed as evidenced by one tiny screw-hole on the side of the body and another on the top by the treble-side of the neck. A strap-button has been fitted to the treble-side of the neck heel. There is some light playing wear to the five frets only and no visible wear to the fretboard. Otherwise this fine guitar is in exceptionally fine (9.00+++) condition. Housed in the original? Ibanez three-latch, shaped black hardshell case with gray plush lining (9.00). This Ibanez Howard Roberts was built in late 1974 or early 1975. It has no serial number, which helps date it - serial numbers started to appear in later 1975, and this model was introduced in 1974. Noteworthy is a rare full size floating humbucking pickup, a version unique to this model alone and the guitar is equipped with the unique Howard Roberts twin tone control system, which allows players to adjust both treble and bass independently. While the Ibanez L-5 and Johnny Smith models surface occasionally on the vintage market, the lbanez Howard Roberts hardly ever appears…
This is what's referred to as a 'Lawsuit' model. Elger Guitars, a US Distributor, contracted with Hoshino Gakki to produce copies of popular American guitars, and in 1971 Hoshino bought Elger. Eventually, Gibson's parent company sued Hoshino for infringing the shape of the headstock - the 'Open Book' design - but by the time they settled, Hoshino had changed the headstock shape, closer to one often used by Guild.
"I've come up with the theory that the music is within. We don't bring it in; it's already there. We have to figure out how to get it out." (Howard Roberts)
Howard Mancel Roberts (October 2, 1929 – June 28, 1992) was an American jazz guitarist, educator, and session musician. (#2295)
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