1984 Ibanez Roadstar II – My First Guitar

Shortly after I left Central Washington University in 2001 for Olympia was when I found my first guitar. Actually, I was living in Tumwater, which is about a dime’s worth of difference, closer to the brewery. Taking a morning walk around the new neighborhood and finding my way around. What I found was a garage sale, and that’s where I found it waiting for me.

There are several unique things about Ibanez that are also very stereotypical of Japanese industrial culture. Ibanez was a Spanish guitar maker that was purchsed by Hoshino Gakki, a Japanese musical instrument company that was importing Ibanez guitars up until the Spanish Civil War in 1935.

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Ibanez was one of the companies that were making close to identical copies of more expensive American made guitars, such as Stratocasters or Les Pauls. These are called “lawsuit guitars” and are very collectible. The Road Star II was not one of these, it had an Ibanez headstock design and a slight variation on the stratocaster body design. The more modern Ibanez guitars have a thinner, pointier, more pronounced cutaways than the Ibanez Road Star II or traditional Stratocaster. There were also some “batwing” strap buttons, that I hated, and replaced. But no other guitar has similar strap buttons like those big V looking things.

Opening the shotgun style case, another unique feature to Ibanez, to see the shining white guitar was all it took. I think that I had the cash on me and carried it home; I don’t remember going home to get my truck. It still had the original warranty card in the case with the purchase date of 4/20/1984 written on it.

There was a little Hiwatt practice amp, that I traded in to a major guitar outlet for a new solid-state amp. I really should have kept the small amp for carrying around, like I said, it was small and lugging around a big amp to friend’s houses is a pain. I think that it was $150, maybe $100 for the whole deal at the garage sale. A great deal, at the time they went for about $150-200 used, they go for $300 or so currently.

Anyone can go to a guitar chain or local music shop for their first guitar, how many people just happened on theirs?  Finding your guitar is like meeting a beautiful woman, sometimes you find them, sometimes they find you, but when it’s right somehow you just know.






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