Determined to become the industry leader in a burgeoning guitar market, Ibanez started developing a roster of endorsees in the mid '70's.
Artists such as Bob Weir, Steve Miller and Paul Stanley played existing models from Ibanez's catalog, aesthetically modified with tons of inlaid mother-of-pearl, or in Stanley's case, with inlaid pieces of broken mirror.
In 1977, Ibanez collaborated with George Benson to produce the first of their artist-designed guitars -- the GB10 and GB20.
By the early to mid-80's, Ibanez's roster of artists with personalized signature models included Steve Lukather, Allan Holdsworth, George Benson, Lee Ritenour and Joe Pass.
Ibanez had yet to sign on rising-star Steve Vai -- arguably the company's most famous endorsee -- who was still mainly playing his Grover Jackson-built Charvel and Tom Andersons.
The AH10 model was designed in collaboration with Allan Holdsworth in 1984. Holdsworth had very clear and radical ideas as to what he wanted in a custom instrument:
- A light basswood body with a large, rectangular hollowed-out area under the pickguard for added acoustic resonance
- Custom designed AH Special humbucking pickups with adjustable polepieces on both coils
- A single volume and a single tone control
- A lightweight aluminum bridge
- A wider ebony fingerboard with jumbo frets
- Slightly wider string spacing at the nut and narrower string spacing at the bridge -- giving a very uniform string spacing along the entire length of the instrument
- The first model, the AH10 had only a single humbucking pickup at the bridge position, which is Holdsworth's preference to this day. A two-pickup model, the AH20 appeared after several months to create a more versatile (and probably more saleable) instrument
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