Dubbed the FRH10N – and available in either Natural Flat or Brown Sunburst Flat – the Japanese brand’s latest offering is, at first glance, a like-for-like recreation of Henson’s flagship nylon-string signature, save a few specs that help bring the price tag down from $699 to $499.
At its core, though, the FRH10N is the same as the TOD10N. That means it features a solid Sitka spruce top with sapele back and sides – complete with a side-mounted soundhole – as well as a walnut fretboard-topped nyatoh neck, which offers a C-shape profile.
The fretboard features 22 frets, though swaps out Henson’s intricate Tree of Death inlay for standard offset white dot alternatives. Other familiar appointments include a walnut bridge, bone nut and gold classical tuners.
Even the interior design is the same: just like the TOD10N, the FRH10N utilizes the fan bracing construction common to classical guitars that was key to Henson and Polyphia’s “Nuevo Flamenco” sound.
The biggest difference between the two nylon-strings, though, can be found in the electronics department. As opposed to a Fishman Sonicore, the FRH10N comes loaded with Ibanez’s proprietary T-Bar Undersaddle pickup.
Likewise, the guitar is powered by two CR2032 batteries, whereas Henson’s axe is charged by a single 9V battery.
Owing to these changes, the FRH10N comes without the built-in controls found on Henson’s signature six-string, which in comparison offers knobs for Volume, Treble and Bass, as well as a tuner.
Fans of the new FRH10N have Henson to thank for its existence. After all, it was the Polyphia virtuoso who first worked hard to convince Ibanez to revive and reboot one of its discontinued nylon-string models for his signature guitar.
Speaking to Revolver last month, Henson revealed the Japanese brand was hesitant to explore the nylon-string route due to the poor performance of a similar model in the late ‘90s, but were forced to reconsider after the success of the band's acoustic single, Playing God.
“I was in Europe, in 2019, in a pawn shop, and saw an Ibanez nylon electric guitar and I picked it up,” Henson recalled. “I thought, ‘What the fuck is this thing?’ I texted Ibanez and they told me it was a discontinued, commercially unsuccessful model from 1998.”
“I called Ibanez and said, ‘Hey, I want a signature of this,’” he continued. “And they’re like, ‘Well, you know, it really didn’t do well in 1998…’ I was just like, ‘What the fuck!’ So, we made Playing God and I sent it to them, and told them, ‘If you don’t make this guitar, some other brand will – and you’re going to lose out on a lot of fucking money.’ Then they were like, ‘Oh shit, yeah let’s do it.’”
In an effort to further force Ibanez to release a nylon-string signature guitar, Henson told Loudwire he launched his own online campaign to prove its potential popularity.
“I made a tweet saying, ‘If I were to put out a nylon signature, who would buy it?’” Henson recalled. “And there were like a thousand replies of, ‘Please, please, please.’
“So I screenshot every single one,” he continued. “I go to every single video I’ve ever played a nylon guitar on and screenshot comments saying, ‘Oh my god I want this so bad, can Ibanez release this.’ Then we made Playing God, the demo, and sent it to them saying, ‘Here is your market. Please make this guitar.’”
To find out more about the FRH10N – which is available to preorder for $499 – visit Ibanez.