Ibanez has ventured into the world of headless electric guitars for the first time, announcing the release of its all-new Quest series – chief among which is social media sensation Ichika Nito’s debut signature model, the ICHI10.
Announced via a YouTube livestream, which features an in-depth interview with the Japanese virtuoso and an extended look at Ibanez’s take on the headless design, the Quest series is broken down into five separate offerings.
Joining up with Ichika’s model is the HH-configured Q52, HSS-configured Q54, fret-slanted QX52 and QX54QM, and the seven-string QX527PB.
Read on for a full breakdown of Ibanez’s all-new range of headless guitars.
It’s about time, isn’t it? After wowing audiences around the world with a sublime style that combines mesmerizing tapping and elite precision, Ichika Nito has finally slapped his name on an electric guitar, and deservedly so.
Ichika, who is now Ibanez’s first-ever Japanese signature artist, based his ICHI10 on the brand’s Q54 guitar – more on that model later – albeit with a few notable Nito-specific appointments.
Build-wise, the guitar boasts a lightweight ergonomic nyatoh body, and features a three-piece maple/bubinga neck. The fretboard, made from roasted birdseye maple, features 24 Jescar EVO Gold frets and decorative mother-of-pearl step off-set dot inlays.
In the pickup department, Ichika’s sig sports three R1 single-coils – the only model in the lineup to feature such a configuration – which aim to highlight his bright, pristine clean sound and glassy tonal clarity.
The headless model makes use of two new Ibanez hardware appointments, a custom string lock and Mono-Tune bridge, which promise robust stability and the ability to support adventurous drop tunings.
A few nods to his trusty Talman have been incorporated into the Ichika signature, including the round, not-too-thin neck profile and the eye-catching smoky cream colorway.
During the YouTube livestream that unveiled his signature, Ichika said of his headless guitar, "The biggest benefit is probably the light weight. It looks so compact, it's lighter and easier to handle without a headstock."
On becoming an Ibanez signature artist, he continued, "The feeling hasn't really sunk in yet. I am really happy. I'm still not confident enough to say that Ibanez was right to choose me as their first Japanese signature artist, but I know I will make a strong effort as a musician to make them feel that they made the right choice."
Let’s tuck into the rest of the Quest, shall we? First up is the Q52, which arrives in a Laser Blue Matte finish and features a lightweight, ergonomic nyatoh body, Wizard C three-piece roasted maple/bubinga neck and a roasted birdseye maple fingerboard with 24 Jescar Evo Gold frets.
A pair of newly designed Q58 humbucker pickups, controlled via five-way selector switch, master tone knob and master volume knob, also features, with an additional Alter switch offering up to 10 stock sound variations.
By way of its dyna-MIX10 switching system, Ibanez aims to offer the best of both worlds in terms of powerful humbucking and genuine single-coil sounds.
The lack of a headstock has called for a bit of innovation from Ibanez, which has developed a custom one-piece string lock unit. This is paired with a Mono-Tune bridge, which features individual string saddles said to be capable of supporting whole-step drop tunings.
The Ibanez Q52 is available now for $999.
Next up is the Q54, which is available in Black Flat and Sea Foam Green Matte colorways. In terms of build, the spec sheet is the same as the aforementioned Q52, meaning a nyatoh body, three-piece neck and maple fretboard all feature.
The models differ in the pickup department, with the HSS-configured Q54 sporting a set of R1 passive/alnico neck and middle single-coils, as well as a Q58 bridge humbucker. These are controlled by Ibanez’s dyna-MIX9 switching, complete with Alter Switch, which offers up nine distinct tonal variations.
It’s business as usual for the hardware, which features a custom string lock system and a Mono-Tune Bridge.
The Ibanez Q54 is available now for $999.
The QX54QM introduces a fresh feature to the Quest series spec sheet – slanted frets. Appearing atop the roasted birdseye maple fretboard, each of the Jescar EVO Gold frets are equally slanted at an 8 degree angle, which is said to be more suitable for those who reside in the upper echelons of the ‘board.
Designed with tappers and string-slappers in mind, the QX54QM is otherwise a conventional Quest series model, featuring a nyatoh body, custom string lock system and Mono-Tune bridge.
A pair of R1 single-coils and a Q58 humbucker – again, controlled via a dynaMIX9 wiring system – are also included, with the specially designed pickups gunning for powerful lows, bright highs and precise clarity.
The QX54QM also introduces an all-new eye-catching colorway in the form of a Blue Sphere Burst Matte finish.
The Ibanez QX54QM is available now for $1,099.
The QX52 is identical to its fellow Q52 but for the appointment of slanted frets, which appear equally slanted at an eight degree angle.
Otherwise, the QX52 features the now-familiar nyatoh body, three-piece roasted maple/bubinga neck and roasted birdseye maple fretboard, as well as Ibanez’s custom string lock and Mono-Tune bridge.
The pickup department is also the same as the Q52, which means the QX52 comes equipped with two humbuckers – a pair of Q58s – controlled by way of the dynaMIX10 switching system.
Only one colorway is available for the QX52, which arrives in a sleek Black Flat finish.
The Ibanez QX52 is available now for $999.
Last but not least is the QX527PB, which features arguably the lineup’s most eloquent colorway. The Antique Brown Stained guitar is an expanded seven-string version of Ibanez’s standard Quest model, built from a nyatoh body, poplar burl top and a five-piece roasted maple/bubinga neck.
24 Jescar Evo Gold frets – slanted at an eight degree angle – also feature, as does the custom string lock system and Mono-Tune bridge. The 25.5”-scale model comes equipped with a set of slightly larger Q58-7 pickups, which, again, are at the mercy of the dyna-MIX10 switching system.
The Ibanez QX527PB is available now for $1,199.
For more information on the whole Quest range, visit Ibanez.