The Iceman is an Ibanez guitar produced by Hoshino Gakki. Hoshino Gakki exported copies of American electric and acoustic guitars in the 1950s, and by the mid 1970s the Ibanez guitars had reached a level of quality comparable to American guitars. Lower labor rates at the time, plus efficient manufacturing meant that Ibanez guitars could be sold for almost half (or less) of the cost of a Gibson Les Paul or Fender Stratocaster.
In the mid 1970s Hoshino Gakki wanted to make a distinctly Japanese guitar and to start breaking away from the Ibanez replicas of Fender and Gibson models. The idea was to build a guitar with an appealing original design, like a Les Paul or Stratocaster. A meeting between Hoshino (Ibanez), Kanda Shokai (Greco) and one of the main guitar factories in Japan (FujiGen) resulted in the Iceman/Mirage design. Each distribution company had distribution rights to it in different global markets. Hoshino Gakki (Ibanez) had the rights outside of Japan and Kanda Shokai (Greco) had the rights for Japan.
The Ibanez model was named the Iceman and the Greco model was named the Mirage and they are basically the same except for the pickup types that were used. Super 2000, Triple Coil and V2 pickups were used for the Ibanez Iceman, depending on the model number. Greco Dry and DiMarzio Super II pickups were used for the Greco Mirage. Body wood, pickups and neck joint construction varied with the Iceman/Mirage model price. The original Ibanez Iceman production was from 1975 to 1982/1983 with different models having set neck and bolt-on necks.
Early Ibanez Iceman models were called Ibanez Artist models and were changed to the Ibanez Iceman name in 1978. The Ibanez Iceman II that was released in 1982/1983 had a different headstock with 6 in line tuners instead of the 3 a side tuners the original Ibanez Iceman had.
Paul Stanley of KISS favored the Iceman throughout the 2000s. Ibanez made limited-edition copies of the artist's Iceman guitars from 1995 to 2008; the set-neck PS10LTD featuring a carved maple top, the moderately-priced PS10II and PS10CL, as well as the glued-neck ICJ100 WZ with fancy abalone binding.
Daron Malakian of System of a Down used Icemans as his main guitar from the time of the bands debut album up until around 2005, and a signature model, the DMM1, was made on a limited run of 300 guitars in 2004. The DMM1 featured custom artwork painted by Daron's father, Vartan Malakian, and was all mahogany with 22 frets and Ibanez Axis pickups.
Ibanez Iceman IC200 (1978) from Ibanez catalogues
- BODY: Mahogany
- NECK: 3 piece Maple (Thru Neck)
- FINGERBOARD: Rosewood
- PICKUPS: Super 80
- CONTROLS: 2 Volume & 2 Tone, 3 way switch
- TUNERS: Velvetune II
- BRIDGE & TAILPIECE: Gibraltar & Quick-Change
- HARDWARE: Chrome