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  1. #1
    Dutchbopper Guest
    New Blog entry about one of the least known vintage Ibanez archtops. With video clip comparing its sound to the best known one, the GB 10.

    Dutchbopper's Jazz Guitar Blog: Ibanez FG 100 versus GB 10

    Regards,

    DB
    Last edited by Dutchbopper; 07-08-2014 at 02:24 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I wish I had bought one of those back in the day. I do have a 79 GB20 I picked up used a long time ago it was my first archtop it plays and sounds good. Back in 70's there was another Japanese L5 copy called Ventura was popular around where I lived, my teacher had one and swore by them. I wonder if they were same guitar with different name?

  4. #3
    The Fg always struck me as a bit of an outlier.

    The body was quite thin and the shoulders narrow, just like the Greco Fa series. I thought the feel of the guar was a little cheap in places and the sound quite thin. Sort of like a (well damn close to) the JP20 but a little more rounded on the attack and over all note.

    The bodies however where nice, with a good finish, especially in the dark burst but I wish they had gone for ebony on the fretboard.

    All in all not a bad guitar but I felt it was definitely on the budget side of Japanese manufacturing.

    There is also another model which is even rarer (unless Im on drugs, oh wait a minute) The FB-100. Essentially the same guar but made of birch not the burly, curly laminate of the FG.

    Nice blog Dutch and nice find. A very pic up and playable guitar for sure but at the prices they are going for nowadays, they're starting to get a little too expensive for my taste.

    A really good Swedish Jazz player uses one and plays claw hammer style bop.
    Last edited by GoergeBenson; 07-08-2014 at 07:41 PM.

  5. #4

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    Hey DB,

    I saw you have a Tal Farlow. How does this FG100 compare to Tal Farlow?

  6. #5

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    a pair of FG 100's currently on feebay - $1900 and $1k respectively:

    Ibanez FG100 | eBay

    1982 Ibanez FG 100 FG100 Natural Archtop Electric ES175 Byrdland Mint GRLC1376 | eBay

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    a pair of FG 100's currently on feebay - $1900 and $1k respectively:

    Ibanez FG100 | eBay

    1982 Ibanez FG 100 FG100 Natural Archtop Electric ES175 Byrdland Mint GRLC1376 | eBay

    Yeh thats my point about the prices.

    Certainly Mr GB's endorsement (by using the model live for a while) has added desirablity to the instrument, that I'm not sure would otherwise, be there.

    I would have said $1,000 was a good price for one in fair condition. $1,300 for a mint one although I'm sure that was probably the price new.



    Actually Dutch, the Ibanez Af-120 (artstar) is also very similar to the FG-100 at a fraction of the price but fair to say, not as nice to hold or look at. It also has a laminate spruce top but Im sure both guitars where designed from the same blue print and plugged in sound pretty much the same and both with very fast necks.
    Last edited by GoergeBenson; 07-08-2014 at 07:43 PM.

  8. #7

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    Hi GB,

    Do they have different pickup between FG100 and AF120? Pickup can make a huge sound difference.

  9. #8
    Actually I don't know. The Af-120 has the Classic 58's or 57's. off the top of my head I can't remember exactly.

    Your right about pickups but with the guitars being as small as they are (not really acoustic instruments per say) at gigging level, i doubt there would be much difference.

    The Artstar can sound very good but it has to be in good hands with the right strings. I would say the same for the Fg-100

    The Ibanez Jp-20, FG-100 and AF-120 are essentially the same guitar and all sound in and around the same ball park from my personal experience. Although oddly, the JP-20 coming in last IMO

  10. #9

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    Thanks for your information again.

  11. #10

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    One of them came up on my local craigslist last winter, for about $800.
    The only issue was with the frets being very badly in need of a fret dress and probably a leveling.
    This guitar is surprisingly heavily built, with a small block under the bridge, in between the parallel braces.
    The block is thinner than the bracing, at 1/4" which may qualify it as a bridge "patch".

    heavy and dead sounding acoustically, but great plugged in with a thin neck.
    the poly finish has some slight "orange peel" texture but not very noticeable.
    Last edited by fritz jones; 07-09-2014 at 12:39 AM.

  12. #11
    Dutchbopper Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by GoergeBenson
    Yeh thats my point about the prices.

    Certainly Mr GB's endorsement (by using the model live for a while) has added desirablity to the instrument, that I'm not sure would otherwise, be there.

    I would have said $1,000 was a good price for one in fair condition. $1,300 for a mint one although I'm sure that was probably the price new.



    Actually Dutch, the Ibanez Af-120 (artstar) is also very similar to the FG-100 at a fraction of the price but fair to say, not as nice to hold or look at. It also has a laminate spruce top but Im sure both guitars where designed from the same blue print and plugged in sound pretty much the same and both with very fast necks.
    I read you compared the FG 100 to a JP 20 and you thought they sounded similar. Well, they don't. I hate the JP 20, the pick-up placement on that one is wrong and even Joe disliked the instrument himself. Very tinny sounding. The FG 100 does not have that problem at all. It's of a lighter build than my Gibson 175 or Tal Farlow but it definitely has a sound that is in the same ball park. A bit different, slightly less dark but not tinny, like the JP 20. It sounds better than a GB 10 even to my ears. But I dislike the sound of floating pups on laminates, so that is not surprising.

    I used to own a 1977 Ibanez Johnny Smith for years. You know, from the "better than the original lawsuit golden era Ibanez guitars" (bullshit). The FG 100 blows it away completely. The JS was a tinny sounding guitar. Beautiful looking, but sound wise not to my taste.

    Though the FG 100 is much cheaper than my Gibsons I would not hesitate to use it for a recording session, important gig or what have you.

    Bruce Foreman played one too. A guy like that would not play en entry level guitar. Like me. Why would I? I own a few nice Gibsons. Maybe the FG 100 was a bit of a budget model at the time, but so what? I have played guitars 3 times its price that sounded a lot worse. Tinny? Nope.

    The FG 100 was the mould many other guitars were derived from, the JP 20 and later even some PM models. And the Af series yes.

    My point was, with the prices of most vintage Ibanez topping 2000 dollars (euro over here) this one kicks ass for a lot less. For now, for I have seen them going up to well over 1500. Just a matter of time.



    Regards,

    DB
    Last edited by Dutchbopper; 07-10-2014 at 06:10 AM.

  13. #12
    Dutchbopper Guest
    The Tal sounds darker and fatter. Very classic "Gibson." The FG 100's sound is a bit lighter. Here's a few clips. The second one is a lofi metronome practise through a cheap amp. There's a lot more clips on my Youtube page.





    Regards,

    DB

  14. #13
    Dutchbopper Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Falling_leaves
    Hi GB,

    Do they have different pickup between FG100 and AF120? Pickup can make a huge sound difference.
    No idea. Sorry.

    DB

  15. #14
    Hey Dutch

    Yes I certainly wouldn't say the JP sounds the same plugged in due to the pick up placement. I was stating that they sound quite similar due to the body size/design but the JP would be a little brighter/thinner due to the spruce top. The AF would fall somewhere in between the both.

    I also have no issues with it being a 'budget' japanese guitar. Certainly nothing wrong with that considering I have an AF-120, which I love the sound of and it has the fastest Ibanez neck you will ever lay your hands on.

    Although it never stays in tune lol

    Yes I remember the "Faithful Copy" days ;-)

  16. #15

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    Pickups in the JP and FG are Super 58's.Pickups in the AFs are Super 58 CUSTOM, which in this case does not mean deluxe, it's a lesser pickup in sound quality. They're nice, but not Super 58s...

  17. #16

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    I had an 85 Fg 100 with Super 58's. I never could get into it although it played well after a refret. Very thin Ibanez style neck and somewhat lightly constructed. To my ears the sound with Thomastik Swing series 12's was not bad but sort of transparent and hi fi compared to my 78 GB 10, but maybe it would have sounded better to the audience. Never played it on the stand. The Gb 10 has some serious beef, just a really fat sound if somewhat one dimensional. Round wounds help tame the darkness. The pickups have something like 12.5 k resistance. Perfectly shaped neck.

  18. #17

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    Just found this performance "slumming" on YouTube for a live version of GONNA LOVE YOU MORE, found this on the list on the side. Note it's a GB-10 but with set in body hum buckers. All bow down to how tight this band is. GB has kept the same bass player around for a long time, since the mid 70s. Got a copy of Mr. Benson's biography coming in the mail tomorrow (pre release soft cover copy). Can't wait to see if he talks at length about the guitars he uses on stage and what his favorites are (many I am sure).

    Enjoy this sweet version of DOWN AT THE MAMBO INN


  19. #18

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    little late for a reply but i own both guitars so here is my take..
    Apple and oranges, fg is a classic 16 archtop , gb10 is much smaller and has a piece of wood glued to the top plate like a semihollow, but its not reach the back plate, its a hybrid guitar.
    My fg100 is from 1982, neck profile is like gibson 59,way beefer than my 1986 gb10, newer fg100 has slimer necks.
    Fg100 has dry tone, strong fundamental with little overtones, better dynamic range, bass notes can thunk
    gb10 has more low mids , more sustain, rich overtones, a creamy sound

    I have play a 1986 fg100 and it was sweeter, mine has agressive tone..

    Fg100 is more vintage sounding, gb10 more modern.

    I prefer....both!!
    when i hear the benson tone in the take five from 1986 with the fg100, and compare it when plays the gb10, i can hear these differences even from pc. speakers

  20. #19

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    I have an '86 Fg100 and agree on the sweet sound, almost like a solid top guitar. Bright. Slim neck.

  21. #20

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    late reply for me too, a friend of mine has a FG100, I got the GB10, I played his guitar, I really liked it, but the playability of the GB10 is unbeatable.

    I find that the sound of the FG has more body, which is obvious considering the size of the body of both guitars.
    But I'm a GB 10 man, Ilike the tone, it has a lot of punch with a nice tone, and as a travelling musician, I like the the size!

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by vejesse
    I had an 85 Fg 100 with Super 58's. I never could get into it although it played well after a refret. Very thin Ibanez style neck and somewhat lightly constructed. To my ears the sound with Thomastik Swing series 12's was not bad but sort of transparent and hi fi compared to my 78 GB 10, but maybe it would have sounded better to the audience. Never played it on the stand. The Gb 10 has some serious beef, just a really fat sound if somewhat one dimensional. Round wounds help tame the darkness. The pickups have something like 12.5 k resistance. Perfectly shaped neck.
    what year is your benson? The earlier ones have 7k pickups. Dimarzio later put ceramic magnets in them . I know for a fact that benson gets his newer gb pickups rewound and rebuilt to vintage spec

  23. #22

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    hi
    at the end I've bought an FG100: arrived yesterdays night.
    I didn't sleep: is just fantastic.

    @dutchbopper: great review and great playing on youtube: it has been determinant for my choice, thank you.
    just a question: the bruce forman's one looks a little different: ok, the tail piece might has been a mod; but the pickup seems to be much closer to the neck than in my fg; and the headstock has a white binding: mine hasn't it!

  24. #23

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    I wish I had known that the earlier FG100's had a different neck. My '86 does not sound like Bruce Forman's and also not like the demos I've heard. Thin neck seems to make the sound more 'transparent' and bright.
    Last edited by Ronstuff; 09-21-2015 at 06:09 PM.

  25. #24

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    Bruce's is a custom built for him as an endorser, not a stiock guitar. BTW, that guitar was used as the model for the Epiphone Joe Pass according to info from Bruce out there on the intwebs.

  26. #25
    Dutchbopper Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Ronstuff
    I wish I had know that the earlier FG100's had a different neck. My '86 does not sound like Bruce Forman's and also not like the demos I've heard. Thin neck seems to make the sound more 'transparent' and bright.
    I have a 83 FG 100 that sounds like Bruce's. It does not sound like my 175, 350 or Tal Farlow but has a great sound on its own nonetheless. I take it to gigs. It's a pro grade instrument.

    It's not really fair to compare it to a GB 10 because that one is twice the price of an FG 100. It should not sound so good. But it actually does

    A vintage Ibanez FG 100 hoffers great value for money and the playabilty is super. It's the best Japanese guitar I have ever owned. Better than those "golden age of Ibanez 70s Gibson copies IMHO."

    Regards,

    DB

  27. #26

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    Here's a quick recording of my 86' FG-100. Recorded with a Yamaha THR-10 on the Bass setting direct into computer.
    A bit silly I guess, but sometimes I find the guitar too bright because I practice at a real low volume and hear the guitar acoustically... The feel of the neck is incredible. Yes, a top quality guitar.

    Last edited by Ronstuff; 09-21-2015 at 08:31 PM.

  28. #27

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    ibanez at early 80s changed neck profiles from a very soft V shape to a slimmer C, to a lot of guitars.I had an early as200 with beefy neck
    Gb 10s from 70s have clunkier necks, and also a little more body thickness.

    Bruce Foreman does not play an fg100.Its a custom made guitar from ibanez for him, and has ebony board and heavy maple neck and body

  29. #28

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    oops.. means flame maple...

  30. #29
    Dutchbopper Guest
    I just came home from trying out a 1986 GB 10. I had taken my 83 FG 100 to compare them. The GB 10 played great and felt a bit more luxurious but sound wise it wasn't much better. My FG 100 sounded woodier and even a bit fuller than the GB 10, especially in the higher register. I blame the floating pups for that.

    Surely the GB 10 is a fine guitar in its own right but price/quality wise the FG 100 - which was way cheaper - kicks its butt.

    I wish they had put routed in humbuckers on the GB 10. Preferably one only.

    The price of the GB 10 was attractive. Not sure if I will get it though. I'll sleep on it.

    DB

  31. #30

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    As i posted before, i have both guitars and play them regulary.
    They are very good guitars , but way different.
    Fg100 is better suited for bebop 60s era stuff, vintage tone
    For more modern, smooth jazz, gb10 has the edge.
    Gb10 is not a typical archtop, and it has its own sound.
    The weird thing is that fg100 does not feedback, gb10 feedbacks more easily...maybe because it has more low mids
    If i was in your place i will take the gb10. You can sell it always later.
    Its a VERY good guitar

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoergeBenson
    Certainly nothing wrong with that considering I have an AF-120, which I love the sound of and it has the fastest Ibanez neck you will ever lay your hands on.

    Although it never stays in tune lol
    I have a narrow head AF120 that stays
    in tune solid ...
    are the tuners ok on yours ?

  33. #32

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    I have a query about my 1982 fg100. The label inside the body is signed seemingly in old-fashioned ink with metal nib pen.

    The signature is difficult to read but seems to be Kagawa Kubote. He is presumably the lutenist who made it. Is it normal for an fg100 to be hand-signed by the maker?

    It is a beautiful dark sunburst with a black (ebony?) fingerboard. The neck and body seem to maple but are dark coloured because of the sunburst. The finish is the best I have seen on any guitar.

    My use of the fg100 is probably unusual. I am an amateur and use a classical technique with real fingernails. I use flatwounds and an amp. This is much easier than playing a classical guitar with its very wide neck.

    The dealer who sold me it over 25 years ago said that a professional had traded it in. He bought direct from the importer allegedly.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by george41
    I have a query about my 1982 fg100. The label inside the body is signed seemingly in old-fashioned ink with metal nib pen. The signature is difficult to read but seems to be Kagawa Kubote. He is presumably the lutenist who made it. Is it normal for an fg100 to be hand-signed by the maker?
    Yeah, I checked mine out after reading your post. Mine is signed as well but not by the same guy. Mine's is signed by someone named 'Yuki', I can't make out his last name though, but it starts with 'Ki'. Anyone else notice their label is signed? Just wondering, does Ibanez have that done with all their hollow body guitars or are we the chosen few FG100 owners.
    Attached Images Attached Images Ibanez FG100 versus Ibanez GB 10-00d0d_fitnwg4hn2q_600x450-jpg Ibanez FG100 versus Ibanez GB 10-00t0t_f14vqotwq4p_600x450-jpg 

  35. #34

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    MY 86' FG100 is also signed by Yuki something. I had the chance to compare an 82' FG100 with my guitar a few months ago. The 82' had a thicker neck and seemed like the body was slightly deeper than mine. My guitar was brighter sounding.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronstuff
    MY 86' FG100 is also signed by Yuki something. I had the chance to compare an 82' FG100 with my guitar a few months ago. The 82' had a thicker neck and seemed like the body was slightly deeper than mine. My guitar was brighter sounding.
    Interesting, mine is actually a 1985. How about you other FG100 owners, does yours have a signature on the label? Just wondering cause I like feeling like I'm in the chosen few.
    Attached Images Attached Images Ibanez FG100 versus Ibanez GB 10-00o0o_fjhxjj6l8rl_600x450-jpg 

  37. #36

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    My fg100 from 82 had a signature inside.Very good guitar, but finally sold it

  38. #37

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    Sorry to resurrect a dead (or at least wheezing) thread, but the FG 100 fans in the audience might be interested in this: thanks to a strange series of events, I am currently the proud owner of two very similar guitars -- a blonde Ibanez FG 100 from 1982 and an Ibanez AF 120 in vintage sunburst from 2004. Aside from the 22-year age gap, the biggest difference is where the guitars were made: the FG 100 was "Crafted in Japan," most likely at the Terada workshop, while the AF 120 was made after Ibanez moved some of its production to Korea. Otherwise, the two guitars are nearly identical, except for color and some finish details. In fact, I've heard that Ibanez used the same body molds for the AF 120 series as they did for the FG 100's.

    In any case, both guitars measure 16" across the lower bout and have the same rim-to-rim depth of 2 3/4". Scale length (24 3/4"), nut width (1 11/16") and pickups (Super 58's) are also the same. Interestingly, the AF 120 has a generally higher level of materials and finish quality. The rosewood on the fretboard is really beautiful, for example, and the fret markers are pearloid blocks with diagonal abalone inlays. (The FG 100, by contrast, has plain pearloid markers.) The frets on the AF 120 are also noticeably smoother than the FG 100. Then again, the FG 100 has a better feeling neck (apart from the ragged fret ends) than the AF 120, although both guitars have very nice hand-friendly necks overall.

    And the sound? For the moment, I'm reserving judgement, since the FG 100 is new to me and needs a professional set up. But my initial impression is that the FG 100 is slightly brighter and more articulate, while the AF 120 is darker sounding, perhaps owing to its 3-piece mahogany-maple neck. In any case, I'll report back once the FG 100 is set up properly -- even if I'm just talking to myself!

    P.S. I'd like to thank all the commenters here, and especially Dutchbopper, for their thoughts and comments regarding the Ibanez FG 100. It inspired me to go looking for one when I recently decided to upgrade to a better archtop. Cheers!

  39. #38

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    the diferences are in the woods.
    FG100 top is 3 ply.One very thick layer of spruce and the 2 thin outer layers is maple.Ibanez specs says top is laminated maple, but you can see from the f holes the spruce grain.I think thats the reason for the acoustic properties of fg100

  40. #39

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    Finally got the ‘82 FG 100 back from the guitar tech, so without further ado here’s a quick comparison of that guitar with its younger sibling, a 2004 AF 120:

    Sound: Unplugged, the FG 100 has a clean, clear, bell-like tone that emerges effortlessly from the guitar body. Paired with a decent mic or piezo pickup, it could easily hold its own as an acoustic guitar, although like many laminates it’s noticeably more muted than a normal a acoustic. The AF120, on the other hand, produces a darker, less focused tone. It’s also much “boxier,” as though the sound has a harder time escaping from the guitar body. That’s not necessarily a bad thing -- in fact, a little boxiness and/or compression is often considered a good thing in an archtop -- but it’s still a noticeable difference.

    Not surprisingly, those same characteristics -- clear and bell-like for the FG 100 and darker and more compressed from the AF 120 -- carry over into the guitars’ amplified sound. Plugged in, the FG 100 just plain sings at any volume, with a great combination of warmth and clarity. No wonder the Japanese luthiers who built these guitars signed them! They had reason to be proud.

    The AF 120, meanwhile, is a well-made and very playable instrument, but it’s just not in the same class as the FG 100. Compared side by side, it’s noticeably duller and boxier, although with a few tweaks, such as a bone nut and/or new pickups, it could easily function as an everyday jam session guitar. It’s also quite a bit less expensive: I paid $500 for the FG 120 in like-new condition, and $1000 for the FG 100 in very good condition. (Interestingly, I think both guitars retailed for about the same price when they were released -- about $1200-$1300.) On the other hand, I think the AF 120 actually gets closer to the “dark” sound of old-school jazzboxes than the FG 100, which has more of a Benson/70’s thing going on.

    Finally, one thing I did notice about the FG 100 is how thin the wood-laminate is on the top and back of the guitar -- barely 3mm according to my admittedly less-than-scientific measurements. By contrast, the standard thickness on my other archtops is about 4mm-5mm. Could be one reason why the FG’s sound so wonderfully alive!

  41. #40

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    Oops! Meant to say I paid $500 for the AF 120 in like-new condition.

  42. #41

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    great love with my fg100: highly recomended

  43. #42

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    Just wanted to mention there's an FG100 on feebay right now in case anyone is interested. Natural looking style, kinda like the one posted by gianluca's above but with different pups, no covers. I'm thinking it's a 1982. Great playin' guitars! ~Cheers!



    Ibanez FG 100 Jazz Guitar Vintage Early Eighties Super 58's Great Shape | eBay


    301959705065

  44. #43
    I just come across this thread writting in google fg 100. I see here there are different opinion, some say fg100 is thin some say gb is thinner sounding and fg 100 is more woody etc...

    to me my fg 100 doesnt sound thin, but quite hollow, very acoustic and woody but still sweet and mellow. I tried twice to compare it with gb 10, one was from 77 and I preffered fg 100 both times. fg 100 just has that moggio

    here you can hear my fg 100 in live situations












  45. #44

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    I picked up this beauty with a birdseye maple top last month and had a Luthier make me a close copy of Bruce's (D'Aquisto style) tailpiece in ebony. I believe Pat Metheny's old Ibanez has the same tailpiece too. The tone is everything you want in a jazz box, fat, girthy, a bit punchy...


    Cheers,
    Arnie..

    Ibanez FG100 versus Ibanez GB 10-20210228_202245-jpg