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  1. #1

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    Please tell me about the 80's Ibanez GB20. I've only seen a few in the 'wild', mostly classifieds, and never seen Mr. Benson perform with one of these rare birds. Norman Brown had one during his early pro years, presumably gifted to him my GB, but otherwise I've not seen any other pro players with one.

    What can you tell me about the GB20? Thanks in advance.


    Ibanez GB20-ibanez-gb20-jpg

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I found this old Ibanez Catalogue image which gives some details about the GB20.

    If any former or current owners have comments about them, feel free to chime in.


  4. #3

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    I‘ve owned one some 25 years ago, tried for a year or so to get the tones out of it I wished were in it, to no avail. It’s a heavy guitar, plays well like the smaller GB10 but it has no real character, you don‘t really hear or feel the larger soundbox and I‘m not surprised that you don’t see it in the hands of players. There are many better guitars out there for less $$.
    YMMV

  5. #4

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    Solidly built guitar with a lovely comfortable neck.

    I agree about the soundbox , ie it's quiet acoustically, which could be a good thing for playing at volume.

  6. #5

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    Thanks for the input thus far. From the descriptions it seems very similar to my GB10...only bigger.

  7. #6

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    German singer / guitarist Jörg Seidel plays one. You can find him on facebook. I'm sure he will kindly answer any questions you have.

  8. #7

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    I bought one new in 1980 and found it to be a very stellar and well made guitar. The tone was on the bright side and the pickup was very powerful. IMO Ibanez would be smart to bring it back. As I recall it had a great neck.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    Thanks for the input thus far. From the descriptions it seems very similar to my GB10...only bigger.
    Not to be confused with the GB200
    ( the least popular ) the GB20 is larger bodied than the GB10 guitar and has one floating PU ,not seen often. I haven’t played one and therefore unable to comment . Vinny1k had one and his opinion is positive.

  10. #9

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    Had one for many years. Have had the GB10 also. Your comment is exactly right. It sounds just like the GB10 but bigger. I don't think it's carved to be more of an acoustic instrument. Pretty much like the GB10 only bigger. Sound wise I always prefered it to the GB10 cause it sounded the same but bigger. I wanted to comment earlier but didn't think the "bigger" thing would be too useful to you...
    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    Thanks for the input thus far. From the descriptions it seems very similar to my GB10...only bigger.
    Last edited by skiboyny; 09-09-2019 at 08:29 PM.

  11. #10

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    Again, thanks for the comments about the GB20. I was able to locate a rare photo of Mr. Benson with this model. (Hint, don't blink.)


  12. #11

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    I had two - The first I purchased from a gentleman in Australia, and the second (pictured below) from Blue Note in Berkeley. The pictured instrument was absolutely mint! I loved it! It was extremely well built, comfortable neck, and sounded great. I owned a GB 10 prior, and this instrument had a much nicer voice IMHO. I ultimately sold it because that is what I do - search the world for something, keep it 5 years and sell it. I actually advertised it on this forum. My reason for selling it was that is a heavy instrument, and my search for the perfect instrument gravitated to "light weight". I went from the GB 20 to a Super 5 (also a great guitar sold here) to a wonderful lightweight 2018 LeGrand.



    Ibanez GB20-gb-20-2-jpgIbanez GB20-gb-20-5-jpg

    If you don't mind a slightly heavy instrument, and can find one as clean as the 2nd one I owned - snap it up. A great instrument. I sold the first one to a guy in New York, and the second went to a gentleman in Petaluma, CA.

    AKA
    Attached Images Attached Images Ibanez GB20-gb-20-1-jpg Ibanez GB20-gb-20-3-jpg Ibanez GB20-gb-20-7-jpg Ibanez GB20-gb-20-12-jpg Ibanez GB20-gb-20-11-jpg 
    Last edited by AKA; 09-12-2019 at 08:14 PM. Reason: typo

  13. #12

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    Hi !I'm looking for info about this Gb20.I've lended a Monarch to a friend who wanted to "feel" the special thing about archtops, he's a very telecaster-man but found it very interesting.So he is about to buy a Gb20 (he loves the look and the price seems to be right at 1800€) but I can't presume of the differences with the Monarch as I never played a Gb20...What do you think of this ?Thank you all.

  14. #13

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    I've owned both it's been quite a few years. The GB-20 is a much better quality build, superior neck. Heavier build as some in this thread have stated.The Monarch is more acoustically alive than the ibanez. They have of course a very different voice. The GB model has a very typical GB sound which can be heard on many of his videos.

  15. #14

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    Ibanez GB20-882cd994-2c88-44e5-9001-ef6fa66b5763-jpeg


    Ya know it’s dogged persistence that pays off. This is the fourth attempt at buying a GB-20nt and this time it paid off. Roughly the size of an L-5, 25 inch scale, clean as a cats ass. Joe calls it Benson’s JS model. It’s all that and two bags of chips. Had to work with Customs to free her up, like I said dogged persistence.
    enjoy the photos



  16. #15

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    Ibanez GB20-5c46427e-d20c-46ca-bd20-2459d9219648-jpegIbanez GB20-3a22a1c9-3853-43b2-86e5-4e7faad6ff7c-jpegIbanez GB20-2e3c35c8-1c48-4694-add3-e9dbb6c4892a-jpegIbanez GB20-03a75e5b-9515-404f-9bde-29990aca0880-jpegIbanez GB20-182edbd3-b626-4b08-a0b2-2d3a5f508b3f-jpegIbanez GB20-5cd2d749-7e54-40a5-b44a-8550d6dc3f1e-jpegIbanez GB20-91d02924-070f-47bc-8a82-4bdadea666a4-jpegIbanez GB20-3ef25a1b-6ce0-43f5-aa51-946312e6ce9d-jpeg

  17. #16

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    Ibanez GB20-91b4285f-f636-4cdd-872c-dfb5ecf0ff3d-jpegIbanez GB20-6a44306e-3137-4915-962b-6a6beddd0277-jpegIbanez GB20-78543e3d-3140-4e69-9207-6bae22f0cc5d-jpegIbanez GB20-e00b612b-49dc-43a2-ab7b-726b3e325a1d-jpegIbanez GB20-20041941-f970-4d26-9dc2-330a19126eef-jpeg

  18. #17

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    the only video of GB I can find playing one so far.


  19. #18

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    Another great instrument for what must be one of the world's finest collections of George Benson Ibanezes. Congratulations, Big, and play it in good health!

  20. #19

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    I let her warm up, after shoveling four trash bags of styrofoam peanut it was time for dinner, then tuned her up. Easy as pie she’s remarkably stable.

    Shes as loud as my Campy Standard has a great neck and I plugged her into the Texas Flood, swirly sounds in the body when I match the amp to acoustic volume. Tim’s right, it needs a Schatten hidden tone control to warm her up electrified, that’s normal for me.

    spending time singing hymns tonight, it’s the 4yh anniversary of my Mom passing away.



    Ibanez GB20-ca91a0db-0a4e-4f20-9b31-dfa7e6cb8894-jpeg
    Last edited by BigMikeinNJ; 02-25-2020 at 09:22 PM.

  21. #20

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    Ibanez would be wise to return this model to there lineup. I bought one of these new in 1980. It was a stellar guitar. Another regretful sell on my part. Congrats Mike. Nice figure on the back.

  22. #21

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    Another home run, Big! That is a very rare blonde (NT) version of one of the more rare GB models.

    It looks minty. Once you have a Schatten thumbwheel tone control installed, you'll love it even more.

    Play it in good health.

  23. #22

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    Hi all,

    I'm needing a bit of info. about my GB20 please.

    The pickguard has 'gassed off' I believe it's called and destroyed all the electrics and gold plated brackets!

    Could anyone advise me what pickup/volume control pot I should be using as a replacement?

    Has anyone else had this problem with this model?

    Many thanks.

  24. #23

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    The earlier George Benson model Ibanezes intended to have some trouble with the pickguards outgassing. I believe the pickguards were made of celluloid, hence the problem. There is often a camphor type odor. The gas that is released can interact with the gold plating on the pickups and other hardware, which can as you have seen tarnish or even destroy the finish. The gas can also be absorbed into the lining of the case. If you haven't done it already, the pickguard should be removed from the guitar and, if you want to save it, stored in a Ziploc bag somewhere else. The case should be thoroughly aired out before the guitar is stored in it.

    Usually the functional aspect of the electronics are not damaged by this, just rendered rather ugly. As for the value of the volume pot, if you need to replace it that is probably a CTS 500K audio taper pot. There should be markings on the back of the pot identifying the resistance value. However, if the tone of the guitar was too bright, using a 250K or 300K audio taper pot would be fine as well; that would tend to bleed a little treble off.

    I don't know how you would go about refinishing the pick up cover, pick guard bracket, tailpiece if necessary, tuners, etc. Or if that is even possible. The pickguard support bracket is a relatively standard item and can be replaced fairly readily. The tuners are replaceable, as well, although those particular ones are specific to Ibanez. The tailpiece is an Ibanez unit and not really available anywhere else although sometimes you will see them on eBay.

    An Ibanez dealer might be able to order you a new pickup if you need it; alternatively, Jason Lollar, Pete Biltoft or Kent Armstrong could set you up with a replacement and do any tone tweaking that you might like as well. That might very well be cheaper than ordering a new unit from Ibanez.

    I have a 1981 GB10 which had some outgassing from the pickguard. The cosmetic damage to the pickups, tailpiece, etc., was minimal and I have never replaced them. From a few feet away it's not noticeable. Functionally the pickups and controls work fine. Forum member and luthier Matt Cushman made me a beautiful replacement pick guard from a piece of headstock veneer, an exact match for the original pick guard in shape, fit and color tone although I like the wood better than the original tortoiseshell celluloid. I sent him the pickguard, he duplicated it and sent them back to me. If your original pickguard is intact enough to send it to him, that would be one option for proceeding. Forum member deacon Mark can also make you a pickguard, I think; I remember him posting that he had materials for this.

  25. #24

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    Many thanks for that Cunamara....very much appreciated for taking the time for such a thorough response. JG.

  26. #25

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    Hi,

    I know this is far from a traditional jazz box but wondering if any of you have any first hand experience and can sell their good points/point out the bad?

    Keen to know how it sounds with gauge 12 flatwound strings. I'm far from a traditional jazz player, so think it might suit me.

    Thanks!

  27. #26
    If it’s anything like the mij lr10 I played it’s worth every penny. Ibanez is one of those companies every penny maters .a good Ibanez really starts between $1000-$1500. The necks are amazing. And don’t forget about the gripped knobs!

  28. #27

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    I almost bought a GB20 last year. It was in fantastic, all original condition. It played well and was very comfortable playing sitting or standing. However, since it only had a volume control and no tone pot, it was difficult to dial in a tone that I liked. Some folks ad a tone control to solve this issue, but I decided to pass. I eventually found a GB200 that ticked all the GB boxes.

  29. #28

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    This is a GREAT Jazz guitar.
    I (like Gitfiddler) almost bought one myself. I tried buying it, but before that, I made the mistake of telling a friend about it and He ended up buying it. He didnt know I was very serious about buying it, but I certainly was.
    Even though the Insanely large pickguard is an eye sore, it is effective at getting the volume control out of the way. If I did buy that one, I would have replaced the pickguard with an L5 size PG and replaced the volume only knob with a hidden volume/tone control such as a Schatten.
    JD

  30. #29

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    I owned one for a good many years along with a gb-10 and gb-12. They all have the same personality sound wise. The gb-20 sounds the same only bigger . All those guitars play top notch right from the factory. If you like the Ibanez sound,you won’t be disappointed with the gb-20.

  31. #30

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    Twice I've owned one , first in the mid 90ies and again in the early 2000's , both were about 10 years old or so. Found them very easy to handle and play (like most Ibanez guitars I have tried) , not quite as comfortable as the GB10 but still. However, they were just as overbuilt and stiff as the smaller version and I could not get them to sound the way I had hoped they would. I couldn't get the "thunk" of a good 175 or ES150/350 etc, the tone was always kind of bland and without character, regardless of string gauge etc. , no outboard eq could really help me in that respect. Luckily these models were not so sought after back then and still quite affordable and I passed them along again without losing any money. Then I got my first Borys B120 and I stopped searching for a gigging guitar.

  32. #31

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    I've had a number of Ibanez guitars, all of them very good GB10, GB100, JP20, etc., and we all like gripped knobs.

  33. #32

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    Yikes, I too had a little off-gassing on my early '80s Ibanez GB10. Only the pickguard was affected so I ordered a replacement from Chesbro Music, Ibanez parts distributor. My problem was the binding came apart from the main body of the scratch plate. While I was waiting for the order I ended up supergluing it back together. It's not perfect, but not too bad. I was gigging it pretty hard at the time, so I just left the repaired plate on and kept the replacement for the future.

    In my old Brasilian Jazz group, my GB10NT was pretty much my No.1 Ibanez, and like the other 2 classic era Ibanez's that I own, it soon enough needed a refret. My BFF was managing Gryphon Strings back in the day, and he encouraged me to have his amazing in-house luthier to refret with stainless steel. I loved the idea of never needing another fret job again. I am not sure I would do it again though because it came back sounding brighter which I didn't like as much as the original fret wire. The feel of the frets are also slinkier which felt a little strange as first. Standard fret wire gives a little more gripping resistance particularly for bends. [Yes, even with Thomastik Infeld 14's I bend fairly easily. Man up! ] I am generally fairly used to the feel and sound now, but initially I was not aware of the effects of stainless. I just wanted to share a moderately cautionary tale.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by violao
    Yikes, I too had a little off-gassing on my early '80s Ibanez GB10. Only the pickguard was affected so I ordered a replacement from Chesbro Music, Ibanez parts distributor. My problem was the binding came apart from the main body of the scratch plate. While I was waiting for the order I ended up supergluing it back together. It's not perfect, but not too bad. I was gigging it pretty hard at the time, so I just left the repaired plate on and kept the replacement for the future.

    In my old Brasilian Jazz group, my GB10NT was pretty much my No.1 Ibanez, and like the other 2 classic era Ibanez's that I own, it soon enough needed a refret. My BFF was managing Gryphon Strings back in the day, and he encouraged me to have his amazing in-house luthier to refret with stainless steel. I loved the idea of never needing another fret job again. I am not sure I would do it again though because it came back sounding brighter which I didn't like as much as the original fret wire. The feel of the frets are also slinkier which felt a little strange as first. Standard fret wire gives a little more gripping resistance particularly for bends. [Yes, even with Thomastik Infeld 14's I bend fairly easily. Man up! ] I am generally fairly used to the feel and sound now, but initially I was not aware of the effects of stainless. I just wanted to share a moderately cautionary tale.