1977 Ibanez ‘Korina’ Iceman

After missing out on that awesome Destroyer, I thought I’d show you where my love for vintage Ibanez’s began…

Back in 1993, I lived in a small country town in New South Wales, spending my days working as a screen printer and hanging out at my mate Anthony’s nearby guitar shop (Custom Music) in my lunch breaks. It’s Anthony’s fault that my guitarnerd ‘habit’ started… every lunch break he’d show me some cool guitar that someone had traded in or brought in for repair. It’s amazing the guitars & gear that popped up in my little rural hometown… 60’s Strats & Tele’s, original SG Custom’s, old Les Paul’s. One afternoon I popped in after work and a massive, tatty hard case was sitting in Anthony’s office. Anthony had a big grin on his face and said ‘Open it.’ I cracked open the case and my jaw hit the floor. Inside was the most spectacular guitar I’d ever seen…

It was a 70’s Ibanez Iceman in a gorgeous honey yellow/natural finish. I’d only ever seen photo’s of an Iceman… usually the black Paul Stanley model.But this simple, stripped down model was even better looking I thought. It was a vintage looking rock machine. Wild but still classy.

I was surprised how massive they were in real life (I’m a little dude). The neck was like butter, it’s like the most perfect Les Paul neck ever, but thinner and a little wider. Apparently some kid from one of the tiny towns in the bush had brought it in to trade in on a black Ibanez RG550. I’m guessing his dad or someone had this hidden under the bed since new and the kid decided it wasn’t the right guitar to play his Metallica riffs on… which suited me. $400 later and it was mine.

If that seems cheap, remember this was 1993… the vintage boom hadn’t hit yet and kids (at least in Australia) wanted Charvel’s, Ibanez’s, Jackson’s… anything with a Floyd Rose. And guitars from the 70’s were seen as crap. A 1976 Fender Strat would’ve been $700. Anthony had sold an early 70’s (or was in late 60’s?) Les Paul for $800. And a 70’s Ibanez? Cheap as chips. Which is crazy, because this guitar is amazing.

Look at that bridge… it’s a work of art. It’s got the original brass saddles, along with the ‘sustain bar’ underneath. And the quick change stop tailpiece is great. The original pickups were microphonic as hell, so I had them waxed. I originally received this guitar with gold Les Paul speed knobs, not the rubber ribbed Ibanez ones. It took me 15 years to track down a complete set through friends (thanks Rish & Tim!)

The headstock is actually the current Ibanez headstock shape, which is really cool. Remember, this guitar was originally designed in 1974, so for a headstock design to translate so well from a vintage 70’s axe to the most heavy metal of modern guitars shows how good Ibanez was at what they did. The guitar sits really well when strapped on… with little or no nose dive. It’s ridiculously easy to play… that neck *sigh*. I can see why 70’s Ibanez collector’s are so obsessive about their guitars. They are just so good.

After owning this for a few years, and along with the invention of the internet (yes, there was a time before the internet… it was called the 90’s.) I found out this is actually the holy grail of Ibanez Iceman’s. It’s actually called the Ibanez IC-300, in the very desirable ‘Korina’ finish (though the guitar is actually ash). They only made around 180 of these, making them very rare. The value of these is around $2,000 US at the moment.

Remember in my Ibanez ‘Def Leppard’ story that there were 3 vintage Ibanez’s I’d sell body parts for?

Well, these are the other 2…

The Ibanez Destroyer (Explorer) and the Ibanez Rocket Roll (Flying V). I’m not really fussed on the Futura, but if one came up at the right price, I’d probably grab it to complete the ‘Korina’ set.

As it happened, a year after I bought my Iceman I walked into Custom Music and Anthony had another large case sitting in his office. With an even bigger grin he told me to open it… inside was a MINT condition Ibanez Destroyer, as in the above picture. I mean it, this thing looked brand new. It was the perfect partner to my Iceman. Instantly I reached for my wallet… but he said “Too late. I’ve already bought it”.

My howls of pain have been going on for 15 years now and he STILL won’t sell it to me. BAH!!!