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The big jazz boxes and the ES-335 copies were very well made, but probably weren't up to Gibson standards.The first models introduced after the agreement were the ..all of those knobs!In a stroke of remarkable insight -- and 90s style outsourcing -- Elger Guitars chose to become the exclusive North American distributors for the Hoshino Gakki Gen Company, a Japanese instrument manufacturer.Remember that back in the 60s and would use this as their product name.Having started as a relatively unknown and low-budget Japanese guitar brand, Ibanez discovered the way to success around 1970 when they started making copies of well-known American guitars like Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker.They did a good job: the guitars were good copies, at least from a visual point of view.
Many set-neck copies like the Model 2459 Destroyer, an Explorer copy and its Flying V counterpart, the Rocket Roll Sr., we pretty decent guitars, but probably weren't as good as the Gibson/Norlin guitars of the era.
On June 28, 1977, Norlin, the parent company of Gibson, filed a lawsuit against Elger (Ibanez) in Philadelphia Federal District Court . Elger Co." with Gibson claiming trademark infringement based on the duplicate "open book" or "moustache" headstock design of the Ibanez copies.
Allegedly Gibson had threatened to sue Elger/Ibanez for a long time regarding the use of the headstock which Norlin claimed as a Gibson trademark.
Non-Free Traders take note: they were able to make these guitars affordable due to cheaper materials and labor, coupled with a higher level of automation when compared to their American counterparts. Rosenbloom figured it out early: make a guitar that looks great and similar to a big name guitar and people will buy it.
This is precisely the phenomenon we see with todays Epiphones.