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  1. #1
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    12.03.16 @ 05:14 AM
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    Default History of Ed's 1975 Destroyer/My 1975 Ibanez Destroyer

    I've posted the evolution of my 1975 Ibanez Destroyer build on ClassicVanHalen.com years ago. I got it in May of 2010 and I did a lot of research on Ed's original Ibanez Destroyer to try to get as many details as I could to build mine in the image of Ed's guitar as it likely existed during the recording of Van Halen and as it certainly existed in the club days from 1975-1977.

    First, some background on Ed's Destroyer and how he got it originally. Apparently, according to Doug Anderson (the guy who was around the band in the early days and who maintains the 'Van Halen Museum' in his guitar shop in Pasadena) Chris Holmes and Eddie bought their Ibanez Destroyers at the same shop at the same time. He said they were "first ones that came off the boat" from Japan.

    Here is a video clip where Doug relates the story of how Chris loaned Ed his Destroyer for the recording of Women and Children First:

    And here is how it looked when Ed used it on Women and Children First


    Here is an older photo of the Holmes Destroyer probably taken around 10 years ago:

    Here is a recent photo of the Chris Holmes Destroyer as it appears today:
    Last edited by garbeaj; 08.25.14 at 10:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    These guitars were made of Japanese "Sen" which is supposedly a species of bamboo, but is often referred to as "Sen Ash". Ibanez used to advertise that these guitars were made of "Korina" and both Ed and Chris thought that this was true. In fact, "Korina" is only the name of the amber colored finish. Gibson made the original Explorers from African Limba, which is supposed to be name of the actual wood that the real "Korina" Gibson Explorers and 1958 Flying V's were made of.

    So-Ed's Ibanez Destroyer and the Chris Holmes Destroyer were originally finished in an amber epoxy finish to look like the original Gibson Explorers. This finish has a similar composition to rubber cement-also amber colored. This finish was very susceptible to being chipped...many examples of these so called "lawsuit" Ibanez guitars are chipped everywhere.

    Here is the earliest known picture of Ed with his Ibanez Destroyer and the only known picture of the guitar with it's stock amber "korina" finish (before Ed painted it white:


    And here is a very early color photo of Ed (taken very shortly after the above picture) at the Pasadena Civic Center playing the guitar shortly after he painted it white:

    These two pictures were likely taken in early 1976 (the "1975" designation in the first picture is probably incorrect)...
    Last edited by garbeaj; 08.18.14 at 02:25 PM.

  3. #3
    Unchained GilmourD's Avatar
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    Subscribed!

  4. #4
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Anyway, Ed's guitar was originally a stock Ibanez Destroyer...

    Here is some of the evidence:


    Here is a stock Ibanez Destroyer from the mid to late 70s:

    Ibanez Destroyers do not have a pickguard screw in this position...



    I got these comparison pics from jimi on this site who helped me a lot with researching my build on ClassicVanHalen.com...
    Last edited by garbeaj; 08.18.14 at 02:50 PM.

  5. #5
    Forum Frontman fudd's Avatar
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    That guitar is to me, the best sounding one he's ever played. I imagine that had he not cut the chunk out that that guitar would have become his regular everyday guitar. I know he loved it.

  6. #6
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Gibson Explorers do have a pickguard screw in this position...


    There are also differences in the headstock, tuners and the truss rod covers...



    I got these straight from jimi as well...

  7. #7
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of a mid to late 70s Ibanez Destroyer with the same style truss rod cover as Ed's:

  8. #8
    Good Enough
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    12.02.16 @ 02:04 PM
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    That's an awesome post.
    A friend of mine just got a hand me down tobacco burst Mann Les Paul copy. Mann were rebranded for some markets, and were the same company as Ibanez, and his is Sen. Make no mistake, it still sounds great. I put in some Bill Lawrence pickups in his. You can see once you break into the guitar what Garbeaj is talking about with it being a species of bamboo. It's got that very similar rounded end grain.
    Yeah...The whole Korina thing....It's got a lot of stigma and myth behind it.Like you said...."Korina" was the color, not the wood, but because that amber was associated with those guitars almost exclusively, it all got lumped together.

    Real white Limba like what was in Ed's original Flying V which was used on Hot For Teacher for example, is an amazing tone wood. It has a very similar grain to mahogany, but it is lightweight, and very resonant. Ed's Destroyer was a great sounding guitar too, and I truly believe there too....the resonant qualities of the sen, as well as the mass of the guitar have a huge impact on tone and sustain.
    My buddy's LP copy is no exception in the tone department either. It sounds huge. Even better with the BL pickups.
    Very cool stuff man!
    Rest In Peace Dad. 1938-2015

  9. #9
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    I had been looking at hardware choices and searching for more info on Eddie's original Destroyer. In the course of this, I ordered an 8 1/2" X 11" print of the musikfoto pic that shows most of the total guitar and headstock, but unfortunately cut off the bottom of the guitar where the knobs are...

    I began to become curious about the strange knobs that Eddie used on this guitar. They appear white like the rest of the guitar. Here is another musikfoto.com image that shows the knobs better:


    This led me to order a print of the musikfoto.com pic I have posted here which shows the knobs a little more clearly. In correspondence with the photographer that took the pictures, a photographer by the name of Marvin Rinnig, I told him of my Destroyer project and my quest to replicate Eddie's Destroyer and that I mainly used his pics to go by as they are the best and clearest shots of the instrument in its pre-"Shark" phase that are available. I also told him that I was ordering this second print to get a better look at the knobs that Eddie put on his Destroyer. I also included in our correspondence the only color photo that was then known to be in existence of the pre-"Shark" Destroyer (not a very good one and from a long distance):



    What follows is the stunning reply that Marvin sent regarding the knobs:

    From Marvin Rinnig (musikfoto.com):
    Dear Allen,
    Hello again.
    Your story is very interesting. However I must take issue and give you a tip.
    You wrote, "The knobs that he chose are unusual and this new shot gives me the best detail of these knobs."
    I can solve your mystery, it's easy. I laughed about his knobs whenever I saw him play in the 70's. I personally asked him backstage at the Whisky A GoGo in 1976.
    He traded the knobs off of his Strat, put them on the Destroyer, took the Destroyer knobs and put them on his Strat. He wanted to make the guitars look different than normal. Plus he played the Strat on a song where he needed the larger Gibson type barrel knobs to do the "volume/down - volume/up with his pinky finger" by rolling the knob.
    The Destroyer has standard Strat knobs.
    I am 200 percent sure of this.
    I am 57 years old and I've been collecting, buying, and selling old vintage guitars since 1966.
    I specialize in 60's Gibson Firebirds, and most of the Gibson 50's/60's vintage electrics, 50's-60's Fender, all 60's VOX eqpt, 60's-70's Rickenbackers.
    And I can easily verify the Destroyer knobs. You're gonna love this. A few weeks ago I found 2 rolls of lost film - COLOR Van Halen at the Starwood January 1977. There are 5 color shots of Eddie with the Destroyer. Super color, clear sharp, full details of the Destroyer close up, no cropping. You must have these for your replica guitar.
    I hope this info helps. It's very clear in the photos, Strat knobs.


    I then shit my pants, cleaned myself and then burned my pants.:wow:

    He later sent me a small thumbnail of one of the 5 prints. It was even better than I hoped. I then presented this at the time never-before-seen pic:

    Last edited by garbeaj; 08.25.14 at 10:26 AM.

  10. #10
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Now this series of prints is readily available from Marvin. At the time I encouraged him to approach Guitar World and other publications with this series of photos and they appeared about a year later in Guitar World and on the VanHalenNewsDesk. These pictures were the first absolute proof that the guitar was painted white (not silver as many had speculated) and they were proof of mnay of the mods that Ed made to the guitar from it's stock condition...the strat knobs with the Gibson style metal arrow pointers, the gold metric Ibanez bridge that replaced the original chrome bridge.

    Here is a close up of the guitar from this series:


  11. #11
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Here is a cropped portion of one of the pictures I purchased from the photographer Marvin Rinning...Here you can see the strat knobs and the gold bridge and the standard pickup covers I talked about before...



    I also found this screen shot from the promotional videos for "You Really Got Me" and/or "Running With The Devil"...


    You can see that the gold finished bridge stayed on the guitar through the recording of the first album and at least through the making of these videos.
    Last edited by garbeaj; 08.25.14 at 10:20 AM.

  12. #12
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Speculation abounds on what pickups were in the Ibanez Destroyer at the time of the recording of the album. These pictures point to a strong possibility that it was stock Super 70s with the pickup covers remaining. After Ed made the "Shark" mod, he tried many different pickups.

    I don't want to get into a speculation free-for-all about what pickups were used in this thread, but these pics did prove that P.A.F. style pickups with the nickel pickup covers were on the guitar during this white phase.
    Last edited by garbeaj; 08.25.14 at 10:33 AM.

  13. #13
    Forum Frontman fudd's Avatar
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    I've been looking for an original destroyer but they're really hard to find. Especially the one like he had. Gibson sued them to get them to change it and they weren't the same. I tried one like Phil Collen used and it wasn't the same. The super 70's make that guitar.

  14. #14
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    Awesome thread.
    Last edited by Double Down; 09.26.16 at 12:12 AM.
    .
    .
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    VH with Dave ('78-'84) - The best years....the "real" VH.
    VH with Sam ('86-'96) - Incredible era....."We have renamed this town 'New Halen!'.
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    VH with Wolf/Dave ('12-'15) - Amazing comeback. Smokin' album and tours.

  15. #15
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    Anyway...

    I was lucky enough to find an original 1975-1976 Ibanez Destroyer in rough shape on eBay for $750.

    Here is what it looked like when I got it:





    The previous owner had marked out the Ibanez logo with a magic marker and placed a Gibson sticker over it...


    They also replaced the original "Star" tuners with Grover mini's:

 

 

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