In an effort to grow as a guitar manufacturer, Ibanez wanted to establish themselves as more than a great “copy” making company (Gibson and Fender were wishing the same thing) when they designed the Iceman. The design came about as often happens, through ideas taken from other shapes already being produced, or perhaps from guitars long since out of production. In the Iceman’s case, you can see a bit of Rickenbacker in the long lower “horn”, or arm shaped protrusion. The Rickenbackers from the 60’s had this “arm” on the upper (or left) side though, and it was not as long as the Iceman’s.
You can also see some resemblance to this Yamaha guitar from 1967. —>
I haven’t seen the lower part of the Iceman (from the waist down) on any other guitar, but it is roughly similar to many others. So in 1975 the new shape was released in America. It was most likely sold in Japan too, by Ibanez of Japan and perhaps by Greco as well. If anyone can confirm this, please email me.
So the Iceman was born and began reaching the US in 1975. Early, late – no one can be really sure of the facts here. For all we know, it could have been in 1974, but best guesses from experts in the field seem to agree on 1975. Ibanez had not started using serial numbers at this point, so the earliest Icemen (and any other Ibanez) did not have any numbers on them anywhere. For warrantee purposes, Ibanez did start numbering their guitars in late ’75, early ’76. They used an easy to read system (thank you Ibanez) but there are some guitars out there with strange, one-off ID numbers stamped on them. These instruments were apparently produced as Ibanez got their facilities using a standardized numbering scheme.