It is an urban legend that the Gibson/Norlin lawsuit was filed against a number of Japanese companies.It is also commonly held it was over the exact copying of American designs. This headstock change came shortly after Ibanez introduced serial numbers.The quality of Ibanez guitars increased rapidly during this period.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.Anyone who cruises e Bay looking for old Ibanez guitars quickly finds the word lawsuit.Like many words in our society, this one is oft used, seldom understood.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.
To end the action, Ibanez made an out-of-court settlement with Norlin and agreed to stop copying the Gibson headstock and using similar names for their instruments.
Interestingly, the last Elgers (1965 to about 1970) are all Japanese-made (and indicate that on their labels) and are actually quite close in design to what was to become the Ibanez line of the 1970's.
In 1971, Hoshino bought Elger Guitars, regaining the North American distribution rights, and changed the name to "Ibanez USA".
Karl and his brother, Georg, led a small team of craftsman who designed and built the Elger Guitars in a workshop in nearby Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
They continued to hand-build exceptional quality instruments until about 1964. Rosenbloom decided to stop production of the hand-made instruments and begin importing guitars instead.