In 2022, the guitar world saw a small revival of nylon-string tones with Polyphia’s album “Remember That You Will Die.” It was especially prominent in the song “Playing God.” Guitarist Tim Henson soon revealed what appeared to be a new Ibanez nylon-string guitar and it eventually went into commercial production under the name TOD10N. And now, Ibanez brings another version of it, called FRH10N.
Here we have yet another electro-acoustic nylon-string guitar with a mostly solid body. Essentially, FRH10N shares the basic traits with the original version. However, we’re looking at a more modest stripped-down version.
There’s the same solid body made out of a solid Sitka spruce top and Sapele back. The guitar also features a soundhole on the side, just like the original version. Other than that, we have a nyatoh neck with a C profile and a walnut fingerboard with 22 frets and a radius of 400 mm, which is about 15.7 inches, making it fairly flat.
We also have a walnut bridge and classical guitar tuning machines with a golden finish. There’s also a classic bone nut.
To round things up, the instrument is equipped with Ibanez’s T-bar undersaddle pickup as well as the company’s active preamp. What’s interesting is that the preamp is powered using two CR2032 batteries instead of the regular single 9-volt battery.
The electronics are a significant departure from the TOD10N version which comes with a Fishman Sonicore pickup and Ibanez’s AEQ210TF preamp that’s powered with a 9-volt battery. But other than that, the preamp on FRH10N comes with the same controls and features which include volume, bass, treble, and an onboard electronic tuner.
Additionally, the visual traits aren’t as impressive with FRH10N compared to the more expensive version. Nonetheless, it still looks gorgeous in both finish variants, brown sunburst flat and natural flat.
The new model is $499, significantly cheaper compared to the full version that’s $699. You can find more info about the guitar on Ibanez’s website here.
Tim Henson’s somewhat unexpected choice to go with nylon-string guitars was met with mostly positive reactions. But his decision to get one of these guitars with Ibanez almost didn’t happen. As he said in a recent interview, it was an old discontinued Ibanez nylon-string guitar that sparked his passion for this sound. This was most likely SC500N, a model from the late 1990s that was eventually discontinued due to poor commercial performance. Henson explained how it all came to be:
“I was in Europe, in 2019, in a pawn shop, and saw an Ibanez nylon electric guitar and I picked it up. I thought, What the fuck is this thing? I texted Ibanez and they told me it was a discontinued, commercially unsuccessful model from 1998. I bought it from the pawn shop and took it home.”
“And the inspiration was… A lot of times in rap, they’ll sample old classical guitar. This way I can make my own samples and use them in beats or send them to producers. I started making loops with it and was just like, ‘This is insane.'”
“So, I called Ibanez and said, ‘Hey, I want a signature of this.’ And they’re like, ‘Well, you know, it really didn’t do well in 1998…’ I was just like, ‘What the fuck!’ So, we made ‘Playing God’ and I sent it to them, and told them, ‘If you don’t make this guitar, some other brand will — and you’re going to lose out on a lot of fucking money.’ Then they were like, ‘Oh shit, yeah let’s do it.'”