"First, save yourself the trouble and don't bother contacting Ibanez about them. They have no records or knowledge of these instruments. I guess it was an experiment, they didn't make many, and they didn't seem too interested in keeping track of them later. Your best bet is to bug other musicians like me, and guitar collectors who know of them.|
About your guitar. I believe it's the absolute earliest version I've seen, made in January (my understanding is, that's the A in the serial number - letters for months of the year), so you're probably right about it being number 76 off the line in '85. They seem to have started the numbering system over the following year (probably because the designs changed so much), so that's been a source of confusion for us in trying to determine how many total Axstars were made.
The first year, only the basses were headless, and the guitars had your design. (I have seen a brochure that shows those models). If I'm not mistaken, your guitar is passive (uses no battery for the pickups or electronics). The '85 were all passive, as far as I know. If you have a battery compartment PLEASE let me know - that would be quite a revelation!
It looks like you have the Axstar logo covered on the top of the guitar body. Can you remember or know what the little slogan was under "Axstar by Ibanez". They say different things, which seem to correlate to different electronics being used inside.
The following year, '86, saw several new guitar designs, all headless. I've never seen an Axstar made in '86 with a design like yours, so I believe they discontinued it in favor of the headless design, to match the basses, which already looked that way. There was a model with 2 single coils and a humbucker in the bridge position, and another with two humbuckers. They also made a deluxe kind of version with a little hook-like section above the nut which had this little medallion kind of thing on it. Just some weird design thing which didn't seem to have a purpose. But it was still headless, and had a real Steinberger licensed bridge with the tuners down there. The other headless models have Ibanez -made bridges. We've only seen this in a brochure.
There were different colors available depending on the pickup configuration: blue, red, silver, white and black. I have never ever seen a blue one except in an Ibanez catalog, but there are quite a few red ones floating around, as well as black and white. The only silver one I've seen is one my friend owns.
All the '86 models we know and have read about had low impedance pickups and active electronics, along with a new 24 fret neck (basses had 24 frets as well!). The '85s all seem to be passive and had different pickups. Did your pickups ever say Axstar on them? All the '85 basses and guitars we've seen said Axstar, and the '86 guitars say Ibanez (new pickup design)
There was lso a 5 string headless bass in '86. I've only known about 3, and a friend of mine had one of those (I could kill him for getting rid of it - grrrr). We think this is the rarest of all the models, save the Steinberger model." - studio192