Are Ibanez Guitars Good?

Ibanez is known to make some of the best-selling electric guitars on the market! Most players are familiar with their name because of the impact they have had in the guitar world. But are Ibanez guitars good, or is it all hype?

Ibanez has risen to fame through the work of artists like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Paul Gilbert. Many players have joined the roster of notable musicians who play Ibanez guitars. They have had plenty of time to perfect their guitars. As a result, they now have one of the strongest reputations in the industry.

Before you make your next purchase, it’s best to know all you can. Take some time to explore these reasons why Ibanez guitars are good. This guide will explain all the ins and outs of Ibanez guitars. That way, you can decide if they are also the best for you.

Quick Overview of Ibanez Guitars

Before we get into the details, it’s important to know some of the basics of Ibanez guitars. This will help you to understand why players love this brand and their instruments. Here are a few things you will find with these instruments:

  • They have lightweight and comfortable bodies
  • Most of the Ibanez guitar models are easy to play
  • They are known for their thin, fast necks, great for leads and shredding
  • Great tone variations for many music styles
  • Superstrat body shape allows for higher fret access
  • They are made with durable construction methods

History of Ibanez Guitars

Hoshino Gakki owns the Japanese guitar brand, Ibanez. Hoshino Gakki is based in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. It’s one of the earliest Japanese businesses to establish a presence in import guitar sales in the United States and Europe. The company was also the first to mass-produce the seven and eight-string guitars.

Hoshino Gakki began as the musical instrument division of the bookstore chain Hoshino Shoten in 1908. Hoshino Gakki chose to produce Spanish-style acoustic guitars in 1935. Naming them Ibanez after Spanish luthier Salvador Ibáez.

Ibanez’s offerings from the late 1950s and early 1960s show some unusual designs. In the mid-1960s, Japanese guitar manufacturers primarily copied American designs. Ibanez did, too, with their own replicas of Gibson and Fender models at the time.

The crucial years for the Ibanez company were the late 1980s and early 1990s. At this time, the famous JEM and Universe models were introduced. This was as a result of Hoshino Gakki’s collaboration with guitarist Steve Vai.

Ibanez is and has been a key player in the guitar marketplace. Ever since its popularity exploded in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The company now has an impressive portfolio of models and ranges. It persists to keep innovating and develop new designs. But only those that enable players to fully express their musical talent.

Ibanez GRX70QATEB Guitar

Are Ibanez Guitars Good?

Ibanez’s guitars may not be as well-known as Gibson or Fender. But they are extremely well-made and have withstood the test of time. They are comfortable and have outstanding quality. They are also reliable, have good construction, and have very useful features.

Ibanez has been making high-quality electric guitars for many years. The company is known for its thin, fast-playing necks! But also their articulate hot sound and lightweight bodies.

Tonewood

Ibanez uses many wood types for their guitars. This includes mahogany, basswood, alder, maple, rosewood, and more. They select woods for their sound qualities, weight, appearance, and cost.

Mahogany is a popular choice for more expensive Ibanez guitars. This is due to its warm, full tone and is popular in the Prestige line. Basswood is known for its balanced sound and lighter weight. While Alder provides a bright and focused tone. Maple and rosewood is used in the necks and fingerboards. Not only do they look good, but they resonate well too!

Ibanez often uses multi-wood combinations to achieve specific tonal characteristics. For example, a maple top on a mahogany body results in a guitar with a bright attack and warm sustain.

Hardware

Ibanez is also known for using awesome hardware on their guitars! This includes the bridges, tuners, and nuts.

The bridges on their instruments range from fixed to tremolos. Many of the models feature the brand’s signature Edge or Gotoh locking tremolos. This is amazing for increased tuning stability. The tuners are precise and super reliable. This means that the guitar stays in tune even during intense playing.

You can also find bone nuts and great control designs. This depends heavily on the price, of course. As the price decreases, so does the level of quality in the parts. But even the entry level guitars are built well and play good.

Pickups

Ibanez has a wide range of pickup options for their guitars. This seems to include both proprietary Ibanez pickups and models from leading manufacturers. You will find Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio on this list of great options.

Higher-end Ibanez models often feature Seymour Duncan or DiMarzio pickups. They are known for their incredibly detailed tone and versatility. Depending on the model, you will find single-coil and humbuckers. There are many combinations like HH and HSH.

Ibanez also offers more affordable models that feature their own pickups. These are called the Quantum and Infinity series. They are designed to provide a solid and reliable performance. But at a lower price point. It makes them a popular choice for players with a small budget.

Neck Designs

The neck design is a critical aspect of the playability and feel of a guitar. Ibanez offers several different options to suit the preferences of different players.

One of the more popular designs used by Ibanez is the Wizard neck. It’s known for its thin and fast profile. This is a favorite to many players for its comfort and playability. Especially for fast and technical playing and shredding.

Ibanez also offers other profiles, such as the Super Wizard neck. This is an even thinner version of the Wizard neck. Then we have the Nitro Wizard neck. This one features a slightly thicker profile for a more traditional feel.

Sound

The sound of Ibanez guitars is a result of a combination of factors. The wood used, pickups, and hardware all make a significant impact.

Ibanez offers a wide range of sound options. You can go from bright and articulate to warm and full. Higher-end models, in particular, are known for their excellent articulation. Expressing yourself with precision and clarity has become that much easier!

The quality of pickups and hardware contributes to the articulation of higher-end models. As was mentioned, the use of premium pickups from Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio. This combined with high-quality bridges and tuners results in an instrument that responds with precision and accuracy.

The different woods used in the construction also has a significant impact on the sound. For example, using a maple top on a mahogany body. This results in a guitar with a bright attack and warm sustain. It provides nothing less than excellent articulation and clarity.

Are Ibanez Guitars Suitable for Beginners? 

Ibanez guitars are suitable for beginners because they boast a well-known industry reputation for being among the most comfortable and easiest to play. They have a wide range of superb entry-level models that are both affordable and of great quality. In general, the excellent playability of Ibanez guitars makes them ideal for newbie players.

Ibanez is famous for their thin, fast necks. As a result, they’ve earned a reputation for being shredders in a variety of metal genres and subgenres. Their comfort is determined by every attribute of the neck, including materials, shape, fretboard width, and girth.

Ibanez’s necks are helpful for pinning your thumb, helping to promote more control, and making it easier to play intricate lead lines. Its flat radius encourages single note playing over chord and rhythm parts. This is why technical lead lines are easier to play. With all of this, it’s no surprise that Ibanez guitars are ideal for those with small hands or who haven’t developed any dexterity.

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Ibanez Guitars are Good for More Than Metal

Ibanez guitars are ideal for metal music. They frequently include high output humbuckers, which are perfect for producing aggressive metal tones. Numerous Ibanez guitars also have deep cutaways that allow access to the upper frets. This is useful for metal because there is a strong emphasis on the upper registers, especially for guitar solos.

While it’s true that an Ibanez guitar is primarily used for metal, this is not always the case. The misconception that they are only used for playing metal and rock genres originates from their popularity among guitarists, who made excellent use of Ibanez’s signature Wizard Necks. 

These necks are fantastic for shredding. But they’re also excellent for other genres if a player prefers a thin neck. That said, Ibanez guitars are not solely for metal. 

They have also released a line of instruments geared at a wider variety of music genres, including country, jazz, and blues. These guitars are included in their Artcore series, which has lowered the output of the pick-ups to yield them a softer tone suited to more relaxed musical styles.

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Which Famous Guitarists use Ibanez?

Ibanez guitars are used by many legends and technically proficient players, including:

  • Joe Satriani
  • Steve Vai
  • George Benson
  • Tosin Abasi
  • Pat Metheny
  • Paul Gilbert 
  • John Scofield 

These music legends collaborated with Ibanez to create their signature models. These guys have the means to buy whatever they want, but they prefer to play Ibanez guitars.

They are popular among well-known musicians because they are particularly well-suited to technically demanding music. They have some of the thinnest and fastest necks on the market, in addition to being extremely tough, making them hold up well on tour for years.

Which Guitar Should You Choose?

There are a lot of great Ibanez guitars out there, but they all have their own unique sound and feel. Here’s a quick look at some of the best Ibanez Guitars available if you’re looking for something that will stand out in a crowd.

GRX40 GIO

Ibanez GRX40 GIO

The GRX40 GIO is an excellent beginner electric guitar for those on a tight budget. This guitar has electronics and quality that exceeds its price level, and it includes features like the ‘mono-unit’ output jack that make this guitar even easier to get on and play.

The pickup configuration of this guitar allows a beginner to get many sounds, from great Stratocaster-like cleans to more aggressive styles, with a quick adjustment of the 5-way switch.

AZES31

Ibanez AZES31

The Ibanez AZES31 is one of the best budget electric guitars available today. This AZ Essentials model, like the GIO, has a maple neck, jatoba fingerboard, and poplar body. These features enable them to provide the bright, snappy tones that so many guitar players prefer.

And with the addition of the Dyna-MIX8 switch, you are capable of 8 different types of tones with one instrument.

RGA42FM

Ibanez RGA42FM

The RGA42FM has the standard maple neck and jatoba fingerboard combination, but the body is meranti rather than poplar. Its flamed Maple top paired with any of the finishes offered make this guitar look epic.

It has a thin, fast,  wizard III neck and dual humbuckers making this a shredders dream. But it doesn’t stop there, this instrument is very versatile and can do many types of tones. The 5-way pickup switch can provide an incredibly broad range and interesting configurations.

The RGA42FM is very articulate thanks to the Quantum pickups, but also has a great low-end thump and very present mid-range.

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Conclusion

Ibanez is a great brand for all musicians. They make several guitars suited for different kinds of music and individual preferences. This combined with their high build quality is why we think Ibanez guitars are some of the best on the market.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to better understand whether an Ibanez is right for you, and will give you enough information that you can now go out and make the choice with confidence.

FAQs

Can you play blues on an Ibanez?

Yes, while Ibanez guitars are considered to be more of a metal or shredders brand, they have many other models that are great for other styles. Their AZ line is perfect for blues, jazz and country should you desire to play this type of music.

Are Ibanez guitars good for rhythm?

Yes, Ibanez guitars are great for rhythm or lead. They have thin fast necks, which makes them more desirable for solo and lead work, but they do rhythm just as well as other brands.

Are Ibanez guitars overpriced?

No, Ibanez makes some of the best guitars at many different price points. You can find very affordable entry-level guitars, but also high-end models. Whatever your budget is, you will find an instrument that is competitive and good value for money!

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!