Ibanez vs Jackson: Which Guitar is Right for You?

Ibanez and Jackson’s guitars are known to be some of the best in metal music. Both are well-respected brands that produce quality guitars at a range of price points, so it can be hard to know which one might be right for you. 

Ibanez guitars have thinner and flatter necks, while Jacksons have thicker and wider compound radius necks. Both Jackson and Ibanez are known for being metal guitars and are guaranteed to be well-built. However, Ibanez guitars are slightly more expensive, especially for their mid and high-range models.

They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, which you should consider when deciding between these two brands. This guide will help you decide if an Ibanez or Jackson guitar will better fit your needs, and help you pick your ideal instrument from either brand.

ibanez vs jackson guitars

History of Ibanez and Jackson Guitars

Both brands have been around for decades, with their unique take on making instruments that can deliver amazing tone and style.

Ibanez Guitars 

Ibanez’s long and rich history begins with a Spanish luthier named Salvador Ibáez during the late 1900s. Classical guitars made by Ibáez were first imported by the Hoshino company in 1929 in Japan. When the Valencian Ibáez workshop was destroyed due to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, Hoshino began making acoustic guitars under the Ibanez brand.

Hoshino was a forerunner in mass-producing seven and eight-string guitars. They were also among the first Japanese producers to build a significant foothold in the US and European markets for imported guitars.

In the 60s and 70s, Ibanez began making American-style guitars. They largely imitated the designs of big-name guitar manufacturers from the US. Some of Ibanez’s copies, such as the Destroyer based on the Gibson Explorer, later rose to legendary status on their own.

After a few legal issues, Ibanez began developing their original guitar designs, and over time they transitioned from a clone to an innovator. As a result, Ibanez instruments have hallmarks of fast necks, high-quality hardware, and innovative features. Since then, they have developed into one of the world’s top producers of metal guitars.

Jackson Guitars 

As one of the leading guitar manufacturers in the world, Jackson has carved out quite a name for itself over the years. 

Grover Jackson founded the company which produces great electric guitars and basses. The company started when Wayne Charvel sold his guitar repair shop to Grover Jackson in 1978. 

In 1980, Randy Rhoads approached Jackson with a concept for a custom guitar, which later became The Concorde. The custom guitar was a creative update of the classic Flying V, resulting from a collaborative design effort. 

Its design was so indistinguishable from Charvel’s Stratocaster-based designs that Jackson decided to give them a different name. The brand “Jackson” guitars was created after his last name. 

Jackson eventually became known for quality American custom guitars during the 1980s and was favored by many famous players. The 80s also gave birth to other modern and stylish Jackson models, including the King V, Soloist, Dinky, and the Kelly, which all continue to be brand icons. 

To make its products more affordable for lower-end customers, Jackson started manufacturing low-cost, Asian-made replicas of its classic designs and continuing to create high-end American-made products.

Differences Between Ibanez vs Jackson Guitars

If you’re looking for a new guitar from these two brands, then it’s important to know the differences between Ibanez vs Jackson. Here, we’ll discuss what sets them apart and help you make an informed choice about which one is right for you.

Ibanez Guitar

Sound Quality 

Ibanez and Jackson are both known for their great sound quality, and their difference is almost negligible when comparing metal style guitars. When it comes to choosing between the two, it depends on what you’re looking for in a guitar. 

You will be hard-pressed to find that one sound is better than the other. Both of these brands make guitars with great sounding pickups that have plenty of bite and a good output level.

The Jackson guitars seem to have a bit more warmth to them, but are still very articulate. I found that they were a bit more aggressive in the Pro Series Soloist with dual humbuckers that I had the pleasure to test drive.

The Ibanez pickups tone is equally pleasing and so when it comes to sound quality, they both provide a great experience.

You will also find different styles of guitars from both Jackson and Ibanez as well. Some Strat style guitars with hot rail single coil pickups like in the Jackson Soloist SL4X is a shredders dream. Ibanez also has different options for players, like the hollow body and acoustics they make.

Check out our Ibanez vs ESP comparison here!

Build Quality

Ibanez and Jackson are also both known for their excellent build quality. Both brands also use high-quality materials and construction techniques.

Jacksons are built in many countries in order to provide guitars in different price ranges. But this doesn’t have a negative effect on quality at all. The Jackson Dinky for example is one of their entry level guitars, and it is an amazing instrument for the money. As you move up in price, the quality in wood and hardware is noticeable like one would expect.

Ibanez has the same story in most cases and are also made in different countries. They make some entry level guitars that are of great quality and will impress even the more experience players. As you begin to play some of their more expensive models, however, the craftsmanship and design are next level.

When it comes to the build quality of a Jackson or Ibanez guitar, you will be amazed at what manufacturers are capable of today!

Design and Feel

Ibanez guitars are well recognized for their Superstrat body shape, which contributed to their prominence among heavy metal and hard rock players in the 1980s. They also feature thin, fast necks, making them the perfect guitar for shredding.

Jackson, on the other hand, frequently features a style from the 1980s with exquisite finishes. 

Jackson’s necks are also fast and comfy for all of its models. Numerous models are available with various neck measurements, and they are all excellent. 

The neck’s shoulders are also not as prominent, and the fretboard has a pretty great radius, which makes them easier to play than Ibanez guitars for some players.

Overall, Ibanez guitars often have flatter and thinner necks. Jacksons, on the other hand, have wider compound radius necks which are also thin but not like Ibanez guitars.

Check out our Ibanez vs Schecter comparison here!

Music Style

Ibanez and Jackson’s guitars are playable in various genres. But both companies are known for their metal guitars. If you’re looking for a guitar that can handle high-gain tones and shredding solos, then either of these brands would be a good choice. Both brands offer signature models from popular metal guitarists like Steve Vai and Scott Ian. 

Ibanez also has the option for acoustic guitars as well as hollow bodies. This gives players a new twist on tone with their Altstar series that features the neck and headstock from an electric guitar.

But like we mentioned earlier, both brands have amazing lines of guitars and no matter what you play, either company will meet your needs and wants.

Price Range

When it comes to price range and different levels of quality, both Jackson and Ibanez deliver. Both brands provide something for everyone from entry level to top tier and the quality comes standard.

Here are a few price comparisons of the Entry level guitars from Jackson and Ibanez. Both brands have received great feedback from their offerings.

Jackson Dinky Archtop$199.99
Ibanez Gio GRX70QA$199.99
Jackson King V$329.99
Ibanez GRG121DX$299.99

In the table below, you will find some top tier guitars that are offered by Ibanez and Jackson and the price you can expect to pay if you choose one at this level.

Ibanez J Custom RG8527Z$3199.99
Jackson Adrian Smith$3199.99
Ibanez Joe Satriani$4999.99
Jackson USA Phil Collen$4899.99

Conclusion

When choosing between Ibanez vs Jackson guitars, it will really come down to personal preference. Look for a couple of models from both manufacturers that appeal to you the most, and test them out in person before making your decision. Ultimately, the best guitar for you is the one that feels and sounds the best for your style. 

FAQs

Are Jackson and Ibanez the same?

Jackson and Ibanez are different companies that make similar style guitars. In most cases, each company has a similar sound, but the guitars themselves have different features that are unique to each brand.

Is Jackson or Ibanez better?

Both Jackson and Ibanez make great guitars that sound very similar. Neither one is better than the other, but each brand offers something different. The biggest difference is the neck shape. Some players prefer Ibanez for their super thin necks, while other like Jackson. The only way to truly know which one is better for you is to try them.

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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!