For three decades now, Ibanez guitars have been among the most popular choices for metal players. While the modern Ibanez guitar dates back to the late 1950s with models more suited to traditional rock and jazz, the modern output of the company has been focused more on sleek instruments with fast action, jumbo frets, humbucker pickups, and all of the other trimmings you need to throw down the heaviest riffs and most screaming leads possible. Notable Ibanez players include Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Dino Cazares from Fear Factory, Head and Munky from Korn, Herman Li and Sam Totman from Dragonforce, Kiko Loureiro from Megadeth, Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström from Meshuggah, and a host of others.
There’s no denying that if you want to play metal on the electric guitar, Ibanez is one of the major go-to manufacturers to choose from. Whether you choose from classic standard models like the RG or Iceman or one of their crushing 7 and 8 string signature models, everything you could possibly want to do within the metal genre is more than possible with an Ibanez. It doesn’t matter if you’re obsessed with chasing down the best tones or the type to just turn every knob all the way up, this is a manufacturer that will cater to your needs and give you all you need to sound amazing in the process.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Ibanez has some of the most gorgeously designed guitars in the business. Whether it’s truly important or not is beside the point; every guitarist wants to look cool while they play! That seems to be especially true of metal players. The look of the guitar has to match the player and the music they’re conjuring up, and again, this is another area where Ibanez absolutely shines.
There are so many great sounding, great playing, and great looking Ibanez models out there that it can be difficult to determine which to choose from. In the following paragraphs, 5 of the best Ibanez guitars will be detailed as thoroughly as possible to help you make your choice.
Before you jump right in with one of the pricier models however, it’s always best to find a cheaper guitar that still plays reasonably well. If you invest too much and ultimately find that the instrument isn’t for you, it’s a large waste of money. The following models represent some of the best ibanez electric guitars that almost anyone can afford.
Top 5 Ibanez guitar reviews
1. Ibanez GRX20ZBKN Electric Guitar, Black
With two humbuckers, a fast rosewood fret board, a traditional tremolo system with FAT 6 bridge construction, 22 medium frets, and Ibanez’s famous super stratocaster style body, the GRX20ZBKN is a fantastic electric guitar to learn with. Its alder body is also nicely resonant, working in tandem with the humbuckers to give you some decent tones for the price. The model’s features are rounded out with a volume and tone knob, as well as a three way selector switch to toggle between the pickups.
Though technically a starter guitar, the GRX20ZBKN sounds great and plays very well. Besides, if you’re interested in playing metal, the all black finish couldn’t possibly be more perfect. Even the pick guard, tone, and volume knobs are black! The dark rosewood of the fret board only serves to bring the look further home. The humbuckers will also give you the ability to tune in some heavy distortion with your amp and play without too much extra noise, a major benefit that these starter Ibanez models definitely have over those from brands like Squire. It’s also worth noting that unlike Fender and Gibson, even the more affordable Ibanez models still proudly carry the company name rather than a lesser offshoot. Overall, there’s no denying this is a solid guitar.
2. Ibanez GSR200BWNF 4-String Bass Guitar
Of course, while everyone thinks of the crunchy guitars that run rampant through metal, the full impact of the sound is never complete without some thick, heavy bass lines sitting underneath. With the GSR200BWNF bass, you can provide the real muscle behind it all. A lot of the bass guitar in metal is played in a fashion more similar to standard guitar than you’ll find in other forms of music. That makes this a fine crossover instrument as well, allowing for an easy transition from guitar to bass if you’d like to broaden your horizons a bit.
The dynamic P style neck pickup arrangement in the GSR200BWNF will give you the signature sound that fuels a lot of more aggressive music. Everything from standard hard rock to punk and metal will sound great when played on this instrument. It’s a real looker as well, with a natural yet still dark finish that will help you stand out among the sea of blue and candy apple red instruments out there. Most importantly, the GSR4 maple neck will give you fast action, helping you glide around to hit any note you want with relative ease. If you want to get into metal bass playing, this is one of the best Ibanez guitars to help get you in the game.
3. Ibanez GSR200 Electric Bass Guitar, Black Finish
Now, if the GSR200BWNF isn’t quite your taste, you’ll likely find the GSR200 a bit more up your alley. First of all, its aesthetic perfectly matches that of the GRX20ZBKN guitar. If you’re looking to have a matching set, this is definitely the way to go. Here again you’ll also find a rose wood finger board, beautifully contrasted with classic pearl dot inlays. The neck itself is a single piece of maple, meaning you’re going to get a lot of sustain from your notes. That’s exactly what you need to play some seriously powerful metal bass lines, especially since a lot of your job will be in providing emphasis to the guitar riffs blazing by on top of everything.
Much like the model above, the GSR200 also has active pickups and a P style neck pickup arrangement. This makes for a fantastic alternative to the Squire P bass models a lot of bass guitarists start out with, and the sound is fantastic for the price. For what is technically a beginner instrument that still sounds good enough when performing along with your favorite songs or even jamming with other players, that should be considered an absolute steal.
4. Ibanez – IJV50 – Acoustic Guitar Jampack
Okay, you’re likely wondering what in the world an acoustic set is doing on a list that’s supposed to help you find the best Ibanez guitars for metal. When it comes to learning to play music, you have to learn to walk before you can run. If you learn how to play an electric guitar first, you’re going to be absolutely lost whenever you find yourself picking up an acoustic somewhere down the line. Acoustic guitars are actually much more difficult to play since they have higher action on the strings and shorter scales on the neck. Every little mistake also stands out much more since you can’t hide it behind effects or distortion.
The IJV500 acoustic jam pack is Ibanez’s answer to a starter kit. If you just want to learn the instrument, this will give you everything you need to get started. You can learn your basic chords and build up the coordination between your picking and fretting hands. It might not seem like it at first, but all of the most basic techniques for playing guitar are crucial to have down before you move on to playing styles such as metal. If you’ve never played guitar before at all, this is how you get started the right way. (Besides, metal riffs sound a lot better played acoustically than you might assume!).
5. Ibanez AEB5EBK Acoustic Electric Bass Guitar, Black
By the same token, if you want to get started with bass then it’s wise to do so with an acoustic to help build the basic foundation. Besides, with an acoustic you’ll actually be able to hear yourself without plugging into an amp and disturbing the rest of the house and your neighbors! If you want to practice more discretely, acoustic is the way to go. The AEB5EBK is an acoustic electric hybrid however, meaning you can transition into playing through an amp more naturally without having to get a new instrument altogether.
This model is incredibly well made for a starter, with a 32 inch scale AEL style body, a gorgeous black spruce top, a relatively quick mahogany neck, and some abalone rosette binding for extra visual flair. The cutaway is going to give you full access to the upper frets as well, making it easier to jump into faster playing. The electric functionality even includes an on-board tuner. Given the dazzling looks, versatility in offering either acoustic or amplified playback, and high quality materials, that’s a deal you definitely don’t want to turn down if you’ve been in the market for a nice, simple bass to learn metal on.
Things To Consider When Looking For A Cheap Ibanez Guitar
Unlike in electric guitars where you can mask poor quality sound with a good sounding amplifier and pedals, the quality of your acoustic guitar can either make or break your playing experience.
Acoustic guitars are not created equal. There are many characteristics and differences that set each guitar apart from another. Some of the characteristics might be obvious while others might be more nuanced and require a bit of extra attention.
The purpose of this article is to provide comprehensive overview of exactly what you need to consider when buying a cheap acoustic guitar or determining the quality of one. With this is mind, here are some tips to help you discern a good guitar while shopping.
1. The Body Style Should Be The First Consideration
You need to determine the style of guitar that you would like to buy before you ever start to compare prices of guitars in the store whether physically or online. Often you can only do this by playing the different sounds, but it is important none-the-less especially when planning to buy your cheap ibanez electric guitars online.
Even though the body style contributes greatly to the overall sound of your guitar, the reason it is important has more to do with the level of comfort the guitar you choose provides. You want a guitar that will fit your preference, your hand, and your body. You will find jumbo guitars, half-size guitars, slim guitars, etc. The dreadnaught guitar is the most popular but even this one still has multiple variations.
While sitting down in the music store, you should set your guitar of choice in your lap and ask yourself the following questions:
– Does this style actually suit my preference?
– Does my chord hand feel like it can fit around the neck comfortably?
– How does the guitar’s body actually feel between my strumming arm and chest? Too small or too big?
Keep in mind that there are no wrong answers here. You need to focus on comfort first before moving to sound. In the end, it will definitely save you time.
2. Ask Someone Else To Play The Guitar
After you have determined the style of guitar you can proceed with choosing a guitar that will suit your style and that you believe sounds best.
Understanding the sound of a guitar involves 2 main parts:
While playing, you can get the best feel of the guitar’s resonation – how does the wood actually vibrate against the body while strumming? Pick up and play several guitars and you will definitely note the difference.
When shopping for a cheap ibanez acoustic electric guitar, what many people fail to do is listen to the guitar’s projection. This is something that is impossible to do by yourself. You need to find somebody to play the guitar. Stand in front of the person who is playing the guitar that you would like to buy and ask yourself the following questions:
– Is the sound projecting clearly when the guitar is played loudly?
– Does the sound still project strong when the guitar is played softly?
– Do you like the balance of treble/bass i.e. low vs high tones?
Here, there are really no wrong answers too. It is just good to hear the guitar from a different perspective.
3. Check Intonation and Action – Ibanez classical guitar review
While this is not something that you can do while shopping for your cheap Ibanez guitar online, it is important while shopping in a store to check the intonation and action of a guitar. Both these things are adjustable, which is a good thing for those that prefer shopping online but it is even more important when you are in a physical store.
Why Is It Important?
It is due to the simple reason that guitar stores are properly incentivized to set up a guitar for potential buyers. If they fail to get the intonation and action correct, it is possible that the guitar manufacturing is just not the quality you will want to invest in.
How Do You Check the Intonation about Ibanez bass guitar reviews?
You can use any of two quick ways to check the intonation. The first one is to play a chord such as the D chord, then play the very same chord starting on the 14th fret. If the two chords sound exactly the same tone, you are good to go. Alternatively, you can opt for the harmonics method. Here all you have to do is play an open string then compare it against the 12th-fret harmonic. They need to be identical. If they are not identical, it is either not a quality guitar or the guitar has not been set up properly.
How Do You Check The Action?
You need to get eye-level with the guitar’s 12th fret then see how far the strings actually are from the fretboard. If you have a ruler with you, you can carry out the measurements. If you don’t have a ruler with you, the general rule is that you should not be able to see a noticeable difference in distance between the 5th fret and 12th fret with your naked eye.
4. What To Consider For Ibanez electric guitar
It is impossible to talk about cheap Ibanez guitars without talking about acoustic-electric guitars that have gained in popularity over last decade or so. Today it is actually very hard to find acoustic guitars that do not have electronics.
As you can probably imagine, not all electronics are created equal. When looking at a guitar with electronics, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
– Does the guitar come with an on-board tuner? In case it doesn’t you will have to look at other guitar tuners.
– Is it easy to access the battery? You need to consider if it is easy to replace the battery without having to take off all the strings of the guitar.
Both of the questions might not touch much on the actual quality of the electronics but it is still important to ask them. A useful tip here is to stick with electronics that come from well-known manufacturers.
5. The Final Examination
This final tip is probably the most important one considering that by this point in the process of buying a guitar you have probably already become emotionally attached to the guitar that you are looking at.
The reality is that is impossible to know how long a guitar has been on the floor, in storage, or in the hands of other potential buyers. It is therefore a good idea to conduct a thorough examination of the guitar and look for the following.
– Straight neck. With only one eye open, have a good look down the guitar’s neck from the bottom to ensure that the neck is not crooked, bent, or warped in any way.
– Cracks or Splits of any size. With an acoustic guitar even hairline fractures could be indicative of a much greater problem.
– Proper Neck/Body Joint. There should not be any gap at any point between the body of the guitar and the heel of the neck. If this is present, it is indicative of the joint connection being of poor quality.
– Rising or Sinking Top Face. This is an indication that the guitar has not been stored properly.
– Fretboard. While moving your hand up and down the neck of the guitar, are some of the frets sticking out and rubbing your hand in an uncomfortable way? Sometimes the frets hang over the fretboard’s edge and poke your hand. If you get a guitar where this is a big problem, a luthier can sand these down for you at reasonable cost.
– Does The Guitar Stay In Tune? Nothing is as frustrating as a guitar that does not stay in tune. When looking at a guitar to buy, play it for some time and take note of how well it stays or does not stay in tune. If you buy a guitar with cheap tuners, you will probably have to replace them at a later time.
One more thing that you should note is that stores usually have guitars with really old and played out strings making them unable to stay in tune and move flat. If you are seriously considering buying a particular guitar, spend some extra money and request for the strings to be changes so that you get to hear the intonation and tuning with fresh strings. It is the only plausible way of gauging both issues properly on a new guitar.
Picking Your Next ibanez acoustic guitar
So, you might be wondering how you’ll pick your next Ibanez guitar once you’ve become well versed enough with your starter. There are several models to choose from, and they’re all incredibly gorgeous. Narrowing it down really depends on what sort of metal you’re hoping to play.
A good all around style is the RG or S model guitars since they have Ibanez’s twist on the classic stratocaster style. The design of these bodies and necks makes them even easier to play than Fenders however. Ibanez guitars tend to have thin necks, meaning you can play incredibly fast riffs or solos once your fingers have enough dexterity to do so. Just listen to how easily famous players such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani are able to shred away on their custom models.
If you want to be a straight ahead rhythm player, something fuller bodied might be all you need. An Iceman is probably a good choice in that case. Finally, those of you who are interested in more modern versions of metal will be best suited with 7 or 8 string models. The best thing to do is check out Ibanez’s website to get a list of local guitar stores that carry their products however. If you can find a good guitar store in your town, you can simply try out a bunch of models in person and see which one you connect with the most.
Even cheaper guitars still reflect a bit of an investment. It’s important that you take care of your instruments so they’ll last you a long time. When it comes to guitars, keep a nice soft chamois cloth on hand to wipe down the fret board, tuners, and in between the pickups. The bridge, body, and knobs also need occasional once over’s. If you aren’t careful, guitars can easily accumulate all kinds of dirt and debris that can wear down your electronics and also detract from the aesthetic. When not in use, make sure to keep the guitar carefully stored away in a gig bag, case, or on a guitar stand.
One of the most common questions beginners have about guitars is if you need certain models to play certain styles on. When it comes to metal, yes, there are models that are best suited to that sound. Humbucker pickups, a longer range neck, full access to the higher frets, and a nice thick tone wood for the body are all going to make your life much easier if you want to play metal effectively. There’s a saying that states “the tone is in your hands” however, and it’s largely true. Your picking and fretting style make up the most important aspect of your sound, so work on that above all else and you’ll be in great shape.
Ibanez is easily among the most successful and well known guitar manufacturers, and for good reason! They make high quality products that are easy to play, and they’re even easier on the eyes. Even their starter models sound fairly decent, and the list of pros that endorse the company is truly impressive. If you want to play metal, picking up an Ibanez is definitely the right move to make.
Following the simple tips discussed in this article you should be able to find an ibanez electric guitar models and buy it with confidence even if it is your first. A guitar is always an investment and you must never settle for something that has a small split in the wood or does not sound as good as you would like. You will regret it in the future.
In the end, stretching up your budget slightly might not be a bad idea to ensure that you get the quality of acoustic guitar that you would like to invest in. Good luck!