In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: September 08, 2021
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The Ibanez brand, founded in Spain and brought to Japan, has been around for over a century, making high-quality, yet affordable guitars. Equipping singers and artists from Asia to the United States and Europe, not only does the Ibanez brand have a foothold in history, but it also has made its mark—being the first guitar brand to produce a seven and eight-string guitar and sell them internationally. Not only does the Ibanez brand handle the guitars themselves, but they also offer effects, accessories, and amps for sale, all over the world. Its full collection has 165 models of bass guitars, 130 acoustic guitars, and over 300 electric guitars. Whether you’re a beginner or long-time player, the best Ibanez guitar can be the perfect buy for you.
<In our guide today, we’re going to not only go through the various products under the Ibanez name and how they measure against one another, but we’re also going to highlight the features we considered in our review and why they are important. From a guitar’s weight to its scale length, from the body wood to the type of pickups and number of frets, each of these features plays an important role in the quality of the guitar.
We know you’ve spent hours practicing, so we’ve spent hours researching. This articles, from its comparison table to the in-detail reviews of each product to its buying guide is equipped to help equip you with the knowledge you need to pick the best Ibanez guitar for you.
The Ibanez LGB30 is our top pick for the market. As the George Benson Signature model with vintage yellow sunburst design, not only does this guitar look great—it sounds great, too.
Designed with its hollow body, this electric guitar has Super 58 Custom humbucking pickups so you can get that smooth tone you’re looking for. It is designed with a flamed maple body, topped with spruce, which gives its rich sound and fantastic look. You can also rely on the smooth-playing ebony fretboard to complete a great wood combination—along with its binding and fret-edge treatment.
From the time that R&B legend George Benson wanted to make a more affordable model of his signature guitar, this model has been turning guitarists into artists ever since.
Fortunately, you won’t even need an amplifier to experience the smoothness of its sounds—so imagine when you actually do plug it in!
The Ibanez LGB30 takes out that 60Hz hum that normally comes from vintage models and gives you a rich and full sound, filled with clarity as you play. This model is the perfect electric guitar for blues and any type of musical sound.
The Prestige RG5170B is another model from Ibanez with several fantastic features that warrant its placement on the list. One of the best characteristics that we noticed is the Fishman Fluence modern pickups. These are responsible for the high-output voices and wide range of the guitar. They also allow users to play without inductance or noise issues and even offer up two distinct voices per pickup.
Also, if you’re looking for fast playability, certain features make this option a contender for purchase. One example is the Super Wizard HP neck. Notably, this neck is thin for better handling with stainless steel frets included. Furthermore, it’s made of maple wood and even comes with Luminlay dots, so you don’t have to stumble around the fretboard if you’re playing on a dark stage.
The rest of the construction mainly consists of lightweight basswood, allowing longer playability without fatigue.
Its bridge is a Lo-Pro Edge tremolo variation which is a low profile option with various benefits. For instance, we noticed that due to the low profile design, players are unlikely to get hung up on the bridge during a performance.
It’s also an asset when you’re trying out skills like palm muting and dive-bombing. Lastly, it comes with locking studs which give players added tuning stability.
What makes it special?
Thin highly playable neck
Light but durable basswood body
Low profile Lo-Pro Edge tremolo bridge
High-quality Fishman Fluence modern pickups
What cons did we find?
Lower volume in positions 2-4 where the humbuckers are inactive
The Ibanez RG420HPAH is extremely lightweight—only 7 lbs! Designed with a full-body electric guitar look, it has a long design and a wide and tall body. The mid-length neck is also what makes it unique, as well as the wood it’s made up of.
With solid mahogany and a flamed maple top, the Ibanez RG420HPAH also has stylish white binding for the perfect amount of structural help and a touch of finished class.
Fully-loaded with 24 frets, you can also see the variety extended out to the three-piece maple and Bubinga neck.
The Ibanez RG420HPAH boasts an Iron Label presence for the perfect artist looking for rock and heavy metal playing.
The Bridge System of the Ibanez RG420HPAH comes with the Double Locking for sustained controlled tone so you can play and change the volume with ease. What is more, the price is also attractive as you can get this electric guitar under 1000dollars.
What stands out?
Very lightweight for its quality
Has a reliable, no-break bridge design
Is the perfect choice for heavy-metal players
Coil-split switch controls can be used mid-play
What cons did we manage to find?
The Jatoba fretboard is not the smoothest
Has single-side tuning that is not that common and may need to be learned
The Ibanez SR506E 6-string electric bass guitar offers one of the best necks for playability at this price point. The neck construction materials are a jatoba/walnut mix which is ideal for fast playing. Accessing the upper frets is easy due to the steep cutaways and the balance of the instrument is ideal for long practice sessions. This bass is equipped with Bartolini pickups and a very musical 3-band EQ to tailor the tone. Speaking of the sound, the SR506E has those clear highs and those deeps lows that you’re looking for in a great sounding bass guitar
Ibanez have been offering bass guitar players a sleeker option to a standard base design for over 50 years. This slim SR6 profile soundgear bass continues this legacy with an okoume body that produces a “woody” and warm tone. This bass is very comfortable to play for extended periods because it’s lightweight and aching shoulders are not included. The neck width is thinner than most 5-string bass guitars and this further improves the comfort levels when playing.
The Ibanez SR506E has a great looking bass guitar and it sounds fantastic. The Bartolini BH2 humbuck pickups are perfectly matched to the 3-band EQ and dialing in the ideal tone is simple. Players that regularly switch genres will appreciate this feature and it’s a great way to create a signature tone that suits your style. It is possible to bypass the EQ switch if you prefer to use the passive tone with an external unit on your pedalboard.
The Ibanez Gio GRX70QA is one of the best budget-friendly electric guitars in the market and seems geared towards beginners. It comes with a poplar body which is also a variation of hardwood.
Other construction components include a GRX maple neck, a staple in most higher-end alternatives, and a purpleheart fretboard. The neck is essential to the quality of the guitar as it enhances playability and has an amazing feel once you get it in your hands.
If you get to a point in your musical journey where you’re trying complex and advanced guitar techniques with this instrument, you’ll be thankful for the purpleheart fretboard, as it’s a little kinder to your fingers.
The Ibanez Gio GRX70QA also comes with three Infinity RS pickups positioned optimally on the guitar. If you buy it, you have the two pickups at the neck and bridge to thank for the high output. However, there is also a third single-coil pickup between the first two.
As a beginner model, it is meant to help users find their identity. As such, it’s an excellent experimental model where you can try a variety of styles and play the different musical genres before you find your niche.
There’s also the FAT 6 tremolo bridge which tends to maintain its tune when not in use. In our opinion, it also responds very well to the user’s guitar skills.
What are our favorite features?
It stays in tune even in storage
Versatile and can fit a variety of playing styles
Extremely playable neck
What could be better?
No carry case with purchase
Some pieces of hardware, e.g., the tuners, are cheap
The Ibanez RGA42FM boasts not only playability at a high-quality sound but also a wallet-friendly price—especially if you’re looking to rock out on a budget. You can get a bunch of accessories and the electric guitar itself for under 500 dollars only, which is an absolute bargain.
This guitar is designed with a well-balanced mahogany body that is covered with a maple finished top. For the fast, 3-piece neck, the manufacturers decided to go with maple again, which allows you set your own speed limit, perfect for learners.
The Ibanez RGA42FM comes with the possibility of 2 Quantum humbucking pickups and 5-way switching, which is perfect for playing a wide tonal range for reaching all those high and low notes. You can also take advantage of the fixed bridge which grants you top-notch tuning stability.
Designed for rock, this guitar can also be suitable for jazz and the blues, as well. With its jatoba fingerboard, you can reach that high-speed, low-drag playing you‘ve always wanted to.
Since the RG series is known in rock music for the last few decades, the Ibanez RGA42FM definitely had its shoes to fill. However, the effortless playability of its neck helps the guitar not only meet expectations but raise the bar.
Why are we impressed?
Whether you’re a beginner or expert, the neck and body is flexible and easy-to-use
For the best, budget-friendly guitar on the market, the Ibanez GRX20ZBKN is going to be your best buy as your first guitar. This guitar is equipped with a pair of high-output humbuckers, which is perfect for those looking to rock—even if it doesn’t break the bank.
Its design is covered with black night finish, which is fit for any style and designed to fit the bill for any kind of rocker. It is made with a Basswood body and Rosewood fingerboard, which is a great combination for the tone and sound you‘re looking for.
The FAT 6 bridge, 22 medium frets (not exactly the full 24, but still great), and the standard tremolo are all great features of the Ibanez GRX20ZBKN.
For all levels of players from beginners to masters, this model is one of the most popular start-up guitars of all time.
It has a scale length of a comfortable 25.5”, with medium frets and white dot inlays to make it easy enough to play chords and read notes. Some other important features also include single volume control, single tone control, and a 3-way selector, which helps take the most control of your sound.
What makes it stand out?
Impressive paint and body for an affordable guitar
High-quality wood and reliable neck
Perfect strings for beginners of good quality—meaning no peel!
The Ibanez Artwood AW54CE is the perfect mix between acoustic and electric, great for reaching all the right tones.
Balanced by the internal X bracing, its notes have a balanced sound, making it perfect for either strumming or picking—whatever the song may call for. The Ibanez Artwood AW54CE is designed with a solid mahogany construction that offers a big sound.
You can also rely on the Fishman under-saddle pickup and the preamp that simplifies plug and play and can give you a kick-butt sound.
The guitar also comes with an onboard tuner to help you stay in line with your favorite tones.
The Ibanez Artwood AW54CE also has a dreadnought body that offers natural projection to its fullest and ample sustain. It even has the nut and saddle that gives off maximum string vibration for extended sustain with each note.
Not only does it sound good, however, it also looks good. With an open pore finish for a natural, rustic appearance, this guitar has everything you need for a great performance. It comes finished with a slightly worn and dark tone with natural projection, beautiful dark shade for unique design and style, and rustic aesthetics and satin finish ideal for those who want something smooth.
Why are we impressed?
The strings are easy to change, use, and hold in place.
All the hardware is battery-powered
Comes with vintage appearance appeal with mahogany and rosewood fretboard
Comes with built-in tuning for beginners
What negatives must you be aware of?
Not as versatile as other guitars with limited controls
The stock strings may need to be replaced due to quality
Doesn’t come with bag or case
Things to Consider
After you’ve gone through the various product descriptions, let this buying guide help you choose the right type of guitar for you:
Ibanez brand and series explained
Beginning first off as a Spanish brand—selling all kinds of musical instruments—the Ibanez name was then bought out by the Japanese.
From 1908 to 1957, the company began experimenting with various strings, necks, body works, and design. After their shape took off, the 70’s and 80’s was when Ibanez became really popular. Nowadays it’s one of the leaders of the industry producing the best quality instruments which are on par with Fender and PRS guitars.
Acoustic vs electric Ibanez guitar – you decide
Depending on what kind of sound you want to produce, Ibanez has got you covered.
An acoustic, on one hand, is going to be much more affordable than an electric—and is also much easier to learn on.
However, especially if you are smaller fingers, the smaller body, thinner neck, and lighter strings make electric guitars much easier to play—if they are adjusted correctly.
Since the acoustic guitars have much thicker and heavier strings, you’ll have to work a bit harder to be able to pluck them.
Although one guitar is not better than the other—don’t worry that the guitar you learn on is going to be the only one you play on for the rest of your life—that is simply not true.
As we just mentioned, an acoustic guitar is naturally going to be much cheaper (or more affordable) than an electric one. Not only in itself as guitar, but you also don’t have to invest in an amplifier or extra accessories with an acoustic. An electric Ibanez guitar can be found at an affordable $200 price, which is perfect for beginner guitarists. The deluxe signature collections may cost more than $2000, but the sound and quality are beyond excellent!
Once you’ve finally decided to purchase a guitar, maintenance is going to be extremely important to help it reach it’s life’s capacity and warranty. Here are a few tips you can do to help keep its life in check:
Always wipe your strings down after playing time. You can use an old cloth t-shirt so you cannot scratch them. You can also use that cloth scraps to clean the neck and body—just add a little guitar polish.
When not in use, store your guitar standing—in its case. This will help your guitar to avoid collecting dust.
To take away dust from the knobs and switches, simply flip them a couple of times. This will help wedge out dust and other particles from in those creases.
The following features will help you choose an ideal Ibanez guitar
Finally, you’re going to be choosing the best Ibanez guitar for your style and guitar-playing level. Here are the top features that you need to look out for when picking the best to buy:
Consider the body type
Before you jam, consider the body type of your guitar. With the body type, you should not just close your eyes and point.
There are three types of guitar bodies to choose from and its characteristics will truly make a difference in your playing style:
Solid Body: Found as the most common type in an Ibanez guitar, solid body guitars can be configured and designed to not only be featured as a simple model but also a single-pickup model, as well. You can also find this solid body build in an ornately-figured and decorated, multi-pickup instrument, like the Ibanez AW54CEOPN.
Hollow Body: If you want that sound that sticks around for a little while, the hollow body design will normally have the arch top to get you the deep bass you’re looking for, with full, smooth tones throughout your melody.
Semi-Hollow Body: If you’re looking for something in between, this semi-hollow type will have more resonance than the solid but less feedback than the full hollow. This is a type of guitar that is found across a broad range of different music types.
The quality, sound, and overall experience of the guitar will depend a lot on the type of wood it’s built with. However, the wood of the guitar is not just limited to the body. It also might be different at the neck and at the fingerboard.
Here are a few of the woods present on our list of guitars:
Basswood: The Ibanez JS24P is designed with this affordable body wood. It can be found in budget-friendly options or choices for beginners. If you are looking for a warmer tone, this is the wood you want.
Bubinga: The Ibanez RG420HPAH is designed with a neck made of Bubinga, which hails from South Africa. The neck of this guitar is pretty heavy and finished transparently for a unique look.
Maple: Found in both the Ibanez RG420HPAH and the Ibanez Gio GRX70QA, this classic body wood choice is harder and heavier, but still produces a bright tone. This kind of wood is found in the United States and Canada.
Mahogany: Found on the body of the Ibanez AW54CEOPN gives you a rich, full low-end sound.
Ebony: Designed on the fretboards of the Ibanez LGB30 and the Ibanez RG420HPAH, this fretboard works well with a mahogany neck. You’ll be able to spread brightness in your sound. The visual appeal of ebony is also made of tight grain, from light brown to black.
For an electronic guitar, there are a few features that you’ll need to have:
Output Jack: One of the most important parts—without it, the guitar cannot be plugged into the amp.
Pick-ups: You will notice a range of pick-ups, from one to four of them behind the strings. They are needed to produce that electric signal and pick-up the sound so it can head off into the amp.
Volume Knobs: Especially if you are living with someone, being able to adjust the volume is a huge necessity.
Selector or Cut-off Switch: With these, you can choose between playing through an individual pick-up or not.
When it comes to guitars, there are two different bridge types. You can either invest in the:
Fixed Bridge: Offering stable tuning that is non-adjustable.
Tremolo: A whammy, vibrato or tremolo bridge can leave your strings de-tuned since all strings can be bent at once.
Most scale lengths for guitars will run at 25.5”, however, the Ibanez SR506E runs at a scale length of 34”. This means that the longer the scale length is, the longer the string will vibrate. However, if you are a beginner—or have shorter fingers, you’ll want a guitar that doesn’t have its notes too far apart from one another.
Fretboard and frets
Especially as a beginner, you might not be too familiar with all the different parts of a guitar. However, familiarizing yourself with the different parts—like the frets—is essential to the learning process.
The frets of a guitar are the bars you see lined up on the neck. They are used to separate the notes and will help you find each note while playing. The guitars on this guide have around 20 to 24 frets (like the Ibanez RGA42FM). The higher the frets, the more suitable the guitar is for playing rock or heavy metal.
Grip and weight
The weight of the guitar—especially if it’s going to be sitting around your neck and shoulders held up by a strap makes a huge difference with playing experience. The Ibanez AW54CEOPN, for example, is one of the lightest weighing guitars on the market, weighing only 4.5 lbs! The average guitar on our list weighs in around 15-20 lbs, so 4 lbs is a steal!
With more affordable guitars, the compatible strings may seem a little bit cheaper. However, Ibanez offers high-quality guitars—along with their strings—for affordable prices. Most of the strings coming with the purchase are fine enough to play right away, of course, after you’ve tuned your guitar.
Whether you’re a beginner or not, some of these guitars like the Ibanez RGA42FM, comes with an extra guitar cable or another accessory that is useful with later upgrades.
Unfortunately, most of these guitars don’t come with the hard case included, so that is definitely one accessory you may want to consider buying. Other accessories also include picks, a guitar strap, and an electronic tuner.
When the manufacturer is based in the U.S., Ibanez is backed by Hoshino USA coverage, which ensures the first, shipping part guarantees you’ll get the product as it was made—without defects.
Each of these guitars then comes backed by a limited 1-year warranty on all parts. However, if you decide to upgrade your guitar concerning its parts, be aware that the warranty won’t include the new parts.
Storing an Ibanez guitar isn’t much different than other guitars out there. Mainly, you should be storing the guitar in its case and standing up or at least on their sides with the upper side pointing up. The string tension should be moderate and never completely loose when storing.
Do your best to keep the guitars away from outside walls to help maintain the temperature or even invest in a humidifier during the cold winter.
If you’ve skipped everything else and want to check out our top three choices, here they are:
Our Editor’s Choice for the best Ibanez guitar is the Ibanez LGB30. Weighing only 23 lbs, it is lightweight, easy-to-use, and looks good too, with a spruce top, flamed maple back and sides, and comes with a hard case, perfect for transport.
The second best pick has 24 frets and weighs even less, at 7.3 lbs. The Ibanez Prestige RG5170B is designed with American basswood and features Lo-Pro Edge tremolo bridge, Fishman Fluence modern pickups and thin Super Wizard HP neck for better handling.
The Ibanez GRX20ZBKN is our budget pick, with a smooth, carefully-crafted body and impressive paint for an affordable price. It is made with quality wood, a reliable neck, and quality strings.
We hope this article has helped in picking the best Ibanez guitar for your musical interests.