Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? A First Time Buyer’s Guide

are ibanez guitars any good
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We get a lot of people asking “are Ibanez Guitars any good”? Because they are one of the most popular metal branded guitars. Today we check out the history, and legacy of Ibanez.

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? Let’s Find Out…

Ibanez have almost become synonymous with Metal guitarists, and many guitar virtuosos. In the 1980’s Ibanez spawned the RG Series of guitars, and changed the way people look at “Super Strat Guitars” forever. Since the 80’s the RG Series has remained a staple of the Ibanez lineup.

Ibanez has yet to reach any of our recommended gear suggestions. But this isn’t because they are bad guitars, at all.

If you’re looking for a great quality guitar at any end of the price spectrum, Ibanez has a model that’ll fit your exact needs. From $200 beginner guitars right up to $3000 professional guitars, Ibanez covers ALL the bases.

Ibanez was also one of the first guitar brands to embrace 7 and 8 string guitars; it made the first prototype 8 string guitars used by Meshuggah back when they started the whole djent scene in the mid-2000s.

So, the short answer to this question is simple: Ibanez makes great guitars, it produces a huge volume of models that cater to all levels of budget, and it has plenty of extended range and 7 and 8 string guitar options too .

Bottomline? Ibanez guitars kick ass. And if you’re into metal, they’re a great option – especially for beginners.

We have already taken an extensive look at the 2020/2021 Ibanez lineup, and it was certainly impressive!

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? A First Time Buyer's Guide
A 2020 model RG Series

Ibanez really cornered the Super Strat market with the RG Series. The RG is just a little sharper, a little meaner. The neck is much flatter and more thin than your usual Fender Strat, making it easier to SHRED.

But are Ibanez Guitars any good? We are going to look at the different price tiers, history, and quality of Ibanez guitars to see if one would be the right fit for you!

A Short History Of Ibanez Guitars…

Ibanez is known these days for being a very innovative Japanese company, known for attention to detail. Ibanez also likes to take some big risks! For instance, Ibanez made the very first production 7 and 8 string guitars! Ibanez doesn’t mind thinking outside of the box and take a chance on something new.

are ibanez guitars any good
A “Green Dot” Universe 7 String, 1994

But Ibanez did not start as a Metal guitar company at all! If you are wondering how a Latin word like “Ibanez” came from a Japanese manufacturer, you’re not alone.

Ibanez started making Spanish Style guitars in the 1908, and the name was inspired by the legendary guitar luthier, Salvador Ibanez. The modern era of Ibanez didn’t start until the late 50’s and early 60’s. The guitars Ibanez produced were pretty far from being traditional, and were not as popular as other electric guitar companies.

During the 1970’s Ibanez began copying famous brands like Epiphone, Gibson, and Fender. This resulted in a lawsuit from the mainstream brands, so Ibanez spent the late 70’s redesigning the business model. This is when Ibanez started making original designs, and began gaining attention. especially with models like the “Iceman”!

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? A First Time Buyer's Guide
An Early Ibanez Iceman

One of the first adopters of the newly designed Ibanez guitars was Steve Vai. Steve needed a particular guitar to suit his needs and contacted everyone trying to find a company to make his “perfect” guitar. Most companies refused to make his design, or just couldn’t get the guitar right. Ibanez agreed to work with Vai, and they designed the “Jem” together.

The rest is history! The Ibanez Jem is the best-selling Signature Series of all time.

But are Ibanez guitars any good? Well, Ibanez has a lot to offer when it comes to different price points, and runs the gamut from expensive to very affordable.

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? A First Time Buyer's Guide
The Ibanez Jem

Ibanez Quality: Japanese Models

The Ibanez models that are made in Japan are called The Prestige Series. This is the absolute top tier quality that Ibanez makes for any production models. These Made In Japan guitars are made by some of the best-trained luthiers and wood-workers in the industry. Every minute detail is carefully attended to.

Are Ibanez Guitars any good? Yes! Especially if you start with these prestige models. The quality is outstanding, and you get a professional instrument that is impeccable.

While the prestige Series is the pinnacle of quality, it is also the top-tier when it comes to price. These guitars can range between $1600-$4000! But in the world of guitars, you get what you pay for most of the time. These Prestige Models are meant to last a lifetime of gigs and practice.

Ibanez makes a few different Prestige Models every year. These usually come in custom finishes, and have high end features. Prestige Models also come with a molded hard shell case!

Most artist models are featured in the Prestige Series.

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? A First Time Buyer's Guide
An Ibanez Prestige Model

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? The Mid Tier Models…

Not everyone can afford a top of the line Prestige Model Ibanez, and that is precisely why there are more affordable options. The Axiom Series, Iron Label, and Premium Series are all made in Indonesia, some by The Cort factory. This keeps costs down for the consumer, while retaining the famous Ibanez designs.

The Premium Series is made by luthiers trained by the Japanese masters, and are very close in quality to the Prestige instruments. The Premium Series has great features for the price usually. But the attention to detail, especially with the neck profile, is the big selling point.

The mid-tier Ibanez models are fantastic value for the money. If you feel like a Prestige Series is a little out of your reach, then these are a great option.

Right below the Premium Series, you have the Axiom Series and the Iron Label Series. These are also great mid-tier guitars. Most models come with name brand pickups, and great hardware. All of these options sit between $899-$1200 or so.

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? A First Time Buyer's Guide
Ibanez Axiom Series

When asking “are Ibanez Guitars any good” I think it is important to take a look at all of the options, and definitely the less expensive models into account. These are great gigging instruments, and probably the most popular among your “everyday” players.

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? The Affordable Models…

The word “affordable” can sometimes leave a bad taste in your mouth when you are shopping for a new guitar. But affordable doesn’t have to mean “cheap”, especially these days.

Modern guitar production, with CNC machines make it hard to find even a budget model that is “cheap” or “bad”. Most factories produce great playing guitars, at lower price points. This wasn’t always the case with affordable instruments.

So even the lower end models of Ibanez Guitars are great, and make perfect starter instruments. These affordable series are called the Standard Series, and GIO Series. Both are a great value for the money!

Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good? A First Time Buyer's Guide
Ibanez Standard Series

The Standard series comes with most of the same designs as the more expensive models, but just stripped back a little. The pickups and hardware are all made by Ibanez themselves. But this doesn’t mean that the components are bad.

These are great guitars to buy, and add your own personal touch. You can put in your favorite pickups, and customize it yourself to be your perfect version of a Shred machine!

The GIO series is the least expensive. This line of guitars are perfect for beginners, wanting to get a start in playing Metal. They usually have very few features, and a low price point. The GIO Series is a perfect way to see if a “Shred” guitar is for you.

So…Are Ibanez Guitars Any Good?

I think so! I was an Ibanez artist for a few years, and I enjoyed their guitars. I had several of the mid-tier options, and one Prestige Guitar. These were great instruments for the stage and studio.

The best thing about a large company like Ibanez, is that there is something for everyone. There is a guitar for every budget, and the quality is pretty great with Ibanez guitars. I have had a few QC issues in the past, but that happens with any brand.

So if it looks like a Super Strat, shredding guitar is what you have your eye on, you could do much worse than Ibanez. Not only are Ibanez pioneers in the industry, they remain a leader.

Are Ibanez Guitars any good?

Ibanez is famous for having great guitars that fit almost any budget. Whether you’re looking for a professional, studio-quality guitar or a basic beginner guitar, Ibanez has a guitar just for you with prices ranging from $150 to well over $3000.

Are Ibanez Guitars expensive?

The Prestige Series is the top of the line, and quite expensive. But Ibanez has quite a few budget-friendly models as well.

Do Ibanez Guitars come with a case?

Prestige Models come with an Ibanez hard Shell case, while the Premium Series comes with a fitted gig bag.


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