Ibanez is consistently among the top electric guitars on the list for many people. It has become popular over the last few decades as a guitar brand in Europe and North America for a good reason.
First, Ibanez produces high-end and high-quality guitars, and of course, they’re not cheap. However, the brand also makes lower-end electric guitars that are more budget-friendly. So, how good are Ibanez electric guitars?
That’s the subject of this article. But, first, we’ll look at the main features and qualities of Ibanez guitars at all price points.
A Brief History of Ibanez Guitars
Before discussing how good Ibanez electric guitars are, let’s look at the company itself.
Interestingly, Ibanez is a Japanese guitar brand. Although the name definitely doesn’t sound Japanese, it is a Japanese brand founded in 1957.
However, the company initially started in 1935, at which time it called its guitars “Ibanez Salvador” in honor of Spanish guitar player Salvador Ibanez. The brand really took off in the 1960s when they started to copy American-style guitar designs. As a result, Ibanez guitars began looking more like Rickenbacker, Gibson, and Fender guitars.
Ibanez is the only Japanese guitar company to gain a serious foothold in Europe and the US. It was also one of the first brands to mass-produce seven- and eight-string electric guitars.
Although it didn’t start that way, this brand is very popular among today’s metal guitarists. However, since they were making guitars that looked similar to Gibson and Fender, several lawsuits were filed against Ibanez in the early 1970s. The brand then started redesigning its guitars to make them look unique.
One of the earliest signature guitars is the best-selling Jem, created by Ibanez and famous musician Steve Vai. Together, they designed the Jem, perhaps the best-selling signature series of guitars.
How Good Are Ibanez Guitars?
We want to look at the different levels of guitars Ibanez make. We’ll look at the more budget-friendly, mid-range, and very high-end models.
Budget-Friendly Ibanez Guitars
When people hear the terms budget-friendly, cost-effective, or affordable, they usually assume something will be cheap and low quality. But, of course, a $300 guitar is not going to be as good as a $3,000 guitar.
However, a $300 guitar doesn’t necessarily have to be bad if it’s an Ibanez. Most modern guitars are made with CNC computer-operated machines. So although they might not be made of the highest-quality materials, they aren’t necessarily bad or cheap.
Factory-made guitars are usually consistent, even the lower-end models. Therefore, even the lower-end Ibanez guitars are pretty decent. The Gio and the Standard series are great guitar lines from Ibanez.
The Standard Series comes with most of the same design features as the higher-end models but is a little stripped back. Moreover, you can add your own pickups and customize these guitars.
If you are looking for the best and most affordable guitars from this brand name, go for the Geo series. These are reasonably priced and don’t have many features, but they’re still durable and sound great.
Mid-Tier Ibanez Guitars
Ibanez produces three main mid-tier guitar lines: the Premium series, the Iron Label, and the Axiom series. Of course, durability, functionality, tone, and cost will sit between the budget-friendly and high-end guitars.
The three series are made in Indonesia, allowing Ibanez to retain its standard design while cutting down on production costs and, therefore, cutting the consumer’s price.
The Premium series is made by luthiers trained by Japanese masters and produce high-quality instruments. This series has fantastic features, considering the relatively low price. For example, this series pays incredible attention to detail regarding the neck profile and guitar itself.
Then comes the Axiom and Iron Label series. These are fantastic mid-range guitars that usually cost no more than $1,200. They feature superior hardware and brand-name pickups. These are worth checking out if you’re looking for a good mix of functionality and relatively low cost.
Top-Tier Ibanez Guitars
The highest quality Ibanez guitars are made in Japan, known as the Prestige series.
These guitars are made by some of the best-trained luthiers and woodworkers; even the smallest details are closely attended to. Of course, these guitars can easily cost $4,000, if not more, but you get what you pay for, and what you get here is fantastic quality.
This line’s bodies, necks, and electronic components are as good as possible. They have incredibly high-end features and often custom finishes.
They usually have a molded hard-shell case designed specifically for the guitar. If you are willing to spend the money and want a guitar that is extremely high-quality and sounds fantastic, the Prestige series deserves serious consideration.
The bottom line is that if you are looking for a very high-quality guitar, Ibanez is a fantastic brand. This is a popular brand among metal and rock guitarists. The company produces excellent high-end guitars with amazing features and has excellent lower-end guitars that don’t cost a fortune.