If you’re in the market for an affordable acoustic guitar, Ibanez is a great brand to consider.
Ibanez was one of the first Japanese guitar brands to expand into the U.S., and they have been making quality guitars and effects for decades.
Many players know Ibanez for their electric guitars, which have been popular with hard rock and metal guitarists like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. But the company also makes several great acoustic guitars, most of which are very affordable.
But which is the best one for your needs? Which one should you buy?
In this comprehensive buyer’s guide and review, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best Ibanez acoustic guitars available. We’ll examine the pros and cons of each instrument, and compare different price points and styles. We’ll also take a look at the features and build quality of each instrument.
Let’s get started!
The 10 Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitars
- Ibanez AW54CE – Editor’s Choice
- Ibanez Talman TCY10 – Best for Beginners
- Ibanez GA35 Thinline – Best Under $300
- Ibanez AEG20II – Best for the Money
- Ibanez V70CE – Best Acoustic-Electric
- Ibanez PN12E – Best Parlor Guitar
- Ibanez AW54 – Best Dreadnought Guitar
- Ibanez PF2MH 3/4 – Best for Small Hands
- Ibanez AEB5E – Best Acoustic Bass Guitar
- Ibanez AEG1812II AEG – Best 12-String
Ibanez AW54CE – Editor’s Choice
Looking for a solid acoustic/electric guitar that won’t break the bank? The Ibanez AW54CE may be for you.
The AW54CE is part of Ibanez’s Artwood Series. This series aims to bring players high quality tonewoods at an affordable price point. This dreadnought guitar is made out of solid Okoume wood, balanced by internal X bracing.
The okoume gives you a naturally warm tone, which is balanced by the X bracing to make sure the tone is not too muddy. This ensures a wide-ranging tone with ample sustain. An open pore finish gives a nice, natural feel and appearance.
A nyatoh neck and ovangkol fingerboard are great for playability and solid action. The open cutaway also allows you to easier reach higher frets.
Another great feature of the AW54CE is its electronics system. With a Fishman undersaddle pickup and Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp, you have everything you need to plug and play.
Fishman’s Sonicore pickup gives you classic piezo tone, while the preamp gives you control over bass, treble and volume to dial in the best tone for your style. You also get an onboard tuner to make sure your guitar is always in tune for the next song!
The Ibanez AW54CE also comes with chrome die-cast tuners and a bone nut – rare for a guitar at this price point.
For beginner and immediate guitarists in every style, the Ibanez AW54CE is a great option. It’s especially suitable for players who are looking to start playing live gigs or open mic nights. For under $400, it’s got a nice combination of solid tonewoods with a nice electronics system. At this price point, that’s pretty tough to beat. That’s why the Ibanez AW54CE is our Editor’s Pick.
- Solid tonewoods
- Fishman electronics with preamp & tuner
- Open cutaway for better access to fretboard
- Cheaper hardware
- Action high out of the box
Ibanez Talman TCY10 – Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitar for Beginners
Are you a beginning guitarist looking for your first acoustic guitar? The Ibanez Talman TCY10 may be your best bet.
The TCY10 is a smaller scale acoustic guitar with a double cutaway, making it perfect for those who are used to playing an electric guitar. The mahogany neck, back and sides add to the comfortable feel. The spruce top is great for acoustic projection, while the rosewood fingerboard offers great playability.
Another way this guitar is great for those interested in electric guitar is its onboard electronics. The Ibanez piezo is reminiscent of a bridge pickup on an electric, and the onboard preamp gives you access to 2-band EQ to better sculpt your tone.
The Ibanez TCY10 also includes chrome die-cast tuners, and an Ivorex II nut and saddle. Ibanez claims this material is harder than bone. While that is a tough claim to verify, it’s probably a step up from the usual plastic nuts and saddles in guitars at this price point.
The TCY10 would be a great option for those just starting out on guitar, as its smaller scale makes it more manageable for younger players who might be dwarfed by a dreadnought-style guitar. It’s also a great option for those used to playing electric guitar who want to start playing acoustic. It offers a similar look and feel of an electric guitar, while giving you classic, unplugged acoustic tones. The onboard electronics are also a nice touch for those who want to plug in.
- Smaller scale, double cutaway
- Onboard electronics
- Very affordable
- Tuning issues
- Not as “full” sound as regular acoustic
- Sounds better plugged in than unplugged
Ibanez GA35 Thinline – Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitar Under $300
Looking for a solid thinline nylon-string guitar at an affordable price? The Ibanez GA35 Thinline is a great option.
Unlike traditional classical-style guitars, the GA35 has a mahogany body that is only 2-¾” thick. In addition to making the guitar lighter, it’s also more resistant to feedback.
Another advantage to the GA35 is its narrower neck. Most classical guitars have thicker necks, which may make it difficult for other players to get a good grip. The GA35 also has a cutaway and a 14th fret neck-joint, which offers great playability especially for those used to regular steel-string or electric guitars.
For electronics, the GA35 comes equipped with an undersaddle pickup and an onboard preamp. This preamp features a 2-band EQ, tuner and a phase switch. It runs on AA batteries.
There’s also 2 output options – a regular ¼” output jack and an XLR output for connecting directly to a PA system. This gives you the option of running into an amp or the PA, or both!
For around $300, the GA35 is a great option for those players looking to get into the world of nylon-string guitars who don’t want a traditional classical guitar. The thinline body and cutaway makes it easy to play, and the onboard electronics make it a great option for live use with low feedback.
- Thin body & cutaway for easy playability
- Onboard electronics with 2 outputs
- Narrow neck
- Lacks full sound unplugged
- May need set-up
Ibanez AEG20II – Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitar for the Money
If you’re looking for the best overall Ibanez acoustic guitar for the money, you can’t go wrong with the AEG20II.
For under $400, the AEG20II offers a lot of bang for your buck. For starters, the flamed sycamore top offers a striking look for an acoustic guitar. A vintage violin gloss finish enhances this look even further. If you’re looking for something non-traditional that will stand out from the crowd, the AEG20II doesn’t disappoint.
For its tonewoods, the AEG20II employs a classic combination of mahogany back and sides, along with a rosewood fretboard. The cutaway design allows for easier access to higher frets.
Of course, the AEG20II also features onboard electronics. For its pickup, the AEG20II uses an undersaddle Fishman Sonicore pickup. Fishman is basically the standard for acoustic electronics, and the Sonicore is no exception.
Another great feature is Ibanez’s AEQ-SP1 preamp with onboard tuner. This preamp uses a 3-band EQ along with phase and volume controls. This allows you to really hone in your tone for live use.
The AEG20II also includes abalone rosette, gold die-cast tuners and ivory body, neck and headstock binding. For a guitar at this price point, that’s a great set of features that all add up to the AEG20II being the best Ibanez acoustic guitar for the money.
- Flamed sycamore top
- Vintage violin gloss finish
- Fishman pickup & 3-band EQ
- Harder to find
- Could use set-up
Ibanez V70CE – Best Ibanez Acoustic-Electric Guitar
For an all-purpose acoustic/electric guitar that’s also highly affordable, take a look at the Ibanez V70CE.
The V70CE has mahogany back, sides and neck, along with a select spruce top. It’s available in either transparent blue or black for a classy look and finish.
A rosewood bridge and fretboard complete the look of the V70CE, while a soft cutaway gives the player easier access to higher frets. It also comes with chrome tuners.
For a standard acoustic guitar at around a couple hundred bucks, you can’t go wrong with the V70CE. But in addition to being a solid acoustic instrument, it also comes equipped with quality Ibanez electronics. That’s pretty rare for a guitar in this price range.
The V70CE would be a great starter guitar for someone looking for their first acoustic, or their first acoustic/electric guitar. It has the size and feel of a standard acoustic guitar, and the option to plug in for open mics or church is an added bonus.
While the V70CE would probably not be ideal for intermediate players wanting to play more articulate lead lines, it would be great for strumming chords and learning the instrument. At this price, you probably won’t find a more solid acoustic/electric guitar.
- Affordable with electronics
- Classic acoustic look and feel
- Soft cutaway
- High action requires set-up
- Fret buzz reported
- Cheaper components
Ibanez PN12E – Best Ibanez Acoustic Parlor Guitar
Looking for an acoustic guitar but don’t want the bulky size of a traditional dreadnought body? The Ibanez PN12E parlor guitar might be for you.
The PN12E has a body length of 19.5” with a 14.33” depth, making it much smaller than a typical acoustic guitar. This smaller size is great for kids or smaller-sized adults, those with arthritis issues, or just anyone who enjoys playing parlor-style instruments.
The PN12E is made of nyatoh wood for its back and sides, with a sapele top. Nyatoh is known for its warm tones, perfect for a smaller sized guitar that may be too bright otherwise. A nandu fingerboard and bridge give you a balanced tone with comfortable playability.
Another great feature of the PN12E is its onboard electronics. An undersaddle pickup comes complete with Ibanez’s AEQ-2T preamp. This battery-powered preamp includes a 2-band EQ, as well as a tuner. You can use the onboard tuner to adjust the chrome die-cast tuners.
At under $200, the PN12E is a great option for anyone looking for an affordable, parlor-style guitar. The smaller scale of the neck and body make it much easier to play for those with smaller hands. It would also be a less intimidating guitar for kids starting out. But the PN12E is also no toy – it’s a serious instrument with quality electronics for any level of guitar player.
- Small, parlor-style body
- Affordable, with electronics
- Vintage look
- Some fret buzz
- Cheaper electronics
Ibanez AW54 – Best Dreadnought Ibanez Acoustic Guitar
If you’re just looking for a solid traditional acoustic guitar and don’t need electronics, the Ibanez AW54 could be the ticket.
The Artwood AW54 is about as classic as it gets when it comes to dreadnought acoustic guitars. The body, top and sides are made of solid okoume for a naturally warm tone. To balance that warmth, Ibanez uses X-bracing to make sure the tone never gets too muddy or inarticulate. An open pore finish gives it a classic, natural look.
A nyatoh neck with an ovangkol fingerboard also provide you with solid action and playability. The AW54 also comes equipped with an Ivorex II nut and saddle for maximum string vibration and sustain. Chrome die-cast tuners ensure tuning stability.
The AW54 would be a great guitar for someone’s first acoustic, or anyone looking for a traditional acoustic sound. Dreadnought guitars are probably the most popular acoustic body design in history, and for good reason. The dreadnought shape is perfect for natural projection and depth. Even without electronics, the AW54 offers plenty of volume and power.
Like many of these Ibanez acoustic guitars, the AW54 is a very affordable instrument. For under $250, you are getting a solid, reliable acoustic guitar that will likely last a lifetime. Ibanez designed its Artcore series to give players access to high quality tonewoods at a great price. And if you want to add electronics down the road, that’s always an option.
- Affordable dreadnought style
- Quality tonewoods
- Natural projection
- Cheaper hardware
- No electronics
Ibanez PF2MH 3/4 – Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitar for Small Hands
If you’re looking for a solid acoustic guitar at an even shorter scale than the parlor-style, the Ibanez PF2MH ¾ is your best bet.
The PF2MH not only has a much smaller body scale, it also has a smaller fingerboard scale length of 22.83”. This makes it a perfect instrument for small children who want to learn how to play guitar. Its dreadnought shape is just like a traditional acoustic, but at a fraction of the size.
The PF2MH uses sapele wood for its top, back and sides, perfect for a warm, balanced tone. The top also features an open pore finish for a natural look.
The neck is made of traditional mahogany with a nandu fingerboard. The PF2MH also employs chrome covered tuners, along with a plastic nut and saddle.
For under $150, the PF2MH would make a great starter guitar for a young child, or a great travel instrument for someone who enjoys playing a smaller-scale guitar. There are no electronics, but at this price-point that’s to be expected.
At this price, there’s really not much of a risk in buying this guitar for a kid, even if they lose interest in playing guitar six months later. And later if they decide to keep at it, moving to a larger body dreadnought will be a smooth transition.
- Smaller scale, perfect for kids
- Traditional dreadnought body style
- Plastic nut & saddle
- Cheap hardware
Ibanez AEB5E – Best Ibanez Acoustic Bass Guitar
If you’re looking for an acoustic bass guitar that won’t break the bank, the Ibanez AEB5E could be perfect for you.
Acoustic basses are fewer and farther between compared to their electric counterparts, but they can be incredibly fun to play, especially around the house. There aren’t as many options for acoustic basses, but the AEB5E is definitely a solid, affordable choice.
The AEB5E features Agathis back and sides, along with a rosewood bridge and fingerboard. Unamplified, it has a nice warm and punchy tone. An Ivorex II nut and saddle is also a step up from regular plastic.
Though the AEB5E makes a great stand-alone acoustic bass, it also includes electronics so you can plug in to any amp or direct box. A piezo pickup is complemented by Ibanez’s AEQ-202T preamp. This gives you a 2-band EQ, tuner and volume control.
The AEB5E would be a great option for those looking for an acoustic bass. For under $300, it’s an affordable choice, especially for those who already have an electric bass and are just looking for something different. With its onboard electronics, the AEB5E also produces a different tone plugged in than an electric bass would. Having that versatility at a low price-point is a definite plus.
- Onboard electronics
- Warm, punchy tone
- Tuning issues
- Fret buzz a potential problem
Ibanez AEG1812II AEG – Best 12-String Ibanez Acoustic Guitar
For an affordable 12-string acoustic with onboard electronics, it’s tough to find a better option than the Ibanez AEG1812II AEG.
12-string guitars are widely-renown for their full, yet jangly sound. By doubling the regular six strings with six higher-pitched strings, a 12-string guitar can produce some of the most beautiful and percussive sounds in music. These guitars can often be expensive, however.
For under $300, the AEG1812II AEG is an amazing value. Not only is it a solid 12-string guitar, it is also a quality acoustic/electric guitar.
Ibanez’s AEG series is also designed with the electric guitar player in mind. This means the AEG1812II AEG has a shorter scale length (25”) as well as a thinner body. These features, along with a soft cutaway, make for a very comfortable playing experience.
The AEG1812II AEG is made of mahogany back and sides, along with a spruce top. A rosewood fingerboard ensures smooth playability and lively tone even without plugging in.
For electronics, the AEG1812II AEG employs Ibanez’s AEQ-SP2 preamp. This preamp gives you an onboard tuner, EQ and volume controls.
Other great features of the AEG1812II AEG include Ivory body binding, Abalone rosette, chrome die-cast tuners and a high gloss finish.
For under $300, the Ibanez AEG1812II AEG is a great option for someone looking to add an acoustic/electric 12-string guitar to their collection. Fans of the Byrds and Tom Petty will love its classic tones, while folk players will appreciate its full, percussive sound. At this price, it’s a no-brainer.
- 12-string with electronics at low price
- Smaller, thinner body for electric players
- Tuning issues
- Cheaper components
How to Choose The Best Ibanez Guitar (Buyer’s Guide)
Now that we’ve discussed the 10 best Ibanez acoustic guitars, here are some other factors to consider before making your purchase.
Type of Wood
The type of wood used in any guitar is highly important, but especially in acoustic guitars. Different types of wood can produce different tones, depth and resonance.
The Artcore AW54 and AW54CE use Okoume, which is a naturally warm wood. This is balanced by the guitar’s internal X-bracing.
The V70CE and the AEG1812II AEG both use mahogany for the bulk of their bodies. This is a classic traditional type of wood found in both acoustic and electric guitars.
The PN12E parlor guitar uses nyatoh, another warm-sounding wood that gives the smaller-sized guitar more depth of sound.
There are many factors in determining how any type of wood will sound and feel. Much of it comes down to personal preference. Some players love maple necks, while others swear by rosewood or ebony. What is “best” is usually what best suits the guitar and your playing style.
When trying to decide whether or not to buy an instrument, build quality is always a top concern. After all, this is an instrument that you will hopefully be able to play for many years to come.
When it comes to build quality, Ibanez has a great reputation. There’s a reason they have been one of the top guitar brands for decades, and the overwhelming majority of reviews online attest to the solid build quality of their instruments across every price point.
That being said, as with anything, you get what you pay for. While Ibanez still makes most of their premium guitars in their home base of Japan, many of their more affordable options are made in other Asian countries like South Korea and China. While quality control at these facilities is not bad by any means, it may not be as high as in Japan.
Several of these guitars, like the GA35 Thinline and the PN12E, are under $300. In order to produce an instrument at this price point, corners do need to be cut. That involves manufacturing them in countries with cheaper labor, as discussed above, as well as using cheaper components. If a guitar has electronics, they usually aren’t top-notch.
But even with these cost-cutting measures, Ibanez has managed to get some quality parts in many of these guitars, like the Ivorex II nut and saddles. This material is similar to TUSQ in that it’s an approximation of the more expensive bone material without being bone. It’s definitely a step up from plastic.
There’s also some interesting tonewoods in these guitars, like the okoume and nyatoh, that make these affordable guitars sound like quality instruments. Hardware and electronics can always be upgraded, but having a solid foundation is always the most important thing.
Probably the main feature for most of these guitars is whether or not they have electronics. Since most of them are under $500, that’s not always a feature.
Other than the AW54 and the PF2MH ¾ , all of these guitars have an onboard pickup and preamp. While you may not need electronics in your acoustic, it’s a nice feature to have, especially if you are just starting out.
With the electronics themselves, some have extended features like an onboard tuner. Most have at least a 2-band EQ, while some like the AEG20II have a 3-band EQ. Any extra tone-shaping is always a plus, especially when performing live. The GA35 also includes 2 outputs to send your signal to two different places.
Playability is a huge factor with any guitar. Especially since many of these guitars are likely designed with beginners in mind, it’s ideal to have a comfortable playing experience.
One of the cons listed for some of these guitars is that they come set up with high action. While that can be a downside, it’s definitely something that can be adjusted, whether at home or with a tech. Another option is to play lighter strings. Some people prefer higher action, however, and it can be helpful to building up calluses when one is just starting to play.
The shape of the guitar affects playability, as well. The V70CE has a cutaway, which makes it easier to reach high frets, while the GA35 has a thinner neck that makes it easier to get your hands around it. Some of the smaller, parlor shapes may make it easier for children or smaller people to play, as well.
As we discussed above, body shape and size can definitely be a big factor in a guitar’s playability. The traditional dreadnought style of the AW54 may be perfect for some, while it could simply be too big for others.
Smaller children and adults may greatly prefer playing on a ¾ scale or parlor-style body. The AEG20II and V70CE would be great options for those used to playing electric guitar who want to start playing acoustic.
Overall, the best body shape and style is the one that you feel is most comfortable to play. That could be determined by your own body size, or simply by what you think looks cool. With options from smaller scale to full-size dreadnought, there’s an Ibanez acoustic guitar for everyone.
Read Also: The Complete Guide to Guitar Sizes
For those looking for a solid acoustic instrument on a budget, Ibanez is definitely a great option. Every guitar on this list is under $500, and most are under $300.
Ibanez acoustic guitars would make great instruments for someone buying their first acoustic or acoustic/electric guitar. They are also a great option for someone looking to buy a more affordable acoustic to play around with at parties or on camping trips. I know I usually prefer to take my cheaper, parlor-style guitar to those kinds of functions and leave my more expensive Martin at home.
For the price, you probably won’t find much better than Ibanez, especially for an acoustic/electric. Being able to buy an acoustic/electric 12-string or acoustic bass for under $400 is definitely a great deal.
Read Also: How Much Does a Guitar Cost?
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Ibanez acoustic guitars good?
Definitely. While they may not be top of the line acoustic instruments on the same level as Taylor and Martin, Ibanez makes solid, affordable acoustic guitars. For a beginner or intermediate guitarist, you can’t go wrong.
Is Ibanez better than Yamaha?
Yamaha is another great Japanese company that makes solid acoustic guitars for a decent price. I wouldn’t say they are any better or worse, just different. Both would make fine choices.
Why are Ibanez guitars cheap?
While Ibanez does have some more premium options, especially with their electric guitars, many of its instruments are produced in Asian countries with cheaper labor and parts. This doesn’t mean they are low quality guitars; it’s just standard practice for most corporations these days. They tend to cut costs where they can in order to deliver a more affordable product to the consumer. As long as these instruments have a solid foundation, they can still be great instruments which can be upgraded with better components over time.
Recap of the Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitars
|Ibanez Acoustic Guitar||Award|
|Ibanez AW54CE||Editor’s Choice|
|Ibanez Talman TCY10||Best for Beginners|
|Ibanez GA35 Thinline||Best Under $300|
|Ibanez AEG20II||Best for the Money|
|Ibanez V70CE||Best Acoustic-Electric|
|Ibanez PN12E||Best Parlor Guitar|
|Ibanez AW54||Best Dreadnought Guitar|
|Ibanez PF2MH 3/4||Best for Small Hands|
|Ibanez AEB5E||Best Acoustic Bass|
|Ibanez AEG1812II AEG||Best 12-String|