Looking for a new guitar and wondering which is the best Ibanez guitar for you? You’re in the right place.
Ibanez is one of the most solid brands out there. Founded in 1957, they are one of the first Japanese musical instrument brands to gain a foothold in the United States.
Ibanez really began to hit its stride in the 1980’s, introducing a new line of innovative and unique guitar designs. The company now builds a wide variety of electric and acoustic guitars – as well as effects pedals – and maintains several production facilities in Asia as well as the U.S.
With so many options available, though, it can be overwhelming to choose which Ibanez is best for you.
In this comprehensive Ibanez guitars review and buyer’s guide, we’ll take a detailed look at the 10 best Ibanez guitars available today. We’ll look at the best option at every price point and style to help you best identify which is the best Ibanez guitar for your personal needs.
Let’s get started!
The 10 Best Ibanez Guitars
- Editor’s Pick – Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550
- Best Budget – Ibanez Gio GRX70QA
- Best for the Money – Ibanez RG450DX
- Best Under $500 – Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR
- Best for Rock – Ibanez Nita Strauss JIVA10 Signature
- Best for Metal – Ibanez Prestige RG652AHMFX
- Best 7-String – Ibanez RGD71ALMS Axion Label
- Best Semi-Hollow – Ibanez Artcore AS73
- Best Acoustic Electric – Ibanez V70CE
- Best for Blues and Jazz – Ibanez Prestige AZ2204
Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 – Best Ibanez Electric Guitar
Our top pick for the all-around best Ibanez electric guitar is the Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550.
The RG550 is a classic design that was first introduced in 1987. The Genesis Collection adds some modern touches while retaining the vibe of the original.
The body of the RG550 is made of basswood, perfect for warm tones with biting mids. The contour of the body hugs your body and forearm, making it a very comfortable instrument to play.
One of the coolest features of the RG550 is its ultra-fast Wizard Neck. The original Wizard Neck was one piece of maple. The reissue has upgraded its materials to a 5-piece combination of maple and walnut.
The 24-fret fingerboard is also loaded with jumbo frets – perfect for huge bends. The RG550 also features a classic tilt neck joint instead of the sculpted All Access neck joint included on many modern RG-style guitars.
For pickups, the RG550 employs the now-classic HSH design with a pair of humbuckers surrounding a single-coil in the middle position. The humbuckers are modern V7 and V8 designs, while the S1 in the middle features more traditional single-coil tones. These high-output pickups are perfect for hard rock and metal, but versatile enough to cover any genre.
In addition to high-quality electronics, the RG550 features solid black hardware like an Edge locking tremolo and Gotoh locking machine heads.
With all these features and a price-point that won’t break the bank, the Genesis Collection RG550 is our Editor’s Pick!
- Classic design with modern features
- Moderate price-point
- Made in Japan
- Some cosmetic issues reported
- Stock pickups could be upgraded depending on taste
Ibanez Gio GRX70QA – Best Budget Ibanez Guitar
For the best Ibanez guitar on a budget, look no further than the Gio GRX70QA.
Though the Gio is priced perfectly for beginners, it’s definitely a quality instrument. The full-scale basswood body features a quilted art grain top for a striking look, and there is no shortage of features.
Like many classic Ibanez guitars, the Gio gives you a total of 3 pickups in the HSH configuration. These Powersound pickups give you a wide array of tones. The two ceramic-magnet humbuckers are high-output but not muddy, while the Alnico single-coil has great clarity and vintage tone.
The GRX70QA also features a fast-playing maple neck with medium-sized frets. The comfortable neck and purpleheart fretboard make it easy to play chords and scales, which is definitely helpful when just starting out on the guitar.
One really cool feature for a guitar at this price level is the Gio’s FAT 6 tremolo, which can produce everything from subtle whammy bar moves to killer dive-bomb effects. Having a tremolo bar on a budget guitar is definitely a plus.
The Gio would be a great guitar for the budding rock or metal guitarist. The variety of tones available make it versatile enough for any genre, though.
If you’re a beginning guitarist or just looking for a solid electric guitar on a budget, the Gio GRX70QA may be the perfect Ibanez guitar for you.
- Low price
- Wide range of tones
- Tremolo bridge adds versatility
- Some quality control issues reported
- Tuning stability
- Cheaper electronics, but expected at price point
Ibanez RG450DX – Best Ibanez Guitar for the Money
My pick for the best Ibanez guitar for the money is the Ibanez RG450
For guitarists who have been playing for a couple of years and are ready to take the next step, the Ibanez RG450 may be the perfect option.
The RG450 is part of Ibanez’s classic RG design that became popular in the Eighties. It features the fast-playing Wizard III neck made out of 3-piece maple, with a Jatoba fretboard and 24 jumbo frets. The rosewood fingerboard with Sharktooth inlays is also a nice touch.
The mahogany body is well balanced and resonant, while the slim body style stays true to the RG style many guitarists have come to love. A nice cutaway allows for easy access to higher frets.
With its classic HSH pickup configuration and 5-way switch, the RG450 offers a myriad of tonal options. The two high-output Quantum humbuckers are perfect for rock and shredding, while the S3 single-coil in the middle position gives you classic Strat-type tones.
A DL tuning bridge also gives you a powerful whammy bar with improved tuning stability. You can pull off dive bombs and other tremolo effects without worrying about going out of tune.
For a solid Ibanez electric guitar with a ton of versatility under $500, it’s tough to go wrong with the Ibanez RG450. It’s part of Ibanez’s classic RG series, but at a more affordable price. If you’re looking for an affordable guitar without any compromises, then this is it.
- Great price
- Well-built, versatile
- Classic Wizard III neck
- Some say INF pickups lack punch
- Minor quality control issues reported
Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR – Best Ibanez Guitar Under $500
One of Ibanez’s most famous users is legendary virtuoso Steve Vai. Now they’ve teamed up to offer a signature Ibanez electric guitar at an unbelievable price point! As such, this is my pick for the best Ibanez guitar under $500.
Though the JEMJR is the little brother of Vai’s main Ibanez signature guitar, it shares many of the same features and quality of a guitar that retails for over $1,000 more.
The first thing you’ll notice about the JEMJR is its striking appearance. Vai’s signature acrylic Tree of Life inlay is intact, as well as the unique “monkey grip” handle that allows guitarists to pick up the guitar one-handed like a case.
Despite the monkey grip, this is a solid-body guitar made of Meranti. It features Ibanez’s classic Wizard III maple neck with a Jatoba fingerboard and 24 jumbo frets. The Wizard necks are known for being great for the kind of fast-paced shredding you’ll find on any Steve Vai album. In terms of playability, the Ibanez neck is something you can’t beat. They’re incredibly thin, fast, and comfortable.
For signature Vai tones, the JEMJR offers high-output Quantum pickups that retain great articulation. Two humbuckers and one single-coil let you cover all the bases, while a 5-way switch gives you multiple pickup combinations.
Another cool feature on the JEMJR is a double-locking tremolo bridge for peak tuning stability even after deep pitch bends. A locking nut and cosmo black tuners ensure further control over staying in tune.
Though it was built with Steve Vai’s tone in mind, the JEMJR is a highly versatile quality instrument with a great look for guitarists in any genre. It would be perfect for hard rock and progressive styles, especially. And at the price point, it can’t be beat.
- Iconic look
- Quantum pickups
- Double-locking bridge
- Lower quality components compared to main signature model
- Monkey grip handle not for everyone
Ibanez Nita Strauss JIVA10 Signature – Best Ibanez Guitar for Rock
Looking for a badass thin body Ibanez electric guitar with an ultra-unique look? Check out the Ibanez Nita Strauss JIVA10 Signature. This guitar is my pick for the best Ibanez guitar for rock music.
Nita Strauss is one of the most popular hard rock guitarists today, making a name for herself as Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist. She’s also in an all-female Iron Maiden tribute band called the Iron Maidens.
Strauss is definitely a top pro guitarist, and her signature Ibanez guitar is a pro-level instrument. This axe features a variety of quality tonewoods, including a maple/purpleheart neck with an ebony fretboard. The body is made up of nyatoh and quilted maple.
The JIVA10 also features an ultra-fast Nitro Wizard neck, which offers access across all of the guitar’s range. Ibanez Wizard necks are known for their great playability, and this one is no exception.
When it comes to tone, the JIVA10 is also unique. It features a pair of custom DiMarzio Pandemonium humbuckers, along with a True-Velvet single-coil in the middle. Strauss says the pickups offer everything from tight lows to smooth highs for great sustain and harmonics. A 5-way switch offers multiple pickup combinations.
For hardware, the JIVA10 features an Edge-Zero tremolo system that offers precise bends and vibrato with a stud lock function for perfect tuning stability. You can shred for hours without worrying about going out of tune.
If you’re looking for a really cool-looking guitar with a bunch of unique tonal options, or you’re just a fan of Nita Strauss, the JIVA10 may be for you. The addition of authentic DiMarzio pickups ina guitar at this price point makes it a killer value.
- Top quality tonewoods
- Unique look
- Custom pickups
- Edge-Zero bridge
- Balance between pickup volumes isn’t perfect
- Some quality control issues with frets
Ibanez Prestige RG652AHMFX – Best Ibanez Guitar for Metal
Love the look and feel of Ibanez guitars, but don’t want a floating bridge? The Prestige RG652AHMFX may be for you.
The Prestige features a Gibraltar Standard II fixed bridge, also known as a “hardtail.” These bridges offer great sustain and string clarity in addition to rock-solid tuning stability. It’s also comfortable for palm-muting.
For further tuning stability, the RG652AHMFX includes a GraphTech nut and Gotoh magnum locking tuners. This is one axe that will stay in tune!
The RG652AHMFX also has a beautiful ash body, which has its own natural tonality that stands out in a dense mix.
This Prestige model also features a lightning-fast Super Wizard HP neck made out of 5-piece maple/walnut. The birdseye maple fingerboard is loaded with 24 jumbo frets.
For pickups, the Prestige comes loaded with a pair of DiMarzio Air Norton and Tone Zone humbuckers for classic tone. A Strat-style 5-way switch gives you access to more tones than one typically finds in a 2-pickup guitar.
While this guitar is versatile enough to handle a variety of different genres, this is a prime example of a metal guitar that Ibanez is famous for.
The RG Prestige series are some of the best-loved of Ibanez’s whole product line. It’s described as “Japanese craftsmanship” combined with “American inspiration,” and the quality shows.
If you’re in the market for a high-quality, fixed bridge electric guitar, the Ibanez Prestige RG652AHMFX is one of the best options out there.
- Gibraltar Standard II fixed bridge
- Ash body
- 5-way switch for added flexibility with humbuckers
- Minor quality control issues
- Pricier than some other options
Check out our guide on the Best Electric Guitars for Metal
Ibanez RGD71ALMS Axion Label – Best 7-String Ibanez Guitar
In the market for a quality 7-string metal guitar and looking for something a bit different? The Ibanez Axion Label RGD71ALMS may be for you.
At first glance, the Axion is a very striking guitar. Its unique shape allows for easy access to the entire fretboard, while its Nyatoh body is finished with Satin polyurethane that is definitely eye-catching.
Probably the most unique feature on this guitar are its Fishman Fluence Modern humbucker pickups. One voice gives you tight bass and crisp highs similar to a modern active pickup. The other voice is a high-output beast made for higher gain. A 3-way switch and push/pull pot give you a wide variety of tones.
The RGD71ALMS also has multi-scaled frets designed for down-tuned and more intricate playing. This gives you a longer scale on the lower strings than the higher strings, allowing for better intonation along all 24 jumbo frets.
In addition to the multi-scale fretboard, the RGD71ALMS features a Nitro Wizard-7 neck for super fast and comfortable playing. The neck is made out of a 5-piece combination of Panga Panga and Walnut, while the fingerboard is Macassar Ebony.
A Mono-rail 7 bridge ensures tuning stability and great sustain. The RGD71ALMS also includes Gotoh MG-T locking tuners.
If you’ve been searching for a 7-string guitar with a unique look and a ton of tonal options, look no further than the Ibanez Axion Label RGD71ALMS. These guitars are great for those into downtuned hard rock, as well as classic 7-string guitar bands like Korn and the Deftones. But these guitars are versatile enough for any style.
- Fluence Modern pickups
- Nitro Wizard-7 neck
- Multi-scale fingerboard
- Minor quality control issues
- Multi-scale frets may take time to get used to
- No tremolo system
Check out our guide on the Best 7 String Guitars for Any Budget
Ibanez Artcore AS73 – Best Semi-Hollow Body Ibanez Guitar
Semi-hollow body guitars are some of the most versatile instruments out there, but they can often be expensive.
At under $500, the Ibanez Artcore AS73 is one of the best deals you’ll find on a semi-hollow electric guitar.
Semi-hollow guitars are known for their resonance, and the Artcore is no exception. The guitar was built using an all-laminate linden body, giving you all the jangle and crispness you’d expect from a great semi-hollow instrument.
While early semi-hollow body designs had issues with 60-cycle hum, that’s not an issue for the Artcore AS73. Ibanez uses Classic Elite humbuckers that preserve the guitar’s bite while retaining their own unique sound. Separate volume and tone controls for each pickup give you more control, along with a 3-way switch.
Another great feature on the AS73 is its smooth nyatoh neck. This neck offers great comfortability for a smooth playing experience. The walnut fingerboard offers 22 medium-sized frets.
For tuning and intonation stability, the AS73 uses an ART-1 bridge with a Quik Change III tailpiece. The nut is plastic, but could be upgraded to bone at a small price.
If you’re looking for a quality semi-hollow guitar and don’t want to pay thousands of dollars, the Ibanez Artcore AS73 is a great choice. These guitars would be especially good for someone into blues and jazz, as well as early country and rockabilly. They are probably not ideal for metal, but if you wanna go there, go for it! Personally, I think the Artcore AS73 is the best jazz guitar in Ibanez’s lineup.
- Classic Elite humbuckers eliminate 60-cycle hum
- All-laminate linden body
- Smooth Nyatoh neck
- Great price
- Some tuning issues
- Plastic nut
- Thicker neck not great for shredding
Check out our guide on the Best Semi-Hollow Body Guitars
Ibanez V70CE – Best Ibanez Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Though Ibanez may not be the first brand you think of when it comes to an acoustic guitar, they do have some solid options.
For a great acoustic-electric guitar on a budget, the Ibanez V70CE makes a great choice.
This Ibanez acoustic guitar’s body is all mahogany on the back and sides, with a select spruce top. The dreadnought body also has a soft cutaway for easier access to higher frets.
The neck is also made of mahogany, with a rosewood fingerboard. The V70CE has 20 frets, with a rosewood bridge and chrome die-cast tuning pegs.
The pickup system, while not state-of-the-art, is still high quality for this price point. In fact, for this price, it’s rare to get any electronics at all! An on-board preamp gives you further control over the amplified sound.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate guitarist looking for a solid budget acoustic guitar, you can’t go wrong with the Ibanez V70CE. Even if you’re not playing live gigs yet, the electronics will come in handy for whenever you do pop in to that first Open Mic. The soft cutaway should be more comfortable and helpful once you start playing solos. Just remember to pick up a gig bag, because this guitar doesn’t come with a case!
- Great price
- Full-sized tone
- Quality electronics for price
- Fret Buzz and Action Issues
- Cheaper components
Ibanez Prestige AZ2204 – Best Ibanez Guitar for Blues and Jazz
Looking for a Strat-style guitar but want something a bit different than the standard Fender Stratocaster? The Ibanez Prestige AZ2204 may be for you. This guitar is my pick for the best Ibanez Guitar for Blues and Jazz music.
The Prestige AZ2204 is like a Fender Strat on steroids. Its alder body employs a wood-roasted maple neck that was subjected to Ibanez’s S-Tech nitrogen-heating treatment. This treatment ensures stability and durability, regardless of temperature changes. It’s also water resistant, a great feature to have if you’re playing in a crowded bar!
The maple neck is also extremely comfortable. The fingerboard’s edges have been finished with a smooth curve, while the oval C-shaped neck fits perfectly in your hand, ensuring great playability across the 22 jumbo frets.
The AZ2204 also features Gotoh locking tuners and a Gotoh T1802 tremolo system. These top-notch components ensure perfect tuning stability even after massive dive bombs. A bone nut is a nice touch you’ll find on many high-end instruments.
Perhaps the most special feature of the Prestige AZ2204 is its Seymour Duncan Hyperion pickups. These pickups, laid out in an HSS configuration, all sport Alnico V magnets with moderate output for classic tones.
The extra cool thing about the electronics, though, is Ibanez’s dyna-MIX9, which allows for 9 possible pickup combinations. A 5-way selector combined with a toggle switch accomplishes this awesome versatility.
If you’ve been searching for a great Strat-style guitar with added features, the Prestige AZ2204 is a great option. These guitars would be great for blues, jazz and classic rock, as well as more modern hard rock styles. No matter the genre, if you’re looking for an extremely well-made Strat-style guitar and you’ve got the money to spend, the Prestige AZ2204 definitely deserves a look.
- Roasted maple neck not susceptible to temperature changes
- Hyperion pickups with 9 possible combinations
- High-quality tremolo and tuners
- Could have option paralysis
Check out my guide on the Best Electric Guitars for Blues
How to Choose The Best Ibanez Guitar (Buyer’s Guide)
Materials & Build Quality
Since there is an Ibanez guitar here for every budget, the materials and build quality will vary depending on the budget level.
While every Ibanez guitar is a quality instrument, there is a definite difference between the Prestige AZ2204 and the Gio GRX70QA.
Higher-end Ibanez models will most likely be made in their home base of Japan, or in the United States. Budget models are usually produced in other Asian countries like China or Indonesia.
For those Ibanez guitars made in Japan or the U.S., there will generally be less quality control issues, as well as more expensive tonewoods, hardware and electronics. Budget models will try to cut costs while still producing a quality instrument.
For the gigging guitarist, our Editor’s pick, the RG550 is a great choice because it’s made in Japan but can still be had for under $1,000. But Ibanez still makes really good guitars for under $500, including the Steve Vai JEMJR.
No matter what the price point, most of these guitars have several cool features.
While many classic guitar designs use only single-coils or only humbuckers, most Ibanez guitars offer a mixture of both. The RG series employs the classic HSH design, while the Prestige AZ2204 uses a humbucker in the bridge along with two single-coils.
Another cool feature on most of these guitars is a 5-way switch to get multiple pickup combinations. The Prestige AZ2204 even adds a toggle for 9 possible combinations. And the Axion Label RGD71ALMS uses a push/pull pot for added versatility.
In addition to the tonal options, many of these guitars include tremolo systems for whammy bar effects. Though many of them are geared toward hard rock styles, they are some of the most versatile all-around instruments out there.
Ibanez guitars are known for their playability. Many of these designs use some form of Ibanez’s patented “Wizard” neck, which has been loved by shredders for decades.
Most of the designs also have cutaways for easy access to higher frets. The 7-string Axion Label RGD71ALMS even uses a multi-scale fingerboard for greater intonation and comfortable playing.
Ibanez guitars are loved by metal and prog-rock players primarily because of their playability. The fast-playing Wizard necks on many of these models allows for easier technical runs up and down the fretboard.
Style of Music
Ibanez guitars have been used by many famous hard rock players, including Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.
But these guitars offer enough tonal options to be used in any genre. Andy Timmons uses an Ibanez to play super-charged blues licks, while jazz legend George Benson uses their hollow body GB series.
Ibanez guitars have also been used by virtuoso players who defy genre, like Tosin Abasi and John Scofield.
No matter what style of music you play, there’s probably an Ibanez guitar for it.
Ibanez offers a variety of body styles. Ultimately, you should go with what looks and feels best to you.
The RG550 is an example of a classic Ibanez RG solid body design. It’s basically a Fender Strat-style but with a harder and more open cutaway for better access to higher frets. This iconic shape is commonly referred to as a Super Strat
If you’re looking for a more traditional Strat-style body, the Prestige AZ2204 is a great choice.
The semi-hollow Artcore uses a double-cutaway design similar to a Gibson ES-style guitar. Ibanez has even made a Les Paul-style guitar, though they are more known for the RG style.
The Nita Strauss JIVA10 is an awesome thin body electric. These guitars are light-weight and not as cumbersome as a larger body ES-style guitar.
Body style is mostly about personal preference and comfortability, so choose the best body shape for your style.
From beginner to experienced pro, there is an Ibanez guitar at every price point.
If you’ve got the money to burn and top quality components are important to you, then something like the Prestige AZ2204 or the Nita Strauss signature model would be worth the higher cost.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate player on a budget, something like the Gio or the RG450 would be perfect for you.
For most gigging guitarists, a solid mid-priced option like the RG550 or the JEMJR will get the job done without cutting too many corners in terms of quality.
The great thing about going with a solid, more affordable option is that you can always upgrade components down the road if desired. Or you can play it for a few years and trade it in for a higher-priced model when you’re ready.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Ibanez Guitar?
The best Ibanez guitar is the one that is best for you, depending on your style and budget. If you’re a touring musician who needs a reliable instrument on the road, it’s worth it to go for something like the RG550 or even something a bit more expensive. If you’re a bedroom player with a couple years of experience, it doesn’t make much sense to blow over a grand on a guitar like the Nita Strauss signature. Decide on your budget, then go with the design that best fits the style of music you want to play.
Are Ibanez Guitars Good?
Yes, Ibanez guitars are good. They wouldn’t have been in business for decades otherwise. Several top professional guitarists use them, including some of the all-time legends on the instrument. While quality will vary depending on the price point, every guitar Ibanez makes is a quality instrument.
Where are the Best Ibanez Guitars Made?
Ibanez has production facilities all over Asia and one in the U.S. While all of their instruments are designed for quality, the consensus seems to be that the best models are generally made either in the U.S. or Japan. While the guitars made in other Asian countries are by no means bad, they generally have a lower cost workforce. Labor costs along with cheaper components and less quality control can make for a lesser quality guitar overall, but these are the trade-offs one must consider when buying a more affordable or budget instrument.
Are Cheap Ibanez Guitars Good?
While they may not have the top quality components of some higher-end models, cheaper Ibanez guitars are still good, usable instruments. A guitarist known for attention to detail like Steve Vai wouldn’t put his name on something unless it meets a certain standard. His signature JEMJR can be found for under $500, which isn’t necessarily cheap, but it’s definitely a reasonable amount to pay for most guitarists. With any budget-level instrument, there are always things done to cut the costs, but a top brand like Ibanez has a reputation for quality instruments for any budget.
Recap of the Best Ibanez Guitars
|Best Ibanez Guitars||Best for|
|Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550||Editor’s Pick|
|Ibanez Gio GRX70QA||Best Budget Pick|
|Ibanez RG450DX||Best for the Money|
|Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR||Best Under $500|
|Ibanez Nita Strauss JIVA10 Signature||Best for Rock|
|Ibanez Prestige RG652AHMFX||Best for Metal|
|Ibanez RGD71ALMS Axion Label||Best 7-String|
|Ibanez Artcore AS73||Best Semi-Hollow Body|
|Ibanez V70CE||Best Acoustic-Electric|
|Ibanez Prestige AZ2204||Best for Blues and Jazz|