Ibanez is a guitar manufacturing company, whose life started in 1908 as a subsection of a Japanese bookstore chain. The company was renamed Ibanez in 1935, named after Spanish luthier Salvador Ibáñez when they started focusing on making Spanish guitars.
In the ‘50s they started producing more semi-acoustic and electric guitars.
Since the ’80s and ‘90s, many Ibanez guitar designs have been made for use with heavier styles of music.
Many metal guitarists are known to favor Ibanez guitars, they are often seen to be used by metal bands and rock bands. Ibanez has collaborated with metal guitars to make signature range instruments. Everyone knows Ibanez makes some of the best metal guitars.
We’ve been exploring the best Ibanez guitars for metal.
I tested 7 products and found the best Ibanez guitar for metal was the Ibanez S670QM S Series
These Ibanez guitars are undeniably amazing, and as beautiful sonically as they are visual. There’s no doubt the finish on these guitars is eye-catching, mouth-watering even.
I chose this as my top Ibanez metal guitar thanks to its versatility, high quality, extensive features, and suitability for metal. This is an intermediate-pro guitar, coming in around the mid-range of prices. With 24 frets, a tremolo system, 3 pickups in an HSH config. There are more affordable versions on the Ibanez line if this is too pricey for you. Otherwise, the next step up is the Steve Vai signature model, which is superior but too expensive for most people
Out of all the guitars we tried, this felt like the best value for money. It costs double the price of a beginner guitar but gives easily 3 or 4 times the quality. Everything about this guitar is great for metal. It’s fast, loud, slick, sexy, and distorts exceptionally well.
If this guitar was out of your budget, the GRG6 or GRG30 guitars are great, more affordable alternatives. These guitars still perform extremely well for metal, instantly sounding good when fed into a distortion chain.
Keep reading for our top picks of Ibanez guitars for metal.
Alternatively, if Ibanez isn’t up to your tastes, check out the best Fender guitars for metal.
Best Ibanez Guitar in our tests
- Ibanez Standard RGA42FM
- Ibanez GRG30
- Ibanez S670QM S Series
- Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21 Baritone
- Ibanez RG8 8-String
- Ibanez Steve Vai Signature
- Ibanez GRG 7-String
7 Best Ibanez Guitar for Metal Reviewed in Detail
This Ibanez guitar is an intermediate to mid range guitar designed for metal.
Its Wizard III Maple neck with a solid mahogany body and a 24 rosewood fretboard have a fast and unique design. The beautiful flamed maple top comes in a variety of finish colors, each one as stunning and eye catching as the others.
It’s rosewood fretboard features offset inlay dots which help for metal techniques. The fretboard encourages smooth expression, quick playing and an extended pallet of notes.
Packing two Quantum Humbucker pickups, this guitar isn’t shy of distortion and crunch. Feed this into a scorching amp and some fuzz pedals and you’re ready to shred.
Featuring the same pickups in bridge and neck position, they both compliment each other well with a balance of thin and bright, and rich and warm. They have a wide dynamic range, with eloquent articulation.
The 5-way pickup selector allows the pickups to be split from Humbuckers to Single Coils for broader tone variety.
This features a fixed bridge, which is great for maintaining string tension, but doesnt have a tremolo arm that many Ibanez Brand electric guitars do.
This Ibanez guitar is suitable for metal and is a great value for money. We recommend this for beginner to intermediate players looking for a practice and performance ready guitar.
- 2 x thick, rich Quantum Humbucker Pickups
- 24 jumbo frets
- Coil splitting mode (Humbucker – Single Coil)
- Smooth, fast fretboard.
- Gorgeous flamed maple finish.
Pros and cons
- Fantastic sound quality for metal guitar tones
- Pickups are great when distorted, crunchy and well articulated
- Ideal design for shredding techniques
- Average tuning durability
- No tremolo system
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2. Ibanez GRG30
An entry level Ibanez model, this beginner and wallet friendly electric guitar is great for new and experienced metal musicians alike.
Featuring a Poplar body with a maple neck, this Ibanez electric guitar has high output Infinity-R pickups, humbuckers which produce a great metal tone. The bridge pickup is bright and thin, with a decent nasal twang. The neck pickup is fatter and warmer, with more low end and a deeper sustain.
The electronic circuit on this guitar is excellently flexible. With a master tone and master volume knob, the GRG30 features a 5-way pickup selector, which can split the humbuckers into single coils. This is super useful as it gives you the sound of humbuckers and single coil pickups in one guitar. This is a feature usually seen in guitars double or triple the price of this GRG30, bringing a great amount of value to the instrument.
These humbuckers responded very well to distortion and high gain amplifiers. It had a bold and clear tone that crunched up nicely. When running in single coil mode it had a very bright, cutting sound which would be great for solos, although we did find ourselves needing to cut some high end on the amplifier. The pickups weren’t as high quality as the Quantum range in the above guitar.
We thought this makes a great metal guitar thanks to its long, double octave neck and deep cutaway which give it the speed and accuracy needed for metal technique. Its Jumbo Frets are great for quick shredding and double handed tapping.
If you’re looking for an affordable Ibanez guitar for metal, the GRG30 is a great choice. If you have a larger budget, we’d recommend getting a more expensive model! We also loved the hot red aesthetic of this model.
- 2 x High-output Infinity R Humbucker Pickups
- 24 Jumbo Frets
- 5-way, coil splitting pickup selector
Pros and cons
- 5 way selector switch enables humbucker and single coil mode
- 24 Frets and deep cutaway make this great for high pitched, fast solos
- No tremolo system
- Pickups had average quality
- Mediocre tuning stability
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Next up we have the mouth-watering Ibanez SQ670QM electric guitar in a swirly quilted Maple finish.
This intermediate guitar has 3 Infinity pickups – 2 Humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions, and 1 single coil in the middle. These pickups have a solid resonation and articulate transient attack. Their sound suits metal and heavy music. Having three pickups brings extra thickness and fullness to the sound compared to the 2 pickup models. This can create tones almost like an acoustic guitar, all the way up to a reckless fuzz.
The pickups are controlled with a flexible 5-way selector switch and single tone and volume knob which allow detailed control of the guitar’s frequency response. The neck pickup is excellent for rhythm guitar sounds, with the bridge and middle pickups being great for lead and solo guitar.
Comfortable and light, these excellently sculpted guitars keep the S Series’ recognizable sustain and tone. With a fast, thin Wizard III neck, the 24 fret fretboard has all the speed and responsiveness needed by metal guitarists. The carving of the body and cutaways is rounded and smooth, quickly making this guitar feel like an extension of your body. This is ideal for shredding.
These Ibanez guitars use their in-house Edge-Zero II bridges with locking studs for perfectly stable tuning.
This is a pro-grade guitar. It’s very suitable for metal and heavy genres. We recommend this for any metal musicians looking for a high-quality, professional instrument. It comes in the middle price range of Ibanez guitars, providing a good middle ground for new and experienced players.
- 3 Quantum pickups, HSH configuration.
- Bound rosewood fretboard.
- 24 Jumbo frets.
Pros and cons
- 3 pickups for maximum versatility
- Fantastic playing feel
- Stable pitch-bending vibrato arm
- Tune locking nut
- Limited circuit controls
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Several interesting features set this guitar apart from the others on this list.
Primarily, this is a baritone guitar, so it’s tuned a few steps down from the typical E tuning. These typically come tunes in B-F#-D-A-E-B, so a perfect fifth below standard tuning.
This tuning difference gives this a sound somewhere in between concert guitars and bass guitars. It’s great for low, thudding metal rhythm guitar tones thanks to the lower pitch.
A second interesting feature is the inclusion of EMG active pickups. This accentuates the guitar’s volume, sustain, and tone, making louder, clearer, and more articulate pickups. These respond even better to distortion and loud amplifiers than passive pickups, which are used in most guitars. They do need a 9-volt battery to power them, which can run out without warning. But metal musicians in the know about active pickups, particularly the EMG brand, will be desperate to get their hands on such a monster of a guitar.
This has relatively limited controls, with a single volume knob and 3-way selector switch. But with Active Pickups, usually, the player sculpts more of the tone with outboard gear and amps.
With a huge 28” scale length, this is great for metal players with big hands too. It still features 24 frets like many Ibanez guitars.
- “B” Baritone Tuning (B-F#-D-A-E-B,)
- Active EMG Pickups
- Large 28” Scale length
Pros and cons
- Baritone Tuning goes lower, opens up new, growling music depths.
- Big Neck, easy to play for big-handed players, still has 24 frets.
- Active EMG Pickups, create a beastly tone.
- Not all players like baritone guitars – scale length too big for small hands
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This is an advanced 8 string guitar for octopuses who like to play metal guitar.
This virtuosic guitar features 2 extra strings over most guitars. It comes in an unusual tuning: 1D# – 2A# – 3F# – 4C#- 5G# – 6D# – 7A# – 8F. Of course, this can be changed by the new owner. Although you may need to swap out the string gauge and adjust the truss rod to compensate for any tension differences.
This Ibanez Guitars RG8 offers the 8 string way of life at an irresistible price. 8 stringed guitar models are rarely this affordable, particularly when made by such a reputable brand as Ibanez Guitars.
This wide, slim neck encourages playability thanks to its Wizard design. The body is made from basswood and uses a through-body string mechanism with a fixed bridge for increased sustain and stable tuning. The electronic circuit features a simple 3-way selector and single tone and volume knobs.
The IBZ Humbucking pickups are fantastic, and accurately produce the broad range of frequencies generated by the extended 8 string format. The combo of the pickups, bridge and 8 strings make this a fantastic guitar for metal. Granted, this isn’t a great idea for beginners, it may overcomplicate things at an early stage. But for seasoned metal guitar players, this will be a treat to use. This is a melodic and harmonic shredding machine.
As far as 8 string guitars go, this is sturdy, reliable, sounds and plays fantastic, but best of all this is affordable. If you’re a skilled metal player looking to expand your playing range with an 8 stringer, the Ibanez Guitars GRG8 is a fantastic model to choose. Alternatively, the GRG7 is a great 7 stringed model for a smaller expansion. See more details below.
- Eight-string guitar for extra playing depth.
- 2 wide range IBZ Humbucking Pickups
- Wide neck to make room for extra strings
Pros and cons
- Extra strings increase the creative potential for guitarists.
- Sounds fantastic for metal
- Beats other guitars for shredding, other guitarists won’t be able to compete with your range.
- Single control for pickup volume and tone, would like to see independent knobs.
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This Steve Vai signature guitar is truly one of a kind. An exquisite blend of form and function, this is a professional instrument that will last a long time.
With an HSH pickup config and 5-way selector switch, this has a huge array of tones, each new one is as beautiful as the last. The humbuckers create some of the fullest sounding, crystalline yet deep tones I’ve heard. The neck pickups have a silky, harmonic quality that is distinct and memorable. The mid pickup adds clean, balanced fundamental frequencies and punchy mid-range when distorted. The bridge pickup has a psychedelic snarling horn-like sound, it has a metallic twang, sounding very rich when clean. This guitar sounds undeniably beautiful when clean, but is equally as tasty when driven and distorted. In both low and high registers these electric guitars sing loud and clear.
This Steve Vai x Ibanez Guitar has all the features you could ever ask for. A double-locking tremolo system accommodates the most exaggerated pitch bends whilst accurately retaining the tuning for a long time. It has a lockable nut which helps with this, although you can’t use the tuning pegs when it’s locked, there are microtonal tuning screws on the Floyd Rose bridge which are used for adjusting.
Every element of this guitar feels like it’s had the maximum level of attention to detail. The 25.5” scale length neck has Steve Vai’s iconic Tree of Life inlay design, in glorious sparkling mother of pearl. It even has a cut-out carrying handle which is a lot more useful than you’d expect.
This is an exquisite guitar that slays metal as well as any genre. If you’ve got the budget, this could easily be the best Ibanez guitar on the scene.
- Exquisite sound and feel for metal (and any genre).
- Floyd Rose Tremolo Bridge
- 3 Quantum Pickups HSH
- Double Locking mechanism
- “Monkey Grip” handle
- Tree of Life fretboard inlay
Pros and Cons
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- Scalloped frets for shredding
- Superior quality instrument
- Stunning pick-ups
- Unique Design
- Great clean or dirty
Following from the previous GRG 8 model, this is another expanded instrument from Ibanez Guitars, this time in a 7 string format.
Featuring a wide mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard which makes even 7 strings feel comfortable in your hands. With two roaring high output Infinity R Pickups, the GRG7 is a strong voice on stage or at home. These pickups are custom designed to suit a 7 string model, with 7 individual ceramic magnets per coil. They have a versatile tone and can be filtered and attenuated with the control knobs.
Some people say 7+ string guitars are a gimmick, but I think they can open up expressive options when it comes to playing. Depending on the setup you gain a whole 2 octaves of higher or lower notes, this is game-changing for knowledgeable music theory lovers.
The construction is fantastic for the price, with no major faults. The hardtail bridge retains tuning well, and the fretboard is great for bending notes. This is a light guitar with a heavy sound.
If you’re looking to play an expanded guitar, this is a great choice. It’s not as full-on as the GRG8 string model but includes an extra string above most guitars.
For players looking for a 7 stringed guitar capable of heavy metal tones, this is a great choice and features all the high quality we expect from Ibanez guitars.
- 7 Strings
- 2 expanded Infinity R7 Humbucking Pickups with a fat tone
- Fixed Bridge
- Double cutaway
- Wide, accommodating neck
Pros and cons
- Extra high string expands soling and shredding potential.
- High gain humbuckers take well to metal.
- The wide neck is comfortable with an expanded string count.
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Are Ibanez guitars good for metal?
Ibanez Guitars are known to be great guitars for metal. Many of their guitars have been designed with high-gain music in mind. Ibanez guitars often feature high output humbuckers which are great for creating metal guitar tones.
Many Ibanez guitars favor deep cutaways which open up access to the upper frets. This is useful for metal as often there is a large focus on the upper registers, particularly for guitar solos.
Many metal musicians in the guitar world are known to use the Ibanez brand to play metal, as the features of their guitars are suited to the metal playing style.
Some Ibanez guitars feature enlarged string counts, such as seven or eight-stringed models. These high-quality guitars are used for heavy metal music and hard rock tones. In the guitar industry, Ibanez is known to be one of the best manufacturers of expanded string models.
What makes a guitar good for metal?
From classic metal to more contemporary styles, a good metal guitar usually revolves around the same features.
First, their pickups need to create a good sound for metal and they should respond well to distortion and high gain amplification. Humbucker pickups are usually preferred over single coils as they have a cleaner signal with a lower signal-to-noise ratio, with a thicker low end.
Neck and body design also have a big effect. The metal technique tends to revolve around faster playing speeds. The guitar’s neck and cutaway should be conducive to fast playing. Some metal guitars even use scalloped fretboards, where dips are carved into the wood. This helps with higher register playing and double-handed tapping solos.
How to get a metal guitar sound?
There are a few important stages to creating a great metal guitar sound.
The technique is one part, the actual way you play and articulate the guitar has a huge effect on the sound. Watch your favorite metal musicians in action and try to copy their movements.
Secondly are guitar pedals. Most metal guitar tones involve some sort of high gain distortion, overdrive, or fuzz pedals before the amplifier. These are super important in getting a rip-roaring heavy metal tone,
The final important stage is the amplifier and cabinet. This is the speaker that transmits the guitar sound to the air, so it needs to impart the right sonic characteristics and tone signature.
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Overall my favorite pick was the Ibanez S670QM S Series guitar.
This is a great all-rounder guitar, but also very appropriate for metal. The body and sculpting design give this guitar a fluid, effortless playing feel that enables lighting fast scale shreds and arpeggios. The deep carving allows easy double tapping and other extended guitar techniques.
Its combination of 3 pickups (HSH) gives a broad variety of tonal options, so you can instantly switch from rhythm to lead sounds. This has all the features and more for metal, without much room for criticism.
The included vibrato arm is great for pitch bending and retains tuning well. Another great feature of this guitar is its locking nut, which keeps the strings tuned accurately. There are also microtonal adjustment screws in the bridge which help to tweak the tuning to perfection. These guitars came up set up well with perfect intonation. They sounded great from the get-go!
My other recommendation would be the GRG7 and GRG8 ranges. These fun expanded guitars can be a great way to push yourself as a guitarist and learn how to play instruments with more strings. These are both at a great price for 7 and 8 stringed instruments, which are normally expensive. These both sound great for metal, I think they’re designed for the genre.
Have a look at the Ibanez S670QM today! It comes in a gorgeous blue, or orange sunburst.
Why not find a matching metal guitar amp and cabinet to compliment your new metal guitar. Check out my other post about the best guitar cabs for metal. See you next time!
Noah is an accomplished audio engineer with several years of experience producing music for major companies and independent artists. He enjoys sharing his vast knowledge of audio engineering topics to help musicians and music producers create great music.