Guitar Aficionado is supported by readers. If you buy something after clicking on one of our links, we may get an affiliate commission from that & it won't cost you anything.
Are you in the market for a new guitar to play metal music? Have you heard good things about Ibanez guitars?
You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will cover some of the best Ibanez guitars suited for metal. We will also cover exactly what makes these guitars so ideal for this specific genre of music. Read on to learn more about these guitars in greater detail.
RG470AHM – Best Overall
Ibanez is known for its value-packed instruments for every budget level, and the RG470AHM is a standout guitar model that is affordable for nearly any budget. For that reason alone, the RG470AHM is the best overall Ibanez guitar for metal.
The body of the RG470AHM is made from solid Ash and has a beautiful Blue Moon Burst-colored top. This top is accentuated by the natural Ash color on the sides and back of the guitar with a gloss finish.
The RG470AHM has a Wizard III neck made from Maple, which has a scale length of 25.5”. These necks have an excellent reputation for providing a fast and smooth playing experience, which is perfect for the player with technical prowess.
As the neck is made of Maple, so too, is the fretboard, which has 24 jumbo-sized frets and a radius of 15.75”. 2-octave playing range is a must for those that play the entire neck.
For pickups, the RG470AHM is stocked with a pair of Quantum Ceramic humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions, and a Quantum Alnico single-coil pickup in the middle position. A 5-way switch, combined with a master volume and tone knob, allows you to really take advantage of the different tonal possibilities available with this guitar.
This guitar also sports a double-locking tremolo bridge, which locks the strings at the nut and the bridge. You can perform crazy dive bombs without having to worry about your guitar going out of tune if you should happen to break a string.
Overall, the RG470AHM is a guitar primed for any musical genre, though it can handle metal quite nicely.
Item Weight: 9.8 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42.5 x 17.5 x 3.5 inches
JEM7VP – Best Premium
Steve Vai is one of the most well-known guitar virtuosos and his guitar happens to be one of the flagship models of the Ibanez product line. The JEM7VP is an extremely versatile guitar with all of the specs meeting Steve Vai’s personal tastes.
The JEM7VP features the iconic body style of Vai’s guitar, complete with the monkey grip on the side of the guitar. It might not suit everyone’s taste, but it certainly is unique.
This guitar’s body is made of Alder and comes in a clean white color that appears quite sharp with a gloss polyurethane finish.
The neck of the JEM7VP is made of a composite of 5 pieces of Maple and Walnut, with a scale length measuring 25.5”. This neck has the iconic Wizard contour design, providing comfort and playability no matter what register you may be playing in.
This guitar’s fretboard is made of Ebony, with a radius of 15.75” and 24 jumbo-sized frets offering an accessible 2-octave range. Akin to Steve Vai’s personal guitar, this version has an exquisitely decorative Tree of Life inlay on the fretboard.
For pickups, the JEM7VP is stocked with DiMarzio Evolution pickups. A pair of humbuckers can be found at the bridge and neck positions, with a single-coil pickup in the middle position.
A 5-way switch with a master volume and tone knob allow you to reign in tones ranging from hot, thick, and loud to smooth and pristine.
This guitar has a locking tremolo system, with an Ibanez Edge tremolo at the bridge. You will be able to perform complicated tremolo techniques without issues and without the worry of tuning instability. Gotoh tuning machines add smoothness to tuning the guitar.
A gig bag is included with the JEM7VP.
Overall, this guitar is primed and ready to go for the experienced guitarist who has many demands for their instrument. You will be hard-pressed to find another guitar as versatile as this.
Item Weight: 10.5 pounds
Package Dimensions: 47 x 17 x 7 inches
GRG7221QA – Best Budget
If you’re looking for a highly playable 7-string guitar on a tight budget, look no further than the GRG7221QA. This guitar has everything you need to get started playing metal and can accommodate playing beyond beginner levels.
The GRG7221QA has a body style that is modeled after the famed Ibanez RG series. This guitar’s body is crafted from Poplar, making the guitar extremely light. A quilted Maple top with a gloss polyurethane finish gives the guitar a nice aesthetic look.
The neck is made from Maple and has a scale length of 25.5”. A 15.7” radius fretboard made of Purpleheart is equipped on the GRG7221QA, with 24 jumbo-sized frets. White dot inlays are provided for fret identification.
For pickups, the GRG7221QA is stocked with a pair of Infinity R humbuckers. These pickups provide a wide range of tones from warm and dark to bright and punchy. A 5-way switch and a master volume and tone knob unlock the tonal combinations of the pickups.
The GRG7221QA is equipped with a fixed bridge, a plastic nut, and closed-gear tuners.
Overall, the GRG7221QA is an excellent budget-friendly guitar that provides an affordable entry into the 7-string territory. This guitar will likely be best suited for beginner-to-intermediate-level players who are just starting out playing metal. The aesthetics of the guitar will fit the music quite nicely.
Item Weight: 7.92 pounds
Package Dimensions: 41.93 x 17.72 x 3.35 inches
Another excellent premium offering from Ibanez that is perfect for metal and other heavier music genres is the RG6PKAG. This guitar has top-notch components and materials used throughout the build and is sure to suit even the most advanced players.
The guitar’s body is made from African Mahogany and features a top made of Koa. It is a very distinct-looking guitar, sporting an all-natural finish that highlights the Koa’s wood grain, and is accentuated with a satin polyurethane finish.
The neck of the RG6PKAG features the iconic Wizard contour, which is reported to be unbelievably fast, smooth, and accommodating for any style of player. The 25.5” neck is crafted from 11 different pieces of wood in a combination of Walnut, Maple, and Bubinga.
A 15.7” radius Rosewood fretboard is equipped on the RG6PKAG, with 24 frets made of Jescar gold. Each fret end has been hand filed to provide extreme comfort when playing the guitar.
The RG6PKAG is stocked with EMG active pickups, featuring SA single-coil pickups in the neck and middle positions, and an 81 humbucker at the bridge. A 5-way switch along with the volume and tone knob can give a wide range of different tones from fat and punchy to jangly Stratocaster-type tones.
This guitar is also equipped with an Edge locking tremolo system, allowing for heavy tremolo use without tuning instability issues. The bridge, along with the nut, knobs, and Gotoh tuners all sport a gold color to match the guitar’s aesthetics.
Rounding out the total package, a gig bag comes provided with the purchase of the RG6PKAG.
Overall, the RG6PKAG is a spectacularly sharp guitar that is extremely versatile and built with a critical eye. If you are a highly technical player, you are likely to find this guitar to be accommodating to your skills and quite comfortable to play.
Item Weight: 12 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44 x 16 x 6 inches
Have you always wanted a Steve Vai signature model but been unable to afford one yourself? Well, now you can, because the JEMJRSP is an affordable guitar that has many of the same features as the high-end model.
As is signature with the Steve Vai models, the JEMJRSP features the iconic monkey grip handle on the side of the guitar. The body itself is made from Meranti and comes in a variety of different colors including:
Each color option sports a gloss polyurethane finish, as well as pink pickup covers. This helps to give the guitar a flashy aesthetic, though it might not be suitable for everyone’s tastes.
The 25.5” scale length neck of the JEMJRSP is made of Maple with the fast-playing Wizard III contour. The fretboard is crafted from Jatoba with a radius of 15.75”, 24 jumbo-sized frets, and features the iconic Tree of Life inlay design.
For pickups, the JEMJRSP is stocked with a pair of Infinity humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions, and an Infinity single-coil in the middle. A 5-way switch and a single master volume and tone knob are provided to dial in your ideal tones.
This guitar also has a double locking tremolo system which locks the strings at the bridge and the nut. You will likely have no tuning instability issues with heavy tremolo use and dive bombs.
Depending on the retailer, you may be able to get the guitar with a case or gig bag. However, it should be stated that the guitar does not come from the factory in such a bundle.
Overall, the JEMJRSP is a worthwhile guitar that is affordably priced for most budgets. It is a great thing to see Ibanez offer a more accessible model of one of their versatile flagship guitars.
Item Weight: 29 pounds
Package Dimensions: 45 x 20 x 6 inches
Another excellent guitar from Ibanez’s RG line of guitars is the RGRT421. This is an affordable model that is suited for even the most aggressive players. Its aesthetics practically beg for heavy music to be played on the guitar.
The RGRT421’s body is crafted from solid Mahogany and sports a weathered black look that is accentuated by a satin polyurethane finish.
This guitar also features the iconic Wizard III neck contour, which is crafted out of 5 separate pieces of Walnut and Maple. As is typical with Ibanez guitars, the neck has a scale length of 25.5”.
The RGRT421 has a Jatoba fretboard with a radius measuring 15.74”. 24 jumbo-sized frets are easily accessible thanks to the body design and the neck contour. Standard white dot inlays adorn the fretboard to indicate the frets.
This guitar is stocked with a pair of Quantum humbuckers, which have a large sonic palette thanks to the 5-way switch and the unique combinations in which the pickups can be used. Regardless of what music you play, the RGRT421 will likely be able to handle it. A master volume and tone knob are provided for further tonal customization.
The RGRT421 has a fixed bridge with a 6-string saddle. Closed-gear tuners and a plastic nut can be found on the guitar’s reverse headstock (which is a unique feature compared to other guitars in the product line).
Depending on the retailer, you may be able to purchase the RGRT421 in a bundle with a hardshell case or gig bag. However, please note that the guitar does not come from the factory in such a bundle.
Overall, the RGRT421 is an excellent offering for someone that needs an affordable guitar that can provide precise playing and support a wide range of techniques. The reverse headstock and black color aesthetic make the guitar primed for heavier music.
Item Weight: 26 pounds
Package Dimensions: 47 x 20 x 5 inches
If you’re looking for a value-packed guitar that is both affordable and looks amazing, be sure to check out the RGA42FM. This is a guitar that looks, plays, and sounds like a high-end guitar while remaining extremely budget-friendly.
The RGA42FM features the iconic RG body style, with the body made of Mahogany. The guitar sports an attractive flamed Maple top and satin polyurethane finish. You can get this guitar in a number of different colors including:
- Blue Lagoon Burst
- Dragon Eye Burst
- Transparent Gray
The RGA42FM features the fast-playing Wizard III contoured neck, which is crafted from Maple and has a scale length of 25.5”. The fretboard is made of Jatoba and it has a radius of 15.7”, and 24 jumbo-sized frets.
For pickups, the RGA42FM has a pair of Quantum Ceramic humbuckers stocked into the guitar. These pickups can suit heavier genres of music quite well but can also be suitable for other genres including rock, blues, and even jazz.
A 5-way selector switch and a master volume and tone knob are also provided for further tone control.
The RGA42FM is equipped with a fixed bridge with a 6-string saddle. Closed-gear tuners and a plastic nut can be found on the headstock.
Overall, this is a great guitar for the guitarist looking for the most value for their money. The RGA42FM is highly accommodating to a wide range of techniques while remaining very easy on the wallet.
Item Weight: 7.92 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44.25 x 17.6 x 4.25 inches
Another excellent offering from the budget-friendly RG line of guitars is the RG450DX. This guitar has everything you need to get started playing metal music and has an aggressive-looking aesthetic to suit the music.
The body of the RD450DX is made of Meranti and has a gloss polyurethane finish. You can get this guitar model in a number of different color options including:
- Starlight Blue
As you might have guessed, the RG450DX features the Wizard III neck contour, with the 25.5” neck crafted from 3 pieces of Maple. The fretboard is made of Jatoba, with a radius of 15.7”, and 24 jumbo-sized frets. This guitar has unique shark tooth inlays that help to give the guitar an aggressive look.
The RGA450DC is stocked with a number of different pickups including:
- Quantum 3 humbucker in the neck position
- Quantum 4 humbucker in the bridge position
- Quantum S3 single-coil in the middle position
The 5-way selector switch and the master volume and tone knob allow you to reign in the massive range of tones available with these pickups.
This guitar also has a double locking tremolo system, which is a great feature to have on an instrument at this price range. The equipped closed-gear tuners provide a luxurious tuning experience.
Overall, the RGA450DC is an excellent example of the amount of value Ibanez packs into all of its instruments, no matter what the target budget may be. If you’re looking for an affordable guitar that has a locking tremolo and a wide range of tones, this will fit the bill.
Item Weight: 11 pounds
Package Dimensions: 41.5 x 17.25 x 3.5 inches
Have you ever been interested in an 8-string guitar but not been willing to shell out your life savings to acquire one? The RG8 is a perfect entry point. Ibanez was one of the first manufacturers to make 7-string and 8-string guitars, and you can be sure this guitar does not cut any corners.
The RG8’s body is crafted from Meranti and has a gloss polyurethane finish that makes its white color extremely clean-looking. You can be sure to turn heads with this guitar.
The neck of the RG8 is made from 5 pieces of Maple and Walnut, with the neck featuring a modified Wizard II contour designed to accommodate 8 strings. This guitar’s neck also has a scale length of 27” which is sure to be able to handle even the lowest of tunings with no problems.
The fretboard is made of Jatoba, with a radius of 15.75”, and has 24 frets. If you already own an Ibanez guitar, you’ll likely find that the RG8 feels pretty familiar.
For pickups, the RG8 is equipped with a pair of Ibanez IBZ-8 humbuckers. These are suitable for nearly any musical application, providing resonant sustain with clear and precise pronunciation. A 3-way switch and a master volume and tone knob allow you to dial in your favorite tones.
The RG8 has a fixed F108 bridge with an 8-string saddle, which helps with tuning stability. For extra stability, particularly with low tunings, the RG8 has a string-through-body design.
Elsewhere on the guitar can be found a plastic nut, as well as closed-gear tuners which lend an easy time tuning your strings.
Overall, the RG8 is the guitar you are looking for if you’ve ever seriously considered an 8-string guitar. The guitar has an immense amount of value packed in, with no compromise taken on the overall playability of the instrument.
Item Weight: 11 pounds
Product Dimensions: 46 x 19 x 4 inches
Are Ibanez Guitars Good For Rock?
Ibanez has a long-standing reputation for building guitars that are extremely versatile. You will often find their instruments in the rock music setting as they can handle nearly any musical setting in which it may find itself.
There is a reason why virtuosos such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Paul Gilbert have opted to use Ibanez guitars. If you can trust these players’ judgment, you will find that these artists trust the craftsmanship of Ibanez to provide everything they need to help push the boundaries of music.
Are Ibanez Guitars Good For Metal?
Just as Ibanez guitars are known for being great for rock music, they are also highly reputable for being ideal for metal. This style of music generally demands much of the guitarist, with a high degree of skill and technique being used regularly.
Because of this, metal guitarists need an instrument that can allow for easy and smooth playing while also providing accessibility to play even the most difficult passages.
Ibanez has also proven itself to be a worthwhile manufacturer for heavier music. The company has gone out on a limb to become one of the first manufacturers to produce 7-string and 8-string guitars, which are used exclusively in this style of music.
Many metal artists have endorsed Ibanez as their main guitars. Some of these guitarists include:
- Frederik Thordendal (of Meshuggah)
- Munky (of Korn)
- Paul Waggoner (of Between The Buried And Me)
- Scott LePage (of Polyphia)
- Jake Bowen (of Periphery)
Why Are Ibanez Guitars Used For Metal?
Aside from their somewhat aggressive aesthetics, Ibanez guitars are used because each guitar is crafted to allow technical precision. Quite often, these guitars will have a fast-playing neck that allows the guitarist’s hand to move freely during play.
Ibanez guitars also tend to have a flatter fretboard radius which gives technical guitarists a smooth and even playground to pull off complex techniques and musical passages.
What To Look For When Buying An Ibanez Guitar For Metal
If you are considering an Ibanez guitar to play metal, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Each person is different, and as such, everyone has their own needs. Keeping these points in mind will help you find the right Ibanez guitar for you.
Depending on your playing style, you will need to figure out what kind of hardware is important to you. Many Ibanez guitars come with a tremolo system, and many come with fixed bridges.
If you know that you’ll be tuning to lower tunings, you will want to be sure that your guitar can accommodate this. Generally, fixed bridges will provide the most tuning stability in these situations.
The pickups in your guitar are going to be an important aspect of whether your guitar is going to be suitable for metal. Fortunately, many Ibanez guitars come stocked with versatile pickup offerings that can get you where you need to be.
Of course, it is always wise to do research on pickups, in general, to have market knowledge if the occasion should arise that you do wish to swap out your pickups.
Your budget is going to be the biggest determining factor in what guitar you are able to acquire. As you might have seen with the guitars mentioned in this article, Ibanez makes sure to provide value and a high degree of craftsmanship with every guitar.
With that being said, you certainly do not have to spend a fortune to find a highly playable Ibanez guitar. Your skill level should ultimately determine your budget level, with the higher-priced instruments being reserved for professional-level players.
Brief History of Ibanez
Ibanez is a Japanese company that was originally an importer of Spanish classical guitars made by a builder who had the last name of Ibanez. In the 1930s, the company adopted the name for itself and began building its own line of guitars.
The company then entered the realm of electric guitars throughout the 1960s and 70s, offering excellently crafted guitars at an affordable price. Musicians quickly began to notice these guitars and the company earned a reputation for producing highly playable and affordable guitars. This is a reputation that still stands today, which has only increased with time.
Top Ibanez Guitars For Metal, Final Thoughts
If you are still unconvinced about whether an Ibanez guitar will be suitable for metal, you are encouraged to try these models out for yourself. The only way you will truly know how these guitars play and sound is if you are able to have one in your hands.
Versatility, playability, and value seem to be the holy trinity of Ibanez guitars, which is something the company proudly stands by.
Last Updated on February 3, 2022.
Side note, do you want to learn to play guitar songs the easy way? Learn how here – results are guaranteed!