Ibanez Guitars - Entry Level Ibby's
Todd Simpson
Feb 26 2020, 11:52 PM
Posts: 20.282
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA


The EX series was first introduced by Ibanez in 1988. (EX is an abbreviation for EXperimental). These guitars were essentially RG style guitars but with a bit more rounding on the body. Ibanez was careful to make sure to label these EX so that it wouldn’t hurt the RG brand. People have higher expectations, typically, for RG models and the EX are much lower end instruments. These are Korean built guitars and as such, don’t retain their value as well as Japanese built Ibanez guitars . These guitars feature the EX neck profile which is very similar to the Wizard II/III profile being 19mm at the first fret. If you are used to a 17mm Super Wizard, then the EX neck may feel a bit beefy. Having said that, these guitars can be had for a bargain price, especially used, and there are some quality instruments in the EX series. You should play any EX before you buy it though, as quality control is sometimes spotty on starter Ibbys.


The first RX models were introduced to market in 1994. The RX line basically replaced the EX line.Both series are in the “Lower end” of Ibanez guitars and are meant to be a budget alternative to more expensive models and provide an option for people wanting a first guitar that is an Ibanez. The RX guitars have been built in Korea, Indonesia and China. As such, with any Non Japanese Ibby, resale value will be a bit low. These feature the RX Neck profile which is similar to the Wizard II/III being 19mm at the first fret. So just like the EX series before, the neck might feel a bit thick if you are more accustomed to the wafer thin 17mm profile. One thing that sets these apart is the 22 fret neck instead of the usual 24 fret neck found on RG models. Also, these don’t have a double locking trem so tuning stability can be less than great. Having said all that, these can be bought used very reasonably and would make a good option for a first guitar for any player.


The GIO line was introduced to market in 1998. These are built in Indonesia and also in China. The GIO guitars are very much in the “Starter” category and are often shunned by folks who prefer higher end Ibanez guitars. The good news is that “Ibby Snobbery” makes these guitars very cheap to buy used. They feature the Wizard II neck which is the 19mm at the first fret, profile. You may have noticed that all of the less expensive Ibbys have thicker necks. This is partly to separate them from the higher end instruments which have very thin 17mm profile necks. I’ve played several GIO guitars and the neck is bigger, but still comfy. Usually, you will see GIO printed above the Ibanez logo on the headstock to let you know it’s a GIO, I”ve tried several of these as well and despite the hate this series often gets in forums, I still think any one of them would make a good first guitar.


Ibanez fans LOVE the RG line. So Ibanez thought they would make a cheaper version of the RG as an alternative to the more pricey models. You can tell it’s a “Standard” RG by the Model number. Typically, RG4XX (E.G. RG470), so it’s below the RG5XX (EG. RG570) Which are Japanese built instruments. The early versions of the RG4XX series were actually built in Japan. They saved money by using cheaper pickups and hardware and were able to offer lower priced RG style guitars. If you can find one of these built in 1992-93 (Vintage instruments at this point) It will feature an original Wizard 1 17mm Profile neck. Modern versions are built in Indonesia, and resale value is impacted by this so buying a used one can be a cheaper option. The recent RG Standard models feature the 19mm profile neck. You may have noticed that all of the lower end Ibanez thicker necks. This is partly to differentiate them from the higher end instruments and higher price points. They do feature double locking tremolos so tuning stability is good. The RG Standard line makes a great option for a first guitar.


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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Feb 26 2020, 11:56 PM
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