GRG121 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (146 votes)
Ibanez: GRG121

Price paid: £ 170

Sound — 9
The sound, well let's just say it packs a punch and suits my style of music very well. I play pretty much any kind of Rock or Metal, including Punk, Alternative Rock, Death Metal and anything else. I use a set of 11s usually which are good for Standard tuning but can keep the tension if I want to detune. The only tunings I really use are Standard, D Standard, drop D, drop C and drop B. To get my head punching tone I use a DigiTech Death Metal Distortion pedal played through (like I said before) an Orange Tiny Terror 30W amplifier. It can have a variety of tones though, the bridge pick up with quite a lot of treble on the distortion and some mids and low can give it quite a somewhat "venom"-ish sound as I like to call it. If you want rhythm, you can adjust the tone knob (unfortunately mine is messed up as I said before) and maybe Switch to the neck pick up and add less treble on the pedal. As for the noise, the guitar is actually rather quiet when you have your hands on the strings although some people like to put hair bands and things like that on the head to touch the strings and stop them from buzzing. But then again you're going to be touching the guitar if you wanna play it so why does it matter?

Overall Impression — 8
As said before I like to play Punk, Alternative Rock and Death Metal with this guitar, this guitar is a perfect match with the amp and pedal I use. I've been playing for just over a year now and have owned about 4 guitars including this one, and not including my bass obviously, and this is probably the best out of the lot. It's even better than my BC Rich JR-V Platinum Pro Series which is, to be honest, a piece of crap. I sold it on eBay but the guy hasn't picked it up yet the thing I love about this guitar is that it's just so comfortable to play with, I mean you can pick it up and play anything on it, and string changes are a walk in the Park. If I had to pick out something I didn't like about it, it would be... the fact it has a Gio thing ontop of the Ibanez badge on the head, I mean, it's a great guitar and could easily have fooled me as being a more expensive Ibanez if it weren't for the Gio badge. I will admit I am getting kind of bored with it, and by that I mean I don't love it as much as when I first got it, but that's the same as everything in life. The only thing that might have made it a bit more attractive would be different inlays, like the ones on the GRG250DX. Also more colour options would have been nice as a pose to just black and red, I remember when I was buying the guitar there was a blue option but now there are none on the net and there isn't a blue one on the Ibanez site. Also, the fixed bridge means I can't use a whammy bar on it which is a bit of a bummer, but a Floyd Rose tremolo would be a pain in the arse.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar has remained pretty solid, except where I adjusted the bridge when I got new strings, as everyone knows, thicker strings rattle and the bridge may need to be raised slightly. So I tried messing around with it when I was actually just moving the bridge pieces back and forth. Still, it didn't affect the guitar itself, but the screws or whatever you call them behind the low E wore down quite a lot. I chipped off a tiny bit of one of the tuning peg things when I was clipping excess string off after the guitar's first string change which is only my fault and is hardly noticeable. I would definitely trust this guitar not to konk out on me at a gig, though I've never played at any gigs before, but it's still very reliable. The finish is good enough, although when you rub a cotton wool bud thing around the bolts on the back of the neck, some of the paint comes off even though it's dry which is rather strange.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
As far as I can remember, there were no problems what so ever when the guitar got here, nothing badly built or put together badly, no scratches or marks, no weak areas, nothing. Only damage on the guitar is thanks to me haha (which isn't anything major). Only thing that was SLIGHTLY not 100% was the plate thing on the back, if fits the guitar fine but if you want to be a bit of a moaner they're not exactly the same shape. But Who cares, it's hardly noticeable and not hurting anyone.

Features — 9
Ok first off, this is actually called the GRGR121EX, not the GRGR121. There is no GRG121 on the Ibanez website, and if you type in GRGR121EX on Google shopping, it will say "did you mean GRG121" and when you click on it nothing comes up. Not sure what year it was made in, although I know it was made in Indonesia along with most of the other guitars in the Gio series (either made in China or Indonesia being the budget versions of more pricey Ibanez guitars). It has 24 frets (medium frets) with dotted inlays and a GRG1 maple neck. Basswood body with in "Candy Apple" colour, for me it was a decision between Black Night and Candy Apple, and seeing as black guitars are seen way to much these days I thought I'd go for something different. When I got the guitar though it was a darker colour to what I saw on the internet, but was still a beautiful looking guitar. It has a regular string thru body and fixed bridge which makes changing strings a walk in the Park unlike Floyd Roses. It has a three way pick up Switch, one volume knob and one tone knob which came loose the other day, so I opened the back plate thing behind the knobs and worked out that it was pushed against the wall of the inside, so I pushed it back up against it again and it wasn't at all loose after. Only problem was when I had it on clean and turned the tone knob all the way round the volume went down, when I did it with distortion on it sounded like I was using a 5w starter piece of crap made in Thailand, yet I use an Orange Tiny Terror (30W... I think) which sure can rock the house. The Ibanez website says the pick ups consist of a PSND3 (H) neck pick up, and a PSND4 (H) bridge pick up which give quite a nice crunch when using the right settings on your amp/distortion.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is not a bad guitar for beginning, but thats about it. I play a RG370DXL with 2 Humbuckers, worth about AU$1050 and it suits me fine. This guitar displayed here is not bad, but Ibanez make really good quality gear from the AU$700+ mark and its defenatly worth going the extra mile for the better quality item.
    the guitar is very advanced and the tone you get out of it is just how you want it to be when putting on distortion...etc. My idol Mick Thompson from Slipknot also uses this guitar.
    I just bought the guitar, and it does rock. But is the bridge pickup supposed to be a little loose???
    I'm getting the GRGR121EX guitar either tomorrow or wednesday and I seriously can't wait, the reviews sound awesome and sound like my style Cheers for reviewing guys
    I used to play BC Rich, but ever since I picked up and played this guitar, I've wanted an Ibanez. (I have been looking at the RGA32 with Mahogany body and oil finish, so you can see the wood, it also has active pickups and a fixed bridge.)
    Mine is a GRG121EX Solid glossy white with humbucker covers, I purchased mine about two weeks ago W/ a Peavey Vyper 15D1, a cord, and an Ultra stand for $299.98 and I am very sattisfied, its an awsome starting guitar, you will not be disapointed!, I took a friend with me to purchase it and hes been playing for about 25 years and he picked this guitar over a $300 gibson the shop owner was showing me, my friend played 4 guitars from fenders,gibson, peavy and finally this one before telling me to pick this one and putting it into my hands to play, and I knew rite away he had picked a great guitar.