Are Ibanez Gio Guitars Good? – Owners Perspective

You are currently viewing Are Ibanez Gio Guitars Good? – Owners Perspective

Can these budget-friendly GIO guitars be any good? I mean they say “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is”. And the price tags of the GIO’s definitely look really good…

Well, I have played several GIO’s over the years and owned 1 for over a year now. And personally, I like them a lot. But of course, they are not perfect…

In this post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of GIO models and also look at which models are available in 2022. Then I’ll answer some frequently asked GIO questions.

Let’s get started!

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


Are Ibanez Gio Guitars Any Good?

Quick answer: Yes they are. GIO’s are not perfect but offer versatility and easy playability. Especially for my small hands, shredding with GIO feels like a breeze. I personally like the tones of most GIO models too and they offer high value for the money.

My Personal Experience With Gio’s

photo displays Ibanez Gio GRX70QA Review - looks, quality, finish
My Ibanez GIO GRX70QARead my full review of it here.

I have tested plenty of GIO’s during my playing years. Over the last 2 years, I have probably played at least 5 of them, plus this one that sits with me in my home. 

They are not perfect, but I fell in love with easy playability and versatile tones. It’s really likely that I’m going for another GIO this year, or at least for some other Ibanez model.

But’s let’s look closer at the good and bad that can be present with GIO’s…

The Good

  • Fast and easy playability
  • Slim neck
  • Solderings were done great in models I have opened
  • Versatile tones
  • I like the sound of GIO models
  • Offer really high value for the money (one of the best electric guitars in value)
  • Tuning stability has been on to the same level with competitors
  • Hardware doesn’t loose to competitors
  • Usually plenty of different color options to choose from

That’s a great stack. But let’s look at the bad things next.

The Bad

  • Minor finish issues can be present (sharp fret edges etc.)
  • Sometimes fret buzz out of the box
  • Clean tones of some GIO’s lose to competitors
  • Tone can get a bit fuzzy sometimes (for example, my GIO was not a good pair with VOX Pathfinder 10)
  • Tuners are not better than most competitor models

To me, the good aspects stack is much heavier, but there’s no denying that GIO’s are not perfect. Most of these issues are really common with all budget electric guitars, so GIO’s don’t have some really annoying issues that are not happening with other guitars.

How Ibanez GIO Sound?

Here’s a sound demo where tones of 4 budget electric guitars are tested head to head, Ibanez GIO being one of them. I used Boss Katana 50 MKii amp:

YouTube video

I think that the GIO held its ground well. In general, GIO’s offer versatile tones from gentle cleans to mean distortion.

I compare my Ibanez GRX70QA to other similar priced models in this article: Best Electric Guitars Under 200.

Ibanez GIO Models Available in February of 2022

Let’s look closer at the GIO models available right now. I’ll also mention the key features of different models.

Price symbol meaning:

$= 150-189 Dollars

$$= 190-210 Dollars

$$$= 211-230 Dollars

$$$$= 231-250 Dollars

$$$$$= 251-299 Dollars

ModelKey FeaturesMusic it HandlesPrice LevelCheck Latest Prices (affiliate link)
GRGM21– 3/4 Sized
– 2 Infinity R Humbucker pickups (Ceramic)
– Solid guitar, but still probably the weakest GIO model
– Fixed bridge, no tremolo
Metal
Rock
Hard rock
Blues
Classic Rock
$Sweetwater
GRX40– Infinity R Humbucker and 2 Infinity R Single-Coil pickups (Ceramic)
– Versatile rock guitar
– Tremolo bridge
– Jatoba fretboard
Rock
Hard rock
Blues
Classic Rock
Funk
$Thomann
GRX70QA– 2 Ceramic Infinity R Humbuckers and 1 Infinity RS Single-Coil pickups(Ceramic)
– Really versatile
– Tremolo bridge
Metal
Rock
Hard rock
Blues
Classic Rock
Funk
Jazz
$$Sweetwater
GRG140– Infinity R Humbucker and 2 Infinity R Single-Coil pickups (Ceramic)
– Versatile rock guitar
– Tremolo bridge
– Purpleheart fretboard
Rock
Hard rock
Blues
Classic Rock
Funk
$$$Thomann
GRG121DX– 2 IBZ-6 Humbuckers (Ceramic)
– Build for Metal
– Fixed bridge, no tremolo
Metal
Rock
Hard rock
Classic Rock
$$$Sweetwater
GRGR131EX– 2 Infinity R Humbuckers (Ceramic)
– Wide 1.692″ nut width
– Handles Metal Well
– Fixed bridge, no tremolo
Metal
Rock
Hard rock
Blues
Classic Rock
$$$$Sweetwater
GRG170DX– 2 Ceramic Infinity R Humbuckers and 1 Infinity RS – Single-Coil pickups(Ceramic)
– New Zealand Pine fretboard
– Really versatile
– Tremolo bridge
Metal
Rock
Hard rock
Blues
Classic Rock
Funk
Jazz
$$$$$Thomann
GRG120QASP– 2 Infinity R Humbuckers (Ceramic)
– Wide 1.692″ nut width
– Handles Metal Well
– Tremolo bridge
– Quilted Maple top
Metal
Rock
Hard rock
Classic Rock
$$$$$Sweetwater
GRG7221QA– 2 Infinity R Humbuckers (Ceramic)
– 7 Strings
– Wide 1.889″ nut width
– Handles Metal Well
– Fixed bridge, no tremolo
Metal
Rock
Hard rock
Blues
Classic Rock
$$$$$Sweetwater
GRGR221PA– 2 IBZ-6 Humbuckers (Ceramic)
– Build for Metal
– Fixed bridge, no tremolo
– Poplar Burl Art Grain top
Metal
Rock
Hard rock
Blues
Classic Rock
$$$$$Sweetwater

Who Ibanez GIO’s Are Good For?

Do you value these qualities:

  • Versatility
  • Really high value
  • The fast and slim neck
  • Easy and fun playability
  • Solid tones
  • Hardware, tuners, and finish quality are in general on to the same level as with competitors (not better or worse)

If all the things above sound good, I would suggest you try GIO’s out ASAP. 


FAQ

Are Ibanez GIO Guitars Great for Metal?

Yes. GIO guitars are really versatile, but especially models featuring double humbuckers handle metal really well. IBZ-6 Humbuckers featured on some GIO’s are my go-to option for metal.

Where Are Ibanez GIO Guitars Made?

Made in China. Here’s proof: 

image displays where ibanez guitars are made

I also checked other GIO models and they are also made in China.

When Did Ibanez Gio Guitars First Come Out?

Ibanez GIO guitars first came out in 1998, replacing the older “Cimar” budget guitar lineup.


Conclusion

Ibanez GIO’s are versatile, high-value electrics. Not perfect, but still great budget guitars. I definitely recommend that you test one out as soon as possible if you haven’t already. Maybe you fell in love as I have done.

Check this post if you want to learn mode about cheap Ibanez guitars.

Hopefully this post helped you out. If you have any questions, leave a comment down below. I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu


Here’s Our Favorite Gear Right Now!

Our Favorite Guitars:

Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

Electric guitars:

For beginners and tight-budget guitarists, Ibanez GRX70QA was the winner after hours of testing. If you are a metalhead, Jackson JS22 Dinky is our favorite.

If you have more room on your budget, Yamaha Pacifica 112V gives you a great bang for your buck, and Fender Player Telecaster HH will serve intermediate Players well.

Our favorite Electric guitar of 2021 was the PRS SE Custom 24-08. It gives so much versatility, comfort, and good tones that it’s impossible to ignore.

Acoustic guitars:

For beginners, Yamaha FG800 is our go-to guitar. It offers more than any other guitar in the same price range.

For intermediate and beginners with bigger wallets, Gretsch G5024E Rancher offers so clear and detailed tones, plus easy playability that I had to include it here.

Seagull S6 Original is the best acoustic around the $500 mark. It has the construction, sound, and feel that many more expensive guitars don’t achieve.

Our Favorite Amps:

For beginners, Fender Mustang LT25 offers the most. It’s versatile, sounds good, and is simple to use.

For most home players, Boss Katana 50MKii is the amp that serves you in any situation. From country to metal.

If you are searching for a tube amp for home use, Blackstar HT-5R MKii is my go-to option because it sounds so good, and you can adjust the wattage(power).

When it comes to acoustic guitar amps, Fender Acoustasonic 40 will serve most people really well. But our favorite is Fishman Loudbox Mini BT. It offers a professional level tone and volume with a price most people can afford.