Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.
When we say musical instruments, the guitar is on the top list. Guitars are handy. You can tag it along anywhere you go. That is why it is the favorite of most of the people when it comes to playing music. Back in the past, most of the families have their guitar which is usually used for evening family entertainment. Habits did not changes although most of the things did. You may not fond a family now who are enjoying themselves with playing guitar but still teenagers, and young adult have a passion for playing guitar.
Professional and even the amateurs will know the right guitar for them. Amateurs would select a guitar where they will not be afraid of doing a lot of practice. Of course, selection will consist of cheaper guitars which they could just replace if they broke it or already overused. While professionals will select guitars that will satisfy their needs. These needs will vary according to the like and situation required. But both the amateur and the professional knows what a quality guitar is. They will always opt to have that in any case.
Two of the competing brands of guitar today is the Ibanez and Fender. These brands have trademarks of having high-quality guitars. Both the professionals and amateurs are eyeing for this kinds. It will be surely on their list when considering to buy one. But how these brands emerge into the market with such trademarks? Let’s consider first their history
Fender Craftsmanship VS. Ibanez Craftsmanship
Let’s start with the Fender—claiming to be the world’s leading guitar manufacturer. In 1940, Leo Fender had innovated and designed a solid-body guitar which was later on called Telecaster guitar. Everybody was amazed by this, and it is being used worldwide. After, he again introduced the Precision Bass guitar that amplified the bassist.
The musicians enjoyed the guitars and later on professional users suggested innovation ideas, so the Stratocaster was born. It is the most famous guitar design up to this day. Musicians use this guitar to play different genres. Fender produces not just guitar but amplifiers too. As time pass by, new guitars made its way as part of their products.
While Fender is proud of its original designs, Ibañez is struggling on its unique designs at its start. Most of the early brand designs of Ibañez were copies of other guitar brands in America such as Fenders, Rickenbacker and Gibson. This doings were not ignored by the competing brands which in return filed a lawsuit upon Ibanez.
After the proceedings, Ibanez decided to release it newly produced designs like the Iceman and Roadster. The first batch was a success because many players including the professionals know the quality and the low cost of these guitars. They welcomed and greatly accepted the designs. Ibanez also teamed up with some guitar designer brands also to make their market wider not just in Japan but even exporting outside Japan. And, thus, they conclude to be the Industry Leader.
Both brands have their struggling way to reach their pedestal. And their efforts become well paid-off. As of now, we all know that these brands were producing high quality and original designs. But the question is, which fan are you? If you are not still sure of what your answers will be, let’s us first take a look at the guitars that they are offering.
Fender is offering seven models of the guitar as of now. They have Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Sonic-Dou, Mustang and Squier. While the Ibanez has 16 models by series namely AZ, RG, RGA, RGD, S, SA, AX, F, Talman, AR, ARZ, Iceman, GIO micKro, Jumpstart and Left-handed models.
Whether you are buying your first guitar or changing a worn-out guitar, choosing the best guitar from these items can be tiring and time-consuming to determine the best among the rest. Let’s try to compare some of the items to guide you in choosing your preferred guitar.
Comparing a Stratocaster and an RG
Some people have an eye between a Stratocaster and an RG, but they can’t agree which is the most versatile. Let’s look at the table for some comparison between the famous Stratocaster and RG:
|Parts||Fender Stratocaster||Ibanez RG|
|Pickups||3 single coil pickups||3 single coil pickups|
|Pickup Selector||5 way switch||5 way switch|
|Volume and tones||2||2|
|Body||Alder Body||Quilted Maple over Mahogany|
|Finger Board||Rosewood||Bound Panga Panga|
Most of the features were the same except for some noticeable difference in appearance. For example, the front of the Stratocaster is very clean while the RG has humbuckers inlined with the pickups. Also, the body of Stratocaster is of an older body while the RG has a stylish built with a quilted maple over a mahogany body. Their tremolo also differs. Ibanez RG has a Floyd rose system which makes it harder to set up compared with the floating tremolo of Stratocaster.
Combined with the locking nut, you can change pitched any time you want and continue on the same tune. But the most different parts of these two guitars can be seen on its neck. With Stratocaster, it is not flat. The back is a continuous arch, so it fits the arch of your hand. The fingerboard also on the neck is not as flat as the RG. But in RG, everything in the neck is flat except for the fret ends which are like half spheres. So if you are playing with your thumb at the back, it will be very comfortable.
We cannot compare each of the models to other models of each brand that is why we pick an example for the Stratocaster and the RG. Let’s compare the general ones like body designs and placements of the features. Let’s go first with the body. Fender guitars are very iconic on their solid body electric guitar. They were the most famous guitar until now, but of course, competitors won’t allow these to be just the way they are.
They will still compete and will try to achieve higher ends. So mostly, solid body electric guitar of Fender influence other designs and Ibanez is one of them who designed almost the same bodies and just altering some by employing other innovations for their bodies. Fenders have alder bodies and contoured joint. Fenders’ body is usually topped with plain maple while Ibanez is topped with quilted maple. Since Ibanez guitars were made to adopt modernization, it has now a very thin body made of mahogany. And the design is ergonomic which is very stylish.
The body is very thin that it is very light to carry. But on Fenders, players usually find it a bit heavy, but of course, they still find something that they want on Fenders that is why it is still one of the favorites. For students, an Ibanez is a thumbs up because it is easy to play and usually light.
Flat VS. Arch Necks
When we compared the American Standard Stratocaster on Ibanez RG, we notice the difference of it on the neck — flat in RG and arch in Stratocaster. Most of the Ibanez guitars were designed to have thin, slimmer and flatter necks compared to Fenders. Though they differ in the thickness, it still depends on the player which they want to have.
If they have more extended fingers then owning any of that won’t be any problem unless you are gifted with smaller hands where you can only play at length by putting your thumb at the back of the neck rather than your palm. Both fenders and Ibanez uses fingerboards like rosewood and maples. It just depends on what kind of guitar you’ll buy and what kind of fingerboard is attached to it.
On their locking tuners, the Ibanez uses mostly the Gotoh and Fenders usually uses Schaller. Both of the locking tuners hold a tune in an excellent manner. With frets, Ibanez has Jumbo frets which some players are not used to so they feel like a little different about it while the Fenders has medium jumbo frets. The strings also in Ibanez are closer together compared with the other brands. Both Fenders and Ibanez also have bolt on the neck.
For pickups designs, both of the brands have different layouts for their pickups and humbucker. Ibanez guitars have humbucker together with single coils or can be even humbuckers only. But the Fenders usually have two single coils pickups for its Telecaster and three single coils pickups for its Stratocaster. They also have a 5-way switch for the pickup selector, and mostly the result is almost the same though in some cases you will find the other gives a crispier tone or a smooth rendition.
As we all know, Ibanez though not an original idea of a Japan maker but has incorporated modernization was supported by better electronics of Japan compared to Fender. Fenders’ high-end guitars are made in the United States while Ibanez guitars are made in Japan. Through the years of innovation and creating its masterpieces Ibanez also put an effort to choose good materials making a good quality of the body.
Competitive Pricing Strategy
On their pricing strategy, Fenders continuously to maintain their price aspects based on quality. The higher the quality, the higher the price. It is the basic trend. While with the case of Ibanez, their pricing strategy is a kind to be considered by a lot of people. They were lower than Fenders. So you can get a high-end Ibanez guitar with the high-end counterpart guitar in Fenders in a much considerable price. But most of the people realize the perception and impact the Fenders give the market.
Their guitar never depreciates rather appreciating as time goes by. The Fender has a strong reputation, especially on the traditional players. Well, of course, it was already on the top when Ibanez made its name. But it not the cost that matters. Even artist and musician sometimes tend to use affordable guitars and play with it than the costly models they own. Always remember, a higher price won’t guarantee you that is the best of the guitars on the same level.
Which Guitar for a Kind of Song?
Noticeably most musicians use Ibanez guitars to play hard metal while Fenders are good at blues and rocks. Fenders also have an acoustic sounding tone, so they were used popularly by country musicians. As for the general fact, players cannot be hindered by playing any music in a certain guitar, nor a guitar can put a limitation to the talent unfolding on a musician in a genre.
Which is Best for You?
All products have their fans, users, and followers. These depend on the person’s standard, preferences, and criteria. Fenders and Ibanez are all trying to make their guitars reached all of the people maintaining a high sustainable quality. But still, the choice of which guitar to buy still lies within our likeness, genres, and perception about what a guitar can do. In short, the decision is all up to you. Others would agree that music depends on who is playing rather than the instrument.
The important thing is to make the sound that you have in mind with the guitar that you are choosing to have. So before buying any brand, try to go to a store with the brands that you seem to have an eye for. Test the sound, test the feel and decide if it fits on the music type that you want to have and achieve. If it does, it is the one made for you — not depending on the built or price. It must rely on the music that you wanted to make.