Ibanez have always done a great job in serving the metal community in the past. They were the first company to offer a production model 7-string. Lately, they have been offering affordable guitars with boutique-like specs and wood combinations. Today, we wanted to review one of their latest offerings, the upcoming Ibanez Iron Label SIX6FDFM.

Let’s jump right in!


  Mahogany Body

  Flamed Maple Top

  Nitro Wizard 3-piece Maple/Bubinga Neck

  Ebony Fretboard

  All Access Neck Joint Bolt On Neck Construction

  15.75″ Radius

  25.5” Scale Length

  24 Jumbo Frets

  Gibraltar Standard II Bridge

  Gotoh MG-T Locking tuners

  Black Hardware

  Dimarzio Fusion Edge Pickups


–  3-Way Pickup Switch

–  Coil Tap Switch

– Space Blue Burst Satin Finish

The SIX6FDFM is the Iron Label extension of the popular Ibanez S-Series. It’s body is incredibly thin and heavily contoured to promote comfort.

I’ve been in love with the Wizard neck profiles since the first time I played an Ibanez, and the Nitro Wizard does not disappoint. It’s extremely comfortable and very shred-friendly!

Gibraltar bridges have always been a favorite in the metal community. (My favorite being the Gibraltar Plus, found on the RGA 121.) The Gibraltar Standard is a very simple fixed bridge design. It offers a super-low profile and is smooth to the touch, making the guitar extremely comfortable to play, particularly for palm muting.

One of my favorite aspects of this guitar is the finish. The beautiful burst and figuring on the flamed maple is outstanding. The aesthetic quality of this instrument is not something usually found on a sub-$1000 guitar.

Also, I should mention that this guitar is offered in a tremolo and 7-string variant.

The rest of the features we are going to talk about today are related to tone..

Tone :

The tried-and-true tone wood combination of mahogany and flamed maple offers a warm and fat tone with a sweet spot in the low mids. Thanks partially to the mahogany body, this guitar has a ton of sustain for being so thin.

The maple/bubinga neck is a super strong and sturdy wood choice that brings a lot of stability to this guitar. This combination brings out a lot more of the brighter sounds, not typically found in mahogany, to help balance the tone of the SIX6FDFM.

Unfortunately, along with the thickness and warmth that it brings, mahogany often brings some flubbiness in the bass response, which can become muddy.

Luckily, Ibanez partnered up with DiMarzio to design the Fusion Edge humbuckers. These were designed to specifically work with the Iron Label instruments, such as the SIX6FDFM, to help balance the sound to deliver extra clarity, punch, and attack. The ceramic magnet offers an extremely high output, ideal for fast riffing, and quick single note runs. In case you haven’t figured it out, this guitar was designed for metal.

(If you want to learn more about pickup magnets, check out our article on Alnico vs Ceramic.)

If it weren’t for the coil tap, I may have felt that this guitar was a bit limited. It’s definitely built for high output, and the humbucker sounds are a bit gainy for clearer cleans. While coil tap doesn’t actually split the humbucker, it essentially cuts down some of the output of the pickup by utilizing only half of the winds. This makes for a clearer, less aggressive sound.

(If you don’t quite understand coil tapping or just want to learn more, we have an awesome article on Splitting vs. Tapping Pickups to get you educated.)

Out of the many Iron Label models out there, this one is definitely one of my favorites in terms of sound and tone.

Build Quality :

Something great about Ibanez guitars is that even in the mid-range, you find quality similar to much higher end instruments.

While the fretwork isn’t exactly the Japanese Ibanez quality, it is stunning for the price that you’d pay for this guitar. There are no dings, sharp ends, or even noticeable scratches on the frets.

The quality of finish/wood choice is my favorite part of this guitar. Although the finish doesn’t feel as thick and permanent as a Private Stock PRS, the finish almost looks like something from a top dollar, custom shop instrument. The satin burst is very well executed, and the ebony board is an added touch that really makes the aesthetics of this guitar stand out.

Final Verdict :

Unfortunately, a lot of guitarists’ early opinions of the Iron Label models were less than stellar. Ibanez have really stepped up their line-up this year.

By offering a guitar of this quality at an affordable price of $899, Ibanez adds yet another amazing instrument to help bridge the gap between cheap and super high end guitars.

The only negative thing I can say about this guitar is that bigger chords can sound a bit muddy while saturated with high gain. If ultimate clarity is your thing, you may think about a pickup swap.

With that being said, the Ibanez Iron Label SIX6FDFM has become one of my favorite guitars of the year so far, and I’d definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a new guitar for metal styles. It’s not officially out yet, but it’s just around the corner!


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This article was written by Zac Buras, our editor located in Louisiana.

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