We’re always going on about how Ibanez’ low range guitars have become a lot better and impressive, but none of us have ever been brave enough to actually sit down with an Ibanez Gio for a few hours (apart from making sure that they get pampered and properly set up and cleaned with our Free Guitar Enhancement). Today, I’m gonna sit down with a true, budget Ibanez 7-string, and tell you what I think about it.

Let’s check out the features:

  • 25.5” Scale
  • GRG Bolt-On Maple Neck
  • Ibanez Non-Locking Tuners
  • Rosewood Fretboard
  • White Dot Inlays
  • Jumbo Frets
  • Poplar Body
  • Fixed Bridge
  • Infinity R Pickups
  • Black Hardware

The GRG7221 comes in 3 available finishes, black, white, or a walnut sunburst. Upon picking it up I was pleased by the light weight of the guitar thanks to it’s Poplar body.

This guitar is designed not just for players on a budget, but for beginners who don’t have much to spend on a guitar. Alternatively you can also be like some of us who enjoy buying cheap guitars, and modding them to the point where you question where all your money went and why your $200 RG you bought off Ebay from a seller named “verygoodelectricguitarqualitymany” suddenly has chameleon paint and a set of Lundgren pickups.

(If this is what you’re trying to accomplish, be sure to check out some of our modding guides such as “Replacing your Pickups” and “Installing new Tuning Machines”.)

This guitar has nearly identical hardware to the standard RG line. The same standard hardtail bridge, same tuners, etc. the major difference are the pickups, but we’ll discuss those in a bit.

Tone:

The tone in this guitar is decent. It’s a $200 guitar, so please don’t expect anything life changing from it. The pickups are pleasant. The infinity pickups have always been a bit mid scooped and the new ones are have a similar mid scoop.

The bridge is lively, like a very happy chihuahua. It may not be the best, but with a compressor in front of my amp it certainly worked well and had enough aggression to keep me satisfied. The scooped mids allowed you to do what all kids do when they’re into Metallica, crank that bass and treble up and alt-pick your way to stardom.

The neck pickup was a bit too weak for my taste, but honestly considering the price range of this guitar I’m not even going to deduct points for that, it’s a $200 guitar! As long as it even has a functioning neck pickup I’m happy! It’s great for cleans and leads when compared to other pickups in guitars in this range.

Generic 7 string pickups sometimes have a terrible response on the low B. Surprisingly, this was not the case here! Overall they’re pretty well balanced and I’m glad to see that the tone was still pretty decent for such a cheap guitar

Build Quality:

For a budget beginner guitar, it’s built a lot better than other brands in the same range, like Squier or Epiphone. The finish was applied well. I didn’t notice any big inconsistencies in it. However, I wouldn’t bother with the Walnut Sunburst, the screen print isn’t that high of a quality and makes the guitar look cheaper. I prefer the white and black finishes. You can simply do more with them from a modding standpoint.

The pots were the biggest disappointment here, understandably so. They were a bit scratchy and felt a tiny bit loose. However the wiring was well done and there were no issues other than the cheap pots.

The nut was well aligned and wasn’t off the neck, but I did see some remaining glue that seemed to drip onto the neck. This did not get in the way of playing at all though.

The tuners are generic die cast tuners, not much to say about them. The guitar didn’t fall out of tune every 15 minutes like other low budget guitars, which was nice. It fell a couple of cents out of tune but only when I chugged intensely, for scientific purposes of course.

The bridge does it’s job. You can intonate it and it doesn’t fall off. That’s pretty much all I expect from a bridge! In all seriousness, the bridge was great. It felt identical to the RG standard bridge and those are A-OK!

Final Verdict

You know, holidays are coming up, If I was on the prowl to get my kid a beginner instrument, I’d stop searching. For the $200 price point, this really is the best you’re gonna get. Ibanez is a big company that knows exactly what to do, and it shows in all of their product lines.

This isn’t a guitar a seasoned player would necessarily buy, but if you’re trying to introduce your kids to guitar playing, the Gio series is definitely the way to go.

8-7-8

If you liked this article, check out more reviews! We are also authorized Ibanez dealers and can order any model they offer in any price range for you.

This article was written by Mike Azernov, our editor located in New York

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