As soon as you see someone playing a signature guitar model you immediately assume they’re trying to be the second coming of their guitar hero. Most of the time, it’s a safe bet, but unfortunately, it causes one really big issue: we’re missing out on some incredible guitars.

It’s easy to write off the player as a result, but we make the mistake of doing the same to signature instruments as a whole. There are some not-so-hidden gems out there, and we’ve narrowed down our 4 favorites.

Ibanez Tom Quayle TQM1

Whether you’ve heard of Tom Quayle or not, I can guarantee you that your heroes have. Tom is an incredible musician who can turn harmony on it head and bring jazz fusion to its knees with just a few bars.

Innovative players like this need an equally impressive guitar to keep up. Without shying away from labels, I think the best summary is that this is Ibanez’s take on the Guthrie Govan signature guitar. A myriad of tonal options, matching natural finish, rock solid tremolo, and mind-blowing playability.

If you like the Ibanez feel but want the Guthrie Govan features this is the best place to start. What puts this guitar above the rest is its incredible amount of tonal variety with a 5-way switch and humbucker tap mode. It’s a straightforward instrument with an ace up its sleeve… all the tonal options in the world.

Ibanez Jake Bowen JBM100

There’s always a catch with signature guitars, something that makes it a one-trick-pony… or just makes it ugly. A garbage trem system, some obnoxious band logo inlay, or heaven forbid you buy a $2,300 guitar only to have it come with stale EMGs (we kid, you guys know how we feel about EMGs).

The JBM100 is what a signature guitar should be. It’s understated yet sharp in appearance, it comes with a wide tonal palette, high-end passive pickups, rock-solid tuning stability, and a hell of a tremolo system. Oh, and it comes in a 7 string version.

What’s the catch? With the JBM, there is none.

Ibanez Meshuggah M8M

The M8M is deceiving.

On the surface, it has what everyone hates about signature guitars: extremely specific specifications. We’re talking about a 29’’ scale length, only one pickup, and… well, that’s it.

Sure, it’s nothing fancy, but that’s the point. The M8M takes the approach of being a player’s instrument, and that player is the large group of musicians who only want two things: incredible metal rhythm tones, and punchy, tight note clarity.

This is not an instrument for virtuosos looking for the largest stretches and fastest sweeps but instead was birthed for the sole purpose of driving the most intense, tight, powerful walls of sound you have heard in your life. Don’t believe us? Let our M8M review prove it to you.

Leave the shred-wankery for someone else, get some serious rhythm tones.

Ibanez Steve Vai JEM

How could we forget?

When you say “Ibanez” everyone pictures the same thing: the RG. HSH configuration, floating tremolo, and lightning fast neck. These are the staples of the Ibanez lineup.

We’ve all played one before, but far fewer of us have really understood the full potential of this series that is completely embodied in the JEM series of instruments.

What makes this guitar so incredible is that it stayed true to the spirit of the Ibanez brand. It took the RG further than ever with beautifully lush pickups, the best tremolos Ibanez ever made, and a plethora of finishes truly worthy of the quality and craftsmanship that put the JEM on the map.

Vai fan or not, if you like the RG you need to truly experience its full potential and pick up a JEM immediately.

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