Build Quality:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.6 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.6 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.6 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars
Average:4.6 out of 5 stars

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Ibanez GIO Series GRG121DX


  • Affordable
  • Beginner Friendly


  • Heavy
  • Tuning Stability Issues

The electric guitar world is vast and varied, with guitars of all shapes, sizes and prices being included. Within all this noise it is sometimes hard to find a guitar that feels right for you. This becomes especially hard in the realm of cheap guitars, since there are just so many cheap guitars available. Which is why I am here to recommend one cheap electric guitar for you. Let’s take a close look at the Ibanez GIO Series GRG121DX and see what makes it stand out in all the noise.

Body Quality

Among the many guitar body shapes available on the market, the GRG is one of the most beloved. It is slightly larger than your average electric guitar, though not so noticeable when the guitar is on its own. This makes the guitar’s presence feel more real and makes playing the guitar much easier and more comfortable. Stop acting surprised, we all know that a small guitar can be very annoying, much more so than a large one. The thin GRG neck shape of the guitar is also very slick and beautiful looking, also making the pesky inner frets easy to reach. What stands out most to me though is the colouring of the guitar, with the dark, rustic colouring feeling and looking extra cool.

The body of the Ibanez Gio is built out of Mahogany. This extremely sturdy material is a gift from god for guitar players. The hardwood is well known for its emphasis on the lower range of the tones, while also allowing the warmth to spread to the mid tones. It is a great material if you are looking to keep your bass tones the focus of your playing. The tonewood is also known for its sturdiness, being capable of withstanding most abuse doled out on it. Yet, the density and hardness of the wood means that he guitar is slightly on the heavy side. Still, not something to scare you off, as the slight increase in weight is well worth the sound and the look.

The manufacturers of the guitar went a little ham on making this guitar as sturdy as possible, so when they made the body mahogany, they picked a sturdier wood for the neck. This tonewood is incredibly sturdy, meaning your guitar will be there to support itself through any and all suffering. Maple is also well known for being on the heavy side, which further adds to the weight of the guitar. Still, better have a slightly heavy guitar with a great sound rather than a guitar that dents at every impact right? The fretboard of the guitar is bound rosewood, which keeps the dark colour theme of the guitar going. A beautiful specimen of an instrument.


The bridge of the guitar is done in the style of a fixed hardtail. What does this mean? Well, first of all, you unfortunately won’t be playing with a tremolo bar (not everybody needs one). Second of all it means that your strings are well attached to the guitar and are bound to be steady, with a lower chance of buzz.

The nut of the guitar is made of plastic, which is something I usually don’t enjoy on my guitars. This case is no exception and yet the guitar has fine harmonics. String buzz is still around though, yet thankfully the humbuckers help with that.

The tuners on this guitar are just like the tuners on every other affordable guitar – unreliable. This is an unfortunate truth that everybody has to get used to: if your guitar is cheap, it’s tuning stability is likely to be abysmal. Yet this one one does a decent job at retaining its tuning for a few days. Still, not enough.


This guitar is equipped with two very decent humbuckers. The IBZ-6 Humbuckers are very powerful, picking up sound in a very pleasant manner. They are capable of limited versatility in the warmth, clearness and sustain of your sound. The humbuckers are bound to serve you well, especially if you are a beginner guitar player. More so, the string buzz that is left over from the nut of the guitar is slightly mitigated through the help of the humbuckers.

The controls on the guitar are pretty standard. With their help, you can control the volume and sustain of your guitar, as well as which pickup combination is currently working. Since there are only two humbuckers you have three options: bridge, neck or both at the same time. Choose wisely.

Ibanez GIO GRG121DX Sound

The guitar sound much better than it should, especially in the context of the price you are paying to get this guitar. The sound is rather versatile, at least for a beginner guitar. Whether you are looking for clear, warm sound or something heavier in sustain, this guitar can provide it. Of course you will eventually grow out of it, but the sound remains solid and can be upgraded if you replace the humbuckers. Definitely a powerful guitar with a bias towards the lower tones.


This is one of my favorite options for beginner players looking for a guitar that can provide a versatile sound and look extra cool and dark doing it. Whether you are doing metal, hard rock, or something else, you will find Ibanez GIO useful. Definitely recommended.

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