The seven string guitar world is a place where you rarely get to see affordable 7 stringers that actually work. By affordable I do not mean ones that cost several hundred dollars, I mean ones that fall beyond the 300 and even the 200 mark and still retain quality and integrity. Thankfully for people who do not have the finance to buy an expensive piece of equipment, the market has several models in the price range to satisfy you. Let us take a look at Ibanez GRG7221 7 string guitar and see if it makes the cut.
The design of the guitar is fairly simplistic, as you would expect of a guitar that was built to be affordable and good. You do not get to experiment with styling and shapes when you barely have a budget. The body of the guitar is reminiscent of the famous stratocaster, though with certain changes that make it its own design. The spiky wings with a thicker looking body make the guitar feel unique. The coloring is rather simple, without too much flash. Not everybody needs a flashy guitar and here, it makes sense.
The body of the guitar is built out of poplar. You do not get to see this tonewood too often nowadays, though it has a number of good qualities that make it suitable for affordable 7 string guitars. The tonewood is reminiscent of alder in terms of tone. It has a good balance between the high, mid and low tones, though with a little more spike in the mid tones and flatter towards the edge tones. Still, it does a great job of resonating with the sounds of the guitar. The tonewood is light enough to be comfortable to play. It is also harder than basswood, though softer than mahogany (which is a huge range, but alas, it is a measure). This means you do not have to worry too much about damaging the guitar, yet still have to be careful not to get careless.
The neck of the guitar is built out of maple, which is definitely a good choice, especially for a 7 string guitar. The maple provides a good strength to the neck, preventing it from denting and breaking, as well as giving the neck a good warping resistance so the extra pressure doesn’t ruin it. The joint between the neck and the body is bolt on, which might cause problems some day in the future, so watch out for that. The fretboard of the guitar is made of rosewood, which is a great material to use, always.
The guitar comes with an ibanez styled 7 saddle fixed bridge. It provides a good string stability as well as decent action out of the rise of the guitar.
The nut of the guitar is made of cheaper plastic material, which is definitely my least favorite material. This causes some string buzz to persist in the sound of the guitar.
Despite the extra string the manufacturer had a hard time adding a decent tuning machine onto the instrument. While the instrument keeps tuning for a few days at a time, it is still annoying to keep adjusting the tuning every time yo uplay.
The guitar comes with two humbuckers installed at the neck and the bridge of the guitar. The two PSND-7 humbuckers provide the guitar with some nice string buzz filtering. The humbuckers are powerful, though they could use a longer lifespan. You will need to replace them eventually, but they will work fine for beginner players.
The controls on the guitar are rather orthodox, providing the player with two knobs: one for volume and the other for tone. The player also has the opportunity to use the lever to change their pickup configuration.
The sound of the guitar is adequate, and nothing more, which a great achievement for this affordable a guitar. The sound is powerful, with the mids being especially expressive. The detail of your fretting is decent and the sustain is rather lovely. Overall it is a sound beginners will definitely enjoy, and intermediate players can use to practice up for a better guitar.
Overall this is a guitar that will find its place in the hands of players looking to start or try out a 7 string guitar. Not revolutionary, but definitely adequate, this instrument is highly recommended or the budget minded player.