Not a lot of ¾ size guitars deserve to be trusted. These guitars are assumed to be designed for kids, so they are not taken entirely seriously. Because of this some manufacturers refuse to actually work on producing a high quality product when working on a ¾ size guitar. Fortunately we also have well-known manufacturers known for their quality who put a lot of work into each one of their products. The Ibanez GRGM21BKN ¾ size guitar is a good example of what you can get if a manufacturer takes the time to work on their guitar. Let’s take a closer look.
I have often said that you should lower your expectations of cheap guitars and ¾ sized guitars, because there is only so much you can get out of a cheap instrument. This remains true for the Ibanez GRGM21BKN, but keeping your expectations low may get you a nice surprise. The body of the guitar is solid, laminated poplar. The body is sturdy and should last a while, even through heavy use. The tonewood itself adds only a little to the sound, being limited by the fact that it is laminated.
The neck of the guitar is a bolt-on, made of maple, with a single piece of maple most of the time. The neck is sturdy, but sometimes the connection between the neck and the body seems to be a little wonky. Which is dangerous for how long the guitar will live. Be aware and maintain it properly to extend the life of the guitar.
The fretboard is maple as well, which results in a smooth playing experience and a good resistance to wear and tear. Fair warning though, there have been cases of the fretboard being very rough when received. This is a very rare occurrence, but still something to consider. Easy to take care of if you try to sand it down. Overall the guitar construction is not bad and will not cause too many problems over the years if properly maintained.
Chrome is the preferred material for all-electric guitars, because of how sturdy and lightweight it is. The same goes for this model: most of the hardware is chrome. The hardware is mostly average, though it does seem to have some problems every once in awhile: some customers report that the guitar has a hard time staying in tune, because of the tuners. This is a problem that most cheap electric guitars. If you are a beginner, practicing how to tune your instrument might even be a good think. Still, if you find this to be annoying, you might want to replace the tuners.
Otherwise, the hardware on the guitar is rather average, nothing much to worry about and with proper maintenance, should last a while without issue.
This is where most ¾ sized affordable guitars encounter the biggest problems, which stays true with this model. Most budget guitars have a hard time producing the sound you want them to produce. My experience with these pickups is that they are not consistent and overtime, start to go flatter. Still, when you initially receive this guitar the pickups will work fine, and honestly, the overtime flatness I mentioned should not be a problem for most beginner players.
Ibanez GRGM21BKN Sound
The most important part of the guitar, the actual sound that it produces, is where we make the final decision as to whether the guitar is actually good or not. The guitar actually produces a rather clean, strong sound, especially when you first receive it. As the pickups get older, you might notice the sound getting slightly flatter, but this will take time and will not become a problem until you move on from being a beginner. The only people who might have a problem with this guitar are those who are buying it for travel purposes – you might want to do an upgrade so that your sound stays consistent.
The final verdict for this model is that it is definitely better than most ¾ sized guitars in its price range, but it is also riddled with problems. Still, a beginner will find the instrument fun and easy to play and practice on. The professional looking for a travel guitar might also enjoy it, though the neck problem might turn you off, an you will need to do some upgrades for the hardware and electronics to make sure that your sound on the guitar stays consistent.
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