What is the Best Ibanez Guitar for Metal? (our top Pick)
Ibanez Prestige RG Series
DiMarzio pickups, the Ibanez Edge tremolo system, and a balanced price point make the Prestige RG series our favorite Ibanez guitar overall. It's definitely a solid pick for the metal style, particularly on the lead side, though it can handle both speed play and heavy rhythm. While there are a lot of models in this series, the RG652AHM is our personal favorite.
There are a ton of models in the Ibanez Prestige RG series, most of which hover around $2000 with some going even higher. Check the pricing tools below and the Sweetwater entries we've linked to in case pricing has changed, but at the time of writing this recommendation, that's where the more expensive models sat.
For metal, we could honestly recommend any of the guitars from this series, though we've settled on the RG652AHM because of its lower price, while still fitting most of our parameters.
- Ibanez Brand
- RG Prestige Series
- Third-party pickup install (DiMarzio)
- Edge tremolo system (Floyd rose alternative)
Ibanez guitars are known for speed styles and quick neck designs. As a result, many of them are not as "chunky" or percussive as other brands like PRS or even Gibson. But the Prestige RG series strikes a good balance between lead and rhythm.
They're still aggressive and quick, but they can handle heavy power chords if called upon to do so.
The RG652AHM is our top pick, but the table below highlights several that would be great options for metal.
All of the recommendations we make are opinion. They are probably wrong and completely insane, so they should be taken with a grain of salt, to say the least. Use these articles to get some ideas, then decide on a guitar what works best in your situation. If you want to support us, consider using our Sweetwater partner links, which help us earn commission at no extra cost to you.
We've highlighted three Ibanez electric guitars that we think are good for metal, including the RG652AHM. Two are closer to the lower end of the Prestige RG series price range while the other is around $2200. All four have specs that we like to see for metal style guitars.
Compare More Electric Guitars
We have a database with many of the most popular guitars on the market. You can use our compare tool to add more guitars like Gibson, Fender, or PRS.
We've put together some pricing info for the RG652AHM that allow you to compare retail from multiple vendors, sign up for price alerts and see a graph that shows price history. Note that these prices are updated in real time, though do not include certain retailers like Guitar Center, Reverb, and Musician's Friend.
Pricing accurate as of Wed, June 07th, 2023.
Pricing from Additional Vendors
Price Alert (lowest price among vendors)
Price History (lowest price among vendors)
Price History for Ibanez RG652AHM Premium Electric Guitar (Antique White Blonde)
|Current Price||$1,599.99||June 6, 2023|
|Highest Price||$1,599.99||October 16, 2022|
|Lowest Price||$1,599.99||October 16, 2022|
Last price changes
|$1,599.99||October 16, 2022|
What if I'm not a lead player or speedster?
I'd still recommend this Ibanez, even for players that lean rhythm. Most electric guitars can handle either rhythm or lead, and the Prestige RG series is no exception. Most guitars have strengths but that doesn't exclude them from other roles as well.
As long as it's a dual humbucker electric, we're okay with a heavier and more power-chord-focused rhythm role.
If you have two or three single coils - like a Tele and Strat - we would recommend leaving those for bluesy, lead styles.
Features to prioritize
Which features are most important to target within the Ibanez brand and the Prestige RG series? Lets cover what matters most.
We've already talked about dual humbuckers, but I'll summarize the basics. Having a dual humbucker setup means means you have one at the bridge position and another at the neck. Nearly all metal guitars use this type of pickup arrangement. It's just heavier, thicker, and more percussive. They also handle high gain (distortion) very well and help reduce noise.
Third Party Pickups
You want to avoid stock pickups if you can, especially in this price range. With Ibanez, they'll typically have one of the following pick brands installed:
- Fishman Fluence
Both these brands are fantastic and dramatically improve your tone over an Ibanez stock pickup. They're also both active pickups (DiMarzio usually is) which are smoother and better at handling high levels of saturation and distortion When you're at $1000 or more for an electric guitar, we'd recommend making sure you have pickups from a reputable third party.
Here are a couple more brands that are solid:
- Seymour Duncan
Edge Tremolo System and Locking Tuners
Particularly for lead metal players, look for the Edge floating tremolo system (looks like a Floyd Rose) and the locking tuners which are really handy for lower tunings. This is Ibanez's own take on a floating tremolo that is hard to distinguish from a Floyd Rose and matches pretty well in terms of quality.
Pros and Cons of Using Ibanez for Metal
What are some of the pros and cons of using an Ibanez electric guitar?
- Definitely a modern metal aesthetic
- Almost always come with third party pickups assuming the guitar is in the $1000 or higher price range.
- Wizard neck plays fast
- Locking tuners and floating tremolo are great for lower tunings
- Might lean too heavily in the lead guitar direction to work for everybody.
- The Prestige RG series is not particularly cheap
Making the Most of your Prestige RG
Consider Replacing the Strings
The RG652AHM ships with D'Addario strings which are good, but at a .042 gauge it's actually a pretty light set. For metal we'd definitely recommend changing those out for something thicker, at least a .052 gauge string set.
Again, if you're on the lead guitar side of the spectrum, you could probably keep the .042s and be fine. But even then, we'd go with .048.
Check string distance from fretboard
Most guitars of this price will already be set up pretty well, but if you have too much space between the strings and fretboard, that's something you'd want to get fixed.
Read more: String Fretboard Distance Chart
Use a heavier pick
For metal, I'd also recommend using a thicker pick, like the green or purple Dunlop Tortex pickups.
High gain distortion
Use an amp or distortion pedal that can handle some really heavy, high-gain settings with percussive distortion.
Read more: Best modern distortion pedals
Read more: Best Mesa Boogie Amps
Frequently asked questions
Ibanez electric guitars definitely have a distinct modern flavor, but that doesn't limit them to just metal. We like them for modern rock, metal, more aggressive styles, grunge, and blues in some cases. It leans heavy, but that can cross into several musical styles.
Ibanez electric guitars have a distinctly metal look, sound, and a lot of perks that metal players like to see. These include dual third-party humbuckers, an Edge Zero tremolo system, and fast neck design/profile.
Nita Strauss, James Shaffer and Brian Welch from Korn, Steve Vai are just a few. You can see more Ibanez artists here.
The majority of Ibanez guitars are produced in Japan at the Fujigen plant.
Ibanez electrics aren't as versatile as other more vintage guitar brands like Gibson and perhaps PRS. They're closer to a Schecter or ESP LTD style guitars. Still, they're really nice instruments that can certainly handle the metal style and be your main guitar in a lot of situations.
Of your options, we'd recommend the Prestige RG652AHM, so make sure you checkout that guitar and then just use it as a template, if you don't by it outright.
Ask them in the comments section and I'll respond.
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