I’m afraid the answer isn’t so simple: Both guitar brands have an excellent reputation and you’ll certainly find someone out there who has a Fender Strat that blows away anything you’ve ever heard before.
On the other hand, some of us are modding our Ibanez S Series just fine as well!
The bottom line is this:
Fenders and Ibanez each bring a lot to the table and manufacture fantastic-sounding guitars. Both come equipped with some very high-end features, such as active electronics, which let you sculpt and control the pickups and other sounds, while the simple designs make them super affordable.
Fun Fender Fact:
The Fender Stratocaster was a huge flop when it was first introduced, selling only 720 guitars in the first two years! OUCH.
Enough chit-chat, ready to rock? Let’s do a quick recap of these two guitar brands to see where they got their roots.
A Brief History of Fender Guitars
The Fender Electric Instrument Company was founded in 1938 by Leo Fender. The company began as a radio repair shop but soon began manufacturing its own radios, amplifiers, and other musical instruments.
In 1950, the company released its first mass-produced electric guitar, the Fender Telecaster, or as we all know it “the Tele”.
In ’59, the Fender Stratocaster was berthed. Leo took some pointers from actual musicians to come up with the design of the Stratocaster.
Fender also released the Jazzmaster guitar in 1959. The guitar had an offset body, a vibrato system, and innovative electronics. It was designed to capture the Jazz guitar market which until then was dominated by acoustic guitars.
Fender even promoted the Jazzmaster as a premium successor to the Stratocaster, an accolade it never fully achieved. Despite being shunned by the Jazz community, the guitar found a home in the growing surf rock music scene, one that would go on to influence the Jazzmaster’s successor, the Jaguar in 1962.
A Brief History of Ibanez Guitars
Ibanez is a Japanese guitar brand founded in 1908 as a musical instrument sales division of Hoshino Shoten, which was a Japanese brand bookstore chain! Owned by Hoshino Gakki, Ibanez is the third largest guitar brand, behind Gibson and Fender.
The company is best known for its electric guitars but also manufactures those sweet, sweet Ibanez bass guitars, acoustic guitars, effects, and other accessories.
Ibanez guitars have been produced in Japan since the late 1950s, and the company has had a long association with Steve Vai, which has resulted in the introduction of some signature models.
The 1960s brought in a weird time for Ibanez who was accused of copying the American guitar designs from Gibson and Fender. A.K.A. “The Lawsuit Period”
What was the Ibanez lawsuit about?
The Ibanez lawsuit was a lawsuit filed by Norlin Corporation, the then-parent company of both Gibson and Epiphone, in 1977.
The lawsuit was filed in reaction to Hoshino Gakki’s use of Gibson-style headstocks on its Artist series electric guitars, which were very similar to those used on Gibson’s Les Paul electric guitars.
The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court, with Hoshino Gakki agreeing to stop using the Gibson headstock design.
Comparing Ibanez and Fender Guitars
There are some distinct features that make these two guitar brands different including…
Ibanez vs Fender neck profile
The biggest difference between the two necks is the profile. The Ibanez has a flatter, thinner neck while the Fender has a more rounded, C-shaped neck.
Here are some other key differences between the two guitar brands.
- Fender guitars typically have a 9.5″ radius neck, while Ibanez guitars typically have a 17″ radius neck.
- Fender guitars typically have 22 frets, while Ibanez guitars typically have 24 frets.
Ibanez vs Fender tone
Broadly speaking, Fenders tend to have a brighter, twangier sound while Ibanez has a warmer, darker tone. This is likely due in part to the types of woods used in both guitars’ construction.
Fenders use maple for their necks and basswood or ash for their bodies, while Ibanez favors mahogany. Different pickups are also used, with Fender employing single coils and Ibanez using humbuckers.
Those Humbuckers tend to give Ibanez guitars a “beefier” sound which is why they’re often favored by metal and hard rock players. In the end, it comes down to player preference as to which brand’s tone is better.
Are Ibanez Guitars Good Quality?
Ibanez guitars are solid for beginners or seasoned vets. Most popular Ibanez models include the Ibanez RG, Ibanez Presitige, Ibanez Genesis, GIO Series, and GIO S Series. These models are budget-conscious with great sound quality yet high-end instruments for musicians in the studio, at live venues, on the road, or the solopreneur.
Ibanez makes both solid body electric guitars and semi-hollow body guitars. Whether you’re headbanging to some heavy metal or strumming a classic country rock tune, Ibanez guitars offer a wide range of versatility and bang for your buck.
Popular Ibanez Models with a Solid Body
- Ibanez RG: Known as the “Wizard”, the sorcery starts with the use of thin necks, allowing for a faster playing style. People may think Gandolf the Grey is shredding on this electric guitar.
- Ibanez RGA: Ibanez introduced fixed bridges with an arched top for added comfort, and no hand cramps while playing this bad boy.
- Ibanez S: S is for Saber! This thin-bodied beauty comes in 6, 7, and 8-string models.
Popular Ibanez Models with a Semi-hollow Body
- Ibanez Artcore Series: Geared towards guitar players not looking to spend a ton of money but also who want an affordable semi-hollow body electric guitar.
- Ibanez AK: Ibanez makes AKs?! Why yes, yes they do but these electric guitars were designed for the Jazz and Blues crews. Featuring a body designed to easily reach those higher frets, the AK guitar can be heard a mile away. It has a sharper lower body horn (toot toot) that all other Artcore guitars don’t have.
Popular Signature Electrics Guitars
- Ibanez JEM (Steve Vai Signature): First made in 1987, this guitar was used by Steve Vai. If you like the super aggro look, compared to the Stratocaster, this guitar is a great pick!
- Ibanez JS (Joe Satriani Signature): A shoutout to a classic American guitarist, this guitar is the reincarnation of the Radius Ibanez Series but with Joe’s select pickups installed.
Are Fender Guitars Good Quality?
There is no one answer to this question as there are many factors that can make a guitar good or bad. Some people might say Fender guitars are good because they are well-constructed and have a nice, rich sound. Others might say they are good because they are versatile and can be used for a variety of genres.
Really it’s up to the PLAYER to decide.
Popular Fender Guitars
Fender makes several different types of electric guitars, with the most famous ones being the Telecaster, Stratocaster, and Jaguar.
- Fender Telecaster: A classic design that is popular for its clean sound and simple controls.
- Fender Stratocaster: is a more versatile guitar that can be used for a variety of styles.
- Fender Jazzmaster: The fancier brother of the Strat
- Fender Jaguar: Known for its unique looks and innovative design.
Check out this comparison guide on the Jazzmaster vs Telecaster
The Ole’ Fender Squier
The Squier line of guitars was first introduced in 1982 in response to the lower-priced Japanese copies of Fender’s main Stratocaster and Telecaster models.
These guitars were built in Japan and quickly became popular due to their lower prices and quality construction.
Over time, the line evolved to include original model designs, and production eventually moved from Japan to various other Asian countries such as Korea, China, and Indonesia.
Ibanez vs Fender Electric Guitar Comparisons
- Ibanez JEM vs Fender American Stratocaster
- Ibanez Mikro vs Fender Mini
- Ibanez RG vs Fender Stratocaster
- Ibanez Gio vs Fender Squier
- Ibanez S Series vs Fender American Stratocaster
- Fender Ultra vs Ibanez AZ
Is Ibanez or Fender better for beginners?
Ibanez offers a wide range of guitars that are suitable for beginners with the GIO series specifically designed for beginners on a budget.
Fender’s Squire line of guitars is specifically designed for beginners and offers a variety of features that make them perfect for those just starting out. Features include lower action to make it easier to press down the strings, wider frets for easier bending, and a variety of different body styles to choose from.
It really comes down to the guitar player to decide based on the feel and your guitar play style. When in doubt, head over to your nearest guitar store to get the best feel before you invest.
So, Fender vs Ibanez? Who wins?
The battle of guitar brands: Ibanez vs Fender is over. They are both great guitar brands with a lot to offer but it really comes down to player preference as to which one is better.
Both brands have a rich history and are known for their quality construction and great sound. Even if one decided to “borrow” some ideas.
So whether you’re a beginner just starting out or a seasoned pro, there’s a guitar out there for you from either of these brands. Now you just have to start creating more Guitar Moments!