Ibanez GRG121DX Review & Prices

Ibanez GRG121DX Review
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  • From Ibanez's 2020 RG series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 16" Fretboard Radius
  • Poplar body
  • Maple neck
  • Purpleheart fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: IBZ-6 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: IBZ-6 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • F106 bridge
  • GRG Bolt-On neck
  • 24 Jumbo frets
  • Ibanez tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 75
Sound 66
Build quality 49
Value for money 73
Overall Score 63
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Ibanez GRG121DX
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $400, which means that the Ibanez GRG121DX is around 43% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Pickups power

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Ibanez GRG121DX meets 4 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not bad for beginners, but it could be better. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Ibanez GRG121DX
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Ibanez GRG121DX's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Ibanez GRG121DX's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Ibanez GRG121DX Scale Length Comparison
Ibanez GRG121DX's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Ibanez GRG121DX Neck Profile
Ibanez GRG121DX's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Ibanez GRG121DX's neck thickness is approximately 0.77'' (19.6mm) at the first fret, and 0.85'' (21.6mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Ibanez website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a GRGR type neck. This neck is used mainly in Ibanez's mass production guitars, and it's very similar to the Wizard profile in terms of shape and thickness. It's thinner than the C profile that most people prefer. The idea is to give players the least interference from the neck when playing fast. It's the type of neck that shredders love. However, some people might prefer a thicker neck that allows them to wrap their hands around it for resting while playing.

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Ibanez GRG121DX has a 16" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Ibanez GRG121DX Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Ibanez GRG121DX's fretboard radius compared to others

This fretboard radius is really different than Stratocasters, but it's also a lot flatter than Les Paul fingerboards. It'll heavily favor soloing over playing chords. This doesn't mean you can't use it for chords, but it will be more comfortable to play chords without muting strings in a more curved fretboard. Bending and sliding without losing sustain will also be more likely in a flat fretboard like this one.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Ibanez GRG121DX has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Ibanez GRG121DX
This model
25.5'' Scale Length
GRGR Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
16'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
26.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.614'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Ibanez GRG121DX Nut Width
Ibanez GRG121DX Nut Width

The Ibanez GRG121DX has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Ibanez GRG121DX has 24 frets. A lot of people mistakenly believe that having more frets will always be better because it gives you a higher octave. This is certainly an advantage, but there's also a disadvantage to this.

Since the fretboard will be longer, the neck pickup will need to be placed closer to the bridge. And as you may know, the further away the neck pickup is from the bridge, the warmer it sounds. This means you'll have a brighter-sounding neck pickup when using a 24-fret guitar, even if you use the same pickup on a 22-fret guitar.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Ibanez GRG121DX Fret Size Comparison
Ibanez GRG121DX's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Ibanez GRG121DX's frets are Jumbo size. This is a tall fret size that is becoming increasingly popular because it makes it easier to press down the strings cleanly. With this fret size, you won't feel the fretboard when playing, so if you press down too hard, you will get the notes out of pitch. However, this is something you can overcome by getting used to the taller size.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 50
Solo Playability 90
Playability 75

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Poplar wood pattern used for guitar building
Poplar Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Purpleheart wood pattern used for guitar building
Purpleheart Fretboard

Poplar Body: It's similar to Alder in terms of tone as it has a fat low-end with strong mids, but it's a lot cheaper and softer. It's a bit heavier so it's mostly used for tops.

Maple Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Purpleheart Fretboard: Also known as Amaranth, it's a hard, dense wood with a brilliant tone. As its name suggests, the purple color makes this wood look exotic.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Ibanez GRG121DX's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More with the same pickups

Ibanez GRG121DX
This model
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
IBZ-6 Bridge Pickup
IBZ-6 Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
IBZ-6 Bridge Pickup
IBZ-6 Neck Pickup

Versatility

It gives you a good amount of tone options with its 5-way switch. You can use it to choose at least 5 different pickup combinations.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Ibanez GRG121DX pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Ibanez GRG121DX's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 55
Sustain 80
Versatility 62
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 66

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Ibanez GRG121DX is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Still, remember that we're taking about Ibanez here, which is a brand with good renown. They know how to use cheap labor in this country without sacrificing too much quality. So you shouldn't end up receiving a useless or ugly instrument.

Bridge

F106: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Ibanez GRG121DX has a Plastic nut. This is a low-quality nut that you might want to consider upgrading soon. Bone and TUSQ nuts are the best for guitars with a fixed or simple tremolo bridge.

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 41
Features 50
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 49

All Specs

Ibanez GRG121DX
General
Brand: Ibanez
Year: 2020
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: RG
Colors: Black, Brown
Left-Handed Version: Yes
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Poplar
Bridge: F106
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Ibanez
Fretboard: Purpleheart
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: White Sharktooth
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: GRG
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.77'' (19.6mm) - 12th Fret: 0.85'' (21.6mm)
Frets: 24 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 16"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 5 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: IBZ-6 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: IBZ-6 (Humbucker / Passive)

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User Reviews

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Your Rating:

1 user reviews:

25woodlke profile picture
25woodlke
08/08/23 11:13:55

good for its price.

not recommended for high-speed shredding, however down tune it really low and its good for chunky breakdowns