Everybody wants a high quality guitar at a low price.
But that’s impossible, right? After all: you get what you pay for.
While that is true and you will always have to make sacrifices when your budget is limited, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice quality.
You can sacrifice features as well. And if they are features you don’t need anyway, you can end up getting an amazing deal.
That is exactly what the Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21 baritone guitar gives you.
This is a stripped down instrument with limited features, which allows Ibanez to offer it at a shockingly low price, given the quality.
Is it cheap? Far from it. You’ll still be paying quite a bit. But far less than you would expect.
And what about the sacrifices? What features does it lack? Let’s check out the rest of this Ibanez RGIB21 review and find out.
Table of Contents
Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21 Review: Overview And Features
For quite some time now, the best baritone guitars have been building a following among players of different genres. The fact that they can cover lower registers without making their strings feel like rubber has made them especially popular among metal players.
And that’s exactly why Ibanez introduced their amazing RGIB21. Although it features a standard 6-string formation, there are a few important things that make this guitar so exciting, and especially interesting to modern metal guitarists. And it’s not just the features. The guitar’s design screams Metal as well.
- Iron Label RG body made of Nyatoh wood
- 3-piece maple and purpleheart neck
- 28-inch scale length
- Nitro Baritone neck design
- Jatoba fretboard with 24 jumbo frets
- EMG 81 and 60 active pickups
- Gibraltar Standard II fixed bridge
- Gotoh MG-T locking tuners
- Volume control and 3-way selector switch controls
Design And Construction
This baritone guitar has a 28-inch scale length, which is slightly longer than the standard 27 inches. The elongated neck features a 3-piece construction and a combination of maple and purpleheart wood.
It is made following Ibanez’s special slim and comfortable “Nitro Baritone” neck design, which makes your performance much easier. The guitar’s Iron Label RG body is made of Nyatoh wood, which is not very common with these kinds of guitars. It has 24 jumbo frets.
Looking at the hardware, it becomes obvious this is a real metal machine. It has two active EMG humbucker pickups: the standard 81 in the bridge position and the 60 model in the neck position.
However, the guitar comes with only one volume pot, a 3-way pickup selector switch and no other parameter controls or features. It also has a fixed bridge: the Gibraltar Standard II. This is all accompanied by Gotoh MG-T locking tuners.
With such modest features, the RGIB21 is a somewhat stripped-down guitar. But it’s really well made and it has a somewhat lower price tag.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- Really comfortable neck
- EMG pickup combination is perfect for metal music
- Quality build and simple design
- Reliable, stays in tune
- Great deal for the price
- It could use more controls; for example, at least one tone pot
Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21 Vs LsL Instruments Adam Christianson Signature
Because the Ibanez RGIB21 is metal-oriented and fairly simple, we thought we’d compare it to something completely different: a custom “boutique” type of guitar.
Made by LsL Instruments, the Adam Christiansons signature model is an exciting instrument that is well worth your attention. Since Adam is a true virtuoso from a collective like The Architects, we have no doubts about the greatness of this instrument.
The first thing you notice probably won’t have anything to do with aesthetics or features. It’ll be the price tag. To put it simply, Adam Christianson’s Signature model is pretty darn expensive, even for pro-level players.
That said, the price is more than justified. First off, the guitar is done in a true vintage “worn out” style. It has a classic Telecaster shape and the overall design makes it look almost as if it’s a real old Fender. There’s even the same type of a pickguard, as well as the control plate with a pickup selector switch, a volume pot, and a tone pot.
Since we have two baritone guitars on our hands, it’s important to compare their main trait – the scale length. While the Ibanez RGIB21 is 28 inches, this fine vintage-oriented T-style guitar is 27.5 inches. Not much of a difference, but it might be of significance to some baritone lovers.
And while both necks feature bolt-on construction, the one on the Adam Christianson model is hand-shaped, has a “Slim D” profile, and is made entirely out of maple. While we’re at it, the body is made from swamp ash, which is another vintage-oriented trait.
The pickups are also quite different on these two instruments. While the Ibanez has that classic active EMG configuration, the LsL has two hand-wired passive pickups.
Additionally, it also comes with a coil-split control, giving you the option to have those standard dual-single-coil “twangy” Telecaster tones. But even with the regular humbucker mode on, you’ll get some of that bright vintage vibe in there.
This guitar comes in handy for a plethora of musical styles. It is far more versatile than the Ibanez RGIB21. The Ibanez has a metal-oriented tone and aesthetics, as well as a significantly lower price.
In short: these are two completely different instruments. Both are a great value for their respective prices, but they fulfill very different functions. Of course, the LsL Adam Christianson Signature is a high-end guitar with some prestigious hand-made parts, making it objectively the far better instrument. But if you play metal, there is no reason for you to get it.
Check out our full LsL Adam Christianson Signature Baritone Telecaster review.
Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21: Conclusion And Rating
Baritone guitars are especially popular among metal players. And Ibanez, a Japanese guitar brand beloved by heavy metal guitarists, did a great job of satisfying this category of guitar players with their Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21 baritone guitar.
As mentioned, it is a bit disappointing that the guitar has limited features, like only one pot and one three-way pickup selector switch. A tremolo bridge would also be a great addition, but it would significantly raise the price of this instrument, too.
This guitar is a great choice for anyone who’s looking a high quality instrument and that heavy “in your face” kind of tone, at a decent price. The stripped down, straightforward design allows Ibanez to sell this high-quality metal guitar at a surprisingly low price.
But if you need something a bit more versatile that can handle classic rock, classic metal, blues, and other genres, then we’d recommend something else, like the Adam Christianson Signature, or the ESP LTD SCT 607, if you are on more of a budget.
And if you want something that plays even lower, check out Ibanez’s bass guitars. Ibanez makes excellent basses, too.
As for the RGIB21, the great value makes it one of our favorite baritone guitars, but the limited options result is a slightly lower (but still great) Musicaroo rating of 4.7 out of 5.