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PRS Vs Ibanez Guitars: Which Brand Is Better [2021 Guide]

If you’re curious about PRS vs Ibanez guitars, this post is for you! I own an Ibanez acoustic and electric guitar.

And although I don’t own a PRS guitar, I’m familiar with them and thought I’d compare these brands here on the blog.

Also, I have plenty of other brand comparisons here on the blog if you want to check them out like:

PRS Vs Ibanez: PRS Guitars

Formed and still led by Paul Reed Smith, PRS Guitars is a popular guitar manufacturer. Starting their work in the mid-1980s, they focused on combining Fender and Gibson qualities in their instruments.

It took some time, but these guitars eventually gained mainstream recognition. With great playability and a decent variety of tones, a PRS guitar is still a great alternative to “standard” Gibson and Fender models.

PRS guitars also have their own unique design features not present on either Fender or Gibson instruments.

Overall, these can be defined as “general purpose” guitars. You’ll see blues, jazz, rock, and even metal players using the same PRS model. Of course, there’s also a variety in their vast arsenal of models.

Best PRS Series and Models

The first guitar that they released in 1985 was the PRS Custom. It set the standard for all of their premium guitars that came later. After it came the PRS Standard, which was a factory guitar, not a hand-made one.

These days, they have plenty of series and models to offer including:

  • Custom 24
  • Custom 22
  • CE24
  • McCarty
  • SE
  • S2
  • Signature
  • Limited Edition
Check out this video to get a sense of the range of PRS guitars and their sound.

Some of the highest-quality guitars are from their Custom 24 series. These have been in production since the very beginning. They’re often described as “Les Paul and Strat hybrids.” They feature the classic PRS double-cutaway shape, 25-inch scale length, and high-quality wood. Current Custom 24 models come with PRS’s 85 and 15 humbucker pickups and a 5-way switch.

At the other end of the spectrum is the SE, or “Student Edition,” which is one of their cheapest models. Despite their price, they make for good starter instruments. SE models are made in Korea, and the SE 245, SE Custom 24-08, and SE Standard 24 are some of the series’ most popular models.

S2 guitars are US-made but are cheaper than the Custom 24 series. You can get a sense of the S2 sound in the video below.

Meanwhile, signature and Limited Edition guitars are their highest-end series.

Famous PRS Guitarists

As years go by, the list of famous PRS guitarists is getting bigger. Some of the best-known ones include:

  • Carlos Santana
  • Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge)
  • Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge)
  • Mark Holcomb (Periphery)
  • Zach Myers
  • John Mayer
  • Mark Lettieri
  • Alex Lifeson
Here’s Mark Tremonti playing on a PRS live!

Apart from Myles Kennedy, all of these musicians have their signature models.

PRS Vs Ibanez: Ibanez

Ibanez’s origins go back to the early 20th century. But the company as we know it today started working in 1957. During the 1960s and the 1970s, they produced cheap Fender, Gibson, and Rickenbacker copies.

But they also had their unique designs as well. These included the Iceman and Roadstar series. Eventually, the company focused more on original designs than knockoffs.

Ibanez’s golden age started in the late 1980s and the 1990s. They were one of the first companies to mass-produce “Super Strat” guitars. This came to life after they collaborated with Steve Vai.

Vai’s JEM and Universe series started getting serious attention. This was also the case with the RG series, which were cheaper alternatives.

In the 1990s, their 7-string guitars became really popular after the guys from Korn started using them. Eventually, Ibanez was a synonym for virtuosic guitars.

But they still had plenty of other types of models. This included hollow-body and regular simple solid-body guitars. These days, Ibanez’s arsenal includes anything from the cheapest to the most expensive models. But no matter the cost, almost all of their stuff is worth the price.

They also became famous for extended-range guitars and the use of Floyd Rose bridges. You’ll also often see them with flatter fretboard radiuses, jumbo frets, and other virtuoso-friendly features.

Best Ibanez Series and Models

Today, Ibanez has plenty of sub-brands and series. The most exclusive sub-brands are Ibanez J. Custom and Ibanez Prestige. If you want the best of the best, these are for you. Ibanez Gio, on the other hand, is a sub-brand of some of the cheapest guitars.

You can get a better sense of the Ibanez Prestige series in this video!

Many consider Ibanez’s RG series the “standard.” But they have plenty of models spanning cheaper stuff, like RG530DXZ, to expensive stuff that falls into the Prestige sub-brand category.

Famous Ibanez Guitarists

The list of big Ibanez guitarists is pretty long. We’ll just mention some of them, as well as their signature series or models:

  • Joe Satriani – JS
  • Steve Vai – JEM, Universe
  • Paul Stanley (Kiss) – PS10
  • Jake Bowen (Periphery) – JBM
  • Paul Gilbert – PGM, PGMM, FRM
  • Herman Li (DragonForce) – S, E-Gen
  • Munky and Head (Korn) – K7
  • Pat Metheny – PM
  • John Scofield – JSM
  • Reb Beach (Whitesnake) – RBM
  • Nita Strauss – JIVA
  • George Benson – GB

PRS vs Ibanez

Both PRS and Ibanez have unique qualities that might make one more attractive to another for a particular guitarist.

However, Ibanez is a much larger company than PRS. This comes with its pros and cons. For instance, you have a wide choice of models with Ibanez. Regardless of your budget or preferred genre, you can likely find an Ibanez guitar to fit it.

On the other hand, a smaller company like PRS has more capacity to focus on quality and consistency. In fact, many online reviewers praise PRS for the consistent quality of their instruments.

That said, as far as the high-end guitars go, it’s pretty much a tie. Some Ibanez Prestige models, however, are a bit more versatile. Either way, both PRS and Ibanez make pro guitars, and you can’t go wrong with either them.

As for less expensive models, Ibanez has a wider option of instruments. Also, the cheapest Korean-made PRS models are priced more similarly to mid-range instruments. But an average SE model really outperforms its price.

Should I Get a PRS or an Ibanez?

Because of Ibanez’s popularity, it’s easier to get your hands on one of these instruments. Furthermore, you can likely find an inexpensive model that will get the job done.

Overall, Ibanez focuses on ergonomic qualities, and they’re more popular among metal musicians. Meanwhile, PRS guitars are usually common among rock, hard rock, and blues players.

Here’s DragonForce’s Herman Li shredding an underwater guitar solo on his Ibanez:

So if your main focus is metal and you’re on a budget, Ibanez is the way to go. Even the cheapest ones will do. Going towards the $1000 mark, PRS seems like a more reliable choice.

If you need a pro-level instrument, then it’s a much trickier topic. However, PRS usually focuses on old-school traits while Ibanez often has more modern features like two-point floating tremolos, thin necks, lighter bodies, and flatter fretboards.

So choose accordingly.

PRS vs Ibanez: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you get a sense of the differences between PRS and Ibanez guitar brands.

And if you have any other questions on this topic, feel free to let me know in the comments!

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