Finding an entry-level guitar that manages to balance price and decent sound output is harder than it may seem. You’d think that finding something basic is an easy process, but there are models out there that just look and sound cheap.
Nobody wants that. But what they might want is to know how the Ibanez Mikro and the Squier Mini manage to be two items that have succeeded in meeting their client’s halfway, with solid promises and good results.
Ibanez Mikro Pros
- Different finish options.
- Neck and bridge pickups controlled separately.
- Solid hardware for regular guitar use.
- Smooth bass sound.
- Stable lower notes.
Ibanez Mikro Cons
- Not the best tonewood choice.
- Basic hardware.
Squier Mini Pros
- Sturdy build quality.
- A lot of extra goods.
- Replica of the Fender Strat.
- Light and bright tones.
Squier Mini Cons
- Single tone knob.
- As an electric guitar, might not be the best kids choice.
Taking a Closer Look
When dealing with two entry-level products, expectations going into the specs and features are never really that high. However, both the Ibanez and the Squier have ultimately made their point in demonstrating that inexpensive isn’t always that bad. You can’t expect to the same performance and sound versatility that you get from a guitar that costs thousands of dollars, but the features on these two guitars have definitely given us something to talk about.
Ibanez Mikro Sqiure Mini
• 28.6-inch scale neck • 22.75-inch scale neck
• Rosewood fretboard • Rosewood fretboard
• Knobs for tone, bridge, and neck volume • Knobs for tone and volume
• Characterized by smooth bass • Characterized by light and bright tones
Body & Neck
The body of the Ibanez Mikro is pretty much what you’d expect to see in an Ibanez guitar. The contours stay the same as other we’ve seen in the GSR line. It’s made with Agathis as a tonewood, which is neither the cheapest, nor the most expensive option, but rather one that gets the job done. The guitar is available in a wide variety of colors, so the chances of finding one with the finish of your choice are quite high.
The neck of the Mikro has a 28.6-inch scale. This makes the neck shorter compared to the average bass scale. Other than that, it doesn’t stray too much from the already-known Ibanez standard as far as guitar necks are concerned, being made with a rosewood fretboard that features pearl dot inlays.
The Squier Mini, on the other hand, combines basswood with a C-shaped maple neck, in order to create a product with really good build quality. The 22.75-inch scale length indicates that this might just be the right choice for both kids, as well as beginners. The guitar is a mix of basswood and maple, all wrapped up in a very attracted curved body. The solid sonic attach is what every guitar player hopes for in such a product.
In the end, it’s all about the sound, so comparing two different guitars automatically implies that we should discuss the output and the audio results. Since we’re dealing with a bunch of entry-level guitars, we didn’t really expect much performance in terms of sound versatility and quality of audio output. Boy, were we wrong…
When you find the Ibanez Mikro’s sweet spot, it’s almost unbelievable to think how little money it cost you. The dual neck and bridge pickups offer a lot of sound versatility, allowing players to fine tune the knobs to get the audio sweet tunes they were hoping for. The bass has a very smooth sound to it, but lower notes still manage to stay stable.
As for the Squier Mini, it’s safe to say that surprises didn’t hesitate to come. If you were looking for an entry-level guitar that manages to replicate the Fender Strat, you got it. The tone is light and bright, with that extra punch that people are looking to get. The basses are warm and the highs are clear. In fact, the clarity of the tones is one of the greatest strengths of this product. Despite the fact that this is a guitar for beginners, there is plenty of room to fiddle with the different sound output, helping players take one extra step towards finding the style that best defines them.
When talking hardware, you pretty much know where you stand the minute you analyze how much a guitar is sold for. Since the Ibanez Mikro is an entry-level guitar, you can expect the standard choices as far as hardware is concerned.
The guitar’s bridge features saddles on one side, ones that are fully adjustable. Overall, the hardware of the Mikro is designed for regular use and doesn’t really have any details that might bring it to the attention of any professional player.
The Ibanez sports an additional single coil located at the bridge, plus a Std. J pickup up at the neck. These two can be controlled by the elementary dials that fine tune the tone and volume. An interesting thing to point out is that the neck and bridge pickups have separate volume knobs, which automatically adds more versatility to the sound.
The Squier Mini is another standard product from a hardware point of view. You get a five-way switch that’s combined with three single-coils.
There’s a standard volume knob, paired with a single tone knob that allows the player to fiddle with different frequencies. Other hardware features of the Squier Mini are the six die-cast tuners, plus the extra goodies that are delivered together with the guitar, such as: a detailed instruction book for beginners, a cleaning cloth, a set of picks, a clip-on tuner, plus the indispensable guitar strap.
Conclusion: Mikro or Mini?
If you’re looking to get an entry-level guitar that’s perfect for a beginner, you’ll have your hands full with choosing between the Mikro and the Mini. Ibanez has managed to create a low-end guitar that delivers high-end results for a very reasonable price. It’s just the right balance between price and performance, making it one of the top 5 best electric guitars for beginners.
On the other side of the negotiation table, you find the Squier Mini, a beginner’s guitar that comes with a lot of extra goodies. Also suitable for children, the Mini is a great option for people who want an inexpensive guitar, but one that gives them enough versatility to experiment with different types of sound before deciding to spend money on a more top-of-the-line guitar.
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