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Ibanez vs Schecter: Which Brand Is Best For You?

Ibanez vs Schecter: Which Brand Is Best For You?

The juggernaut Ibanez and smaller-sized Schecter have been battling for the attention of guitar players since the 80s. Being a fan of both brands with many of their guitars under my belt, I’ll help you settle the Ibanez vs Schecter debate and help you find which guitar brand suits you best.

Bottom line Upfront: While Ibanez guitars still reign with their massive name and high-end signature models, Schecter has become the go-to for Intermediate guitarists and professional players in the heavy scene.

As a brand, I give Ibanez the edge for offering a wider choice of instruments for multiple genres. For exclusively the metal world, you could find the same quality as Ibanez but at a much more reasonable price with Schecter.

You can’t go wrong with either if you are sure about the specs your guitar needs.

Ibanez vs Schecter used to be a David vs Goliath scenario, with the former being often wrongly considered a second-class guitar. Everyone knows Ibanez, even Steve Vai uses one, so they must surely be better! I might have agreed with that a few decades ago, but now I think you can’t go wrong with both. 

Built quality, comfort, and design are top-notch for both brands. The differences between the two are mostly related to the price/quality ratio and available models. You just need to know what you want in a rock guitar, and you can’t go wrong with both.

Overall, three specific areas will affect you when choosing your next guitar:

Main Differences between Ibanez and Schecter Guitar

The Main Differences between Ibanez and Schecter Guitar are:

  • Ibanez offers much more choices in guitars and basses than Schecter. If I’m looking for a jack of all trades guitar that can both shred and sound crips clean, I’d always go for Ibanez first, even though Schecter has a few models that shine in everything. Ibanez wins with its legendary archtop models even in the jazz or blues world.
  • When it comes to mid-range heavy guitars, Schecter has become my favorite brand during the last decade. Some guitars are under 1k easily compared to premium signature models, while Ibanez’s affordable models are much different than flagship ones.
  • On the advanced series, both brands battle head-on, with Schecter offering the best heavy-duty guitars while Ibanez still wins on versatility.
  • For signature models, Ibanez beats Schecter as there’s no comparison to the number of big names signed to the Japanese brand.

I’ll make my comparison more practical and analyze what I think are the best guitars of each brand for different player levels. There are plenty of other models you should check out; however, I will focus on the rock and metal instruments that best represent the brands.

Beginner Models

Schecter Omen Elite-6 Electric Guitar – Charcoal

Schecter Omen Elite-6 Ibanez vs Schecter

The beginner and intermediate mass-produced guitars from Schecter all fall under the “Diamond Series” category. This guitar particularly stands out as it’s a heavy instrument every player wishes they started playing rock and metal with.

The built quality and finish are excellent considering the price, and not that far off the next tier of mid-range instruments. You will find it super versatile with its five-way switch, even though it can sound muddy on the high gain if you don’t know how to dial your amp correctly.

I recommend the Hard Tail version, yet I’m not very fond of budget Schecter Floyd Rose systems if you consider the Floyd version. 

Schecter Omen Elite-6 Electric Guitar - Charcoal | Sweetwater

The Omen Elite-6 ups the ante over the original Omen-6 with stock pickups that are ready for action. Clean, the Schecter Heretics give you punchy, compressed rhythm tones and fluid neo-prog lead sweetness.

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Ibanez RG Standard RG450DXB Electric Guitar

We all have come across a guitarist friend bragging about his new cool-looking Ibanez RG or we were that friend. The RG standard is the ultimate budget Superstrat, even though it comes with only the basics and sometimes. 

I like the guitar’s comfortable neck and would play for hours on the high frets as a teenager without getting tired. Even though it’s not a very popular opinion, I like the middle and neck pickups more than the bridge. I feel the last one sounds thin and overly aggressive for rhythm playing, even though shredding leads might require some high-end to cut through the mix.

The best aspect of this guitar is that you can easily play an entire multi-genre setlist with it.

Ibanez RG Standard RG450DXB Electric Guitar - White | Sweetwater

The Ibanez RG450DXB solidbody electric guitar is purpose built for high-speed, low-drag shredding! It all starts with the RG body style, which is primed for players with attitude. 

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Schecter Omen Vs Ibanez RG Standard Conclusion

I vote for the Schecter Omen as the best guitar for the price. The RG is an excellent versatile lead instrument, yet it doesn’t have the rhythm chops of the Schecter nor some of its hardware and electronics qualities. 

In simpler terms, the RG feels just as expensive as it is, while the Omen feels more valuable. A characteristic that sums up the Ibanez vs. Schecter debate on budget guitars.

If you play down-tuned Metal riffs, the Schecter is an obvious choice. Where the Ibanez wins is the Floyd rose action and the clean tones, making it slightly more versatile than the Schecter for lead work and some lighter rock.

Mid-Range and Advanced Models

I believe guitar brands hold their actual value in their mid-range and advanced models. You will most likely encounter these guitar tiers in every guitar shop, which are also the ones most musicians can realistically afford.

Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR-S

Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR-S amazon

The Hellraisers guitar series ranks among the best metal instruments in the world you can afford without busting the bank. 

I love how this guitar maintains its versatility and elegance while satisfying the need for extra heavy tones. Hardware and built quality are fantastic, with just some slight details away from any signature 2000$+ guitar.

Like many guitarists, I have a love-hate relationship with Floyd Roses. Be cautious when choosing a Floyd Rose instrument, as a poor one can ruin your rhythm game. The Hellraiser C-1 balances both sides of the coin well for rhythm and lead. 

You can use this guitar on stage and feel confident about it. The only point of improvement could be the EMG pickups which are notorious for the heavy bottom end – if that is not what you are after.

Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR-S - Black Cherry | Sweetwater

When you pick up a Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR-S guitar, you'll be amazed by all of the details and finishing touches that make this a truly remarkable instrument.

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Continue reading: Our Complete Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Review.

Ibanez Prestige RG652AHMFX

Ibanez Prestige RG652AHMFX

The Prestige series legacy spans 30+ years. The name is enough to know that your Ibanez is stage and studio-ready.

This has been the easiest to play out of all the modern rock guitars I have played recently. I’m not the type of guitarist who likes to ‘fight’ the guitar, so this kind of low action is where my playing lives. 

Ibanez guitars tend to save on the pickup quality on budget models, yet on 1000$+ guitars, they are fantastic. This guitar is a tonal chameleon that can go from the single coil-y cleans to aggressive and fat distorted sounds.

What could be better is the volume pots and how they clean up the tone. There’s really no in-between setting; it’s either full-on or very low.

Ibanez Prestige RG652AHMFX - Nebula Green Burst | Sweetwater

The Ibanez crafted the RG652AHMFX Prestige solidbody electric guitar for supreme playability and great sound. The ash body's natural tonality pushes you to the forefront of a mix.

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Related read: Ibanez RGD2127FX Review.

Schecter Hellraiser vs Ibanez Prestige Final Verdict

The Hellraiser series is the best for heavy rhythm, especially modern, heavily down-tuned music – The Prestige series Ibanez, on the other hand, is a jack-of-all-trades rock and metal guitar that is especially great for lead work.

The Schecter has some impressive hardware features, yet it’s mainly focused on its purpose. Whether this is good or bad depends much on what you value from the guitar.

High-End Signature Models

There’s no room for overly technical analysis in the signature guitar world. Every model represents the artist’s name and is often the exact copy of the one they use on stage.

Ibanez is the clear winner in this area, not for the superior quality but for the wider variety of signature guitars you can choose from.

Schecter USA Signature Nick Johnston Traditional Electric Guitar

Schecter USA Signature Nick Johnston Traditional Electric Guitar

Nick Johnston is a rare gem in today’s modern technical-oriented guitar players. His style blends clean, pure melodies with groovy riffs; thus, his guitar needs to be an all-around beast to match his needs.

In my opinion, the Nick Johnston Signature Schecter is the best heavy-duty modern Strat. It is indeed a Stratocaster in the looks and most of its tone, yet it has an edge with hotter pickups and specific hardware. It can easily fit both a blues stage and a rock festival.

What I find impressive about the instrument is how bright and fully distorted chords sound due to the single coil sound. As a session musician, I can assure you need that tonal range in the studio to cut in a mix.

Schecter USA Signature Nick Johnston Traditional Electric Guitar - Atomic Green | Sweetwater

Three Schecter Nick Johnston Signature Atomic single-coil pickups give you a massive array of classic single-coil tone. 

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Ibanez Joe Satriani Signature JS1CR

Ibanez Joe Satriani Signature JS1CR

Joe Satriani perhaps started the instrumental guitar movement by taking the instrument’s sonic possibilities to another level. What Hendrix did in the 60s, Satriani followed in the 80s. His signature guitar is, on every level, a premium instrument.

It’s rare to find a guitar that can actually do everything at a high level as this Ibanez. There’s no setting apart from the jazz and extreme metal world where heads wouldn’t turn at the sight of it only. This is one of the best Ibanez guitars ever made in every sense.

Schecter Singature vs Ibanez Singature Guitars

If not the Joe Satriani signature, the Steve Vai Jem is another next-level acclaimed signature guitar that sold more copies than any Schecter.

However, I chose a Strat-shaped Schecter to show that even though Schecter is mainly a metal guitar brand, there are some versatile gems in its premium guitar catalog.

Schecter vs Ibanez 7-8 String Guitars?

Schecter 7 string

I value Schecter 7 or 8-string guitar under 1000k to be superior to any Ibanez guitar of the same price range. The brand puts much more focus on modern metal than Ibanez and, in a sense, is a niche they excel at.

For anything above the 1000$ mark, both brands do a fantastic job on multi-string instruments.

Why Is Ibanez More Popular Than Schecter?

The answer is simple: Ibanez has been around for much longer than Schecter in the rock community. When Schecter started as a repair shop, Ibanez took over the booming humbucker-packed Superstrat market by endorsing all the major stars. 

Schecter later became a custom-only guitar manufacturer and only decided to enter the mainstream guitar market years after. 

Who plays Ibanez Guitars?

Steve Vai

Ibanez’s signature artists are more popular than Schecters. Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Pat Metheny, Paul Stanley, John Scofield, and John Scofield are among the many who have signature models. 

Having artists from the rock, blues, metal, and even jazz world helped the brand become widely popular beyond the heavy scene.

Who plays Schecter Guitars?

Schecter has some big names as well. Mark Knopfler, Ritchie Blackmore, Synyster Gates, and Pete Townshend played Schecter guitars. 

However, they never got the notoriety Ibanez had. When heavy metal and shred guitar were at their peak, Ibanez got there first.

Other Brands To Consider

Washburn

Ibanez and Schecter are not the only brands fit for shredders. Many other US and foreign companies with similar popularity as Schecter offer quality instruments that rival Ibanez.

  • Suhr Guitars is my favorite modern brand that offers premium, great all-around versatile instruments. The best way I describe Suhr guitars is Stratocasters on steroids! 
  • Washburn is a fine choice for beginner and intermediate guitars with a few premium gems. If you hear of Nuno Bettencourt, you know what to expect from Washburn.
  • Charvel is another high-end guitar manufacturer responsible for another modern variation of the ultimate Super Strat. Each guitar is unique and assured to deliver at a high price matching the quality.

FAQs

Question: Are Ibanez Acoustic Guitars Worth It?

Answer: Ibanez acoustic guitars are ideally suited for the gigging rock musician who needs an easy-to-play guitar with a decent plugged-in tone. They are not guitars I’d pick in the studio to record as they mostly lack the big body richness of, say, a Martin.

Question: Where are Ibanez guitars Made?

Answer: Premium guitars are produced in Japan, while budget models and mid-range ones are in Indonesia and China.

Question: Where are Schecter Guitars Made?

Answer: Custom shops and some high-end Schecter models are still made in the US. All other guitars are made in Korea, apart from low-priced ones in Indonesia, Vietnam, and China.

Final Verdict Ibanez vs Schecter

Sometimes we must look for the thing we need, not the one we want. My goal is to guide you to the brand that best suits your playing, and hopefully, you will find yourself in one of the guitars listed above.

If you are into modern heavy music that prioritizes rhythm over lead, I’d recommend Schecter mid-range and advanced guitars for their price/quality ratio. On the other hand, if you want a guitar that steps more into guitar solos and sometimes clean sounds, Ibanez guitars of the same price tier are best for you.

As a beginner, I would completely go for Schecter as I find the built quality superior at those price points.