The Ibanez miKro GRGM21 is a short-scale electric guitar fitted with a pair of high output humbuckers and a versatile five-way pickup selector. It works really well as a guitar for kids, or as a travelling guitar for anyone that wants a compact guitar that’s easy to transport.
Whilst it isn’t technically a 3/4 size guitar - it’s not far off. It’s got a 22.2” scale, and the body is smaller than a full size guitar, so overall it is quite a bit smaller. This does make it an ideal choice for children that want to start out playing the electric guitar. The body is also nice and thin, with some well designed contours, making it incredibly comfortable to play standing up and sitting down, regardless of your stature.
If you’re already a guitar player, and you fancy something portable, then you’re about to have a lot of fun! The first thing you’ll notice is that everything feels quite a bit smaller than a full size guitar. There are 24 frets over the 22.2” scale, so you’re actually able to stretch out and reach more notes than you normally would, which makes for some really interesting playing. The shorter scale also means there’s less string tension, allowing for some massive bends, should you wish!
In typical Ibanez fashion, the neck is thin. Combine this with the short scale and you’ve got an incredibly easy playing guitar, furthering its suitability for young starters. More experienced players will probably find that the frets start to get a little more cramped higher up, but it’s still perfectly playable - you just wouldn’t have it as your main guitar.
In terms of sound, the Ibanez Micro GRGM21 excels at overdriven and distorted tones. If you, or whoever you’re buying for is leaning more towards playing rock music, then it’s one of the best budget small electric guitars out there.
Put through an overdriven modelling amp, the guitar covers classic rock, blues, punk and indie with ease. The bridge pickup cuts through nicely for solos, and the neck pickup is mellow and smooth. Using a high gain sound, the guitar sounds great - it’s almost comical how big you can get this small guitar to sound! You don’t get tons of clarity, but you do have to remind yourself that it’s a budget guitar, and will handle anything that someone just starting out will throw at it.
The clean tones aren’t superb, but they certainly aren’t bad - a little play around with the pickup selector will help you find what sounds right for you. We found that on a clean setting, the neck pickup on its own sounded the best, giving you a lovely warm, bluesy sound.
There are cheaper small electric guitars out there, but it’s impressive how far that little bit of extra cash goes. The build quality of the Ibanez miKro is really good. The hardware is sturdy and solid, the neck and frets felt great - the whole thing is just really well put together.
The only problem we encountered was tuning stability. Out of the box, the strings took a little longer than normal to settle in so we found ourselves having to tune up after playing quite regularly. The scale length also means you can bend more, and you don’t quite have to push down as hard (again - great for beginners), but performing these crazy bends does mean you’re tuning up more often. It’s not enough to put us off, but it’s worth mentioning.
Ibanez miKro GRGM21 review: Verdict
Overall, the Ibanez miKro GRGM21 is an excellent small electric guitar. If you’ve got a child that wants to learn to play rock on an electric, then it’s the perfect beginner electric guitar. For adults, it’s also heaps of fun as a travel or even just secondary guitar. It’s not without a few small flaws, like the tuning stability and clarity of clean tones, but the value for money it offers is superb.
Ibanez miKro GRGM21 review: Specs
- Body: Poplar
- Neck: Maple
- Fingerboard: Jatoba
- Scale: 22.2”
- Pickups: Infinity Humbuckers
- Frets: 24
- Contact: Ibanez (opens in new tab)