I’d recently been looking for a new guitar to add to my humble home collection and headed over to TOMS Heritage Square for some treasure hunting. I had a basic idea of what I was looking for but the lines became quite blurry once I entered the store. There are just too many temptations to keep a rubber arm straight in this store. Had I not found the Ibanez I’d been eyeing online so swiftly, I could have happily lost myself in the endless rails of top-tier instruments.
I’d originally heard about the GRX40 during a recording session some time ago. As a producer, I needed to find a single guitar that could be used by different players regardless of genre or style. The GRX40 comes with a maple neck that is incredibly welcoming on the hands, which makes it ideal for long hours of practice or performing.
My first impressions of this guitar were a healthy mix of delight and genuine surprise. The poplar wood used in the body gives the guitar a resoundingly bright and vibrant tone, and I could barely feel the GRX40’s load around my neck during the first few minutes of play. There is marvellous balance in the way this guitar hangs off the shoulder, which allows your left hand to navigate the jatoba wood fretboard with ease.
As mentioned earlier, I needed a guitar that offered diversity as much as it did reliability. I’d been particularly curious about the GRX40’s 5-way pickup selector system. Each setting in this system has its own distinct identity, which is great for players that don’t use massive pedal chains. This particular model provides such a healthy spectrum of tones – from smooth warmth at the neck to sharp attack at the bridge. Ibanez generally builds their guitars using their own signature pickups, and this is part of what I enjoy about their guitar crafting ethos.
My favourite part of this guitar’s setup is the six screws synchronized tremolo arm. The arm itself sits at just the right position for quick reach while strumming, and generates the exact type of pressure I need for smooth note bending. I tend to use tremolo generously while playing, and the GRX40 took everything I had to give in our first few minutes of jamming.
I foresee a broad scope of guitarists enjoying the GRX40, from teachers and session musicians to students and hobbyists. It provides excellent bang for its buck and I tend to believe it could compete with most popular models in terms of playability and sound quality. My favourite instruments are the hidden gems, the unsung heroes, the underdog – the Ibanez GRX40 graciously fills those shoes.