I wanted to buy a ¾-size travel electric guitar. Following is a comparison of the main options on the market from Squier and Ibanez.
I already have five guitars — that is more than the number of songs that I can play! I wanted to add an electric guitar to my collection. My requirements were:
- ¾-size electric guitar — I wanted my daughter to be able to play this instrument; I will treat it as a travel-size guitar for myself
- brand name guitar — I did not want some unknown brand that fell off the back of a Chinese boat
- hard tail bridge — I did not want a whammy bar because whammy bars on student-level instruments are renown for playing havoc with tuning
- twin humbuckers — I like the fat sound of twin humbucker guitars, rather than single coils.
I looked at many brands, but most either did not have ¾-size electric guitars as part of their model range; or their instruments were unsuitable. I eventually narrowed the choice down to two guitars from Squire and Ibanez.
Squier Mini Strat guitar
The Fender Squier Mini-Strat seems to be the most popular guitar on the market for young beginner guitarists. It seems that every guitar shop has starter packs available, as well as the instruments for sale separately.
The Squier Mini Stratocaster is the ¾-size version (22 ¾” scale length) of the Squier Bullet Strat. The Mini Strat has three single-coil pick-ups and five-way switching, as well as a master volume and tone. According to the Fender USA web site, the Squier Mini Strat has a hard tail bridge and medium frets, a laminated hardwood body with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard.
The Squier Mini-Strat would have been the ‘safe’ guitar to buy. My daughter’s school instrumental program has several of these instruments for students to use.
While people may have an issue with the quality of some instruments, overall, it is hard to argue with the choice. There are many horror stories online about the quality of Squier guitars, but I am sure they are the small minority.
Recommended retail is $229, but you will find them on special for significantly less online.
Ibanez miKro guitar
Before I started searching, I did not realise how highly regarded Ibanez instruments are, nor that the company made a ¾-size electric guitar with twin humbuckers. The miKro is a ¾-size (22″) guitar inspired by the classic 1987 “Ibanez Rebirth” RGs.
Ibanez Australia only imports the miKro GRGM21M models and the miKro GSRM20 bass. Internationally, there are several other Ibanez MiKro models available, including left handed, a rosewood fretboard and different body shapes.
The Ibanez miKro GRGM21M has a maple neck, basswood body, medium frets, a hardtail bridge and twin humbuckers. The guitar has three-way switching, as well as a master volume and tone.
Recommended retail is $279, but you will usually find them on special for significantly less online.
And the winner is?
I have an Ibanez MiKro on order from Ellaways Music. The store is an authorised Ibanez dealer.