Ibanez GRGM21M Mikro 3/4 size mini electric guitar - Jemsite
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Ibanez GRGM21M Mikro 3/4 size mini electric guitar


I've had a bunch of Ibanez guitars new and used over years... several dozen or so but this is my first mini! My 7-year old daughter (and her younger sister) has taken great interest in music, piano and "guitar" to the point where she wants to learn how to actually play guitar. Even better is she wants to have me get her started & teach her Unfortunately they - along with any visiting friends - have taken great interest in the precious few guitars that I still own. Having musical instruments under the bed or in a case/close doesn't work for me... min are displayed & safely hung (toddler-proof) on the wall. They're not "7-year old proof" however and as the kids grow so does their ability to reach & unhook things & grab nice guitars off the wall. LOL. Instead of waiting for the inevitable crashed guitar and "i'm sorry daddy" I decided to run out and buy an "after christmas" present of a "mini" guitar for kids to play.

Once this spark went off in my head, I immediately searched Jemsite.... nothing on the forum, product reviews or product finder. Hmmm. Now the dreaded google, which in regard to products has reduced itselft to an inline, ad-infested flea-market with vendors galore, many pretending to be real customers. Google did however pull up a few sites to confirm what SIZE i should purchase.... 3/4 size scale for ages 6+ (depending on size of the child). I didn't see any in stores but you'll see some even smaller 1/2 scale "toy guitars" designed for younger kids. Ibanez, Fender, etc. do not make those size guitars.

With no reviews or solid first-hand info on these 3/4 size 22" scale guitars I knew I'd have to go to the dreaded local guitar superstores. First and most importantly was that I wanted to see the actual size of the guitar with a child holding it. I wanted to compare it to a child holding a full sized guitar as well. I also really preferred to examine... see... hold... play the guitar. The most important buying factor for a 7 year old is color/style but for me it was "can this reasonably maintain it's tuning and be a playable instrument to learn to play guitar". As a total mini guitar newb I didn't know what to expect or what I'd need to settle for. With credible reviews for the Ibanez Mikro I'd like to think I can save others from needing to shop locally but in my case online purchasing was ruled out. That also eliminated (or made the last resort) Daisy Guitar Debutante Mini series which has some cool single/double cutaway... sparkly girly models in 3/4 size.

If you've dealt with kids that age on a regular basis you have no doubt also learned to plan ahead to avoid potential land-mines. Plus I try to be considerate to kids, though not every adult mind you LOL. With time of the essence I reviewed a few guitars on the web and made a few calls to see what was in stores before going out to purchase the guitar. Based on my preliminary research here is what i narrowed it down to (expecting to pay $100-130 + tax) ...

Ibanez Mikro - locally they said "black only" which my daughter didn't like based on the superstore webcart (it's actually rather unappealing to me too). I didn't think to go to ibanez.com for useful info but in retrospect their website is more useful - who knew! - than any other site from google search. At the time of this review, Ibanez has two Mikro 2 models and a 3rd lefty version of the shark attack. They all share the same feature set with cosmetic differences (three colors for maple/dots, two colors for rosewood/sharks).

Fender Squire Mini in Black or Red. This was what I was planning to purchase as she wanted the black one with white pickguard. Not her first color choice but acceptable... she even called a friend to get her opinion. LOL.

Epiphone mini guitar (store guys had no real clue of colors, model... maybe a mini SG he said). I always disliked Epiphone as they really sucked when I was a kid but I wanted to look at them anyways. All this stuff is the same made in the same factory with slave, er. cost-effective modern labor nowadays.

Walking around the superstore - unfortunately an off-day from school where an annoying school-age drummer was thrashing a kit & beating my eardrums into submission - we immediately saw many "I want that one" full-size guitars. We kept looking as I explained those were all for too big and for adults. Tucked in the corner was a display area with mini-guitars... we saw the Squire Mini in red (color no good) and black (color good). The 3/4 guitar size was really good for the average 1st or 2nd grader (or older). Any younger and I think it would be unusual for them to be able to hold & play & learn guitar. The 3/4 size was not too big and certainly not a fit-in-your-pocket-toy-guitar with less playability than Guitar Hero for DS. I had not yet plugged-in or played them, but they felt comfortable, natural and good in your hands (sitting on obligatory stool). As I went to plug in, when we saw a HIDEOUS Ibanez mini that was quasi-resonator-like... black with a large round speaker grill under the bass pickup area by the upper horn. Puke... something no doubt straight from Ibanez of Japan corporate boardroom. "Hey guys, I ran out of gifts for my over-indulged son and we need to design a guitar like this for American superstore shoppers. Hoshino USA rejected it but what do they know!" (that is a parody guys so curb the PC stuff). There was also another Ibanez mini with those frikin brutal shark inlays! Damn those back to musical hell (the 80s) already!

I'm thinking Black strat w/ white pickguard is the ticket... but we decided to do a final walk around & last look before plugging in. Fortunately - randomly hung on the used rack - there was a brand new BLUE Ibanez Mikro, still with the protective coverings. The Blue is dark, not anything like the color that misrepresents "Jewel Blue" at ibanez.com (maybe it looks that light like that mid-day standing on the equator or certainly on a molten planet closer to the sun). This one, like all other Jewel Blue Ibanez guitars is dark Blue. It features a black pickguard and nice maple fretboard with dot inlays! No revenge of Jaws!

This was great because Blue was color she really, really wanted before we left. The color which I told her - before we got in the car - "there are no blue guitars in your size so pick black, red or we can order a Daisy when we get home and wait until next year or several weeks for it to arrive". Choices!

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Ibanez GRGM21M Mikro 3/4 size mini electric guitar

As I anticipated, the guitar was grossly out of tune and required several minutes of string stretching & proper tuning (Line6 spyder w/ built-in tuner) to be musical. Anti-Jason Bonhams had stopped playing drums but now Beavis' Grandfather was blasting a Marshall stack behind me. Just my luck! I was anticipating him trying to chisel down the salesmen for a discount and STFU. Thankfully I still managed to get the Mikro tuned, stretched, re-tuned & able to withstand heavy picking & strumming to the point where I could actually see if this is a real guitar, a cheap made-in-china toy with an Ibanez sticker, or something in between.

Let me tell you I was very pleasantly surprised and impressed by the Mikro. I am not impressed by the name though WTF is mikro with a "K" about? First off the Mikro felt great in your hands and was very easy to play. Sure I'm an adult but I've played worse $600 grown-up sized guitars without misspellings on the headstock. The humbucking only pickups actually sounded good... clean, distorted and in-between. They responded nicely to the volume knob allowing you to dial down the punch easily (kids probably should focus on the guitar not amp settings at the early stages imho). I had no familiarity with the Line6 Spider but I've been around the block enough to know they're not magical... garbage in garbage out is a rule that always applies. The Ibanez features a 3-way switch (neck only, both pickups, bridge only) which is handy and a useful tone knobs allow for even more variations in your tone & soundscape directly from the guitar. I should note the daisy mini guitars of interest have only a neck pickup (no bridge) and one of the two strat-like models lacks a tone knob. Imho that is an unnecessary omission. Shades of Ibanez leaving the locking stud set-screws out of the locking studs. ROTFLMAO.

Trying to check out the guitar reminded me you really REALLY try to avoid shopping in superstores. Extra credit for having to walk to the wind instrument dept to find someone kind enough to allow me the privilege to pay. No box, no papers, just a receipt and we're outta there. No free guitar pick but it was xmas so the kids got candy canes to get all sugar'd up :-) Back home I tuned the guitar again and we had a brief less & some playing time before bedtime. I wanted to intonate the guitar (if it's a lemon it was going back to the store ASAP) so I let the guitar settle for a few hours and really give it a once-over in a quiet setting. My strobostomp is a great tool for intonation & of course tuning.

At home - with the kids asleep - and plugged into my own equipment & amp I was even more enamored with the Mikro. This guitar has a very nice - and comfortable - bridge & very good tuners, matching that of adult guitars priced much higher. IMHO these are crucial elements as the guitar is worthless if it can't hold intonation or it's tuning. How can you learn music & melody with notes of the fretboard haphazardly going flat & sharp? The headstock has D/G & B/E string trees due to make up for the shallow-angled headstock. I could hardly put this thing down as it was effortless to play. Sure it's made in China, but as expected from a genuine Ibanez it has a professional fit & finish. The string thru-body bridge will make for quick string changes and even more crucial... each string of the bridge is fully adjustable for action (up/down height off the body using an allen wrench) and intonation (sliding forward/back using hex screwdriver). Very niiiiiiiice. As I was playing, the guitar was showing complete tuning stability to the point where 30-minutes later I called it a night... did a quick retune, wipe & put to bed on it's stand... still astonished at the quality of this guitar.

Maybe it was the reasonable cost & low expectations but I was more impressed with this Ibanez than any new Ibanez in quite some time... maybe going back to the JEM10 actually (that was the last really awesome JEM as we all know). Buying a guitar for an early-grade school child presents some obstacles (as the guitar must obviously meet their color & style desires) but this would be the first mini-guitar I'd look into... "pick one of these because unless we find something you really, really want more we're buying the Ibanez Mikro". The Ibanez Mikro is HIGHLY recommended... glen
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-06-2013, 06:49 AM
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Re: Ibanez GRGM21M Mikro 3/4 size mini electric guitar

hi jemsite,
i've just received my Ibanez GRGM21MCGB PNK miKro Pink but at the first time it was impossible to tune. So i was wondering what the tuning was for a short scale guitar. By searching on google, i've found some complaining about the tuning & staying tuned of this guitar. Now that i've read your text, i will try everything you've explained & then i let you know my experience with this instrument. I'm a real Ibanez fan but this one desappointed me a while at this time. Let see what it becomes.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 04:10 AM
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Re: Ibanez GRGM21M Mikro 3/4 size mini electric guitar

Maybe tuning problems are related with very short scale and not with tuners or defects of the instrument itself
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 03:15 PM
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Re: Ibanez GRGM21M Mikro 3/4 size mini electric guitar

I've owned these since they first came out; the quality has gotten better as far as the necks and frets, but they still use the ****tiest possible tuners. The pickups aren't bad, your choice as to replace them. I have modded a couple of mine with new tuners and invader pups. puts to shame quite a few bigger guitars for a fraction of the cost. I wish they would continue to expand the line, offering more body styles than the destroyer/iceman one-offs, or making them with better tuners!
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3/4 size , mikro , mini guitar

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