I'm looking for a travel / practice guitar and came across the Mikro. I like the idea of it set up the way the Nomad was but I hear the smaller size is hard to get use to and not built very well. Is this model crap?
The GRG Mikro series is a scaled-down version of the GRX and GRG Ibanez's. The GRXs and GRGs are simply modified RGs without the fancy trem and pickups systems, but they still sound great and their build quality is equal to any other Ibanez guitar. The GRG Mikro is the same as these two but just smaller, and therefore shares the same build quality.
Definitely better than any other scaled-down model out there.
It's the lowest-end series Ibanez makes. It's intended to be a beginner's guitar, and the hardware is not exactly "prestige" grade. If you're used to playing an RG, this one will not impress you. As a 3/4 scale guitar for little kids with small hands, it's fine. As a practice guitar for an experienced adult, I'd think twice.
That said, it's a cool looking little guitar. If they'd had these when my kid started playing, I'd have bought her one instead of the Squire Mini. That guitar was low-end too, but you gotta start somewhere. With a few upgrades, it'd be passable as a practice guitar for cramped quarters, but it wouldn't be my choice.
The tuners are crap and the neck (or neck joint) are extremely pliable, requiring a soft touch. But if you're willing to drop $40 on new tuners (plus the time to install) and a decent intonation, it's a passable 3/4 scale guitar, certainly reasonable for $200.
With a good setup and new tuners it's a "fair" guitar that I feel good letting my 7-year-old bang around. As a practice guitar... i would not be content playing it. The space savings over a full-size guitar just don't justify the difference in quality to my 560 or 570s.
I agree that the tuners are crap, I bought this for my 8 year old son for christmas. I have thought about replacing the tuners, but he only plays it for 30-60 minutes a day. Plus he is getting good at tuning it, because it needs to be tuned just about every time he picks it up. So for now I will leave it be, maybe down the road I might replace the tuners, but if he sticks with it I might just invest the extra cash into a new guitar.
I do strongly recommend upgrading the tuners, even for an 8-year-old. It's hard enough to learn to play on an in-tune instrument, much less one that is constantly out of tune. The higher ratio of a good set of replacement tuners also makes it easier to get it in tune in the first place, and the tuning stability is dramatically better. Before changing tuners, my son's would drop out of tune in a matter of minutes. Now, it still requires adjustment each time you pick it up but then stays on pitch for 30-60 minutes.
I used a set of (new) Gotoh sealed inlines with Schaller buttons. The peg holes do need to be enlarged from stock to 10mm (13/32") and I would recommend a reamer rather than a standard drill for the best possible results (to minimize damage to finish & tear-outs). Orienting the tuners perfectly perpendicular to the headstock edge would require filling the old mounting screw hole on the back of the headstock and drilling a new one. However, if you are OK with having the tuners at a slight angle, it is possible to reuse an existing hole to secure the new tuners (see below).