So, you're in the market for a 3/4 size electric guitar and you've narrowed it down to an Ibanez Mikro vs Squier mini. I can tell you you've picked two of the best available, but which is better for your needs?
Even amongst each brand, there is quite a difference between models. This makes it a little difficult to pick out a clear winner.
We have compared every Mikro and Squier Mini model against each other in this post so you can make an informed decision.
In short, we rate the Paul Gilbert signature Mikro as our favorite.
Yet, The Stratocaster model from Fender is no slouch either and outshines the Mikro on the clean channel.
Take a look at the reviews below to compare what makes each of these guitars great.
As mentioned earlier these are the two most popular models from each manufacturer. They cost roughly the same amount too so this is where we will start our comparisons.
Smaller guitars often have tuning issues. These guitars still aren't perfect, but compared to some of the competition, they do a good job of holding tune.
Both of these guitars are available with either a maple or rosewood fretboard. These are both quality tonewoods for budget guitars. This choice also allows you the option of which tonal qualities you like better. Maple for bright - and rosewood for mellow.
The finish on these guitars is okay, nothing to get super excited about. However, they are both available in a range of cool colors to suit your personality and room decor.
These have humbucking pickups with a 5-way switch. This setup makes them turn into single coils with certain settings. In turn, the tonal range is a little more versatile than the Fender.
The humbuckers are also better for creating heavy distortion with the right gear. You won't catch someone playing djent on a single-coil pickup strat!
On the other hand, the GiO series is quite capable of getting down and dirty. With the extra reach over the 24 frets you get from the short-scale neck, you can shred like crazy.
I do believe the Squier Minis will eventually come in an HSS (1 Humbucker and 2 single coils) configuration, but for now, they only have SSS. If they do make an HSS model, Squier will be able to compete with Ibanez for distortion. For now, the Ibanez is much better.
The Mikro also has better inlays than the Squier. The GRG Mikros has shark tooth inlays when compared to the standard dot inlays on the Fenders.
The single-coil pickups in the strat make for better clean tones than the Mikro. There is also a 5-way switch for these.
You do get a fairly wide range of tones, but the lack of humbucking pickups prevents it from getting huge with distortion.
I found the tuning stability to be a little better with these guitars. Yet, that may have also been because I was doing more pitch bends and such when I had my hands on the Mikro. Overall, I would still be comfortable to say the Fender does hold tune a little better.
These are the closest thing you can get to a 'real' Fender in a short-scale guitar. If you love the Strat shape this is the best one you can get.
I like the GiO better, but, the Strat won't disappoint if you prefer a Fender shape and an American tone.
There is honestly not a lot between these two. They are similar enough that I can tell you to go with which one you like the look of best.
Unless you are a metalhead, in which case you will want the Ibanez. If there were an HSS Strat that would win hands down, but until that option comes along, go for the Mikro.
The Paul Gilbert signature model is an upgraded version of the GiO. If you were tossing up before, this could be the Mikro that swings you toward Ibanez.
These have a much more premium finish on them. They blow the others out of the water in terms of aesthetics.
The reverse headstock actually seems to help the tuning issues I mentioned in the GiO models. So much so, that it is comparable to the Fender now.
The Paul Gilbert models are a little more expensive than the GiO and Mini Stratocaster but not so much that they will make your hair stand up. I think it's worth it just for the improved paint, let alone the better pickups and tuning stability.
With its similarities to the GiO, this is obviously still our choice over the Fender. In fact, these guitars are our favorite 3/4 electric guitar overall.
With that in mind, the Squier does still win out on the clean channel. It could be the better option depending on your needs.
The PGS Ibanez guitar also only has one tone control/volume knob. This makes it a little harder to work with than the extra tone controls on the Fender. If you like to keep it simple, this shouldn't be a problem.
I won't be separating the Mikro series into two separate reviews in this case as they are both clear winners over the Jazzmaster.
All of these guitars have a versatile tonal range with their 5-way pickup selectors.
The Jazzmasters come in a range of nice pastel colors while the Ibanez guitars have plenty of bright colors. Neither is better, just different.
These both play well, a good action straight out of the box with minimal fretting issues. You can expect that standard of quality from these brands with any of their products.
The problem is, the Jazzmasters have TERRIBLE tuning issues. As I mentioned earlier, it is a common problem for short-scale guitars. However, it is a bad enough issue with the Jazzmaster to warrant changing the machine heads.
If you need to spend money buying new tuners and getting someone else to install them for you the cost can add up.
It's true that every one of the guitars we talk about in this article would benefit from better tuning pegs. But, at least you can play the others for a while without coming straight out of tune.
These do have a great tone to them. If they could stay in tune they would be a fantastic little guitar. Perhaps changing out the tuners is possible for you. In which case, you will have an awesome playing and aesthetically pleasing guitar.
Go for an Ibanez Mikro guitar due to the aforementioned tuning issues. Unless you really love the Jazzmasters look. In which case, you could look into installing new machine heads.
If you are in the market for a short-scale bass guitar these are definitely among the two best options.
Both of these have greater tuning stability than their guitar counterparts. Still not perfect but they are definitely acceptable to gig with.
Although the Ibanez is more expensive both of these have a fantastic quality to cost ratio.
These have 3 pickups and tone pots for complete control over your sound. This offers more tonal variety than the Squier.
The smooth action over the maple neck feels like a premium bass that costs much more. The playability is superior on this bass but not mind bendingly so. The Fender is still very good.
The semi-translucent paint job on these looks and feels a lot more premium than the block colors on the P-Bass Mini.
This is about 30% cheaper than the Ibanez and still sounds as good. If not for the lack of extra pickups this could even be the standout.
Some may prefer the classic vibe of a pickguard over block colors. There's something appealing to a traditional look, especially if it saves you a bit of money ;).
The Ibanez offering comes out on top again. It also comes out on top in price though. If you wanted to save some money, the P-Bass is also a decent electric bass that won't let you down.
Although it is not advertised as a 3/4 guitar the scale length of an Epiphone Les Paul Express is comparable to these guitars. If you like Les Pauls these could be a good choice for you. They are actually pretty decent for their price.
If you like metal you could go for a Jackson Minion Series guitar. Not only are the pickups in these tuned for heavy distortion, but they also come in a range of cool neon colors that scream '80s hair metal. They're also available in a Rhoades shape which is unseen from any other brand.
Check out our full reviews for our favorite 3/4 scale electric guitars here.
Different manufactures can call their guitars various sizes like 3/4, 2/3, or even 1/2. When it comes to electric guitars there is no real definition of what length is which and they are often arbitrary. For instance, A Squier mini is not actually 3/4 the size of a full-size Strat.
The term short scale guitar is a way to encompass all of these different sizings under one roof.
Personally, I would go for an acoustic guitar. These electrics do take up less space but you are unable to play them loud without an amp. You can compare our picks for all 3/4 guitars here.
I don't see the point of taking a guitar that you can't play to others. That is just me though. If you only want to use them for practice or at a venue then these will be great travel guitars.
These guitars often come with gig bags not hard cases though. So, make sure you can take them as carry-on luggage with your airline in advance.
Short-scale guitars are easier on the fingertips of beginners but they will also train you to make chord shapes on their smaller frets.
These would be perfectly fine to use as a beginner but may make it more difficult to play other guitars.
Once you get a roll on this shouldn't be an issue though.
If you have small hands or are buying for a kid these are a very smart choice.
If not, I would actually opt for a full-size beginner electric guitar and get a 3/4 guitar as a second guitar to travel with later.
Ibanez Mikro Guitars are better for distortion due to their humbucker pickup configuration.
The Squier Strat is an awesome short scale guitar for your clean channel.
I would be happy picking up either of these guitars and I am sure you would too.
The Paul Gilbert signature models are a little better than the GiO Mikro guitars if you have a bigger budget.
You should avoid the Jazzmaster Mini guitars due to their tuning issues.
Apologies for not giving you a definitive answer to "buy x guitar" as it depends on your needs. If you are still not 100% sure, go for an Ibanez GiO.
For basses, pick up the Ibanez, unless you want to save a little money then the P-Bass will also do a fine job.
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