AR200 Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 03/31/2015 category: Electric Guitars
Ibanez: AR200
The AR200 has the original thicker body shape of the '70s Artist models, to get the original fat Mahogany tone that first put the artist on the map. The Ibanez Artist was one of Ibanez' first original designs in the middle '70s when much of Ibanez's business was in making copies of other instruments. The guitar was originally conceived as a more affordable, more comfortably countoured double-cutaway alternative to Gibson's Les Paul.
 Sound: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 8.2 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.6 
 Users rating:
 7.8 
 Votes:
 40 
reviews (2) pictures (1) 19 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.2
AR200 Reviewed by: Jason43, on september 21, 2007
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 299

Features: 2005 Artist AR200 Goldtop. Made in Korea, 22 large frets, rosewood fretboard, solid mahogany body with body, neck and headstock binding, slim maple neck, double cutaway LP style body, set neck, chrome Tune-O-Matic style bridge, Ibanez quick change stop bar style tailpiece, dual Ibanez AH humbuckers, 3-way toggle, two volume and two tone pots, no name tuners. // 9

Sound: The sound is similar to a Les Paul since it is a similar guitar. The pickups sound surprisingly decent and are slightly on the on the crunchy side, but seem to handle clean sounds well too. No noise or humming. So far, I've only played hard rock and blues on this guitar, which it handles very well. I see no reason why it wouldn't be well suited for other styles of music. The guitar could definitely benefit from an Ibanez Gibraltar locking bridge that was used on the Vintage models. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The bridge was set a little high and the pickups were a little low when I received the guitar. Other than that, no adjustments were needed. The control cavity was fully shielded, both in the cavity and on the cover. The neck is identical to my Vintage Artist and very similar to Gibsons slim taper neck. The finish is beautiful and flawless. The gold top sparkles in the light and is very glossy. Build quality is top notch and extremely solid. The binding is flawless and has a nice aged took to it. I was a little worried about how the build quality of the made in Korea Artists would be, but this guitar is a good example just how good the Korea QC has gotten. My only complaint is that the tuners are mediocre at best and occasionally a string will slip slightly out of tune. Again, this guitar would have benefited from Ibanez using aset of their Smooth Tuners. The tuners are the only reason I didn't score a 10 in this category. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The guitar is a tank. I don't see having any issues down the road with reliability. The strap buttons seem to be anchored well. Like I said above, the finish is spotless. I don't see any issues with it down the road. As for hardware, I plan on upgrading to Gotoh tuners and a Gotoh 510 locking bridge, so hardware reliability shouldn't be an issue. // 10

Overall Impression: First off, I want to say that I also own a MIJ 1983 Artist AM-50, a 1998 Gibson Les Paul Classic and a 1998 Epiphone SG doubleneck and that's what my comparisons are based on. I bought this guitar because I didn't want to gig a Vintage Artist and I'm probably going to sell the LP before long. The fit, finish and playability are damn close, if not on the same level of the Vintage Ibanez and LP and blow the Epiphone out of the water. As I said, I was concerned that the Korean Artist wouldn't deliver. With the exception of the tuners, it does. With $100-$150 in hardware upgrades, this guitar will compete with Vintage Artists and Les Pauls easily. Not too shabby for a guitar that'll end up costing me under $500 after the hardware upgrades. // 9

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overall: 8
AR200 Reviewed by: rallygsc, on march 31, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: I recently picked up another Ibanez AR200, it is the Black Iron Version (Satin Black Finish) made in Korea, year early 2000's. The guitar has 22 frets, 3 piece maple neck with a rose wood fret board and a mahogany body, set neck construction. It is more or less a Les Paul style setup, tune-o-matic bridge and stop bar tail piece, two volumes, two tone controls and a 3-way switch. The electronics are passive on this model, dual humbuckers. Non-Locking Tuning keys, made in Korea. Design wise it is like a Les Paul Double Cut or the Gibson ES solid body that was made in the late '70s/early '80s, Ibanez made this guitar body style back in the '70s and produced it up until the mid '80s and it has been reissued off and on since. This guitar when it was sold new, it had two purchase options, a hardshell case, or a gig bag. // 8

Sound: I have owned some of the Ibanez artist series guitars before, this is my third AR200. Stock, the guitar sounds ok, it's alright for some jazz, country or classic rock, but I went all out an changed the electronics. Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge and a 59 in the neck, now it has that sound I wanted. I played it through my modified Peavey Valvleking 50 and through my Marshall JTM 30, no effects, just the clean and the distortion channels. Stock, the guitar has feedback issues with the pickups, when distorted, clean, they sound decent, great for country or jazz and maybe some blues.

With the Duncan pickups installed, this beast rocks, great sustain, think Joe Walsh "Rocky Mountain Way," or some early Megadeth like "Hangar 18." The guitar has some nice resonance unplugged. Ibanez could have used better pickups on this model, even their V7's or V8's would have been an improvement from the factory, but the stock pickups remind me of the crappy ones Epiphone uses. // 6

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought this guitar second hand, and I played it stock and I played it after all of the work I done to it. Stock, it is reliable and decent for a starter to mid level guitar. I replaced the electronics, the nut, did some tweaking, and now it is a gig worthy axe. Overall it is a nice underrated guitar. The build quality is nice and solid, the woods used are good quality, there's a really nice resonance to the guitar when it is not plugged in. The fit, well it feels comfortable like an '80s Gibson, I know comparing apples to oranges and such, but I own a Gibson and I can compare it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Out of the box stock, I would not really recommend this guitar to someone playing in a band, unless they are just starting out. The stock pickups had a tendency to have feedback issues, this would be a serious problem in a live situation. After replacing the electronics, the guitar sounds great, especially live. The hardware is your typical chrome hardware, it will last if taken care of properly. The strap buttons are your typical strap buttons, I recommend straplocks, better to be safe than sorry. The guitar is a well made guitar, it can withstand a lot of use. The finish is a typical poly finish like Fender and ever other company uses, it will wear off over time, but it's very durable. // 9

Overall Impression: I play mostly rhythm guitar, some leads, classic rock, hard rock and heavy metal. I have been playing off and on since the late '80s. I own and have owned Gibson Les Pauls, Epiphone Les Pauls, Fender guitars and others, and I can base my opinion on this guitar very fairly. Ibanez did a decent job on this guitar, it is a decent reissue of the model they made in the late '70s and early '80s. Now I do not recommend the Chinese ones at all I have owned one and it sucked, this is my second Korean model and it stands up, I have owned Japanese Artists and this one is a good copy, but it is not an Artist.

As with any guitar, I always check 'em out and try to do the bang for the buck idea, I picked this one up recently because I did not want to shell out the $$$ for the Kirk Hammett ESP LTD double cut. I have had double cut Les Paul style guitars by Gibson and other companies and I jumped on this because I know how well it's made and I know how to do all of my own mods. The neck is a slim taper style similar to the Gibson '60s neck in some aspects, it has a set neck joint, and it is very easy to do a setup on this guitar. If it was lost or stolen, I would try to get another one. 

The pros on it, well the price was decent, most of the features are decent, and it is better than most of the guitars in this price range. The cons, well the finish options for this model were not that great, for 3 years it was either black or a gold top finish, then it was black or trans red with a flame top. 

Recently I was in the market for another guitar to hot rod, and I was looking at a lot of the double cut style guitars, the Epiphone Genesis, the ESP LTD Kirk Hammett, and a few others. The Genesis felt like crap and the gold hardware looked cheesy, the Kirk Hammett was nice, but the price didn't justify the purchase. I got this one cheap and for all of the work I did to it, it still has a great bang for the buck factor. As far as anything I wish it had.

Well, when Ibanez has their Artists models out, they don't offer DiMarzio pickups, they put recreations of the Ibanez PAFs in them or their cheesy pickups, the electronics is what holds these models back, the originals in the late '70s and early '80s rocked and in most cases you can't touch an original one in good shape under $800, so you have to get a reissue and do the work yourself. Now if you get one, steer clear of the Chinese made ones, as I said, the Chinese models have issues. // 8

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