Xeus, on january 04, 2006 11 of 15 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 915
Purchased from: Foulds Music Centre
Features: Made in 2005 in Korea. 22 jumbo mahogony frets with a slim '60s style Les Paul neck with a through body neck joint. Gibson style quilted cherry sun burst. Double cutaway with a Tune-O-Matic style bridge. Two humbuckers with 2 volume and 2 tone knobs. Grover tuners. Free gig bag. It's basically the same as Gibson Les Paul but with easier upperfret access. So that scores highly with me. // 10
Sound: I mainly play rock, punk, blues and metal but I also play latino and jazz stuff and this guitar suits them all since I can use the control knobs to shape the sound to what I want. I use it with a Marshall MG100DFX through a Vox Wah pedal and a Boss ME-50 multi-effects unit which are highly versatile. It's very full and warm sounding. However I would invest in installing a coil tap so I can get those bright single coil notes. Otherwise it's great. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: Action was a bit high but I adjusted it as well as the intonation. The pickups were a too low for more liking so I raised them. Other than that everything was great. With a few adjustments it played like a dream. // 10
Reliability & Durability: This guitar feels as solid as a tank I don't believe it will ever let me down in a live gig situation. // 10
Overall Impression: I've been playing the guitar for nearly 10 years and this easily the most comfortable guitar I've ever played, and I've played alot. I love the versatility of the sound and the finish on it is beautiful but the real crowning gem is the neck joint which allows for remarkable upper fret access. If it were stolen or lost I would never ever let that happen. I'm a Gibson man at heart but this guitar plays so much better than any I've tried. For the price of 500 it's a bargain anyway. I love this guitar. // 10
unregistered, on july 17, 2006 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Features: My AR300 is a 2005 model. It has 22 frets and an almost PRS style neck. It is set very well and has a very good action. The inlays are gorgeous and the rosewood fretboard is smooth as silk. The mahogany body is a little heavy, but gives an awesome sound. It has a flamed maple top in a brown-burst finish. I really love the double cut les paul style body. The bridge is an Ibanez Tune-O-Matic bridge with an Ibanez quick load stop-bar. The dual Ibanez humbuckers sound pretty dang good for the price. The dual volume and tone controls and 3-way switch further the amazing sound of this guitar. And the beautiful pearloid Ibanez tuners will keep it in tune for weeks! I didn't recieve any accessories with it though. // 10
Sound: The sound of this guitar is great. It isn't as deep as a les paul, still has good bass response. The only problem that I have with the pickups is that they don't ring long enough. However this guitar can make any kind of sound, from almost acoustic to the most distorted metal sounds ever. The only way this guitar would sound better is with some different pickups and a better amp (not a Vox AVT 15). // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: It was set up perfectly from the factory! // 10
Reliability & Durability: This is the only place where this guitar lacks any real quality. The upper strap button started coming loose the first few times I played it standing up. It can be easily fixed with a longer screw. The input jack came a little loose with frequent use too. // 8
Overall Impression: With only the few quirks, this guitar is the best buy out there! It far exceeds guitars 3 times the price. Everybody Who played it at the store agreed too. The guitar tech there almost cried when I bought it because the loved it so much. This guitar kicks major ass! // 9
unregistered, on august 24, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 249
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features: I just received my Ibanez AR 300 today. I was looking for a double cutaway lp but didn't like the colors or prices of the used ones I came across. I just was surfing and amazingly, this one had just arrived a GC in Indiana. I immediately researched the AR 300 and couldn't beleive what I read about how amazing this guitar was rated.
I "stole" it for $249 with the hard Ibanez case and strap. Not a scratch on it, and the plastic coating is still on the back cover plates..As soon as I tuned it and plugged it into my Carvin Belair tube amp, I fell in love..I am 56 and started playing at 11. I've had at least a hundred guitars in my life, including Les Pauls, SG's Samicks, Fender Strats, Teles, Martins, Takamines, etc. etc...I am simply blown away by this guitar..I kept trying to find something wrong with it, but it just got better as I changed the tone and pickup settings. Mine doesn't have the 58 specials, but Dimarzios and I like them even though I am more of a Seymour Duncan guy..They have a very good range and I am a blues, classic rock, type player and they run the course of tones for these styles..
I have been playing it for the last five hours.. I just got rid of a Samick GregBennett SG flame top with duncan designed pickups. It was a very good guitar too, but this one is miles above it in every way..I can't beleive I've spent over $6000 through the years on Gibsons..they never played as good or even felt as good as this AR 300 does. The neck is smooth and the action is already set up great. I can stretch and sustain all day long all the way up the neck..what a great deal on a sweet guitar. The finish is beautiful, the inlays awesome and the tuners have stayed in tune so far..love the pearloid tips on them..I always liked the double cut design, SG's and LP's..and of course Carlos Santana's various guitars over the years. I had a PRS SE last year and this one blows it away.. sorry Paul..
I don't care if you spend twice as much as I did, it will still be worth every penny. This one is definitely a keeper, will be in my arsenal for a long, long time.. // 10
Sound: It is great for classic rock ZZ Top, Clapton, Zepplin, Allman Bros, Skynyrd, Santana, Doors... I don't use any pedals, straight tube amp. Carvin Belair 2X12 clean and distortion, reverb.
The distortion has an incredible range, from super crunch to power growl and sustain. The clean side gives me a Creedence tone and sweetness, Tom Petty like too. I can squeak like Billy Gibbons or crunch like him too. LP tone boosted about ten notches. that's with the dimarzios though.
The neck pickup is a little bright but the bridge really has a good range and both sound very full and sustain very good. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: i don't know who set it up but it is near perfect, the pickups are adjusted correctly, maybe just a hair lower in the neck one.
The finish is excellent, although the bookmatch isn't exact, it still looks great. All the hardware is top quality for an import as is on most Ibanez's I've played. They really did a good job on detail, you can't even see the neck joint and the laquer is mirror deep, smooth as silk and only a very, very light belt mark on the back. I haven't checked the pots yet, but they are smooth and the switch is noiseless and solid, and according to the wiring diagram I found online it is an enclosed box Switch which I will probably change to an open ball end LP type someday. // 10
Reliability & Durability: IYes, It is definitely a workhorse and probably will stay the same for years. The hardware is very good quality for an import. The strap buttons are locking ones. I will probably use this one as much as my two fenders to alter tones for different styles. The finish is excellent, deep laquer, perfectly smooth inlays, straight and even frets are rounded at the edges and not too wide, the fretboard is smooth and slightly arched for a really good feel. // 10
Overall Impression: Classic Rock Rockabilly, blues, oldies.. I've been playing for over 40 years. If somebody stole this guitar I'd offer a generous reward and go find another one as close to it as possible..
I love the neck, the tone and the sunburst and laquer finish, flame top. Compared to all of my guitars, including my special edition flame top Strat with texas specials, my 62 reissue Telecaster Custom with humbucker at the neck and texas special bridge pickup, which are my main guitars, I would definitely say this one will be used as much or more than these. I always keep an HH style guitar on hand, just sold a Peavey Generation EXP, didn't like the satin neck or the piezo bridge pickups that much, and before that the Samick SG flametop Greg Bennett which had similar features and was lighter, but the hardware and pots were cheaper imported ones had the pots changed to cts and the switch to a Gibson before I sold it and the neck joint was actually starting to get a crack in the paint, my guitar tech said SG styles had this problem due to the closeness of the neck pickup and short neck insert.
I can't think of anything that would improve this guitar. I'd like to try different pickups, maybe duncans but for now the dimarzios sound good enough. // 10
Aeschylus, on november 29, 2010 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Music Workshop, Brownstown, MI
Features: 2005 NOS (new old stock) Korean-made Ibanez AR300. Still had the plastic covering the dual chrome humbucker pickups, the backs of the Gotoh-style tuners and the back plates covering the electronics access ports. This particular Ibanez features 22 usable frets, though the 23rd does, in my opinion, deliver a nice, very high, tone when fretted properly. Fret wires themselves appear to be medium-jumbo and they sit in a rosewood fingerboard. The neck and body are pretty much a single "through-neck" (though it's actually probably a set-in neck with a seamless exterior appearance, as near as I can tell). The body itself is an archtop make. The neck also features a Standard 3x3 (machine head-wise) bound headstock with an inlaid "Ibanez" logo at the top of the figured semi-open book-looking stock. The fluer de lis in the center is more of a decal or applique or something similar, though, and definitely not inlaid.
The guitar features an attractive mahogany body, though I'm told the neck itself is maple (don't ask me how a supposed through-neck guitar is supposed to be able to pull that off, but see my above observation about it possibly being some sort of "set-in"). There appears to be a flame maple cap (it's book-matched, as well) sitting atop the body, which is attractively bound in a nice cream-and-pinstripe motif. The neck itself is bound, as well, in the same cream-colored binding, with that fingerboard featuring rectangular (and highly attractive) inlays of either abalone or Mother of Pearl, starting with the first fret and going all the way down in the traditional pattern right to the 22nd fret. The backside of the guitar and neck, starting from below the binding that runs around the top of the guitar, is an attractive reddish-burgundy color, with black electronics covers, and the neck is finished in the same gloss lacquers that the body's done up in. I've really tried to make the back of the neck sticky (that glossy-ish finish had me worried about that), but--happily--I haven't had any luck in doing so.
As far as body style goes, this solid body axe is done in the classic LP double-cutaway style, making it extremely easy to dive into the frets right down to the 22nd/23rd area. The thing's no lightweight, either, and its heft really helps Drive the variety of tones that--combined with the maple/mahogany body and neck setup--this guitar's capable of delivering.
The AR300 also comes with a typical LP-style Tune-O-Matic bridge (though it employs some sort of proprietary Ibanez design, obviously) and a stopbar that has six (6) grooved-looking channels that are pushed obliquely to the right at about a 15 degree offset. It looks to me to be more for appearance and I have to admit that it definitely helps to contribute to the overall somewhat unique appearance of the guitar.
Electronics are purely passive and Standard LP-style, as well, with a three-position Switch set up near the upper bout, or horn, of the guitar. That Switch is also very easy to use and it's apparent that some attention was paid to ergonomics and ease of use for a player when it comes to using the rhythm-middle-treble switch. There are also four knobs near the lower left-hand (as you're looking at the guitar) body of the guitar, with the forward two being volume controls and the rear two being tone controls. Again, Standard LP-style all the way. The guitar's input jack is securely screwed into the side of the body, down near those knobs and it features a quality metal cover plate (not plastic, like you tend to find in the Epi versions of these sorts of guitars). Two solid-looking strap pegs, one at that upper bout and one at the end of the guitar body, in the center of the side panel, finish things off.
The Ibanez AR300 comes with two (DeMarzio, maybe?) chrome humbuckers that sound nice enough. Typical of humbuckers, it takes very little relative volume, when run through a decent amp, to bring some serious sound out of the guitar. The machine heads that came with this guitar are very good-looking. From the back, they look like some sort of Gotoh-style, and there are no exterior screw heads to mar the look of the back of the headstock. The keyheads, or knobs (whatever you call them) are also very attractive, presenting an ivory-like, or pearl-like (take your pick) translucent look that compliments the overall appearance of the headstock quite well. The keyheads actually look like those Grover types you see on just about every mid-range Epi, Greg Bennett etc. guitar out there nowadays, by the way.
In addition, they (the machine heads) also turn nicely and smoothly and they look to be solid enough, to boot. For some reason, to me, they're both vintage-y in one way, yet completely modern in another. That doesn't make much sense, but it is what it is, at least from my viewpoint. My guess is these were made to spec for the Ibanez Korean plant higher-line guitars, which is most likely one of the plants there that turn out spec-order guitars for Epiphone, Samick/Greg Bennett and other makers today, and who are also trying to take advantage of the cachet of the "Korean-made guitar," especially in light of how the Chinese-made stuff is still getting (somewhat unfairly, in my opinion) a bit of a bad rap among the so-called cognoscenti.
I was able to score the special hard shell arch-topped case with the stamped Ibanez logo on the top with this guitar, and it was included as part of the purchase price, so I had a good buying day last month. It's black with several gold latches and a key, the interior is plush-fur lined, also in black, with a small accessory compartment beneath where the neck rests. It's heavy, just like the guitar, so this one may be something of a grind to transport, but the case also looks extremely solid, so if you're worried about dings and dents to the guitar--which is a very attractive beast, I have to say--go with the case. If you're worried about schlepping the already heavy guitar around, opt for a nicely padded soft gig bag or something similar. // 10
Sound: Typical of humbucker pickups, it takes very little relative volume, when run through a decent amp, to bring some serious sound out of the guitar. The AR300, as well, suits my own particular style and sound needs well enough, I have to admit. Both humbuckers were already set up to the perfect height, by my guys at Music Workshop, in my opinion, for the kind of music I play, which is mainly 50s through today's rock and blues-rock in all its variety. I may eventually swap them out for a pair of Seymour Duncan '59/JB humbuckers (or SH-5s...but it's not a big priority because I think the guitar actually sounds fine as is), but there's no hurry on that. The guitar is suffused with great diversity in tone all-around, anyway.
I'm a big fan of the modern DSP stuff from Crate and I use a 10-year old Crate GX-40C practice amp with two 8-inch speakers as well as a Crate Flexwave 120w 212 (two 12-inch speakers) combo amp for my gigging needs. The only electronics I use comes from the amp (the DSP things) itself as well as it's three-switch stompbox and that's about it. I depend on my fingers to do everything else, though the guitar's also run through a DigiTech Vocalist Live2 unit before making its way to the amplifier.
The guitar's almost preternaturally quiet and that can be disconcerting to somebody not familiar with how humbucker-equipped guitars work, but Ibanez really did a fine job in laying out what it wanted from those craftsmen at the Korean plant where this one was made. The guitar was set up with .11s, with the 'G' string being wound, too, so I had Jerry (at Music Workshop) put on a set of .10s (the pure nickel Slinky Rock ones) and loosen the neck to allow it to relax and accommodate to .10s after being under pressure from those .11s. That's now given this guitar the kind of rock/blues-rock sounds (a bit of bite and some brightness that .11s just can't deliver) that I like, though--because of the humbuckers and the dual-tone control knobs--I can also get a fuller sound if I like. As I said in the features section, though; this guitar is extremely versatile and capable (with a little experimentation) of delivering everything from straight-up metal to smooth jazz (which is why it came set up with .11s, I suppose). // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: Given that I had the strings replaced with .10s when I bought it, I had to have Jerry do some tweaking for intonation and action, though it was already butter-smooth with those .11s on it. The folks at Music Workshop just got the thing in last week from a jobber who'd gotten it from a distributor that had been sitting on it for some time (yah...it being a 2005, that's fairly obvious), so they gave the truss rod a twist or two and went over it prior to my taking it off their hands.
As I said, the pickups were nicely adjusted and the top's book-matched in an attractive 'burst flame maple kind of look. I haven't found a single flaw as yet, and the fret dressing work looks to be first-rate across the board. This guitar actually exudes quality of craftsmanship, in fact. // 10
Reliability & Durability: As far as whether or not the AR300 will stand up to live playing, I don't think that's going to be an issue. It's solidly built, with a great deal of attention paid to strengthening all the critical joint points and whatnot, and I'm fastidious about watching where I move the guitar when gigging with it. Hardware-wise, again, it all looks solid enough, though we'll see how those pearloid or ivroid tuning pegs/keyheads do, but so far, so good. This guitar isn't actually going to be my main axe, as I'm more of a Strat man, and I tend to play my Deluxe Players Special (it's a MIM of uncommon quality, with gold hardware and everything) more but, I'd gig live with just the AR300 and no backup if I had to, it's that solidly made.
The guitar's finish also seems built to last, and I don't think there's going to be an issue with wear and tear in that regard, though I always take care to polish my guitars and keep their finishes up because, frankly, I detest that relic'd look that seems to have captivated the younger players among us. I just turned 50 and I've been playing off and on since the late 60s, and if I wanted a used, junky-looking guitar, I'd head to a flea market and buy one...LOL! // 10
Overall Impression: As I said earlier, I play a variety of styles. I like most eras, including Big Band, the 50s Buddy Holly/Chuck Berry stuff, the Beatles/Stones/Zeppelin/Steppenwolf/Airplane things, so-called "classic rock" right up through grunge/alternative (Soundgarden, Concrete Blond, Nirvana etc.) and up through today (Muse's "The Uprising" is a current fave of mine), and the AR300, so far, has been a perfect compliment to those styles. I'm also a percussionist/drummer, playing percussion and drums about as long as I've played guitar (I also play blues harp, piano, alto sax and sing lead and backup, especially when we do three and four-part harmonies), and I'm kind of a fan of music gear, in general, so I own a lot of expensive "boy toys." However: I NEVER solely judge a piece of music gear by how much it cost. This particular axe, in the grand scheme of things, is piddling inexpensive, especially as a NOS and at just $350.00, but it plays nicely at well above its price point for all that.
If it were stolen or lost, I think I'd try to find another, though with solid bodies with through necks or set-in necks or set-necks, each one tends to have just a bit of a unique sonic and tonal quality all its own, so I'm not sure I'd be able to replicate the sound of this one exactly. But I appreciate quality, and the AR300 seems to have that in spades.
Basically, I saw the guitar, sat down and strummed it a bit and found that I really liked what it could do. I wasn't out looking for one and I don't "love" or "hate" things about guitars. They're tools, after all, and the players are the mechanics. And it's a poor mechanic who'd blame his tools for his lack of ability in fixing an automobile engine, right?
Bottom line: Great guitar that provides excellent sounds and ease of use at a price that was hard to pass up! If you see one, you might want to think about grabbing it, because whatever they were putting in the water fountains at the Korean plant where these AR300s were made really turned those folks into guitar craftsmen, at least when it came to this particular Ibanez model. // 10