metalhead27, on august 31, 2011 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 299.99
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Features: The Ibanez ART600 has a single cutaway body design similar to a Les Paul, however it is far from a Les Paul in terms of sound and styling. The 22 fret, 24 3/4", three piece sapele/maple neck has a rosewood fingerboard and is set on a sapele body. A carved quillted maple top adds a little brightness and definition to the sound of this guitar. The inlays are mother-of-pearl blocks with abalone stripes set in the mop. The finish is transparent black (this model also comes in transparent blue), allowing the figure of the maple ti stand out, but only in decent light. The guitar has a black binding with white pin stripes on the body, neck, and headstock. Hardware on this guitar includes a tight tune bridge, stopbar tailpiece, and trim-lock tuners. There are two volume controls and one tone, and a three way selector switch to choose between the two Ibanez active LoZ-1 pickups.
This guitar came with only the allen wrenches for adjustments, but with this price, I did not expect any more. All of the metal parts are cosmo black. I must say that the trim lock tuners are very convenient while changing strings, as are the tight tune bridge and tailpiece, as they do not come off the body like standard tune-o-matics. I have only two complaints as far as features go. The knobs are cheap plastic. It isn't the end of the world, but I advise replacing them. Aside from poor asthetics, they just show poor quality on a otherwise very good quality guitar. The other complaint is the circuitry. Most active electronics run on 9 or 18 volts. This guitar features a 2x1.5 volt circuit, meaning it runs on 2 AA batteries. This is fine if you don't intend on changing the pickups, however this may present problems if you chose to upgrade. The guitar is fairly thin, but fairly heavy. It is slightly lighter than must similar styled guitars made of similar materials, but not much. // 8
Sound: Heavy. That is the way I would describe the sound of this guitar in one word. I did some research, and found that sapele is an African mahogany. It is I little cheaper, but retains most of the tonality of regular mahogany. On the bridge pickup the distorted sound was great. You could feel the power of the active pickups, which are pretty quiet. Riffing was just fantastic. As I started moving up the bridge, I noticed the lack if mids and highs. They just weren't all there. The neck pickup wasn't any better. Lows were muddy, and again, no mids or highs. The clean bridge sound was decent. You could hear the highs peeking in, but again no mids. The neck was again muddy at the low wnd, and lacking a midrange. All that said, I wouldn't say it sounded bad. It was just missing something.
I play a lot of metal, and do a lot of riffing. For the time being this will be fine however I am currently in the market for some new pickups that will hopefully bring life to this otherwise great guitar. I actually could get a decent Santana sound with the mids on my Cyber Twin at 10, the compressor on high, and the tone control on the guitar on 0. The one outstanding feature of this guitar is the sustain. I was testing the sustain and even after hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides, the notes just wouldn't fade. I don't actually know how long the note is capable of lasting, because after a while of holding the note it takes so long I get bored. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar was completely out of tune when it came from the factory. This scared me. After tuning, all of my concerns were wiped away. The action was great, low but no fret buzz. The neck is a little thicker than I'm used to. This isn't a big deal, as it helps add to the sustain and doesn't actually impede my playing. If you are used to thin necks, I recommend playing before buying. The intonation was absolutely perfect. I'm a stickler for intonation, and I didn't have to change a thing. The finish is beautiful, and spotless. The figure of the wood is hard to see in low light, but in bright light the maple shows lots of figure and is gorgeous. The pickups only required a minor adjustment. Whoever set this up at Ibanez did an excellent job. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This axe feels solid. I always check the soldering, and I have no complaints. The hardware seems durable, except for the knobs. The strap buttons are solid, but I always recommend strap locks. I also always recommend gigging with a backup, however if I didn't have one for this I would not be nervous. The finish seems durable, and I don't picture it wearing down any time soon. // 9
Overall Impression: For metal, this is a great guitar. I believe you are only a new set of pickups away from getting any tone you want out of it. I've been playing for a little more than three years, owning mostly LTDs. This guitar is much better considering that I spent less money on this than on either my V-200 or F-250. It was really a steal. To give an idea how much this was marked down, the gently used b condition used models were 100 dollars more than I got this new. Mind you the used models were being sold at the same place as I got the new model.
I played this next to a Ltd EC 256, EC 401, and EC 1000. The EC was a little lighter and sounded better, but even with new pickups that will probably put this at the same level sound wise as the EC 1000, I will be saving over 300 dollars. If I could get it for the same price, I would absolutely buy again if it was stolen. I only wish it had 9v circuitry and metal knobs. I always suggest playing before buying, but certainly take a look at this guitar. If you play metal and are on a budget, you probably won't find better quality for anything in or close to this price range. Truly a solid axe with decent sound, remarkable sustain, quality construction and beautiful looks. // 8
nonpartisan, on november 29, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Features: 2010 Chinese with 22 frets, three piece neck, carved maple cap, Sapele body, quilted top, LP style with a solid LP weight, Tight-tune bridge and tail-piece, Active pickups 3V, two volumes one tone and a three way selector for twin humbuckers, locking Ibanez tuners that automatically trim the strings as they are tuned up. Bought used so no accessories. For features, if you want to change to other active pickups you'd have to change the battery setup from 2 AA's to a 9V and the pots. Not as much of a "lock in" as you might think.
Are there any features you could want? With active pups you can't really split, and outside of having the ability to change EQ I can't imagine what else to add. I'll give it a 9 in theory it *could* have had some way of changing the EQ, it could have had dials that told you the volume/tone settings... There is no 9.5 on the score. // 10
Sound: It really doesn't suit my musical style - blues. Active pickups are active, a little too pristine with the Peavey Bandit or the Crate VFX 5212. For blues and classic rock I just like to put the gain up a little but I can't get any Vintage sounds. Clean is clean and I like it for that, no mud, full yet not rich. I'll be swapping out the pickups in the new year either to some Burstbuckers or some '57's for the older PAF Gibson sound. I'll keep the old pickups and electrickery around "just in case". For Active pickups the sound is "fair to good" so I'll give it a 7 (instead of a 5 since I knew they were active pickups and not blues monsters when I got it). For metal they would be fine. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: Bought used so this is not a reflection of factory setup:
The strings were too light for the guitar which ships with 10-46 and with 9-42 the neck wouldn't pull enough to not have fret buzz. Throwing on 10-46 DR DDT's brought it in line, but I think it could benefit from 10-49 or even 12-52's. The pickups were adjusted fine, the bridge is properly routed. The neck feels good but it had two issues:
The first was unplugged it wouldn't resonate on frequency. Woods are funny things - if you play without tuning it up it will tend to drift. Also with the wrong tension strings the woods may prefer to resonate slightly flat. Just playing it with DDT's brought it in line so it became far more stable.
The second was clearly a failure at the factory - the neck was finished well, nice rosewood and pretty abalone - but the abalone was sub-par and not perfectly aligned. It isn't much, but a couple of mm off center is visible when looking while doing the string change. While it doesn't change the sound and isn't visible from 4 feet away it is a visible defect.
I guess the third issue was that it was filthy with corroded strings but I expect that when buying a used guitar. You will have to change strings and set it up to suit anyway. The controls were solid, the tuners were very smooth and responsive, the locking tuners were nice. The auto-trim had a bit of difficulty trimming down the big strings but the final look was very tidy. I checked the truss rod - smooth action).
Since the neck inlay issue is visible it detracts, but since it doesn't impact playability and the other issues were just the lack of regular TLC I'd give it a 9 but for one thing - as I played it the strings from the nut to the tuning pegs vibrated to a common harmonic. This isn't an issue for the plugged in tone, but annoying if noodling unplugged. It is a common problem, I've seen many a Gibson SG with a pick permanently tucked in the strings above the nut to control exactly that - and so that is what I do. Small though it is, as a nuisance it drops the grade... // 8
Reliability & Durability: It had been used for live playing before I got it. It had been banged on the body at one point. I wouldn't play anything without a backup because a stage blunder can end the game. The hardware seems very solid, the strap buttons good. The finish seems sturdy. I checked the electronics cavity, nicely done. The pots very well secured. Yeah... This gets a 10. // 10
Overall Impression: The pickups are better for metal... Though for metal some people prefer lighter strings which this guitar really couldn't be set up for. I've been noodling around for a decade, I'm not good, but have guitars that sound and play better (Ibanez AF195, SAS36).
The feel of the neck is nice "baseball bat" style, but not as resonant as the one piece necks. If lost or stolen I might be annoyed. It all depends on how it sounds with the pickup change.
I do like the solid "Les Paul" weight. It has great sustain and I like the overall look. I wanted a Les Paul but even after getting some 57's or Burstbuckers in it the final price would be a factor of two different. I've seen too many people with Les Paul's who won't take them out to play just because they are too valuable.
Of the guitars I have... Plays much better than any Squier I've tried (but guitars vary). The feel is much like a PRS SE during play. The things I wish it had are things I will be adding. After I get those pickups in I'll compare it with a Les Paul in a shootout, record the results, shuffle the recordings about and see if I can be happy without going overboard. Rating.. 7.. What would take it up a notch? Better sounding pickups. Another notch from a good finish on the neck and useful knobs. The final notch would be to simply play a little better than it does. // 7