Ibanez produces the AF75TDG, a model featuring the Standard 22-fret neck and hollow maple body with a Bigsby-style Vintage vibrato unit. This specific unit comes in two colors, Ivory and Black, both glossy.
Kevy Absolution, on april 20, 2009 5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features: When I began playing Jazz, I quickly learned that it was a whole different world. From The Feeling that gets put in to The Music to the care given to instruments, the entire "system" of Jazz was backwards to me. After getting into it, I embraced it, and started searching for an archtop. My search eventually brought me to purchase the Ibanez Artcore AF75TGDIV, a tribute to the ever-so-popular and iconic Gretsch White Falcon.
The Ibanez Artcore series is a middle priced, entry-level series of archtops. Most are fully hollow, meaning no middle block, and are pretty bright acoustically. They come in a variety of finishes and price ranges. While shopping for mine, I wanted something bright that could cut well acoustically, but I also wanted a tremolo. Thankfully, Ibanez produces the AF75TDG, a model featuring the Standard 22-fret neck and hollow maple body with a Bigsby-style Vintage vibrato unit. This specific unit comes in two colors, Ivory and Black, both glossy; I myself chose an ivory one with gold hardware and tan/gold trim.
Unlike some other Artcore models, the AF75TDG has a floating bridge, and is not actually screwed into the body. This can be both a blessing and a curse (but will be addressed later in the review). The box has four control knobs: one volume and one tone pot for each humbucker, and a three-way pickup selector. Standard Ibanez tuning heads and pickups come with the guitar, as expected. // 9
Sound: As a Jazz guitar, this beast is absolutely slick. It's bright, punchy, and cuts well. It could be used either mic'd into a monitor or amplified. I play through a variety of an amps, including a Vox AD50VT and a Line 6 Flextone. On clean, the guitar fill up the room well. It's warm, and the hollow body is certainly the contributing factor to this. With a little higher gain, the punchy, crisp tones are great. While it's advertised as a jazz and blues guitar, it's versatile enough to play any sort of music.
Many people have complained about the Artcore's affinity for giving feedback due to it's build. While I have gotten some on high-gain amp settings, I have had none playing through a Boss NS-2 gate. The fret buzzing (also to be explained later) doesn't come through, so the sound is still very good. Both pickups sound good; the back of course suit's rhythm work a bit better and can get dirtier. Overall, I have no comlaints about the sound. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: If there's any point in which the Artcore falters, it's the action. Out of the box, the guitar was not set up well at all. The action was too low; frets 12 and higher buzzed. This was a large enough problem that I preemptively took the initiative to fix it myself the day I got it. A few adjustments of the bridge screws fixed this problem. However, I later noticed that some buzz occurred at times after changing strings. This could be for a few reasons:
1. The floating bridge can move when there isn't enough tension, such as when strings are being changed, setting the strings off a bit. It helps to mark the bridge's position with a graphite stick before taking it off.
2. The truss rod could need adjustment; this is something I plan to leave to a professional.
The floating bridge is also a problem off the bat, because the factory places a foam pad under it to protect it during shipping, which must be removed to allow the guitar to resonate fully. Either way, the bridge must be removed, and it can be a pain to keep lined up.
This guitar is definitely tricky, and while expensive, it may be good to have a professional set it up the first time, to ensure everything is good off the bat. On the other hand, the finish is flawless. The creamy white paint matches the gold hardware well. I've gotten countless comments from other players, and even bystanders about how beautiful this classic guitar is. It's definitely eye candy. // 7
Reliability & Durability: Playing this Live in a jazz setting was a dream once it was set up correctly. The finish hasn't gotten any scratches yet, and doesn't collect dust or fingerprints much. The pickup covers and vibrato tailpiece do, however, so they should be wiped down occasionally. Everything from the strap buttons to the hardware screws were tight, set, and prefect to me. Ibanez has come to be known as a company offering tight quality for a low price, and this guitar is testament to that. // 10
Overall Impression: I love my Artcore. For my needs, it's prefect. As college Jazz player, I'm experienced enough to know my way around a jazz chart, and this guitar makes it even easier. It's great to pick up and play, sounds wonderful, and looks gorgeous. I wish someone had warned me about the action, however, because trying to adjust it on my own was a bit troublesome, and having a professional aid me would have been nicer. So now for the dreaded question: would I re-purchase one if stolen? This answer is sort of loaded. If I had the same budget, yes. It's priced well for the quality, and does it's job. However, in reality, I would probably play another guitar of mine, and save to buy a Gretsch or Gibson. There is no reason, though, not to purchase this Artcore if you are looking to get into archtops.
Buying this guitar has really been an experience. Playing it brings you back to the days of old, where guitars were built differently, played differently, and appreciated in a separate manner. As a player of all types of music, I enjoy variety, but I get immersed the most sitting on stage playing in a big band with this bad boy. While it needs more attention and care than a Standard electric, it builds your level of experience and in the end it's worth it. Sure, I would have loved a perfect guitar, but the flaws this one has only makes it more enjoyable when you learn to overcome them. After all, B.B. King, Django Reinhart, Joe Pass, and Freddie Green would have done it. And now, we can too. // 9
unregistered, on september 23, 2011 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 275
Purchased from: Craig's List
Features: I bought a very lightly used Candy Apple Red version with Bigsby style tremolo and all gold hardware very eye appealing. The CA ones were made for Guitar Center only and I have not seen very many. I have been playing for over 25 years and always wanted a Jazz box just didn't want to spend allot of money. Got a great deal on this beauty and had to get it. It was made 2009 in China it is a stock AF75TDG-CA model with gold hardware. From the looks of it I don't think it was played more then a couple times. Great for me!!! // 10
Sound: I play a little of everything but mostly classic rock and blues and this guitar does it well, very well! I play through a Blackheart BH 100 Head and custom 4x12 with green back Celestion's. The only effects I use are a DigiTech Digiverb pedal and a Danelectro DanOWah pedal. It nails that Vintage surf sound as well as AC/DC and whatever else I'm in the mood for. It has a great clean sound but can gritty and blusey as well. I may replace the pickups at some point (a little on the weak side) but they do the job. Overall you can play a wide variety of music with this beauty... // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: At first the action was a little high but I adjusted the bridge and truss rod when I replace the original strings with Ernie Ball regular slinky's. Be careful as the bridge is free floating mark the position or replace string for string. The intonation was dead on and the finish is flawless it is beyond perfect! I have yet to find one blemish on it, the trem is smooth and stays in tune (greased the nut with silicone grease) and I use it hard. The paint is absolutely perfect and seems to be very durable as well not to mention beautiful! It is better then my 2006 Gibson LP Studio, and it cost 4 times as much! The Ibanez is an unbelievable quality guitar for the price. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I have owned it for 6 months and have not had one problem, and I play it daily as does my Son. The hardware seems to be holding up well a little tarnish on the trem arm (it was like that when I got it) barely noticeable. My Gibson LP Studio bridge finish has begun to flake and is wearing off down to the nickle plating. It started showing wear within 2 months of playing it! I would not be afraid to gig this guitar with out a back up it is very reliable. The finish seems to be very durable and well done. The hardware is solid and the pots and switch work smoothly and with no unwanted noise. The switch takes a while to get use to in its location but no major problem. The body is pretty thick for a hollow body, thicker then my Buddie's Wildkat I replaced the strap buttons with locking ones just like all my other guitars just one less thing to worry about. A very solid built guitar with an excellent finish. // 10
Overall Impression: I play all styles of music from rock to Bach. I own 2 Strat's, Gibson LP Studio, Epiphone LP Custom Plus, Epihone SG, Heartfield Talon II, Ibanez RG 4 EXFM, Fender F-210, Washburn D10CEQSB and as for amps I own a Blackheart BH 5-112, Blackheart BH 100 with 4x12 cab, Line 6 150HD and Korg AG3000G, and several effects pedals. If my AF75TDG was lost or stolen lost I would most definitely replace it. The only feature I would change is the pickup switch location. But after awhile it is not really a problem just awkward. I have played several hollow and semi-hollow body electric guitars over the years and this is the best sounding one I've had the pleasure to own and play. It fits well, not to heavy and is very comfortable to play for long periods. And for the price ($529.00 brand new) and quality it is the best deal going. I would buy this guitar again at any price! // 10