Purchased from: Guitar Center, Keizer, Oregon
Features — 10
The Ibanez AC-240-OPN has a solid mahogany front, neck and bracing with laminate mahogany back and sides. It has a scale of 25.5 inches with 20 medium frets. The open-pore finish is absolutely beautiful and contributes to its rich tone and hides fingerprint smudges. The abalone rosette and white dot inlay only adds to this guitar aesthetically. It didn't come with any Electronics, but I recently installed a passive under-saddle piezoelectric transducer for use with an external preamp/equalizer. The chrome Grover sealed tuners are of very high quality and stay in tune better than most stock tuners in this price-range. This guitar was made in Indonesia in 2012.
Sound — 10
I have played nearly every guitar in my city that is for sale and none in this price-range can compare to this guitar tonally. The open-pore finish compliments a whole hog guitar very nicely and I attribute the rich tone to these factors. It would seem that the high-gloss finish most guitar companies drown their guitars in dampen the tone and make it somewhat tinny-sounding. Being a whole hog (made completely of mahogany), this guitar is very rich sounding with a very deep, clear low-mid range. With the stock .13 D'Darrio EXP's, the high frequency note are a little weak, but a set of uncoated lighter strings remedies this. I also found that swapping out the plastic bridge pins for ebony brightened up the tone a bit.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Since I got this guitar at our local guitar center, the setup was atrocious. After cranking down the truss rod and doing some minor adjustments to the saddle, I have this baby's action lower than most Taylor's come with! Everything is structurally sound on it, though, and all workmanship looks to be uncharacteristically good for Ibanez acoustic guitars... I was surprised at how durable the finish is. I've bumped this guitar up against tables and mic stands and such (which I highly recommend avoiding) and there is still no evidence of major wear.
Reliability & Durability — 10
As of yet, I haven't had any problems with this guitar structurally, and all the hardware remains looking and playing beautifully. The frets are starting to wear after a year of regular playing, but this is inevitable with any guitar, especially how I play... The tone has actually improved as the guitar has aged, since solid wood opens up over time and the bracing tends to settle in with the vibrations of regular playing. As I've said above, the finish is remarkably durable for being so thin. I would have expected the open-pore finish to be very delicate. That being said, you should pay extra attention to keeping it clean and free of sweaty hand oils. Also, if you live in a region with low humidity, humidifying would be extra important. I live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon; humidity isn't really an issue here.
Overall Impression — 10
I have yet to find a better 300 dollar guitar, and I frequent all 3 of the music stores in my city to the point that they know me by name. This guitar is suited perfectly to the alternative/folk rock scene that I play most, but it really would work well for any genre. One thing I like is that it is a beautiful instrument, but isn't too "cool" looking. If it were to be all shiny and stained bright red or blue-green, it would be distracting, especially for when I'm playing at church. If you want a better guitar, you can expect to pay several hundred bucks more for a Taylor, Eastman, Martian, or Breedlove with a comparable tone(if you go this route, get a Breedlove, they're made in Oregon). It is very possible, however, that I got the best one of 1000 of these guitars, considering I've played other AC204-OPN's before and liked mine much better. After all, each guitar is unique. Just make sure you play anything before you buy it.