AW400CE review by Ibanez

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8 (2 votes)
Ibanez: AW400CE

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Local Music Store

Features — 8
Made in 2014 in their China factory this is one fine guitar! She is a dreadnought style with cutaway. Solid Sitka spruce top with mahogany back, sides, and neck. Rosewood fretboard and bridge with Fishman Sonicore pickup and Ibanez AEQ-SP2 preamp with onboard tuner. Pre-amp has controls for treble, bass, and volume. They do a good job of basic eq but prefer to have more control via an amp or pedal. Has 1/4 and XLR outputs. Chrome Grover Open Gear tuners with Butterbean knobs, bone nut and bridge. Tortoiseshell body binding and a very nice dark burst color. No case, but I have a gator hardshell case that I was using for my old Takamine and used that.

Sound — 7
I am a firm believer in sound and feel of a guitar, but I am a hypocrite and almost passed this guitar up because I wanted a "real acoustic brand" and a different color. But after my first strum I was hooked. She sounds full and rich with a wonderful crispness of tone. Unplugged I could play this guitar all day long and love the tone. The pickup and preamp are good. I have yet to really plug straight into an acoustic and love the tone, but the electronics are adequate and don't sound do bad through a Fishman Loudbox Mini I use. The pre-amp straight is ok and the tuner a bit slow, but I usually use a different tuner so its ok. I want to rate this a 10 because I absolutely love the tone but the electronics are fair-good so a 7. Lastly, I put some DR Dragonscale Lights and did not like what it did to the sound. Steer clear of those strings on this acoustic.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was perfectly setup from the shop. I haven't had to adjust a thing which is awesome to me. I never understood why we will buy a guitar that is a mess and deal with setting it up, but everything else must be perfect from the store. Why do we continually allow guitar makers to sell us stuff that is at 90% and not 100%? The frets are a bit small for my usual taste but in prefect shape. No edges, or dead spots that I have found on the neck. I got this guitar at such a discount because of a nice slash in the headstock. It is behind the headstock and can't be seen by a soul but was very pleased with a $150 discount. I love a guitar that I don't have to work on if I don't want to.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I have played it quite regularly every week at home and at church, no failures of any kind. I don't know how she would handle being flown across the world but she has survived well on two across the USA road trips. Everything seems solid enough that I don't have any doubts in the guitar. The finish seems good, smudges easily though, but it is gloss after all, and my hands sweat a bit... all over... all the time... The tuning machines do well and have a good ratio (1:18 I think). I have used this guitar without any backup all the time everytime. No string binding or kinking. I really feel like other than the occasional tune up, this guitar would last for years to come.

Overall Impression — 8
I have been using this for church music mostly. From hymns to hard rock choruses she has performed well and consistently. I am still finding my perfect "plugged in" sound but I think many acoustic players have this challenge. I have played $2000 guitars and $80 ones and this one made me the most happy. She is a solid guitar that I love the sound of. I passed her by twice at the shop trying out the other guitars looking for a guitar I could plug in. (My old Takamine didn't have any onboard electronics.) I didn't like the color, and wanted a "reputable acoustic brand." So glad I didn't believe the lies and and it was love at first chord. She felt right, sounded amazing, and the price was amazing. I plan on keeping this guitar for life and would go out and buy another if anything ever happened to her.

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