Price paid: $ 269.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I am currently in a band that does similar things to Foo Fighters in variety and sound. This guitar does anything fairly excellent, except for metal, because this guitar doesn't need such crap to be played on it. I'm using it through my Vox AD15VT with a Digitech DF-7 Distortion Pedal and Electro Harmonix Small Clone. My only complaints about it are due to my amp and pedals really. I get a very loud humming when I use a distortion pedal model on my DF-7 (meaning models 3, 5, 6, and 7 are unusable) because of my amp for some reason. My amp only accepts the overdrive pedal models easily without having to fiddle with the amp too much. Very nice sounds from soft unplugged sounds to fairly overdriven punk.
Overall Impression — 10
The great thing about the Ibanez Artcore series is that they are totally versatile machines. I have been playing almost 2 years now, the first year of playing being on an acoustic guitar. I've been through 2 electric guitars and 2 amps now, and this is my favorite setup of the two I have tried. My $400 Schecter Gryphon was overly hardcore for the styles I played, and the Line 6 was just, well, bad. The only thing I need now is a solid body guitar of some sort for the overdriven punk stuff my band and I play, because the hollowbody just doesn't seem as right for it. I would still keep this guitar, but the solid body would serve as a back up and second guitar for the harder stuff. The most enjoyable thing on the whole guitar is the sheer sophisticated and mature look it has. You would not expect some teenager whipping this across the stage or anything. This was the first guitar I checked out the day I got it, and I compared it to an Epiphone Dot Studio, Fender Standard Telecaster and by sheer looking at it, a BC Rich Hollowbody (the one with the rediculous dagger f-holes). This sounded the best, and it just handled a whole lot better then the others I tried. The second best of my comparison can't even be said, due to the fact that the others had nothing against this beast. For all you hollowbody lovers out there, this one is for you.
Reliability & Durability — 8
So far, this guitar will withstand live gigging, as long as I don't get any more saddle issues. The tuners make everything flat after almost an hour of playing, but I'll be solving this soon with locking Grovers of some sort. The strap buttons are a bit too stubby for my liking, but I can get used to them. The only thing that won't last on this guitar is the tuners. They're going, soon!
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The only thing I found wrong with this guitar is about a week after I purchased it, I started breaking high E strings like crazy. I went through 3 of them before I ended up getting a saddle filed down. The setup was nicely done and just to my liking. The pickup adjustment is slightly strange to me, for the neck pickup is slanted toward the bridge of the guitar, making one end of the 'bucker closer to the strings. The bridge pickup is also very close to the strings, which didn't help me at all in removing the factory plastic coating off of them. The thing that I had to creatively fix was pickguard buzz. Instead of the bracketed pickguard (as seen on Les Pauls) being fastened to the pickup ring, it just slightly floats above it, creating a slight buzz everytime I played it. To fix this, I put a folded piece of paper underneath it to stop it.
Features — 9
The fully hollowbody Ibanez Artcore AFS75 is my new favorite guitar. I believe it was made in 2001 in China. Although not a superior Japanese Ibanez, it still performs quite excellent with "Vintage" style frets (similar to those on a Mexican Stratocaster) on a set-in Mahogany neck (a first experience for me) with cream-bound rosewood fretboard. Made of Maple on top, back, and sides, it sustains wonderfully and sounds beautiful unplugged. For some reason, not only have I not seen this model on the Ibanez website (the most similar model to this is the Ibanez AF75) but I cannot find even the similar models in a full transparent blue finish. The tailpiece to tune-o-matic bridge gives this jazz box of a guitar a cool, sophisticated look. With the passive electronics, you are given the option of 2 tones and 2 volumes, 1 tone and 1 volume for each pickup, and a 3 way pickup selector. Ibanez-made ACH-1 and ACH-2 humbuckers in the neck and bridge are nicely calibrated, the neck creating a great jazz and solo sound and the bridge making a more defined crunch. The tuners are non-locking Ibanez-made, which will be replaced by me sometime in the near future, for they get flat somewhat quickly. I got this guitar in a selling of my old gear (a Schecter Gryphon and Line 6 Spider II amp which wasn't to my liking) along with a Vox AD15VT and an acoustic gig bag (this guitar wouldn't fit in anything smaller).