Price paid: $ 249
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
It is great for classic rock ZZ Top, Clapton, Zepplin, Allman Bros, Skynyrd, Santana, Doors... I don't use any pedals, straight tube amp. Carvin Belair 2X12 clean and distortion, reverb. The distortion has an incredible range, from super crunch to power growl and sustain. The clean side gives me a Creedence tone and sweetness, Tom Petty like too. I can squeak like Billy Gibbons or crunch like him too. LP tone boosted about ten notches. that's with the dimarzios though. The neck pickup is a little bright but the bridge really has a good range and both sound very full and sustain very good.
Overall Impression — 10
Classic Rock Rockabilly, blues, oldies.. I've been playing for over 40 years. If somebody stole this guitar I'd offer a generous reward and go find another one as close to it as possible.. I love the neck, the tone and the sunburst and laquer finish, flame top. Compared to all of my guitars, including my special edition flame top Strat with texas specials, my 62 reissue Telecaster Custom with humbucker at the neck and texas special bridge pickup, which are my main guitars, I would definitely say this one will be used as much or more than these. I always keep an HH style guitar on hand, just sold a Peavey Generation EXP, didn't like the satin neck or the piezo bridge pickups that much, and before that the Samick SG flametop Greg Bennett which had similar features and was lighter, but the hardware and pots were cheaper imported ones had the pots changed to cts and the switch to a Gibson before I sold it and the neck joint was actually starting to get a crack in the paint, my guitar tech said SG styles had this problem due to the closeness of the neck pickup and short neck insert. I can't think of anything that would improve this guitar. I'd like to try different pickups, maybe duncans but for now the dimarzios sound good enough.
Reliability & Durability — 10
IYes, It is definitely a workhorse and probably will stay the same for years. The hardware is very good quality for an import. The strap buttons are locking ones. I will probably use this one as much as my two fenders to alter tones for different styles. The finish is excellent, deep laquer, perfectly smooth inlays, straight and even frets are rounded at the edges and not too wide, the fretboard is smooth and slightly arched for a really good feel.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
i don't know who set it up but it is near perfect, the pickups are adjusted correctly, maybe just a hair lower in the neck one. The finish is excellent, although the bookmatch isn't exact, it still looks great. All the hardware is top quality for an import as is on most Ibanez's I've played. They really did a good job on detail, you can't even see the neck joint and the laquer is mirror deep, smooth as silk and only a very, very light belt mark on the back. I haven't checked the pots yet, but they are smooth and the switch is noiseless and solid, and according to the wiring diagram I found online it is an enclosed box Switch which I will probably change to an open ball end LP type someday.
Features — 10
I just received my Ibanez AR 300 today. I was looking for a double cutaway lp but didn't like the colors or prices of the used ones I came across. I just was surfing and amazingly, this one had just arrived a GC in Indiana. I immediately researched the AR 300 and couldn't beleive what I read about how amazing this guitar was rated. I "stole" it for $249 with the hard Ibanez case and strap. Not a scratch on it, and the plastic coating is still on the back cover plates..As soon as I tuned it and plugged it into my Carvin Belair tube amp, I fell in love..I am 56 and started playing at 11. I've had at least a hundred guitars in my life, including Les Pauls, SG's Samicks, Fender Strats, Teles, Martins, Takamines, etc. etc...I am simply blown away by this guitar..I kept trying to find something wrong with it, but it just got better as I changed the tone and pickup settings. Mine doesn't have the 58 specials, but Dimarzios and I like them even though I am more of a Seymour Duncan guy..They have a very good range and I am a blues, classic rock, type player and they run the course of tones for these styles.. I have been playing it for the last five hours.. I just got rid of a Samick Greg Bennett SG flame top with duncan designed pickups. It was a very good guitar too, but this one is miles above it in every way..I can't beleive I've spent over $6000 through the years on Gibsons..they never played as good or even felt as good as this AR 300 does. The neck is smooth and the action is already set up great. I can stretch and sustain all day long all the way up the neck..what a great deal on a sweet guitar. The finish is beautiful, the inlays awesome and the tuners have stayed in tune so far..love the pearloid tips on them..I always liked the double cut design, SG's and LP's..and of course Carlos Santana's various guitars over the years. I had a PRS SE last year and this one blows it away.. sorry Paul.. I don't care if you spend twice as much as I did, it will still be worth every penny. This one is definitely a keeper, will be in my arsenal for a long, long time..