Price paid: C$ 325
Purchased from: Axe Music
Sound — 7
Guitar has great tone for a $300 Chinese made guitar. Ibanez's ACH 1 & 2 (bridge and neck) humbuckers are only as good as other makers stock entry level humbuckers (i.e. Epiphone, Peavey, etc.) Somewhat muddy at the neck and tinny at the bridge. Suitable stock for harder music, classic rock, some blues and country. Electronics are clean and smooth, and were installed well. I installed Seymour Duncan 59's and the tone is much, much better. Less crunch but much more full tone and clarity, both on low and high gain channels. I use a Peavey Vypyr modelling amp and the guitar sounds great on all of the models.
Overall Impression — 9
First off, understand that unless buying a high end model from one of the better manufacturers, I do not intend to use a guitar stock, in most cases. Buying this Ibanez ART100 wass such a case. On playing the guitar the first time, I was impressed with it's quality of material and manufacture. Those features came through in the feel and playability of the guitar right away. It also looked like a well made instrument, if not overly fancy. I was sure in just a few minutes that I could put a decent pair of pickups on it and it would be pretty much good to go. I play all sorts of hard rock, and a lot of blues, and I grew up on Les Pauls, so I am biased but picky. I wouldn't touch a junk LP, and now what I like and what to expect tone wise. I've been playing for decades, and now use a Peavey Vypyr modelling amp with Sanpera pedal, for most studio and gigs/jams. I have a dozen guitars, and can compare the ART100 to those and the other Gibson, Fender, PRS, type guitars I've played/owned, and for a Chinese made guitar for $325, that is true value. Far better finish, feel, materials and manufacture than a similarly priced Epiphone or Squier. A beginner or intermediate guitarist would love a guitar like this, right out of the box.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The guitar is quite durable and can stand gigging and traval quite well. All the hardware, strap buttons and tuners are standing up to regular use well. As dependable as any guitar I've owned. Finish is again lasting better it's peers. Amazing considering price and origin.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Guitar was set up quite well from the factory. Action was passable, pickups were proper height. Frets were finished as well as any guitar I've ever picked up, much better than any other make in this price range and equal to American made. Finish, hardware, wood cuts and all electronics, including cavities, were very professionally done. Again, far better than it's peers and equal to American quality. Quite a pleasant surprise, as this was the first Ibanez I'd owned.
Features — 8
This guitar was made in China, approx. '07. It is a Les Paul body type made of mahogany, with a set mahogany neck. Rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, and only one inlay at the 12th fret. 2 ACH passive alnico humbuckers, chrome hardware and non-locking tuners, gibraltor bridge and stop tailpiece, 2 volume, 1 tone control, gloss black with white pinstripe. Bought off the salesroom floor, and only got a box to put it in.