Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
As a Jazz guitar, this beast is absolutely slick. It's bright, punchy, and cuts well. It could be used either mic'd into a monitor or amplified. I play through a variety of an amps, including a Vox AD50VT and a Line 6 Flextone. On clean, the guitar fill up the room well. It's warm, and the hollow body is certainly the contributing factor to this. With a little higher gain, the punchy, crisp tones are great. While it's advertised as a jazz and blues guitar, it's versatile enough to play any sort of music. Many people have complained about the Artcore's affinity for giving feedback due to it's build. While I have gotten some on high-gain amp settings, I have had none playing through a Boss NS-2 gate. The fret buzzing (also to be explained later) doesn't come through, so the sound is still very good. Both pickups sound good; the back of course suit's rhythm work a bit better and can get dirtier. Overall, I have no comlaints about the sound.
Overall Impression — 9
I love my Artcore. For my needs, it's prefect. As college Jazz player, I'm experienced enough to know my way around a jazz chart, and this guitar makes it even easier. It's great to pick up and play, sounds wonderful, and looks gorgeous. I wish someone had warned me about the action, however, because trying to adjust it on my own was a bit troublesome, and having a professional aid me would have been nicer. So now for the dreaded question: would I re-purchase one if stolen? This answer is sort of loaded. If I had the same budget, yes. It's priced well for the quality, and does it's job. However, in reality, I would probably play another guitar of mine, and save to buy a Gretsch or Gibson. There is no reason, though, not to purchase this Artcore if you are looking to get into archtops. Buying this guitar has really been an experience. Playing it brings you back to the days of old, where guitars were built differently, played differently, and appreciated in a separate manner. As a player of all types of music, I enjoy variety, but I get immersed the most sitting on stage playing in a big band with this bad boy. While it needs more attention and care than a Standard electric, it builds your level of experience and in the end it's worth it. Sure, I would have loved a perfect guitar, but the flaws this one has only makes it more enjoyable when you learn to overcome them. After all, B.B. King, Django Reinhart, Joe Pass, and Freddie Green would have done it. And now, we can too.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Playing this Live in a jazz setting was a dream once it was set up correctly. The finish hasn't gotten any scratches yet, and doesn't collect dust or fingerprints much. The pickup covers and vibrato tailpiece do, however, so they should be wiped down occasionally. Everything from the strap buttons to the hardware screws were tight, set, and prefect to me. Ibanez has come to be known as a company offering tight quality for a low price, and this guitar is testament to that.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
If there's any point in which the Artcore falters, it's the action. Out of the box, the guitar was not set up well at all. The action was too low; frets 12 and higher buzzed. This was a large enough problem that I preemptively took the initiative to fix it myself the day I got it. A few adjustments of the bridge screws fixed this problem. However, I later noticed that some buzz occurred at times after changing strings. This could be for a few reasons: 1. The floating bridge can move when there isn't enough tension, such as when strings are being changed, setting the strings off a bit. It helps to mark the bridge's position with a graphite stick before taking it off. 2. The truss rod could need adjustment; this is something I plan to leave to a professional. The floating bridge is also a problem off the bat, because the factory places a foam pad under it to protect it during shipping, which must be removed to allow the guitar to resonate fully. Either way, the bridge must be removed, and it can be a pain to keep lined up. This guitar is definitely tricky, and while expensive, it may be good to have a professional set it up the first time, to ensure everything is good off the bat. On the other hand, the finish is flawless. The creamy white paint matches the gold hardware well. I've gotten countless comments from other players, and even bystanders about how beautiful this classic guitar is. It's definitely eye candy.
Features — 9
When I began playing Jazz, I quickly learned that it was a whole different world. From The Feeling that gets put in to The Music to the care given to instruments, the entire "system" of Jazz was backwards to me. After getting into it, I embraced it, and started searching for an archtop. My search eventually brought me to purchase the Ibanez Artcore AF75TGDIV, a tribute to the ever-so-popular and iconic Gretsch White Falcon. The Ibanez Artcore series is a middle priced, entry-level series of archtops. Most are fully hollow, meaning no middle block, and are pretty bright acoustically. They come in a variety of finishes and price ranges. While shopping for mine, I wanted something bright that could cut well acoustically, but I also wanted a tremolo. Thankfully, Ibanez produces the AF75TDG, a model featuring the Standard 22-fret neck and hollow maple body with a Bigsby-style Vintage vibrato unit. This specific unit comes in two colors, Ivory and Black, both glossy; I myself chose an ivory one with gold hardware and tan/gold trim. Unlike some other Artcore models, the AF75TDG has a floating bridge, and is not actually screwed into the body. This can be both a blessing and a curse (but will be addressed later in the review). The box has four control knobs: one volume and one tone pot for each humbucker, and a three-way pickup selector. Standard Ibanez tuning heads and pickups come with the guitar, as expected.