Artcore AK95 review by Ibanez

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.2 (5 votes)
Ibanez: Artcore AK95
3

Purchased from: Concept Music

Features — 8
The Ibanez AK95DHS (Dark Honey Sunburst) is a full-hollow body electric guitar based on Gibson's ES-175, etc. It's a well finished and gorgeous looking instrument which features a Spruce top as well as back and sides. Rosewood fingerboard, bridge and tailpiece. The instrument came with it's original, custom hard case.

- Neck: 3-piece Artcore DX set-in neck
- Neck Type: Artcore Set-In
- Body: Spruce top, Flamed Maple back and sides
- Body Width: Maximum width at lower bout: 15.75"
- Body Thickness: Max body thickness: 3.625"
- Frets: Large frets
- Fingerboard: Bound Rosewood
- Inlay: Artcore DX
- Bridge: Rosewood bridge
- Neck Pickup: ACH1 neck pickup
- Pickup Name: ARTCORE 1
- Pickup Position: Neck
- Pickup Construction: Humbucking
- Pickup Magnet: Ceramic
- Description: Clean sounding with a slight overdrive.
- Bridge Pickup: ACH2 bridge pickup
- Pickup Name: ARTCORE 2
- Pickup Position: Bridge
- Pickup Construction: Humbucking
- Pickup Magnet: Ceramic
- Description: Bridge version of AC1
- Hardware Color: Gold
- Original Ibanez Hard Case

Sound — 8
I play a lot of blues and this guitar (although it is/was marketed as a jazz instrument) has the sound I want for about half of all of my songs. I can produce a nice range of tones with this guitar, from a nice clean, almost acoustic type sound to a gritty dirt blues. When I saw it at the shop I was taken by it's looks, a Ted Nugent kinda thing, I liked that, I asked the guy if I could try it and he set it up in the soundproof booth through a Fender Twin, sounded pretty good to me, that's all I needed so I took the guitar home and called it Sylvia (my wife's middle name... I always liked that name), on the way home I had this tune and a verse swirling around inside my head, as soon as I walked in the door I plugged the guitar in and started putting a backing track down so I didn't lose the train of thought, then laid down drums rhythm guitar, bass, vocal and finally lead guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I had this guitar for 4 or 5 years now and apart from the routine string replacement I only needed to adjust the floating bridge once to get the right intonation. Basically still as it was when I brought it home... Spot on. I opened the case fitted the strap, plugged it in and recorded one track. Let's not kid ourselves, this is not a $5000.00 bucks Gibson, this guitar was made in China and it was valued at under $1.000.00 bucks at the time. But I gotta tell you this guitar feels nice, looks nice and plays nice... That's all I ask for, I'm not a "brand" person, I don't buy to impress, I just wanna play Blues and this guitar does exactly that.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Like I said before... I play a lot of Blues and only had it for 4-5 years, nothing to report so far. Still plays like it did the first day... I do look after it tho. It's my tool, my workhorse, and like a tradesman that cares for his/her drills and spanners, I look after my guitars. I replaced the original strap buttons with locks. Nothing wrong with the buttons, I just had $27.00 to spend on a new set of gold locks. The finish still looks good, seems pretty good quality to me, hasn't worn or faded or whatever. If stolen or lost I would definitely look for it and try replace it with another one if available, that's for sure. I do enjoy this guitar. Although I've read a bit about the pups fitted to this guitar I reckon they sound good and suit what I do... I do depend on this guitar for quite a few of my tracks, about 50% while the other 50% is taken up my my other battle axe, a Fender HSS Strat.

Overall Impression — 8
As mentioned, I play mainly Blues and this guitar does what I need it to do, and does it well. I've been playing for many years, acoustic folk for most of my life and blues for the best part of the last 10 years (7 or 8, actually). I grew up around guitars and always owned guitars, amps and a whole range of other instruments, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about instruments and what I'm after. In the last couple of years I sold most of my other guitars, mandolins, basses, drums and amps and kept only the ones I use most these days. This is kind of where my life and my music are headed, blues... And this guitar seems to fit in nicely, that's all I need. I run my AK95 and my Strat through a Frontman 212R via an AB-2 Switch, a Pitch Black Tuner, a Vox Wah, a Boss BD-2, an MXR Phase 90 and a Boss FRV-1. I use the amp on the clean channel only, and the settings are: Volume as needed, Treb 5, Mid 5, Bass 6. Overall this guitar is quite good for it's price, and that's the bottom line. Notice I gave it an 8 on all the categories. Like I said before it's not a $5.000.00 dollar Gibson it's just a Chinese made Ibanez for under a grand. But it is a great value for money and does what it does very well.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Beowolff
    Good review. Interesting, and with a lot of good info on the product. Good job and thanks.
    TDBB
    Thank you for the kind words, sir... cheers from Perth, Western Australia
    PuckMugger
    Looks like a Gibson Byrdland...wonder if you can get the biting distortion and feedback that Ted Nugent gets with his Byrdlands.
    12 string dave
    I have two earlier artcores. af75d in orange, and af75s in blue. Both have had the pups changed, never liked the sound of the achs. The orange artcore has artec style 6.1k filtertrons on it and I have never been happier. It boogies and twangs as good as any of my gretschs. the blue one has been customized with 3 p94s on it plus phase,series. It has just about any sound you can think of from an electric guitar. Mellow humbucking to strat type single coil.They play beautifully and I'd never trade them for anything. I paid $280 bucks for the orange one used but unplayed (the plastic protection was still intact) and $375 for the blue one. Talk about value for the dollar. look at an ibanez and a epi side by side and look at the difference in quality even though both are Chinese made. A good guitar is still a good guitar no matter what price you paid.
    TDBB
    Agreed, 12 string.... a good guitar is a good guitar... full stop... Hey man what are the chances of posting pics of both guitars... specially the AF75S with three P94's... must look pretty cool by the sound of it...
    TaV0
    I've been interested in getting a hollow body guitar for a while, nothing too expensive, just a back up guitar and I was about to buy either an Epiphone Casino or an Italia Mondial Classic. I totally forgot about Ibanez Artcore Series! This review made me consider them. I believe I should check some of those before making up my mind and buying a new guitar.
    maximumrocker
    I havent got my Artcore Am93 yet (Just ordered it). But I loved the feel of these guitars. Never a fan of the Gibson/Epiphone necks. I think you'll be surprised when you play through it
    TaV0
    I know, I really love my Ibanez Jetking II and Jetking IV, not the usual Ibanez, but Ibanez in the end. (Also the Super 58 Pickups in the Jetking II are great, no need to change them. Although I had to replace the P90's in the Jetking IV). I tried some Epiphones and well, the Casino felt nice and sounded alright but I felt slightly more comfortable with the Italia Mondial. I'll go to some music shops this weekend and try some Artcores. What are your thoughts on those Artcore Pickups? Are they any good? Should I replace them?
    mhbscars
    Some of the models have stunning stock pickups , but I honestly would have to try out the different guitars to decide. The neck feel is what keeps me an Ibanez player though.
    TDBB
    An update... I've been playing this Artcore through a Vox AC30C2 since last September... Sounds awesome....
    TDBB
    You can actually get quite a good range of sounds out of this gurl... I use different settings depending on the track... at times clean, other times Boss BD2 on, on some songs I'd use the neck pup, on others both, on one song I use the BD2 with both pups then kick the BD2 off and flick the switch to bridge pup, in some cases I'd lower the amp's (clean setting) volume and roll the vol knobs on the guitar up all the way, etc.... I was a bit surprised at first, I don't seem to get much feedback even when amps are pretty cranked up... I saw some live footage of George Benson and I'm pretty sure I could see what looked like clear packaging tape covering the F soundholes... I wonder if it had something to do with feedback... Just in case I started carrying a roll of tape in my kitbag, tho I haven't had to use it yet (lol) Please feel free to check my link below... (for no other reason than for you to hear the guitar on different settings) please keep in mind these are just demos and I use backing tracks... some might be a bit poor in quality tho... let me know if this helps or want to know settings etc... https://soundcloud.com/thedarnedbluesban...