Price paid: $ 499
Purchased from: Conservatory of Music
Sound — 10
I play mostly classic rock and occasionally let my inner monster out by playing some heavy metal stuff. Lately I have been wanting to explore more blues and jazz, so I picked up this guitar. It sounds great through my Peavey 2X10 all-tube amp, with reverb dialed in on the amp and a chorus pedal. These knobs are amazing and I can go from a very bright tone with some kick to the hollowest of hollow blues/jazz tones. I feel like I'm playing with Cream back in the '60s! The switch, volume, and tone knobs allow for a very broad range of sounds, and this baby can even keep up with my Les Paul on some of the classic rock tunes from Boston, Queen, etc.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is a perfect match for me thus far and I am extremely excited to continue playing with it. I have been playing for about 3 years now and jam out with a band at least once a week with a Gibson Les Paul and a Peavey 2X10. I tried many similar guitars before this one and I'm glad I found out how much I like this one in comparison. My favorite thing(s) about this guitar are the beautiful finish, the awesome action, and the way it feels in my hands (so smooth). I would quickly save the money to buy another one if something happened to mine. This gets a ten because it sounds great, looks hot, nothing bad has happened with the tuners yet, and I got it on sale!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Because it is a hollowbody, I am slightly worried about lugging this guitar around and possibly dropping it (even while in the case). I have never owned a guitar like this one and am not sure exactly how fragile it might be. As I said earlier, everything on the bridge is sturdy and the pickups are very solid. This guitar will last me into my later years hopefully when I am a seasoned jazz veteran.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar has played like a dream from the moment I picked it up. There was nothing that I would have changed for the better. The action is just perfect. On a side note, this guitar pleased me further by allowing access to the higher frets, unlike some other Artcores. The gold bridge hardware is tight and perfectly aligned, but the tuners seem to lack toughness, and might be a little loose (this might just be a personal problem lol). However, the outstanding feel and action make up for any weariness caused by the tuners.
Features — 8
Made in China (most Artcores are made there), with 22 medium frets on a rosewood fingerboard. Has a gorgeous creamy "natural" flamed maple top, back, and sides with matching pickguard. Two custom IBZ 58 pickups in the neck and bridge are each controlled by independent volume and tone knobs and a 3-way selector. Set bridge with fine tuners and ivory tuning knobs. Came with fitted case and a cable. This guitar is absolutely beautiful in every way, especially the headstock and abalone inlays. However, in terms of actual "features", there isn't anything too fancy about the guitar (though the wooden tone/volume knobs are neat).