Price paid: $ 260
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I'm running this guitar through a Line 6 Spider IV, as well as playing it acoustically. It sounds great unplugged, much louder than my Strat. It sounds like I had hoped a hollowbody would on a clean setting: strong middles and highs, not overshadowed by the lows. The neck plays very smoothly and deeply, but I can get some strong treble out of the bridge. The middle setting (combining both pickups) has a bit too much bass for my taste and sounds a lot like the neck pickup if both pickups' volumes are at 10, but some EQing takes it out comfortably. It takes distortion very nicely; one thing I've heard about semi/full-hollowbodies is that they feed back something awful, but so far I have yet to get anything like that. Pinch harmonics do come through very nicely, and this guitar can play anything from country to Metallica. I have played some Lamb of God on it as well, but even on the bridge, there's not quite enough bite for that heavy of a sound.
Overall Impression — 9
I play country, blues, classic and hard rock, and a bit of metal. This guitar definitely covers them all. As I mentioned in the "Sound" section, it sounds Acoustic enough to play comfortably on clean and also handles distortion just fine. I'm comparing this to a 2009 Fender Standard Stratocaster HSS. I miss the single-coil tone periodically, but rolling back the tone knobs to 9 or 8 helps give it that same sort of sound. This Ibanez sounds much thicker on every setting; it's hard to describe, but there's more of a body to the tone. It doesn't handle the extremes as well, but I would absolutely classify the AS73B as versatile as an HSS Strat. I love the sound of a hollowbody, and this guitar delivers on it. As I said in the first section, I wish there had been the option of putting a pickguard on it. If this guitar was stolen or broken, I would *absolutely* buy it again at the price I got it for; I would also strongly consider pick it up at full-price. I mostly snagged it for the deal I got on it, but after owning it for a while I like how it responds to tone/volume changes, and would definitely pick it up over an Epiphone Dot, which I tried side-by-side with this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I don't gig, so I don't know how it stands up to gigging. However, as I said, the finish doesn't seem to actually scratch all that easily. I accidentally bumped it against the table before I got used to the size, but it didn't dent the side or leave a mark. I think it could probably stand being dropped a few times without anything more than cosmetic damage. I thought there was some wearing away of the finish on the back of the guitar, but after I rubbed it a little bit, whatever dust was there went away. Another plus side is that this guitar doesn't attract fingerprints nearly as easily as a Standard finish does; greasy fingers will still smear, but I don't have the urge to polish it down every time I pick it up. The hardware seems solid, although the strings catch in the nut every now and then while tuning (that's easily fixed with some pencil rubbing in the grooves, though).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Once again, I bought this guitar used, and pretty well set-up. I had to adjust the intonation on the G and B strings, but everything else was great: no fret buzz, the other strings were intonated properly, and the pickups weren't too high/low. The previous owner left some small scratches, but I'm happy to say that even though this guitar scratches white, they're not very noticeable and I only found them while I was setting it up. From the manufacturing side, everything seems just fine. The neck's straight as they come, and none of the frets have wire sticking out. The finish is much better than I expected from a matte color. It doesn't make your hand stick to it, nor is it rough (in other words: no, it's not an Epi/Gibson "faded" finish).
Features — 9
I bought this guitar used from a Guitar Center in Albany, New York. It came with a non-Ibanez hardcase and had been sitting on the wall for long enough to get some dust, which is probably why the price was so low. This is a 335-style semi-hollowbody, made in 2009 in Korea. It has 22 frets, an Ibanez ART1 Bridge (Tune-o-matic style), two passive pickups with their own pair of volume/tone knobs, and a three-way pickup selector. According to the Ibanez site, the pickups are an ACH1-S in the neck and an ACH2-S in the bridge; the body is maple; and the neck is mahogany. Like all AS73Bs, it has a matte-black finish, chrome hardware, and no pickup covers. One thing that bothered me is that this guitar does not come with a pickguard, and has no option of putting one on.