Artcore AS83 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (21 votes)
Ibanez: Artcore AS83

Price paid: $ 415

Purchased from: ebay

Sound — 10
I play rock, blues, alternative and jazz. I bought this guitar originally because I was hoping to get into jazz band, and figured I should have a "jazz" guitar (really it was just an excuse to get a new axe). The 2 humbuckers coupled with the resonance of the semi-hollow body suit my style perfectly. It's great for thick jazz tones, British Invasion era blues/rock (Stones, Zep, Cream) and sounds great clean. I play through a Vox, and the guitar sounds spectacular. There's abosolutely no noise from the pickups, something I'm very grateful for after playing a Tele for so long. It's got less twang and "spank" than the Tele, thicker and less bright, although you can get pretty twangy on the bridge with the tone all the way up. Overall, sounds really good. I wouldn't play this for metal, cause it has the nasty problem of feeding back at high volume or high distortion. The feedback only occurs when you're not playing though, so it's easily fixable by turning down the volume on one pickup. For me though, it's an ideal sounding guitar.

Overall Impression — 9
I'm really happy I bought this guitar, it plays great, looks awesome (not to mention classy) and fits my style very well. I've been playing for around 3 years now, and between my Tele and this, I have a pretty perfect arsenal. However, the somewhat less that spectacular workmanship prevents this from being a perfect guitar. I like it better than my Tele for pretty much everything (exculding Stones and Fratellis). If it was stolen, I would go out and buy a new one right away. As soon as possible. And I'd hunt down the thief. overall, if you're looking for a killer guitar with great rock, blues and jazz tones, this is it. Ibanez says the artcores do "punk to jazz and everything in between" and I totally agree. Great mid-level semi-hollow for about the same as an Epiphone Dot, but in my opinion, far superior in looks, tone and playability.

Reliability & Durability — 7
Since it's a semi-hollow, the first thing I reccommend you do is Buy A Hardshell Case! it's a really fragile instrument, andive dented it at least once in the year I've had it. Strap buttons are ok, but since they're mounted SG-style (i.e. upper strap button on back of neck joint) I've found my straps coming off there a lot, but that was easily remidied with a 4 dollar pair of Dunlop straploks. In addition to the dirty pots, the input jack fell came loose and fell into the body one day, which was, to say the least, annoying. In addition, one of the stalks for the tone knobs was a little loose. Although these problems were realitvly minor, and are to be expected from a 6 year old guitar, they were still dissappointing enough for me to question the workmanship of the guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Can't really say how well the guitar came set up from the factory, but when I got it, it was set up great. Low action, no buzz. Can't complain there. However, the tone and volume pots were a little dirty, but it was nothing major. The guitar was in great condition, and it is, as I mentioned before, a breathtakingly beautiful instrument.

Features — 9
My AS83 was made in 2001 in China. Now before you say "aw, it's made in china, it must be crap!" I wanna tell you that for a six year old guitar, this thing has held up real well. I've had a few minor problems, but I'll go into that in durability. I believe Ibanez canceled this model a while back, but you can still find 'em on Musicians Friend. Mine is left handed, which are very hard to find anywhere, as they were produced only for a short time. That being said, I've got no idea why the hell they canceled the AS83, cause it's a stellar guitar. Anyway, it's got a "violin sunburst" finish, but it's really just a mellow tobbaco brown. It's an ES-335 copy, so it's a semi-hollow. Body wood is something dark, might be mahogany and the center block is maple. Neck is a 3 ply maple affair with and ebony fretboard and abalone/mother of pearl inlays. That, coupled with the flamed maple top, back and sides make this one beautiful guitar. Looks like a work of ART. Plays like one too. As far as pickups go, it comes Standard with 2 Ibanez humbuckers. I never got to try these, so any comments about the tone are based on the current pups that are in the guitar. The guy I bought this guitar from had installed Eric Johnson custom humbuckers, which drove the price up about 70 bucks (jokes on HIM, they're listed for $70 EACH.) 2 volume controls and 2 tone controls in addition to a three-way Switch rounds out the electronics. The neck has 22 medium frets, which are a good size for the most part, but after about the 15th fret they start to get really narrow, which is a pain if you're soloing up high.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Just picked up a mint condition 2004 AS83 for $325. SWEET guitar. Not sure I'll swap out the PUPs just yet but thiking about some Super 58's down the road. Anybody know how long the AS83 was in production?
    Bernardo Gui
    I bought this guitar brand new at Guitar Center in 2006. Since then I've PLEK'ed the fretboard, installed a Tonepros Locking Bridge & Locking Tailpiece, installed Sperzels & installed a Gibson Classic 57 in the neck & a Gibson Classic 57 Plus in the bridge. Yes my friends, this guitar is a monster !!!!!
    I really enjoy my AS83. Like Bernardo, I also swapped out my PUP's for Gibby 57 Classic & 57 Plus. I prefer it over my Les Paul Custom 57 re-issue. Having owned an Epiphone Dot, I really think you get a higher quality instrument in terms of craftsmanship, hardware, electronics, and playability with the Artcore series (at a comparable price). It is very common for the knobs to work themselves loose on any semi-hollow. A simple fix with a dab of Loctite blue. I chose the AS83 simply for aesthetic reasons- I liked the finish, binding, and inlay, and I did not want the pick guard. If you plan to swap the PUP's look at the less expensive models like the AS53 and AS73. They don't have the finishing touches like the higher models but they are also very well engineered instruments.
    I had a similar model, the artcore TM75 and considering the price it was a really good guitar. Ibanez struck gold by making this series, it's just too bad they discontinued some models that where really good
    eBAY? I really don't trust eBAY when it comes to buying guitars becuase it is extremly hard to tell whether it is a crappy "look-alike."
    Ibenez, I have mixed emotions about them. I have played some less expensive models that were of higher quality than more expensive ones. My advise is buy one that feels good. One that you actually played in real life.
    yeah, i was really nervous about buying it off ebay, cause my number one rule is "try before you buy." I tried the similar AS-73 at a guitar center to check that i liked it though. and hey, alls well that ends well.
    excellent review. however, the body is all maple with a mahogany block in the center. And my tone knobs were loose as well. I tell people that NO picture of that guitar does it justice.
    and you're totally right, its an amazing looking guitar. sry for the double post.
    americablanco wrote: eBAY? I really don't trust eBAY when it comes to buying guitars becuase it is extremly hard to tell whether it is a crappy "look-alike."
    I got my AS93BS on eBay, $100 less, brand new display model, deluxe hardshell case. As long as the seller is qualified, (and you can tell by how many ratings and how many sales made, especially if it's a real shop somewhere.) eBay is great if you're not a dimwit. That may not be the case for you though.
    i just bought this guitar on ebay for $257! but its right handed and has stock pick ups so yea. it has like 2 scratches or chips on both sides of the fretboard but the guy said he fixed it and that it still plays good. and it comes with a hardcase! woo i hope i get it soon!
    I just picked one up used for near nothing.. sounds great with stock pickups.. but IM GONNA PUT SOME GVH-2s in it (rumored to be super-58s re branded) and some flat wound 11s. Only complaint i have is that you really cant get the action low enough if you play to pitch. The strings have a lot of bend-ability so you have to raise the action to 3 or 4/16th to keep from getting the dreaded buzz But damn if warm jazz tones are what you are looking for..the as83 will make you smile