Ibanez Artcore Series Semi-Hollow Electric Guitars
As the saying goes, “Looks can be deceiving”. Especially when it comes to guitars. The average person sees a semi-hollow electric, and they usually think of Jazz or Rock-a-Billy. Ibanez offers a line of mid-priced hollow-body electrics, but it’s their semi-hollow Artcore Series that stands out among the fold.
The model we tested is an AS73, finished in Transparent Cherry. Built with the Jazz player in mind, the AS73 is a versatile instrument which sounds great in a wide variety of musical applications. It’s unique tone comes from a combination of tight sustain from the internal mahogany sustain block that houses the two ceramic humbucking pickups and the rich resonance of the arched maple top, sides, and back.
The Ibanez AS73 features a set mahogany neck with a bound, 12-inch radius rosewood fingerboard containing 22 jumbo nickel-silver frets and ten pearl dot inlays. The neck and the internal block are a one-piece construction, allowing for superior sustain and feedback control. The 24 3/4″ scale begins with durable nylon nut and ends with Ibanez’s “ART 1” bridge, a heavy metal bridge with the patented “quick-change” tailpiece, for quick and easy string changes.
The AS73’s tuning is extremely stable, thanks to the 6 high-ratio, chrome-plated machine heads. The action on our instrument measured a very impressive 4/64 of an inch at the 12th fret, making for a fast, easy to fret instrument. The beautiful, transparent cherry finish really lets the beautiful grain of the maple top show through, and is nicely accented by the white binding at the edges of the body and the matching trim around the f-holes.
Each of the ceramic Ibanez ARTCORE pickups (ACH1 for the neck and ACH2 for the bridge) has its own volume and tone control, and can be activated one at a time or simultaneously with the three-way toggle switch conveniently located near the bridge. The tone controls tend to pull ALL of the treble out when cut to minimum, giving the instrument an almost muted sound that really suits Jazz players.
However, when played with the tone pots wide open, the AS73 has a very loud, clear, open tone with plenty of sparkle when played clean and plenty of punch when played with distortion. When the bridge pickup is run by itself with the tone and volume wide open, it gives a loud, aggressive, yet extremely controllable thrash-metal sound which sounds especially great when staccato palm-muted notes are played.
The Ibanez Artcore AS73 is a very affordable instrument, retailing for between $300 and $400 dollars new. The best part is that it is a durable, versatile instrument whose sound, qualities, and features rival those of similar instruments costing 2 to 3 times as much. With strikingly good vintage looks, and a sound that can go from retro to Go-go to Skid Row, the Ibanez AS73 is a great buy, and affordable on almost any guitarists budget.