16 January 2009

Ibanez Artcore AF75TDGIV

Specs: Ibanez Artcore AF75TDGIV

Neck Material: Mahogany
Neck Type: AF Artcore set-in
Body: Maple top/back/sides
Frets: Large frets
Fingerboard: Bound Rosewood
Inlay: Pearl block inlay
Bridge: ART2 with VBF70 Vintage Vibrato
NeckPU: GFS Vintage Filtertrons
BridgePU: GFS Vinatge Filtertrons
HW Color: GD
Finishes: BK, IV
a: Width at Nut43mm
b: Width Last Fret58.5mm
c: Thickness 1st Fret20mm
d: Thickness 12th Fret26.5mm

After playing with this piece for a while now, here's my take on the Ibanez Artcore AF75TDGIV. My first impressions are of course it's beautiful looks. That was my main draw in picking up this poor man's alternative to a Gretsch. The Stock ceramic ACH 1 & 2 pickups were not too impressive but the overall build quality of the guitar was very good. When unplugged, It plays very well in terms of tone on it's own. Loud & crisp tone for a full hollow bodied guitar. Maybe the maple tops on the top, back & sides could be a contributing factor for the sweet acoustic tone.

The pickups have since been revamped with a set of GFS Vintage Filtertrons. I had to order these direct from guitar fetish at below $150 including shipping cost for a set of 2 pickups. That's relatively cheap in my opinion. I had my guitar tech install the pickups with orange capacitors & a coil split along the way. It's not an easy feat to install a set of pickups on a hollow bodied guitar so i left it to the pros on this job.

After the entire upgrade, the tone of the guitar when plugged into my VOX 100VT was dramatically improved. The new pickups made a very big difference in tone compared to the stock pickups. There is that certain growl to the tone with the bridge pickups and the neck pickup produces a very warm and bassy jazz tone. There were no traces of muddiness in tone. The orange capacitors may be doing its job to brighten the tone. When pushed into coil split mode which is installed on the volume knob of the bridge, The coils produces a very bright and clean tone which is great for blues.

I guess anyone who has played a bigsby styled tremolo guitar will somehow worry about the tuning stability when the bigsy tremolo is used. I am quite impressed that the ART2 VBF70 Vintage Vibrato held it's tuning very well. I had got no issues with tuning instability when using the bigsby tremolo. But obviously, these bigsby bars are not meant for huge Steve Vai type dive bombs. They are made for what they are. Vibrato's ....

As with most hollow bodied guitars, When pushed into high overdrive or high distortion it will most definately have some form of feedback. You will need to make some adjustments to your playing style or maybe even adding a noise gate to try to cancel unwanted feedback noise. But most definately, the sustain level is sweet and lovely if the right amount of control is applied.

I have yet to see an identical piece locally. I don't think Swee lee has brought this piece in with this ivory finish onto our shores. Maybe not yet as this finish was only introduced in 2008. This one is a keeper for me. the Ibanez Artcore series is under rated and i think more players will start to see their worth down the road. I would definately recommend the artcore's if you have plans to get a hollow bodied guitar at an affordable price.

  • Very affordable price for a hollow body jazz box. Great Value!
  • Beautiful
  • Great tone when on it's own
  • Loud on it's own acoustically
  • Maple tops on all sides
  • Great build
  • It's an Ibanez!
  • Stock pickups sounded cold & lifeless
  • Hard case not included
Rating: 9/10