Ibanez made Artcore guitar models since 2002. These are guitars that are packed with outstanding features offered at a price everyone can afford.
Primarily, it’s designed to be easy to use, sets up fast and holds the tuning pretty well. At least, players won’t struggle setting up the instrument each time they play.
As a member of the Artcore model, Ibanez AS73 also features a semi-hollow body with two humbucking pickups to achieve overall sound quality.
I’ll discuss the major features of this electric guitar, especially the ones I liked and the ones that need attention, so you’ll be guided.
- Definitely sounds like a flamed maple at a lesser price
- Classic elite pickups are reliable in producing great tones and elaborate low-ends
- Tuning is easy and holds the tune pretty impressively
- Action is spot-on and no need for additional setup
- For those coil-tapping fans playing Epiphone, you don’t get it with the AS73
- Sound quality isn’t consistent with different amps
- Pickups need upgrading for experienced musicians
Design & Construction
As a semi-hollowbody electric guitar, it’s made of Maple top, back and sides. Maple, as you know, is the most desired top wood for most electric guitars for its handsome and uniform appearance. It’s a double-cutaway with beautiful Transparent Cherry finish.
Onboard are four Sure Grip III knobs — two tone and two volume controls — with nonslip functionality for more consistent setup. They are smooth with classic looks, so it goes well with the overall aesthetics of the guitar. For me, I feel that the guitar is perfectly balanced (weighing around 7.36lbs), although some users say that it has a heavier neck.
The neck is made of mahogany with a satin finish. You’ll enjoy the bound Rosewood fretboard with a flatter radius of about 12-inch and scale length of 12.7-inch. It has 22 jumbo-sized frets, but with the shape and profile of the neck, it’s very easy for you to access the upper frets.
Another good thing that I see in this guitar is the die-cast tuners. The ART-bridge system improves sustain and stability of the strings. If you want to update the strings, just like what I did, the Quik Change III Tailpiece will help you do that quickly and swiftly. The ART-1 bridge and the tailpiece are of high-quality, even better than a tremolo.
I like the chrome-finish hardware that goes well with the guitar finish and the rosewood fretboard. The Classic Elite pickups have a classic design, which work great in producing rich sounds. They give nuance to the lower and fat notes, as well as deliver high-end, lighter notes.
Aside from the pickups, the volume and tone controls, you’ll find the three-way toggle pickup switch which is helpful, as well. The switch helps you choose whether you want to use the bridge or the neck humbucking pickups. The guitar has 19.25-inch length, 15.75-inch width, and 2.63-inch depth.
Playability & Performance
I have been playing guitar for years and so, I have held different guitars and have distinctive eyes to details. Seeing the guitar for the first time, I know there is more to this semi-hollowbody guitar than its price tag.
Maple tonewood is denser, but with the semi-hollowbody design of this guitar, it’s lightweight and comfortable even when playing for several hours. The neck is still the AS profile, which feels good and straight towards the bridge. It’s smoothly finished without any sharp fret edges, so, you can surf up and down the fretboard flawlessly.
Frets are bigger and the neck is flatter with a very low action out of the box. No need to change the setup since the strings are pre-strung perfectly. Even playing at the upper frets is very easy — suitable for slicing higher notes. Thanks to the reliable tuning machines and the bridge/tailpiece combo, strings are stable and stay in tune very well.
I’m not surprised by the overall quality of the guitar, because it’s flawless from the way I see it. Though the fretboard has a bigger size than other electric guitars, it’s easier to play since it has pearl dot inlays and dots on the sides, as well. Even beginners won’t get lost with the fretboard markers.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to change strings in your guitars, this one doesn’t need changing. Or, if you want to make sure, just a piece of personal advice, change it to higher gauge strings so you won’t get a sound that’s too twangy. You won’t sweat changing the strings anyway, because of the Quik Change III Tailpiece.
The maple body, mahogany neck, and the rosewood fretboard allow this guitar to provide warm and robust sound quality. Adding the Classic Elite pickups to the bridge and the neck gives you an AS73 with balanced output and wide range of tonality.
If you enjoy blues, jazz, bluegrass, and country, Ibanez AS73 will surely give you the power to play a wide range of genre. The pickups are pretty responsive with the perfect intonation out of the box.
I haven’t cranked up the volume control beyond five, but some say that the guitar needs better pickups if you want to get a much louder sound. The neck pickup becomes mushy, while the bridge gets crackly.
But, with the right strings and a great amp, you’ll get the sound quality the AS73 promises without the need to change the pickups. Or, if you can lower the action even more and raise the neck pickups, you’re getting the desirable sounds from this semi-hollowbody guitar.
You can also try playing the guitar acoustically, and you’ll be amazed by its sound quality. There is no substitute for the great resonance of this electric guitar. It’ll take time to appreciate the beauty of semi-hollowbody guitars and their capacity. Give it time and you can play classic rock or modern tones out of this fella.
Value for Money
Many claimed that Ibanez AS73 is one of the electric guitars that give true value to your money. And, I believe they are right. Playing this guitar gives you joy to the heart and its wide tonal range is fun to play with.
The craftsmanship is superb, plus the hardware, controls, and pickups onboard are quite reliable. Whether you’re a professional or a beginner, the features incorporated in the guitar are very useful for different playing levels.
Yes, there are a lot of other electric guitars that are better in terms of craftsmanship and more expensive with all the bells and whistles. But, if you compare the overall playability and versatility of this guitar, it’s way better than premium ones.
There is nothing else I can say, Ibanez AS73 is indeed a total package. It has superb playability, versatile sound quality and has reliable craftsmanship. There’s none other electric guitars, even those in the AS series that has the same capacity as this.
For me, the humbucking pickups, the knobs, and the tuning pegs are great, but other musicians prefer to change the pickups for better performance. While it’s also good, I know that the AS73 has still a lot to offer. You just need to really play harder to appreciate this beautiful guitar inside out. What do you say?
Photo credits: CM Victor, MusicStreet.co.uk, bhphoto.com, gak.co.uk