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For fans of smoky jazzy sounds and smoky guitars, we bring you one of the best Ibanez guitars for jazz – the Ibanez Artcore AF55. Combining brightness with a more beefy vibe, this six-string is a valid choice for a modern jazz player looking for a great mixture of versatility and traditional values.
The guitar utilizes some of the well-known pros of Ibanez guitars and sets them up in a more blues- and jazz-driven environment. We took it out for a little test run, you can find our conclusions in the full review below.
The instrument utilizes a strong mahogany body, mixed up with a mahogany neck, a classic rosewood fingerboard, a set of 22 frets, white dot fret inlays, and two lovely F holes.
The use of mahogany brings in a booming sonic foundation with plenty of resonance, but we’ll get down to more of that stuff in the Sound segment. For now, we’ll further point out that the instrument features a classy Gibson-like headstock and a smoky finish that perfectly matches the sonic attack. We definitely like the looks, and craftsmanship and overall build quality ain’t half bad either!
We’re looking at a floating bridge, a set of standard tuning pegs, and no pick guard. These components may not be the instrument’s strongest points, but they do a solid job in keeping the AF55 in proper shape. While some users have reported minor tuning issues, a proper intonation is almost always secured. Additionally, fret buzz might occur sometimes, and we recommend taking the guitar to a pro for a nice little set-up to get the maximum results.
The pickups certainly give the instrument a healthy load of charm. We’re dealing with a classic pair of humbuckers, but they’re a bit on the hot side, securing plenty of versatility and tonal freedom, but also a constant presence of the “hotness” factor. The pickups are connected to a single set of control knobs for Tone and Volume adjustments. Also included in the mix is a standard three-way pickup selector.
Yes, Ibanez is a manufacturer typically associated with the realm of hard n’ heavy music, but this fella still has a sonic foundation deeply rooted in the world of jazz. Bright, sharp, articulate, and resonant – those are the key words.
However, the use of booming mahogany wood and slightly hotter pickups opened this fella up for musical endeavors outside of the jazz domain, going from harder blues all the way to alternative rock. In our book, this is great, although there are some players who are looking for a full-on jazz guitar and simply won’t appreciate the extra gain punch.
One of the best jazz guitars – or at least one of the best guitars for jazz under 500 bucks? Yup, the Ibanez Artcore here certainly fits the bill! We love the resonant, deep and punchy tone, we love the looks, and despite the few minor hardware issues we can only give the AF55 a thumbs up. Good stuff!