Ibanez Artcore AS73

Monday, September 6, 2010| by Will Chen

Ibanez first released the Artcore line in 2002 as an affordable alternative to their Artstar line for those seeking hollow and semi-hollow guitars. The line has since been a huge success and Ibanez has continued to expand it with seemingly endless variants on the semi-hollow and hollow body theme, but it all pretty much started with the AS73.

The AS73 is the Artcore version of the Artstar AS-200, which has been nearly immortalized by jazz-funk guitarist John Scofield. It’s a take on the classic Gibson 335 design with slightly trimmed ears giving the guitar a sleeker look. Also similar to the 335 is a solid tone block running through the center of the guitar, a 3 way pickup selector, and a pair of dedicated volume and tone knobs while a side mounted jack is a huge upgrade from the classic 335 design. With its classic sunburst finish, the AS73 is quite a looker and absolutely flawless from head to toe with a very high attention to detail. The binding along the neck and body is superbly clean and the guitar just has an extremely finished feel to it. While fairly traditional in its surface appearance, Ibanez has included a welcome innovation in their quick change tailpiece which allows strings to be loaded by sliding them through a slot in the top of the tailpiece rather than having to thread them from the rear. It doesn’t sound like much, but to the performer with regular gigs who’s seemingly always changing strings; it’s a God-send. Another innovation is a truss rod cover with a sliding hatch to allow adjustments without removal. Very, very cool.

All in all, the Ibanez AS73 is a bit of a modern classic among affordable semi-hollow guitars which a great many brands have tried to emulate. Its quite easy to see why many consider Ibanez to be the king among imported guitars…

Maple is used throughout the body which is joined to a rosewood on mahogany 24.75” scale neck. Another note on the nice finishing job and attention to detail is the back of the neck has a burst finish matching the body. Nice touch! I’d place the neck on the Ibanez AS73 in medium fat territory, right in line with the expectations of this style guitar. Coupled with the nice and comfy 305 mm (12”) radius and excellently dressed frets, the guitar was darn near impossible to put down.

To audition the AS73, I paired it up with a Tech 21 Trademark 60, VHT Classic 6, and ZT Club 12. In each setting pick attacks felt dynamic and alive with plenty of note definition. At higher volumes, the guitar was nice and reactive like only a nice semi hollow can be. The ceramic ACH pickups sound nice with a fairly full response complementing the woodier tone inherent with semi-hollow guitars without getting too bogged down in excessive warmth. It was easy to elicit a nice broad range of good tones from the bridge pickup across several tonal genres keeping things pretty tight at a surprisingly high level of gain without collapsing into the puddle of feedback some semi hollows can suffer from. On the other hand, the chocolaty undertones of the neck pickups got just a bit wooly with certain amp settings and really felt most comfortable emulating old school cleaner jazz tones.

All in all, the Ibanez AS73 is a bit of a modern classic among affordable semi-hollow guitars which a great many brands have tried to emulate. Its quite easy to see why many consider Ibanez to be the king among imported guitars…

Price: ~$399
Pros: Excellent playability, wide range of good tones.
Cons: None.

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Filed Under: Ibanez, Reviews