The Ibanez Artcore Series is a collection of guitars with fully hollow bodies and semi-hollow necks. A great example of this design in the range is the AS73G, finished in gorgeous Vintage Sunburst with gold hardware.
At first glance, it’s hard to tell that its body contains two pieces of plywood, with an arched top and flat back providing flexibility when required. The solid maple block running through the center anchors the whole guitar together – something you might not think about until you see another similar guitar that lacks this feature!
Despite being hollow, it’s surprisingly heavy. However this also means that is has an extremely resonant character to it; plugging in your phone or via the Auxiliary input (which is great to see on a guitar of this price), the notes seem to amplify by themselves.
The neck features Ibanez’s ‘fast access’ heel, which means it’s easy enough to grab high up on the fretboard – but not so easy that your hand automatically defaults to this position all the time, preventing you from getting a proper grip around the instrument for rhythm playing.
It also has what are known as jumbo frets – meaning they are extra tall and wide, making them perfect for bending strings without really noticing too much finger pressure is being applied. The mahogany used in the neck adds further resonance while giving it an overall smooth feel when moving up and down. It is extremely fast! The fretboard itself has that silky ebony feel to it, while at the same time offering a nice caramelized tone when struck with a pick or strummed with fingers.
The bridge is fixed and features a stop tailpiece – common in many guitars, but far from standard across budget models. The tuners offer great tuning stability overall, but will only hold a tune for so long before you need to do something about it (usually within days of regular playing if not sooner). If you take care of your guitar and always return it to its case after use, this shouldn’t be an issue.
If we looked inside the control cavity we can see where Ibanez has made some compromises on quality – there’s no C22J in sight! Some may see this as a negative, although the quality of ceramic pickups tends to vary greatly even within otherwise identical series. Ibanez’s own-brand pickups are often quoted as being on par with the big names at their price levels; for example, an Infinity 4RV can be found in many of its Artcore models (AS73 included), which is known to be a great replacement for an old Fender Telecaster bridge pickup.
The only other control present is a standard Tone knob – it offers very little variation, but then again you shouldn’t ever need to adjust it that much anyway unless you have some seriously wild pickups installed. Note that there’s no jack input for your guitar lead either – so if you do wish to plug one in, you’ll need an external cable to go via the 3.5mm AUX line input instead.
There’s no doubt this is a solid guitar – and at its price we found it to be way more than we expected. With great playability and looks, there really isn’t much else you would expect from a fully hollow body instrument like this one! If you’re after something different but within a familiar scale length then Ibanez Artcore Series AS73G offers that familiar feel with its own unique voice; it’s certainly not your standard beginner or budget electric guitar.