The Ibanez Artcore is my favorite semi-hollow electric guitar and appeared on our best electric guitar list. Continue reading to learn more on Ibanez Artcore AS73 Review.
The Ibanez Artcore guitar range was released in 2002 and has been a popular choice of hollow-body guitar for nearly 20 years. Thanks to its attractive appearance, and slick, well-sustained tone.
These semi-hollow guitars are known for their rich and resonant old-school tone. Which is great for warm blues and jazz tones. Their classic sound compliments this musical classic.
The Artcore range has a high build quality, using top-notch electronics, wood, and design processes. The AS73 is a benchmark in the Artcore Range, and similar in style to the now discontinued Gibson ES-335.
Keep reading our Ibanez AS73 review for our full exploration of the features and details of this Artcore semi-hollow guitar.
Alternatively, check out our Squire Affinity vs Bullet guitar duel!
Table of Content
- Ibanez Artcore AS73 Review
- Are Ibanez Artcore guitars any good?
- Ibanez AS73 Semi-Hollow Body Guitar Artcore Alternatives
Ibanez Artcore AS73 Review
Design & Construction
The Ibanez AS73 features a double-cutaway semi-hollow design, inspired by early blues and jazz electric guitars.
The tonewoods are hand-selected and boast excellent sound quality. With a mahogany neck, maple body, and bound rosewood fretboard, the wood choices are warm and deep with rich tones.
The top has 2 classic F-holes cut through. These increase resonance and projection, as well as giving it a cool look. The AS73 has a scale length of 24.75” which is slightly shorter than the average Stratocaster model.
These semi-hollow body guitars are not as strong as solid-body guitars like Stratocasters and Telecasters. They may not be able to withstand the same amount of force or impact. The body cavity can break open if dropped, so be careful!
The AS73 Model features 2 chrome-covered Classic Elite humbuckers for the neck and bridge pickups. Each with independent volume and tone controls, and a selector switch. These pickups are also used on Ibanez’s other high-end guitars.
The bridge is an ART-1 with a Quick Change tailpiece. It doesn’t have a tremolo system, but one could easily be installed, like a Bigsby tremolo bridge. The ART-1 still has a solid sound quality and maintains tuning well. It’s designed to make changing strings a quick and painless process.
We did notice the odd screw or component was loose. The pickguard may come loose and rattly when playing guitar, but this is easily screwed back in. Overall the build quality is decent,
and beats other affordable instruments in the same price range.
Note: hollow guitars like the Ibanez AS73 are more sensitive to heat and humidity than solids. They are more prone to warping.
How Does It Play?
The Artcore semi-hollow is noticeably lightweight thanks to its hollowed-out maple body. This makes it nice and light to hold, creating reduced fatigue to the neck and shoulders.
The large maple body provided comfortable support playing either sitting or standing, keeping the guitar in a good playing position.
The mahogany neck was very smooth and silky to play with, the frets were well filed down with no sharp edges. This Ibanez AS73 Artcore has such a good neck, its rosewood fretboard with a slightly flattened fingerboard shape makes it a dream to play arpeggios and scales.
The double-cutaway allows access to all the frets which is a bonus. No frets felt out of reach or awkward. This makes it great for shredding those complex freaky jazz scales.
We used lighter gauge strings, which had decent low action, and were easy to strum and pick. There was little to no fret buzz.
The bridge and nut kept the strings locked into their grooves without popping out, which happens in cheaper musical instruments. This is a good sign of attention to detail
For players who prefer higher gauge strings, the action and intonation may need adjusting as it seems the Ibanez AS73 comes set for lighter strings.
The classic elite pickups had a strong dynamic range response, responding well to both loud and quiet playing.
Like most guitars at this price, it needed some setup adjustment to refine the feel. This plays like higher-priced guitars, you wouldn’t really tell this is essentially a budget guitar.
How Does It Sound?
Overall, we were impressed by the sound quality of this great guitar.
The Ibanez AS73 has a relatively bright sound compared to telecasters or Les Paul, but it still has room for warmth. This is a warm semi-hollow electric guitar, particularly in comparison to Rickenbackers or some Gibson models.
The tone and volume controls provide a decent range of tones. With a balanced low end and clear high end, the Ibanez AS73 could work in either Rhythm or Lead guitar positions.
With an unfiltered tone, the Ibanez AS73 Artcore is great for jangly lead sounds, fitting well for rockabilly, indie, blues, and classic rock music. This would even be a great guitar for easy listening styles
Dialing down the tone knobs produced a dark and warm tone which would work well in jazz and hip hop music styles.
The sound of this guitar will work with many different amps. We thought the sound of this instrument came to life running through valve amplifiers. They enhanced the almost squelchy resonance of this guitar, capturing and enhancing that early electric guitar sound.
Although, as with many semi or full hollow-body guitars, the Ibanez AS74 Artcore is more prone to feedback when used with high-gain and distorted amplifiers. This is due to their semi-hollow body being susceptible to picking up its own resonance from the guitar amp.
The classic elite neck pickup sounds amazing, and the bridge pickup also had a great sound. We thought the pickup combination was perfectly balanced.
Its classic elite pickups also responded very well to overdrive and distortion pedals. Mildly saturating the tone really brings out the higher harmonics for crunchy lead sounds. Using the neck pickup on its own had a warm, rich, almost percussive sound.
The bridge pickup felt a lot brighter, thinner and clear, with more of a twang. Combining the two using the selector switch captures the best of both worlds with a searing, harmonic tone.
One nice little feature is having a separate tone knob for each pickup. Most guitars just have one tone knob, but having two lets each pickup is sculpted to find the perfect frequency balance.
Advanced musicians will be satisfied with the wide tonal range available in the Ibanez AS73 Artcore. When combined with guitar effects pedals, this guitar shines. It was excellent for producing those psychedelics, shoegaze tones, with reverb, chorus, and delay.
This guitar undeniably has a great and nuanced sound quality, somewhere between an electric and acoustic guitar. This is definitely a beautiful guitar that many guitarists would enjoy playing.
We see the sound of this guitar is particularly suitable for blues and jazz, although it’s not out of place in harder rock styles and psychedelic music. Thanks to its retro tone, this would be ideal for ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70’s styles of music. The beatles were known to use similar type guitars for mayn of their songs.
Is it worth the money?
I think the Ibanez AS37 is a great value guitar for the price.
They are a quirky upgrade from standard beginner guitars like Squire strats and teles.
These make great intermediate to professional guitars for those committed electric guitar players looking for a nicer instrument.
The build and sound quality are very high and compete with guitars in a similar price range and above. A Squire guitar in the same price range might be slightly better, with more features and a slight quality improvement, but not for every range.
These would be suitable for all types of music. The AS73 may not be appropriate for anything on the heavier end of the spectrum like metal and punk, as its hollow body makes it prone to feedback through distorted amplifiers.
Are Ibanez Artcore guitars any good?
Artcore guitars are very good. They are not top-tier instruments like Fenders, but they are decent intermediate guitars.
They have a high-quality sound, they’re durable, flexible, and their classic looks have a more eye-catching aesthetic than cheaper models.
Artcore guitars are popular models and are known to be pro-grade. These guitars are used by many professional and touring bands, which is a testament to their quality.
Their sound is easily outperformed by more expensive guitars, but these are some of the best affordable hollow-body guitars on the market.
The Ibanez AS73 artcore is just one model in the Artcore range, coming in as one of the more affordable models. There are tonnes of others in the range, some with more features, wider bodies, or different body designs.
Note: The Artcore range guitars are not good for all types of music. These guitars may run into feedback issues when used for heavier genres, thanks to their sensitive hollow body.
Ibanez AS73 Semi-Hollow Body Guitar Artcore Alternatives
There are some guitar models which serve as good alternatives to the AS73
The Gibson ES-335 may have inspired this guitar, these are discontinued but can be picked up second hand. These will cost a lot more though, usually multiple thousands of dollars.
The Ibanez AMH90 is a more premium guitar on the Artcore Range. This is more developed and includes more features and higher quality materials.
A PRS SE Hollowbody is also a similar model at a higher price.
The Fazley FES318BK is probably the most affordable guitar with a similar design, although much inferior quality. Alternatively, look at the Epiphone Dot.
This concludes our Ibanez Artcore AS73 Review.
Overall AS73s are great semi-hollow body guitars. These are ideal for many genres, but particularly Jazz, Blues, Indie, and rock. Their resonant, sustained tone has a distinct sound that sets it apart from common guitars like Strats, Teles and Les Pauls.
The Artcore sound just as good as they look, and these are some gorgeous guitars.
For any fans of Artcore semi-hollow body guitar designs, they will love the AS73, it’s an excellent guitar.
We recommend these for beginner to intermediate players. These are a step above the standard entry-level guitars in both price and quality. An Ibanez AS73 would make a great upgrade over a Squier Stratocaster or similar beginner electric guitars.
Check out the Ibanez AS73 and order yours today! Many versions ship with a free Ibanez Gig-bag.Check Price on Amazon
For more guitar posts, why not look at our best wide neck electric guitars for fat fingers.
Noah is an accomplished audio engineer with several years of experience producing music for major companies and independent artists. He enjoys sharing his vast knowledge of audio engineering topics to help musicians and music producers create great music.