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James... 10/20/2011

Ibanez AS103 : James...'s user review

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Made in Japan I believe. Basically the prestige line of Ibanez hollow bodies. Set up very much like an old 335. Two volume two tone. Nice apointments. Good flame and nice hardware. Inlays are pretty decent. Overall there aren't a lot of surprises here if you're looking for a good semi-hollow. It's always good to play before you buy but if you are familiar with these types of guitars you will get what you think you are getting.

UTILIZATION

Very playable. Access is great, and if you look at the guitar this should be obvious. The design is very traditional and obviously geared towards the old school Gibson crowd. For all intents this is Ibanez' take on the 335.

SOUNDS

So let me explain this review. I recently went with a friend of mine to guitar center to get his first "real" guitar. Generally I'm not a guitar center fan but he needed to play a lot of guitars to find out what he liked. So this was the logical solution. He's a jazz guy so he knew he wanted a hollowbody and that was about it. He was prepared to spend $3000 if he needed to. We were looking for "the one" for him. Started with the Gretsches and were not very impressed. They didn't have many but the ones they had were just meh. He seemed to gravitate toward the Gibson semi-hollows which was understandable. He played a 335 for about an hour and it did indeed sound good. Although I played it and thought it was priced a bit high for what it was.

I actually found the 103 and suggested he play it. I'll be honest, the tone wasn't really any better or worse than the 335. Maybe a little more jazzy while the 335 was more of a rock guitar. But the playability of the 103 was far and away better than the Gibson. In terms of build quality I think they were about the same, but the 103 did seem more polished I think.

OVERALL OPINION

Long story short we bought him the AS103 because it was simply the best one in the store. Sorry Gibson. I will say the pickups surprised me. They were quite nice. Sure, some hardcore tone chasers might wanna drop some cash on a hand wound set. But most players will keep these. Neither of us could find anything we hated on the guitar. The bridge is a little different but it does the job. I recommend it highly.