Ordinary Time 32 – Saturday
I have a new addition to my guitar family now. My beat up Yamaha FX310 now has a friend to play with after 5 long years of being alone in my bedroom.
It’s actually quite a decent guitar for a beginner. Action is a little high but I just can’t be bothered sanding down the bridge, so I’ve learned to live with it. Never got a set of instructions or maintenance tips with it so I’m surprised that I haven’t already stuffed it up. Indonesian-made, spruce top, mahogany sides and back, Nato neck and Japanese rosewood fingerboard. It’s a basic acoustic guitar that is actually sounding a lot better now than it did when I first got it. The bonus in it was the passive pre-amp under the bridge saddle which, while no means fantastic, does a decent job of picking up the tone for sending out via a guitar cable into a D-I Box and onto a mixer to be broadcast through some speakers.
Now, onto the new addition:
I now have an Ibanez Artcore AF75D in “Transparent Orange”. It’s quite a nice looking jazz box indeed. It was going to be either an Ibanez Artcore or an Epiphone Dot 335 Studio for my first electric guitar and I’ve made my choice. The price? A$695 if you’re wondering from Music Makers Beenleigh (or until 1 January 2008, any musical instrument shop here in Australia that’s a part of the “Musicians Network” buying group).
According to the sticker inside the guitar, it’s Made in China. Though looking at the serial number and using the serial number guide from the Ibanez wikipedia site and a number of other sites online, it appears to be Made in Korea instead.
Though I have read that Hoshino Gakki have got a couple of plants in China these days as well (Yeoh-Chern & Sejung).
As for the specs: Laminated maple top, body and sides. Mahogany set-in neck (not a bolt-on like a Strat). Bound rosewood fingerboard (incl. pearl block inlays) with chrome hardware. Two medium-output humbuckers with tone and volume controls for each and a 3-way switch. Construction wise I can’t find much fault with it at all. Seems like the Chinese factories these days are putting out some good quality instruments. The earlier stuff from a few years ago was horrible.
And yes, it has “f-holes”. It is a full hollow-bodied electric guitar (looking a fair bit like a viola if you ask me) which has decent sounding stock pickups in it (mainly clean but it has a bit of overdrive too). I like the feel of the neck too which to my chunky hands is a wee bit thinner than my Yamaha. While it’s supposed to be primarily an instrument for jazz guitar (which is something I’ve been studying on and off for the past year in my spare time on my Yamaha guitar), after my tests this morning, it can snarl as well.
On my old crappy 10-watt Marshall G10 Mk II amp, it does sound good with some distortion in it too (OK, I chucked the gain at 10 with the contour to 0 which meant lots of chunky distortion – as much as you can get out of a 10-watt amp!). But it has some sublime clean tones too. The user reviews I read were right. Looking forward to more years of guitar playing pleasure on this one. Think I might take this along to church this afternoon before choir practice and have a bit of a play to see what it sounds like on something a little more substantial than the 10W amp I have here at home (like the 50W Laney that’s there in the English hall or the 100W acoustic Marshall AS100D amp).