Ibanez AF75 – Artcore Series Hollowbody Electric Guitar

Hollowbody electric guitars have a tonal character all their own--you get the signature warm tone of an electric guitar with the sweet resonance of an acoustic. And while many hollowbody electric guitars are fairly expensive, we've found one that manages to combine excellent, versatile tone with a truly surprisingly affordable price. The Ibanez AF75 is a member of the Artcore series, a line of dependable hollowbody guitars.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Hollowbody Electric Guitar

A hollowbody electric guitar can produce some pretty impressive tone, but these guitars aren't necessarily for everyone. Here's what to consider before buying:

  • Does a guitar with a hollow body suit your sound? While sonic explorers can usually find a way to work them into any genre, hollowbody electric guitars are commonly used in jazz, blues, country, and rockabilly.
  • Are the stock pickups ideal? Many hollowbody electric instruments use pickups that are designed for jazz or blues. Some models come with P90s or other more rock-oriented pickups.
  • Do you need a tremolo? Some of these guitars come with a tremolo bridge and whammy bar, while others do not.
  • What's your price range? It's important to be realistic--while there are plenty of great values out there, a less-expensive guitar will rarely sound as good as one that's significantly more costly.

Our Picks for Review

Guitar

Guitar

Model

Price

Full Review

Main

Ibanez

AF75

Cell

Alternative

Gretsch

G2420 Streamliner

Cell

Alternative

Ibanez

Artcore Vibrante AS63T

Cell

Alternative

Epiphone

Sheraton II Pro

Cell

Ibanez Artcore Series - AF75

PRO's & CON's of Ibanez AF75

Before we jump into our review of the Ibanez AF75, let's check out some of this guitar's pros and cons:

Pros

  • Fully hollow body means you get maximum resonance
  • Specialized humbuckers minimize feedback issues while offering great tone
  • Hollowbody electric design has a surprisingly versatile tone
  • This guitar is affordable and offers great value

Cons

  • The lindenwood used for the body is also known as basswood, and it's a cheaper tonewood that some guitarists do not prefer
  • Some buyers have noted issues with fret buzz and quality control

Features and Benefits

Tonewoods

While you probably want to play plugged in to get the full effect, you can also play the AF75 hollowbody guitar unplugged. Either way, the wood used makes a difference. This guitar is made of linden, which some players may not recognize. Linden is another name for basswood, a less-expensive tonewood usually found in less-expensive guitars. This wood is somewhat polarizing--some players hate it, and others don't see much of an issue.

If you aren't sure how you feel about basswood, check out this video--it's a blind tone test of an alder guitar against one made of basswood.

The wood used for a guitar's neck doesn't have as much of an effect on tone. The Artcore AF75 has a nato neck. You may recognize nato as a wood commonly used for the necks of value-priced guitars. It's a strong wood that sounds somewhat like mahogany. The neck is capped with a laurel fretboard--this is a less-expensive material that still looks nice and is durable. The pearl block inlays are likely to be appealing to most players.

Pickups and Sound Quality

Tonewoods have an effect on the sound of any electric guitar, but you can't ignore pickups when evaluating tone. The Artcore AF75 uses Ibanez Classic Elite humbuckers, which are largely responsible for its rich tone. These pickups are specially engineered to avoid feedback issues, and they seem to sound equally good either clean or with some overdrive. Most Ibanez Artcore guitars come with Ibanez-designed pickups, so if these aren't your cup of tea, it might be helpful to check out some other Ibanez Artcore guitars.

While the Ibanez Artcore AF75 hollowbody seems to be reviewed well pretty much everywhere, we were still blown away by its sound. This guitar is capable of soft, sweet clean tones, but it also handles overdrive in stride. The sound demo in first video below shows off its clean tone abilities with a little reverb. The demo in second video below doesn't use any pedals, but you can hear the amp go into a bit of overdrive on certain notes.

Aesthetics and Finish Options

At first glance, the Ibanez Artcore AF75 looks more expensive than it is. Like many in the Ibanez Artcore series, it has vintage-inspired looks that many players will find appealing. Exciting finish options and attractive pearl block inlays help give the AF75 hollowbody electric guitar its charm. Ibanez is a company that is known for creating affordable guitars that still have high-end finish options. While every Ibanez Artcore AF75 dealer may not have the same finish options, we found several unique finishes available:

  • Transparent red sunburst--This deep red sunburst seems to be the most readily available finish option on the AF75. It's an understated red that seems very suited to the guitar's vintage vibe.
  • Olive metallic--This opaque, metallic deep green is unusual for sure. But like the transparent red sunburst option, it seems inspired by vintage guitars.
  • Jet blue burst--This light blue sunburst finish is a distinctive one, and its semi-translucent gloss shows off the natural grain of the top, too.
  • Brown sunburst--This is a classic sunburst that's sure to appeal to many players. This video demo lets you see this finish for yourself.

Ultimately, when it comes to aesthetics, the AF75 is a real standout. Of course, looks shouldn't be the major factor when choosing a guitar. But having a beautiful instrument around is a sure way to motivate you to practice more.

Social Proof of the Guitar

If you like the AF75 hollowbody electric guitar but are unable to play it before you buy, reading reviews by those who have purchased and/or played it is a great start (as is listening to some sound demos). We've found a few online reviews to share with you:

Ibanez AF75 Review 01

This review highlights what many AF75 hollowbody electric guitar reviews seem to echo: even without taking price into account, this is an outstanding guitar.

Ibanez AF75 Review 02

Like many who have purchased the AF75, this buyer says that it's an excellent value.

Ibanez AF75 Review 03

This review is positive overall, but for this person, one pickup wasn't particularly usable. Like a couple of other reviewers we found, this person also had some trouble with fret buzz.

Alternatives to Ibanez AF75

We already think this particular Artcore Ibanez model is pretty great, and maybe you do too. That said, it's still wise to look at a few other models before committing to a given guitar. Here are three alternatives you may also want to consider:

Gretsch G2420 Streamliner

How it Compares to Ibanez AF75

  • Higher-output humbuckers make it a great option for rock-oriented players
  • Maple body promotes faster note decay and more tonal detail, which some players might prefer
  • It has the same vintage-inspired appeal as the Artcore AF75 hollowbody
  • It's only slightly more expensive than the AF75, making it another budget-friendly option

Review

If you've spent some time already looking for a hollowbody electric guitar, you may already be aware of the Gretsch Streamliner. Gretsch is one of the best-known hollowbody electric guitar manufacturers, and this guitar is an affordable instrument that still sounds great.

It comes equipped with Broad'Tron BT-2S humbuckers, and the laminated maple body gives your tone a little extra bite. Like the Artcore AF75, it has a sturdy nato neck that's slim and comfortable to play. Its high-output pickups make it an attractive option if you're looking for a hollowbody electric guitar to play rock or any genre that requires a lot of gain.

If you want a hollowbody electric guitar that's more than ready to handle aggressive rock tone, make sure you check this one out.

Ibanez Artcore Vibrante AS63T

How It Compares To Ibanez AF75

  • Sapele construction has a bit of a tonal edge over linden
  • Bigsby V70 tremolo system allows for more expression while playing
  • The AS63T has an undersize body that may be easier to handle, especially for smaller players
  • Infinity R pickups are especially suited to jazz players

Review

This double-cutaway hollowbody electric guitar from Ibanez is a tremolo-equipped option for those who prefer a guitar with a whammy bar. This guitar is only slightly more expensive than the Artcore AF75, and its sapele body produces a warmer sound than the linden (or basswood) used on the AF75, and the AS63T also has a strong yet playable nato neck.

Two Ibanez Infinity R humbuckers deliver sweet tone that's especially good for jazz. This guitar comes in several bright and pastel finishes, making it great for players who want to stand out. If you like the Ibanez Artcore series but are looking for something with a top-notch tremolo, make sure you check this one out!

Epiphone Sheraton II Pro

How It Compares To Ibanez AF75

  • It's a bit more expensive than the Artcore guitars
  • Coil-tapping lets you access even more tonal options
  • Thinner body may be easier to handle than standard hollowbody models
  • Double-cutaway design makes fret access easier
  • '60s-style slim taper neck is remarkably playable

Review

Like Ibanez and Gretsch, Epiphone also has some respectable yet affordable hollowbody electric guitars to offer. The Sheraton II Pro is a bit more expensive than the other options listed, but it has the notable feature of coil-tapping, which makes it supremely tonally versatile.

This guitar has a laminated maple body, and its thinkin' design makes it especially easy to play. It's fitted with Epiphone's well-known ProBucker pickups, too. If you have a little more to spend and want a hollowbody with coil-tapping, make sure you give this one a look!

In Conclusion

The Ibanez Artcore AF75 has plenty of fat hollowbody tone, vintage good looks, and great value. We especially appreciate its clean tones, which are quite good for something in this price range. The Artcore series is remarkable as a whole, but the Artcore AF75 is ideal for those looking to get into playing hollowbodies. Click here to check it out!

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