Acoustic Guitars Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitar
Are Ibanez Acoustic Guitars any good?
Ibanez is a company that’s widely known for great electric guitars – after all, great artists like Paul Gilbert have even collaborated with the brand to develop signature models.
While Ibanez acoustic guitars have a fairly good reputation, they are primarily designed for beginning or intermediate players looking for cost-effective options.
Neck & Body (Top & Sides) – An Ibanez Guitar Speciality
You likely already know that it’s wise to find an acoustic guitar with a solid top – these guitars have a fuller, more natural sound, and they respond more effectively to playing dynamics. Less expensive solid-top models like the AW54CEOPN Artwood are sometimes made with unusual tonewoods (this one is okume) – this keeps costs down. More expensive models like the ACFS580CE have solid tops made out of more established tonewoods, which some players prefer.
This company is known for unique body styles and well-thought-out neck profiles. For instance, the Talman TCY10ETBS looks a lot like an Ibanez electric guitar, and its slim neck plays much like that of an electric guitar. The AEWC300 has a uniquely contoured back that makes it exceptionally ergonomic to play, and its asymmetrical neck makes bass notes easier to hit.
Components & Electronics – full acoustic vs electric acoustic
Ibanez acoustics are remarkable in that nearly everyone comes with a pickup. Beginning players may not see a need to plug in and play, but many less-expensive models incorporate a tuner into the onboard preamp. This lets you tune up anywhere. More affordable options tend to have electronics that don’t sound as natural plugged in, but higher-end Ibanez acoustic typically have excellent electronics.
Some higher-end models also incorporate electronics in innovative ways. The ACFS580CE fingerstyle guitar incorporates two separate pickups for a natural-sounding live tone.
Ibanez tends to incorporate quality components into all of their guitar builds – the affordable AW54CEOPN Artwood comes with a bone nut and saddle, while plenty of similarly-priced instruments have nuts and saddles made of plastic. Bone imparts an extra richness to the tone, and it also improves tuning stability.
Sound & Tone of the guitar – the best reason to buy
Many players report that Ibanez acoustics tend to have a surprisingly good tone for the price. Much of this is due to intelligent tonewood pairings. To get an idea of which tonewoods you might like, take a look at some of the woods Ibanez uses:
- Spruce – This bright, responsive wood is often used for guitar tops. There are different types of spruce – for example, Sitka is more ringing and sparkling, while Engelman is softer and more responsive.
- Mahogany – This is a warm, punchy wood that’s often used for backs and sides.
- Okume – This is a lightweight, midrange-focused wood with impressive sustain.
- Maple- This wood has a crisp, clear tone, and it’s sometimes used on backs and sides to improve projection.
The Action, Fit & Finish of the Guitar
Ibanez guitars reviews almost invariably mention aesthetics. Even very affordable Ibanez acoustics often come with stunning finishes and eye-catching details – Artwood Series models often have rustic open-pore finishes, and the flamed maple back and sides of the AEWC300 are mesmerizing. The higher-end EP10BP Steve Vai Signature is graced with a tree-of-life fretboard inlay.
Ibanez instruments don’t generally have quality control issues, but some players note that the action is a little high when their guitars arrive. Higher action can make playing uncomfortable, but adjusting the action is easy to do yourself.
The Guitars’ Reliability & Durability
The best Ibanez acoustic guitar for beginners is one that can stand up to some knocking around. If you’re purchasing a guitar for a child or want something you can take on the road, a guitar made with all laminated woods may be a good choice. The Talman TCY10ETBS is a great example.
However, nearly every Ibanez acoustic will last for years if properly taken care of. While most of these guitars are affordable, they aren’t cheaply made, Most are made with X bracing, and this bracing pattern helps the soundboard avoid issues with cracking or warping.