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Rating and Reviews: Ibanez AES20E Guitar

Mahogany back and sides. Die-cast tuners. Fishman pickup and preamp.

User Ratings
Ease of Use
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Pretty, and Good Bang for your Musical Dollar" submitted July 27, 2008

By a customer from frii.com
Ease of Use
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Long-time hobbyist
Music Style: Blues, Country, Alternative
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Sound: Small-bodied guitars can't project like concert-sized dreadnoughts, but this Ibi has very nice tone. Crisp, clear. Decent tone and projection when playing it straight-up acoustic. When plugged in, it's dynamite. I play through a Fishman Loudbox Performer, and the Ibi sounds great. Soft and gentle if that's what you want, but plenty of muscle if you turn up the gain. The onboard EQ helps if you want to tweak the tone, as does the phase, and I don't know if I'll ever buy another acoustic-electric that doesn't have an onboard tuner. Feature: Onboard tuner is easy to use and very, very convenient. Onboard EQ is likewise easy to use and convenient, and can make a big difference in how the guitar sounds, no matter what kind of amp you're using. I tend to not add or subtract very much from whatever tone the guitar is producing, but make occasional exceptions, and the electronics are up to it. The pickup and preamp seem first-class. Ease of Use: I have an Ovation, a Strat, and the Ibi, and the Ibi is as easy to play as any of them. I bought it as a "blem," but when it arrived, I couldn't find a thing wrong with the finish. I DID take it to a local luthier to have the neck set straight and a dead spot fixed on the 13th fret for the 1st string. Since then, it's been fun and easy to play. I prefer the small body to a dreadnought, and especially plugged in, am willing to give up a little of that dreadnought "boom" for more playing comfort. My only real gripe: the location of the strap button on the bottom of the joint where neck joins body. It's not uncomfortable, but it tends to tilt the guitar forward, thus making it a bit more of a challenge to play when standing. Quality: Fit and finish are excellent, especially since this is not what anyone would call a high-end guitar. Mine is black, so every little scratch shows. On the other hand, the neck was way out of whack when the guitar arrived, and there was a "dead spot" at the 13th fret, so someone wasn't paying attention. at that end. I'm not a professional musician, so I have no idea if this guitar would be appropriate for the road, or would need a backup. Since I had the neck and fret issues addressed, I've had no further problems with it. Tuners are solid, and the body feels equally solid and well put together. I could tell you more about durability in a year. I play the Ibi every day. Value: I bought a "blem" for $120 less than website listing, so from my perspective, even with the repair job mentioned above, it still is very much a case of getting your money's worth. Plenty of guitar bang for your buck. Manufacturer Support: The issues mentioned above showed up as soon as the guitar arrived. Sending it back seemed impractical and expensive, so I footed the bill to make the guitar functional. Local luthier did a fine job. If the electronics broke for some reason, I'd consider sending it back, but there's been no hint of that so far. In truth, I've not dealt with either the dealer or Ibanez regarding the issues that showed up when I got the guitar out of the box. The Wow Factor: The Ibi is far more attractive "in the flesh" than it appears on guitar dealer websites. There's some gorgeous, very fine pinstriping around the perimeter of the body and sides, and I very much like the hollowed-out shape of the cutout for the higher frets. Very nice proportions. I don't care about inlays, but this guitar has several. All in all, it's an attractive instrument. Overall: I'm still looking for a replacement or supplement to my Strat, and this isn't it. I'll save my pennies for an Eastwood. In the meantime, though, the Ibi is a worthy companion to my Ovation, and if I lost it, I'd replace it.
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