Submitted July 30, 2020 by Jeannette F in Jacksonville, FL
"Worthy of a Review"
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If I have to spend time working on a guitar to make it properly playable, yet still recommend it, that makes it a pretty good value in my book. As mentioned in my detailed descriptions, this guitar did not arrive having received proper quality control, but with some minor effort, it is now a fantastic addition to my collection. I needed to dress the fret ends, file the bridge pin holes, and replace the bridge with the spare included. After that, and with a decent setup in the process, this guitar has quickly become my favorite on my acoustic wall of goodies. It projects magnificently, not just for a guitar of it's size, but for any size. It's bright, punchy, as clean as you can expect, and seemingly well constructed aside from the aforementioned issues. And the size, well that's the whole reason I bought it, and I'm glad I did. It's great to have laying around in case you have an idea floating around in your head you want to try out, or maybe if you want to sit back and explore some song writing ideas. It's about as portable as you can get, making it especially convenient for those times you don't want to lug your dreadnought around, and it's quite the eye-catcher too. I remember these reviews used to have a "WOW" factor (maybe I missed it), and this guitar has indeed wowed me. I never expected to get such brilliant sounds in such a compact body, and I had expected to be isolated to finger picking, which surely isn't the case with this little monster. I give this guitar two thumbs up and encourage it's consideration among some of the more costly parlor guitars out there. And though I'm not thrilled with the QC work, I'm excited enough to forgive that for what I got.
It would be fair to assume that this guitar, any parlor guitar for that matter, is going to be less audibly present than it's big brother dreadnoughts given less room for reverberation. However, this parlor packs a big punch, a surprisingly room-filling, make that house-filling bang for your buck. The reason for this is because the sound hole is proportionally larger for the body size than a standard acoustic guitar. This also gives the PN1 a sort of built-in compressor. The bottom end will sustain well and fade towards the middle slower, the highs will sustain less and fade toward the middle a bit quicker. That makes this guitar great not only for finger picking, but also strumming with a lighter touch. In fact, I've even pulled off some decent bottle slides, and, believe it or not, it's quite capable of producing decent percussions. Essentially, it's a punchier version of a typical concert acoustic, at least as I compare to my Fender CD60.
The PN1 has a laminated spruce top with nyatoh back and sides and a mahogany neck with nandu fingerboard, a sort of combination of bright and warm woods. There are wrapped braces on the top and bottom with three connecting braces on the bottom, and I think there is a cross brace on the top but I can't quite see how it's formed behind the bridge. There's bookmatched ivory binding on the top, bottom, and neck, an uncut saddle, and open-geared tuners. It also includes a nandu bridge, 18 frets, dot inlays (not sure of the material) and a 24.4" scale (I think it's 24.41 to be precise), joined at the 12th fret.
Ease of Use
It's easy to get a great sound out of this guitar, just play it and it will sound great. But what's really exciting for me is how plentiful the tonal arrangements can be with playing modifications. For example, the PN1 responds very well to light touch strumming, especially if you like those running Ennio Morricone running chords. Then you can pluck a hard bass string or two followed by a pleasant minor arpeggio. Bending is a bit more difficult, and I wouldn't plan on putting on a harmonic display, but feel free to run a bottle slide down the neck with great results, and don't forget to try your hand at percussions, which resonate particularly well with this guitar.
This is the category that forced me to remove a star from my review, despite the otherwise overwhelming qualities. My particular PN1 did not arrive in a reasonably playable condition, certainly not up to the standards I had expected. For starters, the fret ends were not dressed beyond a rough rounding. This made it extremely uncomfortable to move along the neck, and required immediate attention. The saddle was not properly filed to size, leaving me with excessive action beyond the third fret. The saddle also had multiple string tension cuts that were out of alignment causing uneven string spacing. Fortunately, Ibanez does include a replacement saddle, which I quickly utilized. My next complaint is shoddy craftsmanship when prepping the bridge pin holes. There were shards of wood sticking out, and the holes were not rounded smoothly, as though someone was moving a bit too fast with the drill press. This was resolved with some delicate Dremel work. I've heard a few complaints about the tuners, and I tend to agree that they are on par with a cost-efficient guitar, but still quite functional, if not a bit inconsistent. It's as though the ratio can't make up it's mind. With no intent of excessive tuning, I see no major problem here. No complaints aside from these issues, which I was able to promptly address myself, but I do expect better from Ibanez.
Comparable parlors are going to be in this price range, some, like Fender's CP60, going up into the low $200's. Based on the end result after the setup modifications, I think this price point is fair assuming you receive a guitar that doesn't need these repairs. I am happy with the cost-value, but not the lack of quality control. However, with those issues now resolved by my own hand, I am thrilled with what I have for what I paid.
I'm not really an Ibanez guy, this being only my second purchase from them as far as I can remember. Therefore, I haven't had any interaction with their customer service, and having resolved all issues myself, I don't have any need to. For what it's worth, I understand that they are active on social media, and have a well organized website, so I am assuming you'd have no problem getting in touch with someone if need be.
The Wow Factor
The biggest appeal to me is the size. The 12" lower bout and 3.75" depth with the 24.4" scale make this guitar ideal for me to keep next to my chair in the living room for when I want to try out something in my head, for writing songs, or even to take out to the garage when it's time for my evening cigar. It's very portable, making it great for a camping trip or a day at the beach, though you'll need to get your own bag as one is not included. After the fact, I also find the tone appealing, especially given how well this guitar projects, even compared to larger varieties.
Studio Guitar, Bass, Drums, Piano, Banjo, Ukulele, recording, song writing
Rock, classic rock, punk, metal, grunge, jazz, country, pop, 50's, 60's, surf music, classical
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