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The difference between 95 and higher models.
Lexidus
#1 Posted : 5/16/2017 5:12:11 PM

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Hello guys, this is my first post on this forum. I would like to ask You about the differences between the Artcore/Artstar models with the number 95 (like AF95, AG95) and with higher numbers (like AF155). They have the same pickups, so it seems that they vary only in the wood and design, so why are the prices of the "higher models" so much higher?

I would like to buy a hollow-body guitar and I have a dilemma between : Ibanez AG95 DBS and Ibanez AF255BM, is the second model with the higher number worth paying 150$ more? How much better is the AF255 model than the AG95? How different will the sound, the feedback etc. be?

Thank you for any answers in advance.
Jacob
Bill@Ibanez
#2 Posted : 5/16/2017 6:41:19 PM
Bill@Ibanez


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You're correct about the main differences. The Artstar models that are above the "95" number you mentioned, usually have different/more ornate features, like the fretboard inlays, or pickguard, or other cosmetic features. They also come with a hardshell case, where the "95" models don't come with a case.

The AG body shape and size is a little smaller than the AF, so this is likely going to be the biggest difference in sound/feel between the 2. The AG's smaller body will make it less prone to feedback. I'd also throw in that floating pickups also help reduce feedback in hollow body models. The new Contemporary Archtop series are a larger body, like the AF, and have floating pickups.

Hope this helps!
-Bill
Dick Foster
#3 Posted : 5/17/2017 7:01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by: Bill@Ibanez Go to Quoted Post
You're correct about the main differences. The Artstar models that are above the "95" number you mentioned, usually have different/more ornate features, like the fretboard inlays, or pickguard, or other cosmetic features. They also come with a hardshell case, where the "95" models don't come with a case.

The AG body shape and size is a little smaller than the AF, so this is likely going to be the biggest difference in sound/feel between the 2. The AG's smaller body will make it less prone to feedback. I'd also throw in that floating pickups also help reduce feedback in hollow body models. The new Contemporary Archtop series are a larger body, like the AF, and have floating pickups.

Hope this helps!
-Bill


Bill, I thought fixed pickups were less prone to feedback and produce a darker more mellow tone than floating pickups. Fixed pickups are mounted into a hole cut into the top of the guitar while floating pickups mount on top of the body and are not mounted into a hole so the top is a bit more alive.
Bill@Ibanez
#4 Posted : 5/17/2017 8:20:44 PM
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You might be correct on that for tonal differences. I haven't done a good A-B comparison of the different types through the same system to test it out though.

I guess that thought that I have is that the pickups mounted in the body vibrate with the guitar's top and would be more prone to feedback from the vibration. Whereas the floating pickups are more or less isolated from the guitar's top vibrations and prevent feedback.

I'd be interested in some more in depth analysis of this to see what the results are like in practice. It is possible that the floating vs mounted pickups may make less of a difference in feedback and the pickup's "hotness" might play more of a part in feedback... The GB Special pickup descriptino on the Ibanez website does mention feedback, but I'm not sure how much of that is marketing.
Dick Foster
#5 Posted : 5/18/2017 7:06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by: Bill@Ibanez Go to Quoted Post
You might be correct on that for tonal differences. I haven't done a good A-B comparison of the different types through the same system to test it out though.

I guess that thought that I have is that the pickups mounted in the body vibrate with the guitar's top and would be more prone to feedback from the vibration. Whereas the floating pickups are more or less isolated from the guitar's top vibrations and prevent feedback.

I'd be interested in some more in depth analysis of this to see what the results are like in practice. It is possible that the floating vs mounted pickups may make less of a difference in feedback and the pickup's "hotness" might play more of a part in feedback... The GB Special pickup descriptino on the Ibanez website does mention feedback, but I'm not sure how much of that is marketing.


Why the sticky?
Bill@Ibanez
#6 Posted : 5/18/2017 7:43:16 PM
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Odd, not sure why this ended up getting "Sticky"ed. I'll fix it now. Either something happens when I reply that I mistakenly make posts sticky, or its a weird fluke in the forum's system. This has happened before for no apparent reason, haha.
hannu
#7 Posted : 5/20/2017 1:07:16 PM

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Originally Posted by: Lexidus Go to Quoted Post
Hello guys, this is my first post on this forum. I would like to ask You about the differences between the Artcore/Artstar models with the number 95 (like AF95, AG95) and with higher numbers (like AF155). They have the same pickups, so it seems that they vary only in the wood and design, so why are the prices of the "higher models" so much higher?

I would like to buy a hollow-body guitar and I have a dilemma between : Ibanez AG95 DBS and Ibanez AF255BM, is the second model with the higher number worth paying 150$ more? How much better is the AF255 model than the AG95? How different will the sound, the feedback etc. be?

Thank you for any answers in advance.
Jacob


Much of the differences of the different series are really matters of personal preference rather than quality or other value. Artstar models often have ebony fretboards, whereas Artcore Expressionists have rosewood. Artcores often have one-piece mahogany necks, Expressionists and Artstars 3-piece maple/mahogany necks. With the hollow/semihollow bodies, pay attention to the top structure, laminated or solid spruce, bubinga, maple. My personal preference is rosewood fretboard, 3-piece neck, laminated spruce top = my AK95.
2011 Ibanez AK95 | 2012 Ibanez AR325 | 2013 Ibanez AKJ95
1964 Gibson Super 400 CES
2013 Fender Jazz Bass
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gnappi on 5/27/2017(UTC)
gnappi
#8 Posted : 5/27/2017 2:37:25 AM

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I just want to note that the higher numbered models do not always sound and play better than the lower numbered (and priced) models, nor do the lower numbers indicate inferior materials.

For a couple of examples...

The AG86 top sides and back are bubinga over what I think is walnut in a veneer, and the neck is mahogany. In the "G" world of guitars these materials if available in their line would constitute a serious uplift in price. As it is even with ACH pickups the AG86 sounds Wayyyy better than it has a right to.

The AK95 has a spruce top, binding everywhere that a "G" model would have a $2-3k cost uplift on. Add to that many of the the older models came with rosewood and TOM bridges, and wood / metal tailpieces, and abalone inlays (as do many of the sub 95 model numbers) I certainly wouldn't call them poorly appointed, even compared to the 100+ numbers unless you like flamed maple tops and MIC S58's then the higher numbered gits will appeal to you more.

As I see it the main "uplift" of the model numbers 95 and up are the MIC S58 pickups, and I personally have both and have no problems with the ACH pickups.

So... the sub 100 model numbers to me are some of the best deals on the planet.




Dick Foster
#9 Posted : 5/31/2017 9:12:22 PM
Dick Foster


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Originally Posted by: gnappi Go to Quoted Post
I just want to note that the higher numbered models do not always sound and play better than the lower numbered (and priced) models, nor do the lower numbers indicate inferior materials.

For a couple of examples...

The AG86 top sides and back are bubinga over what I think is walnut in a veneer, and the neck is mahogany. In the "G" world of guitars these materials if available in their line would constitute a serious uplift in price. As it is even with ACH pickups the AG86 sounds Wayyyy better than it has a right to.

The AK95 has a spruce top, binding everywhere that a "G" model would have a $2-3k cost uplift on. Add to that many of the the older models came with rosewood and TOM bridges, and wood / metal tailpieces, and abalone inlays (as do many of the sub 95 model numbers) I certainly wouldn't call them poorly appointed, even compared to the 100+ numbers unless you like flamed maple tops and MIC S58's then the higher numbered gits will appeal to you more.

As I see it the main "uplift" of the model numbers 95 and up are the MIC S58 pickups, and I personally have both and have no problems with the ACH pickups.

So... the sub 100 model numbers to me are some of the best deals on the planet.






In short, the best bang for the guitar buck going. I've always said that about Ibanez guitars and think it's still true today.
hannu
#10 Posted : 6/7/2017 1:37:50 PM

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Originally Posted by: noodle Foster Go to Quoted Post


In short, the best bang for the guitar buck going. I've always said that about Ibanez guitars and think it's still true today.


I find the "best bang for the buck" theory only half true, if that. Having owned - or had in my possession - dozens of guitars, my experience is that the price of the instrument has only so much to do with the playability, sound and overall satisfaction. A guitar is likely to be good if it is expensive, custom shop, hand made of exotic materials, etc. However, in many cases, in spite of all these qualities, it then turns out to be just mediocre, just does not have much resonance, does not feel that great, and nobody can point out why.

Certainly the human factor, the will to see and hear greatness, is there, especially if you paid good money for it. When you start playing a $6000 dollar guitar that you have dreamed about all your life, you want to hear it sound divine in your ears, also, the dealer/wholesaler/manufacturer is likely to much more for you if some detail needs attention. Yet, when the honeymoon is over, you hear yourself recorded, often the expensive guitar does not sound any bigger/better/greater than the your old $600 guitar.

For that reason, I'd recommend comparing guitars on merit only, not price. If the cheap guitar plays and sounds better than the expensive guitar, then it is the better guitar. Not better for the money but just better.

My 2011 AK95 is one of those. It lives next to some much more expensive ones, but it is the best ( = best.period.) Clap
2011 Ibanez AK95 | 2012 Ibanez AR325 | 2013 Ibanez AKJ95
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