You've got to love this guitar... you could best compare the Epiphone Dot or Sheraton but I find them to have a "cheap" feel, especially the tuning keys. A Gibson ES-335 is way overpriced and my experience with inconsistent quality from Gibson (late 70's) has left a lingering sour taste for their products. I'll stand by Ibanez any day over Gibson.
My butterscotch/blonde colour has been discontinued and it is the more desirable finish. If you find one, grab it. Upgraded version of the AS-80 are available. Check out the reviews of the AS-100 -- it's from the same Artstar series. I haven't yet met an Ibanez player who has been disappointed in their gear. Here's a link for Ibanez fans: click here
. Once there, click onto the Hollow and Semi-Hollow Body Guitars link.
Model Year: 2000
Where Obtained: e-Bay
This one is made in Korea. Earlier models were built in Japan and there are those that say the Japanese ones are of better quality. I cannot see how... this is a spectacular instrument in every respect. Details: pointy double cutaway, 22 frets, 2 humbucking Super 58s, butterscotch/blonde finish (although there is a dark sunburst available), Tune-O-Matic style bridge, 2 volume and 2 tone control knobs. 3-way pickup switch. Laminated maple body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard with abalone dot inlays, chrome hardware. Triple bound body, f-holes, neck and headstock. I removed the black pick guard and replaced the 4 black tone/volume knobs with solid chrome ones. Very pleasing to the eye!
This guitar is from the Artstar series and features that famous super-fast neck familiar to Ibanez players. Low action. I use D'Addario 10/46 gauge strings. I've set the bridge pup higher for a driving bite, the neck pup low for the deep rich sound. Easy to adjust tone and volume controls give you the best of both worlds. Slim bodied so it wears easily. It's heavier than my old FG-100 (see review) so I bought a pair of strap locks to avoid a disaster. It's not as heavy as a Les Paul.
The AS 80 offers a "punch" that I couldn't achieve on the FG-100 although they both have 2 Super 58 pickups. The center block construction delivers a sustain that rings but you can still hear the rich warm tones of an instrument best-suited to the jazz musician. My amps include a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a Peavey Bandit 112, and sometimes play both through a Boss Chorus effects pedal.
I've been gigging with this one for 3 years and it's held up perfectly. Never seems to go out of tune. The strap pin on the tail is very shallow so I replaced it with a Schaller strap lock for better security. Other than that, everything works.