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  1. I got a Helix about a year ago. A month or so later, I decided to go "All In" and bought a Variax Standard, thinking the combo would be perfect for recording and occasional gigs. I was wrong. Long story short, while the Helix was (and is) everything it's cracked up to be, I found the neck on the Variax to be incredibly uncomfortable to play and the tones to be really disappointing - even after 10 months of hardware & software tweaking, different string gauges, blah-blah-blah... It had to go. So, last weekend I did a little research/shopping online then gathered up the Variax & all the peripherals and headed to the local GC to confirm the choice and get the inevitable screwing on the trade in. I didn't care - The Variax had to go. End result - Ibanez AFC95. A very cool jazzbox! Laminated Maple/Spruce body with faux-tortoise binding on the body & satin finish, three piece Mahogany/Maple neck at 24.75" scale, Ebony fretboard, Ebony bridge & control knobs. Pickups are Ibanez's own "Magic Touch" floating humbuckers. Price was good at $699, and better after the trade in discount and meager trade in value assigned to the Variax. AFC95 Pros: Neck is really comfortable. Not baseball bat-ish at all, but an easy to play girth in what I would call a "D" carve. Satin finish is very thin. Not at all like what you'd typically get from an Asian build. Really allows the hollowbody to resonate. Acoustically sounds pretty good. It's a laminate, not carved top, but it sounds darned good for what it is. Solid Construction. The fit & finish is excellent for its price class. The electronics feel very solid. The typical giveaway IMO is a wimpy p'up selector switch. This one feels solid - Switchcraft like quality. Tone & volume pots are very smooth and responsive. Pickups -- I like them a lot. I read that floating pickups tend to be a bit brighter & woodier than those set in the body. These definitely fit that description, but warm right up by dialing back the tone pots without getting muddy/flubby. Truss Rod Cover. I don't know if this is something that Ibanez has been doing for a while, but I LOVE the fact that there's a flip open door on the TRC for truss rod adjustment. No more needing to take the screws out, slide the TRC under the strings, make the adjustment, then reverse the process. Convenient! Cons: Nut Width. It's a 1.65" nut. I'd prefer a 1.75" for my sausage fingers, but I'm getting used to it quickly. Headstock. Take a look at the picture below. With everything else so cool and quality looking, I'm confused as to why they would decide to Frankenstein the headstock onto the neck as they do. Fortunately, you can only see it from the back and I'm sure it has zero impact on the tone or longevity of the instrument, so I'm not concerned. It just looks wonky. Obligatory pics below...: ETA: Resized pics...
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