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Teh

NGD: Ibanez AFC95

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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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Edited by Teh
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I really do want to get a jazz box some day. I really do. Just not sure how big or what kind of pickups. My guitar teacher has a Gibson ES165 Herb Ellis. Love that jazz sound he gets with it.

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Does your teacher's Herb Ellis have the standard Humbucker or the Johnny Smith floating pickup?  Either way, that's a sweet guitar!  I had one years ago and stupidly sold it...

The body on this Ibanez is thinner than ES165/175 body and the lower bout is slightly smaller.  Really comfortable and scratches the jazz tone itch very nicely at about 1/3 the price of the used Gibby...

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Usually Ibanez nuts feel a bit wide to me.  It surprised me that it feels narrow to you.  I like the Ibanez non-shredders and hollow bodies. 

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That looks like a hell of a guitar for $699! Is that actual maple flame, or PhotoFlame? Either way, it's still a hell of a lot of guit for the money!

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I had a similar model. They're very nice instruments.
Congrats on a classy Ibby!

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2 hours ago, Steve Haynie said:

Usually Ibanez nuts feel a bit wide to me.  It surprised me that it feels narrow to you.  I like the Ibanez non-shredders and hollow bodies. 

I'm primarily an acoustic guy and 1-3/4" nut width is my standard grab, with my favorite fingerstyle acoustic at 1-7/8" nut width.  Even a Martin's 1-11/16" feels narrow in my hand.  Trying to grab finger-twisting jazz chords requires as much real estate as possible for these bear paws I call hands...

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2 hours ago, gtrdaddy said:

That looks like a hell of a guitar for $699! Is that actual maple flame, or PhotoFlame? Either way, it's still a hell of a lot of guit for the money!

Thank you sir! 

Looking inside the box, it's definitely Mahogany lam on the inside.  Comparing the back on my guitar to the pictures up on Sweetwater, they aren't exact matches - Close but no cigar. The two examples on the Sweetwater website show significant enough differences to indicate to me that they aren't PhotoFlame, but I'm no expert.  Like you said, it doesn't matter.  It checks all the boxes of what I was looking for at a price point that made it easy to swallow...

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Wow! Very classy looking! Perfect colour for that style of guitar. 

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How are the high gain tones?

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3 hours ago, MCChris said:

How are the high gain tones?

Think Terrible Ted going full gonzo on his Byrdland -- It sounds nothing like that...

Chihuahua in a Cuisinart?  Mmmmmmm....  Closer...

Tried it with a couple patches.  It's better when clean...

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23 hours ago, Teh said:

Does your teacher's Herb Ellis have the standard Humbucker or the Johnny Smith floating pickup?  Either way, that's a sweet guitar!  I had one years ago and stupidly sold it...

The body on this Ibanez is thinner than ES165/175 body and the lower bout is slightly smaller.  Really comfortable and scratches the jazz tone itch very nicely at about 1/3 the price of the used Gibby...

His has the Humbucker, and it's the standard Tobacco burst. But damn, it looks nice. I think he's got 11s on it. His other main squeeze is a 90s American Standard tele. I wish I had the restraint he does, playing the hell out of a few choice guitars that he REALLY likes.

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