Build and features
We love the plain Jane looks of the AS73T. There’s a tendency for manufacturers to add a shed-load of unnecessary bling - gold hardware, mother-of-plastic inlays and the like - to their mid-range guitars to pimp the desirability.
We appreciate the simple approach Ibanez has applied here. It gives the Artcore a vintage look that’s not a million miles away from an old Guild Starfire.
Aesthetics aside, the slim neck profile makes the AS73T feel even more approachable, although the fingerboard did initially feel a little bit scratchy when we started bending strings above the 12th fret. That’s pretty easily sorted, though.
Unfortunately, there is a fly in the ointment. The Bigsby-style vibrato unit is set up so it’s too stiff to use easily. In our opinion it needs a more forgiving spring to allow the vibrato arm to wobble back and forth with a bit more freedom. It looks extremely cool and is easily sorted, but as it stands with this review instrument, the AS73 hardtail model (£330) has just been promoted to our first choice from this range.