Ibanez AKJ95

Traditional archtops arch rival?

Serious jazzers love their Gibson archtop guitars but Ibanez has almost as much cache with grassroots players, not least because of the endorsement by greats like George Benson, Pat Metheny and John Scofield.

While it shares a similar depth, scale length and pointed Florentine cutaway as its Gibson ES-175 inspiration, the body is slightly smaller; 400mm (15.75 inches) as opposed to 413mm (16.25 inches) across its rounded lower bouts. Manufactured in China, it's made from laminated maple, and the outer veneers have a subtle figuring enhanced by the classic dark 'burst hue and rather thick-looking gloss.

Instead of the typical choice of a mahogany neck, we get a three-piece mahogany/maple/ mahogany laminate topped with a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard here, with what we'd call medium, not narrow, gauge frets.

Sounds

"There are numerous tonal shades achieved with the volume and tones"

Acoustically, it's a little light and bright but plugged in, the Super 58 humbuckers, along with flatwound strings, produce a bright-edged, ultra-modern 'jazz' voice until you back off the tones.

With dual pickups and four controls, of course, in mixed pickup positions there are numerous tonal shades achieved with the volume and tones - the neck pickup certainly works very well with some clarity from the bridge pickup.

Through an acoustic amp a more velveteen smooth jazz texture emerges; when it's shown the front end of a crunchy valve amp (watch the feedback), the thickness is impressive, and ideal for more contemporary grit.

A great start-up jazz box for the serious student - or a cool-toned, evocative-looking electric for the rest of us.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Great jazz tones. Lovely finish. Ideal 'starter' archtop.

Cons

Pretty hard to fault for the price.

Verdict

Be warned - not all low-end hollowbodies are created equal. This is a good one and a great place to start.

Sides Material

Flamed maple

Scale Length (mm)

628

Scale Length (Inches)

24.75

No. of Frets

20

Hardware

Ibanez ART-W bridge and VT06 tailpiece

Fingerboard Material

Bound Rosewood

Neck Material

3-piece mahogany/maple

Back Material

c

Pickup Type

2x Super 58 Custom pickups

Top Material

Flamed maple

Available Finish

Sunburst

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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