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Ibanez Artcore AF75 vs. AF85 - differences? Modding Options?

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  • Ibanez Artcore AF75 vs. AF85 - differences? Modding Options?

    I haven't played on the Artcore series very much, but am certainly impressed with the appearance and have heard from owners of them, that they're great guitars. Certainly no Brian Setzer signature Gretsch, but awsome quality and performance for the money. Maybe that's all a bunch of hogwash, but regardless, I'm willing to check into them a bit.

    That being said, what are the primary differences between these two models? Wood type? Body size? Pickups? The Zzounds.com catalogue that I got in the mail yesterday doesn't offer many specifics at all (no surprise), other than the price and finish options.

    For the Artcore owners here, what have ya'all done to the guitars to modifiy/upgrade them at all? What pickups have you slapped in there? Is it necessary to upgrade wiring, switches and pots? Are the frets generally acceptable? Any other issues I should be aware of?
    <div class="signaturecontainer">- Taylor 614ce<br />
    - Crafter TGAE-06<br />
    - PacifiCustom Pedals A/B Pedal&gt;Keeley Compressor / Barber Tone-Press&gt;PCP 2LTMwith tuner out to Korg GT-12&gt;Boss CE-5&gt;Line 6 DL4&gt;Ernie Ball Vol. Jr. <br />
    <br />
    PacifiCustom Pedals: <i>guitar effect pedal routing solutions!</i><br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.pacificustompedals.com" target="_blank">PacifiCustom Pedals</a></div>

  • #2
    I have an AFS75T (with the pseudo-Bigsby) and really like it. I threw some GFS Nashville pickups in it (standard, not overwound). Through a good amp, I can get a pretty good Setzer-esque rockabilly sound, and I'm quite pleased with the playability.

    Had I not gotten an amazing deal on the 75, I definitely would have bought the 85. It's got the thicker "jazz box" style body, and in general, the wood is much more beautiful. Due to the significant increase in resonant space, it has a better acoustic voice (great if you're more into Jazz), but the 75 is more "snappy" and suits rockabilly/60's stuff really well. At least, that's what I found in my limited experience with the 85.

    The stock pickups don't sound bad, but were a bit hot for what I wanted. If I had enough money, I would have thrown in some TV Jones hum-sized TV Trons (I think that was the model), but they were $120 apiece, and I got the GFS Filtertrons for $65 for the pair.

    Just a word of warning, unless you have a whole lot of patience or are immensely skilled at working in a hollow body, have someone else install your pups. It is an unbelievable pain in the ass to change pups in these! I even did the "tie some fishing line to the pots" trick, and the f-ing fishing line got all tangled up when I was putting them back in!

    Incidentally, I left the stock wiring/pots in there, and it sounds just fine. Though, if you're going to the trouble of paying someone to upgrade, I'd throw some switches in there for coil splits/phasing, and have them move the stupid 3 way switch to the LP location (upper horn). My other "wish list" item is to put a master volume in the Gretsch location (bottom horn). I didn't have the time or parts to do all that when I installed the pups, though, and it sounds fine for now.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;I don't feel tardy.&quot;<br />
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    *********************************<br />
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    • #3
      Originally posted by ryanspeer
      For the Artcore owners here, what have ya'all done to the guitars to modifiy/upgrade them at all? What pickups have you slapped in there? Is it necessary to upgrade wiring, switches and pots? Are the frets generally acceptable? Any other issues I should be aware of?


      On a hollowbody guitar like the AF75 or AF85, there is a BIG issue you should be aware of. You can't just swap out the pots, switch and input jack with the relative ease that you can with a solid-body electric. Doing these mods on an ES-335 type of guitar has to be done through the F-holes, as there are no removeable plastic panels on the back of these guitars for easy access. I just bought an Aria TA-50 that I would like to swap out the 3-position toggle switch and input jack on. My guitar guy told me to forget about it until something actually stops working. He said it's too much of a hassle to bother changing stuff until you need to do it, not just want to do it.
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Common-sewer of unrefined guitars <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/Totally_jammin_out.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Jammin'" class="inlineimg" /></div>

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      • #4
        Here's an AK85 I gave the Gretsch treatment to. Added a Bigsby, roller bridge and GFS Nashvilles....


        Originally Posted by DToad:

        Lets face it- today's GOP is all about the richest one percent exploiting the dumbest fifty percent.

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        • #5
          I hadn't thought about the whole element of not having removable pannels on the back for easy access to pots and wiring... I guess I ought to take that into consideration, huh?

          After constant use, has anyone noticed the pots getting prematurely scratchy, or do they seem to be fairly tough?

          How do these react to overdrive and fuzz? I wouldn't be using any sort of metal distortion (have no need for anything like that), but would use the typical mild to heavy overdrives and (possibly) some fuzz. Lots of cleans, for sure (chorus and phase), and potentially some light wah-wah work.

          What types of music do you guys use yours for? I don't/wouldn't be playing jazz, but would be using it more at church for some mild to heavy rock, etc.
          <div class="signaturecontainer">- Taylor 614ce<br />
          - Crafter TGAE-06<br />
          - PacifiCustom Pedals A/B Pedal&gt;Keeley Compressor / Barber Tone-Press&gt;PCP 2LTMwith tuner out to Korg GT-12&gt;Boss CE-5&gt;Line 6 DL4&gt;Ernie Ball Vol. Jr. <br />
          <br />
          PacifiCustom Pedals: <i>guitar effect pedal routing solutions!</i><br />
          <br />
          <a href="http://www.pacificustompedals.com" target="_blank">PacifiCustom Pedals</a></div>

          Comment


          • #6
            Back to your original question, the differences between the two:
            1) Maple-mahogany-maple 3pcs neck (AF85) vs. mahogany
            neck (AF75).
            2) Figured maple top (AF85) vs. plain maple top (AF75).
            3) AF85 has slightly facier inlay, (AF75 is pretty fancy too)
            4) AF85 offers violin-suburst only and brown-sunburst
            for AF75 only.
            All of the above translate into a $100 price gap.
            The Artcore stock ACH1/ACH2 pups are really nice, you
            should keep them at least for a while before you thinking about an upgrade. I would save money and get the cheaper
            AF75 and spend $40 to for a set of Grover mini locking heads. Hope this will help, good luck!

            Comment


            • #7
              If you haven't checked the Ibanez site, you should do so.
              http://www.ibanez.com/

              AF85 SPECIFICATION
              3pc Mahogany/Maple neck
              Flamed Sycamore top/back/sides
              Small frets
              ART-1 bridge
              VT50 tailpiece
              ACH1 neck pu
              ACH2 bridge pu
              depth: 70mm at tail
              COLORS: Violin Sunburst

              AF75 SPECIFICATION
              3pc Mahogany neck
              Maple top/back/sides
              Small frets
              ART-1 bridge
              VT50 tailpiece
              ACH1 neck pu
              ACH2 bridge pu
              depth: 70mm at tail
              COLORS: Brown Sunburst, Transparent Blue Sunburst

              You should probably look at the AG85 because it is stunningly cool box in a similar vein.
              AG85 SPECIFICATION
              3pc Mahogany / Maple neck
              Figured Bubinga top/back/sides
              Small frets
              ART-1 bridge
              VT50 tailpiece
              ACH1 neck pu
              ACH2 bridge pu
              depth: 70mm at tail
              COLORS: Transparent Red

              I've played a good assortment of Artcores including these. The necks are good as are the frets. The tuners work well. The electrics are well assembled, decent quality components that don't get scratchy and don't fall apart. The wood work is very clean and tidy. I would prefer a thinner finish (and less gloss) but they are well finished guitars.

              Changing the pups on these is easy, one hour tops. Yes, you need wire to pull the switch and pots back through their holes. Thread the nut and washer onto a set of forceps, then grasp the switch through the hole, pull it out, screw the nut down, meet your friends in the bar early. I don't agree with buck62 that working on these is hard as long as you maintain the original wiring format. Its all pretty clean inside. I do suggest you mark the pots (with marker) before starting so you don't get them confused.
              You will need some religion though before wiring a semi for phase switching + parallel/series switching + coil splitting.

              You CANNOT go wrong with any of the guitars mentioned. Buy it cheaply, change it around as you please if you think it might suit you better. The hollows probably work better with slightly heavier strings and I think they sound great with flat wounds.
              <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'&quot; -Bob Newhart. </div>

              Comment


              • #8
                -this used to be a double post-
                <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'&quot; -Bob Newhart. </div>

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