Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitars
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Best Ibanez Acoustic Guitars

Few brands in the guitar universe can offer the mix of playability and affordability that Ibanez does. They also do that while sponsoring some of the best guitarists around today like Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, Nita Strauss, and Tim Henson to name a few.

Ibanez is also on the cutting edge of modern guitar tech with features like their “thermo aged technology” and “advantage bridge pins.” Not many other brands have cool features like a handle in the guitar either!

However, the reason you’re here is to get an overall view of Ibanez’s acoustic guitars. What we’ve found online is that Ibanez offers plenty of choices in body style, tonewoods, and electronics while also staying within a fairly low price range compared to other brands.

We’re going to show you 6 acoustic guitars that will help any of you that’s a fingerpicker, singer songwriter, or a brand new guitar player. There’s just a few things you must know about Ibanez before looking over their guitars…..

How To Buy An Ibanez Acoustic Guitar

Don’t be fooled by the low prices of Ibanez guitars or the array of colors available. There are some important factors to take under consideration before buying any acoustic guitar.

One of the most frequent questions is whether to buy an acoustic or acoustic electric. It really depends on whether you plan to play live or record into a computer. If that’s your goal, then definitely consider one of the models that are acoustic electric down below. If you just want to play at home or for friends and family, then a regular acoustic is all you need.

Then there’s the questions of body styles like classic, jumbo, or dreadnought. Each type has its own tonal qualities that we’ll go over soon, as we will go over each type of body style with the 6 guitars below.

The biggest factor though is your choice of tonewood. Ibanez acoustics come in okuome, mahogany, sapele, maple, and rosewood among others. Some have laminated tops that go on top of the original piece of tonewood, or will have various layers of wood depending on the model. It’s important to have some familiarity with these options as you browse for any guitar.

Lastly there’s factors like the fretboard radius, neck style, tuning pegs, and the quality of the electronics. Many guitarists obsess over these various details and each of these parts can have an entire article dedicated to them. We recommend, like with tonewoods, to educate yourself on these various technical details before making any purchase.

1. Ibanez AEWC400 Acoustic Electric

ibanez aewc400
  • Body Type: Classic With Florentine Cutaway
  • Wood: Maple top, sides, and back. Walnut frets.
  • Neck/Frets: Mahogany, 20
  • Electronics: Fishman Sonicore Pickups w/ Ibanez AEQ Preamp
  • Inbuilt Tuner: Yes
  • Gig Bag: N/A

The AEWC series is a prime example of Ibanez’s mixture of affordability, modern technology, and aesthetics. This is one of Ibanez’s more affordable acoustic electrics with a retail price of $749. It’s also available in an amazing black sunburst color, as well as a tiger burst of orange and black!

One of the most appealing features of this model is the florentine cutaway, which gives you access to the highest frets with ease. Most acoustic guitars are not known for having such accessibility in this tonal range, but anyone with a taste for more modern sounds will love being able to play in this area of the neck.

The maple tonewoods will also give plenty of volume to the low and midrange of the instrument. Combine this with the ergonomic shape made possible by the 60mm neck joint and 70mm body, and you’ve got an instrument that’ll be easy to glide your fingers across.

The Fishman sonicore pickup will further help you boost those great low end and midrange tones, as it’s a pickup specially made to enhance a value-priced model like this one.

In conclusion: The Ibanez AEWC400 has an amazing blend of features that rivals other top brands. The high quality of this model makes it a real steal for its price, and will be perfect for a beginner or a seasoned pro. 

Product Highlights:

  • Black Sunburst Finish For Cool Modern Look
  • Fishman Sonicore Pickup For High Quality Sound
  • Florentine Cutaway Easy Fret Access
  • High Quality Maple And Mahogany Tonewoods

2.Ibanez AC340 Artwood

  • Body Type: Grand Concert
  • Wood: Okuome
  • Neck/Frets: Nyotah, 20
  • Electronics: Yes, w/ acoustic/electric
  • Inbuilt Tuner: Yes
  • Gig Bag: N/A

The Ibanez AC340 Artwood is an even more affordable guitar because of its use of a tonewood called Okuome. This wood provides a boost to the midrange that other woods may struggle to project in a mix. It’s a type of mahogany that has been used as a substitute for the Central American mahogany wood that has now become more rare. This tonewood offers a warmer, softer tone that will appeal to those who want a more traditional look and tone than models like the AEWC series.

In the introduction to this article, we mentioned two types of technology called thermo aging and advantage pins. These features are both available in this model of guitar! The advantage pins make it easier to change strings as they are easier to take out and put back in than standard pins. Add this feature to the bridge system made of real bone nut and saddle, and you’ve got a guitar with surprisingly great sustain.

The thermo aging process also adds to this amazing bridge system. Thermo aging dries out the wood of any moisture it has so that it’ll achieve a tone that usually comes when a guitar ages naturally. Many reviews have said that this guitar just sounds better the longer they’ve had it so it must work!

Finally, this guitar has some neat cosmetic details like its black and white rosette around the soundhole, as well as the white binding around the sides of the guitar. This guitar simply looks great, and when you combine that with all the features we just mentioned, it’s amazing that this guitar costs only $674.99.

In Conclusion: If you want a more traditional guitar with some more modern features that Ibanez offers, then this is yet another dynamite deal. The okoume wood, bone nut saddle and bridge, and pickup-preamp system similar to the AEWS will keep you playing with maximum enjoyment for a long time.

Product Highlights:

  • Traditional look and sound from the okoume tonewood
  • Thermo-Aging process and advantage Pins add some modern features
  • Black&White Rosette with white bindings add style

3.Ibanez PF2MH 3/4 Scale

  • Body Type: 3/4 Dreadnought
  • Wood: Sapele
  • Neck/Frets: Mahogany, 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Inbuilt Tuner: No
  • Gig Bag: No

This model Ibanez is a great choice for those who aren’t comfortable with a normal, full-size acoustic guitar. The 3/4 scale in the title of this section refers to the size of the guitar being only 3 quarters of the size of other dreadnought style acoustics. So if you’re looking for an Ibanez that would be a good fit for beginners or young children, then you may have found a great first time guitar.

Let’s talk a little about the style of this guitar, the dreadnought design. As you can tell from the picture above, this has a larger box area behind the bridge, which allows for louder sound projection through the soundhole. This design was actually first made by CF Martin & Co to help accentuate the lows and mids needed to project in an acoustic setting. It’s a classic design that many brands other than Ibanez utilize today.

But how on earth is this guitar, which has many similar features to others on this list, cost only $199?! This is due to the fact that it uses a mahogany substitute tonewood calle Sapele. This is a wood that originates from West Africa, which is much further away from the Central American mahogany woods that are more ideal to some. This tonewood is noted for having a “harder” yet more mellow tone. There is a lot more Sapele available now than there is Mahogany.

The guitar’s open pore finish is another peculiar quality of this guitar because it’s one of the most basic types of finishes a guitar can have. Some guitars will have a high end brushed finish, or differenty layers of lacquer and oils used to sand and finish the wood. Sapele wood however doesn’t require too much work to preserve its natural, mellow tone.

There are however a few pitfalls anyone must be aware of when buying a cheaper guitar. The quality of the finish and the layering of the woods will contribute to how well a sound projects through the soundhole. The quality of the nut and saddle is made of plastic, and not real bone nut like our previous models. Even the tuning pegs and the material they’re made of can contribute to how well the guitar sounds overall.

In conclusion: The PF2MH is a popular model due to its low cost, but may not be appropriate for those who’ve been playing for a while and may be more critical of the tone you need. The smaller body though is a great choice for anyone who needs a travel guitar or a first time guitar before upgrading to a standard model.

Product Highlights:

  • 3/4 scale will be a great size for new players, children, or to travel with
  • Sapele tonewood maintains a warm tone without sacrificing quality
  • Dreadnought style body will appeal to those who want a traditional look

4.Ibanez AW54

  • Body Type: Dreadnought
  • Wood: Okuome
  • Neck/Frets: Nyatoh, 20
  • Electronics: Yes, w/ acoustic/electric
  • Inbuilt Tuner:  Yes
  • Gig Bag: N/A

The Ibanez AW54 combines many of the features we saw with earlier models into a budget friendly package, but not one that skimps on the construction and quality of the materials. You’ve got a dreadnought body, Okuome wood yet again, the Advantage Pins, and the Ibanez T Bar Saddle pickup with Ibanez pre-amp system. This model comes with and without a cutaway, as well as without electronics if you want to save a little more money.

Let’s talk a little bit about fretboard radius and how it’ll affect your playing comfort when choosing this guitar or another one. If you’ve been playing for awhile and have wondered why acoustic guitars are more difficult to play, then this is why. The radius refers to the curvature of the fretboard. A higher radius will have a flatter fretboard, while a lower will have a more rounded fretboard. Some typical fretboard radius sizes include 7.25 (most fenders have this size), 16 (standards for Martin), as well as 12 (standard for many Gibsons). This model Ibanez has a 15.7” radius which makes it great for a beginner’s hands who may struggle with a more rounded fretboard.

The Ovangkol fretboard and bridge is another feature that we haven’t talked about yet. Ovangkol is another tonewood that originates from West Africa, but this one is more similar to rosewood than mahogany. This wood has a slightly fuller midrange but not quite as bright as it’s close cousin rosewood. It’s another wood that has become more widely used due to the rising costs of mahogany and rosewood amongst others. Many say that the Ovangkol bridge helps provide better tone to the guitar as the strings vibrate more directly into the wood.

The last feature that makes the AW54 so unique is the T-Bar Saddle pickup and preamp system. This pickup is placed directly into the bridge instead of the soundhole, like many high end guitar models will do. Because it’s placed here and not the soundhole, the pickup system can’t directly pickup many of the mids and highs that a soundhole pickup like the Fishman sonicore can. It’s a very important thing to keep in mind when considering getting the acoustic electric model of this guitar.

In conclusion: the AW54 has a great combination of features found in the AC340 and AECW400, while offering even more affordability. The pickup system will be a concern to some though so maybe considering getting the standard acoustic model.

Product Highlights:

  • Great tradeoff between AC340 & AW54 that offers modern touches while keeping a traditional look and feel
  • A stand out product in this price bracket
  • Excellent projection and sound

5.Ibanez AE325

  • Body Type: Sculpted AE Body
  • Wood: Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Neck/Frets: 20
  • Electronics: AP11 Pickup
  • Inbuilt Tuner: No
  • Gig Bag: N/A

The Ibanez AE325 is the first of the higher end models that we’ll be covering in this buyers guide. The solid sitka spruce top is an ideal tonewood for acoustic guitars, and thus not as prevalent as the Sapele and Okuome woods with the other models. Sitka is very well known for its great sustain and warm tone. The wood has a great combination of elasticity and a tight grain pattern that makes it an all around great tonewood to play on.

This model uses a satin polyurethane finish which adds a glossy, shiny appearance. You may remember that other models we’ve talked about use an open pore finish. A gloss finish can sometimes help reduce pick marks, but may affect the tone by how thick it is applied. An expert like those who work for a brand like Ibanez will make sure that only a thin coat of polyurethane is used so as not to mask the tones of the spruce top.

What’s very unique about the AE325 is the macassar ebony fretboard. Ebony is one of the most prized materials you can find in any guitar, but sadly, like mahogany, it is becoming harder to come by and thus more expensive. Along with the spruce top, this feature is surely what adds to the higher cost of this guitar. This particular type of ebony is found in Southeast Asia, where the population of this wood has decreased by over 30% over the years.

A few other features to mention include the chrome die-cast tuners, the AP11 pickup, and a few of the cosmetic details. One thing to be aware of when buying any guitar is the rosettes, bindings, inlays, etc that don’t necessarily add to the sound quality but definitely look great. This model’s wooden vine inlay is definitely one of a kind and won’t be found on other brands. The chrome die-cast tuners are some of the best out there and will hold a tuning better than most. The pickup system of the AP11 pickup plus the T-Bar Saddle pickup offers plenty of opportunities to shape your sound when playing through a PA or any live music setting.

In Conclusion: for around $850 to $1200, depending on where you buy, this model will be perfect for those who want a serious upgrade of their first acoustic. The superb combination of high quality tonewood, glorious cosmetic touches, and modern technology offer some of the best in terms of playability that you’ll get from Ibanez.

Product Highlights:

  • Sitka spruce top brings out great sustain
  • AP11 Pickup w/ T-Bar saddle pickup offers great range of tone possibilities
  • Higher-End model guitar offers dazzling cosmetic touches

6.Ibanez Euphoria 10

  • Body Type: Thinline EP
  • Wood: Mahogany
  • Neck/Frets: Mahogany, 24
  • Electronics: Fishman Aura Pickup, Fishman Matrix
  • Inbuilt Tuner: No
  • Gig Bag: N/A

The Ibanez Euphoria 10 is the acoustic guitar for you if you’re willing to drop a little extra or are just a big fan of Steve Vai. This is Vai’s official acoustic guitar model from Ibanez, and it has just about everything you’d expect in his acoustic model, except for a built-in handle.

The big price of $2000 is mostly due to the actual real mahogany wood. Both the body, sides, and fretboard are all made of the real deal central american tonewood that we’ve been talking about throughout this article. There is no hint of any of the substitutes used in other models like Sapele or Okuome. This wood will give you even cleaner, brighter tones and a great amount of sustain that’ll easily cut through any mix.

Another premium feature is the Fishman Matrix and Aura pickups. The combination of these two pickups helps model mic responses that a player like Vai demands to have available, and then puts them in preloaded to these pickups. This way, you won’t have to spend a lot of time finding the ideal mic placement or EQ controls when playing live or in the studio. Ibanez’s site says that Vai personally oversaw the modeling of these pickup’s sounds in the making of this model guitar.

Rounding out the top quality materials used in the making of this instrument are the gold grover tuners, pearloid binding, tree of life inlay, as well as the metal plate with Vai’s logo on the rosette. This guitar is made to be a work of art in and of itself. Add that to the extended cutaway for higher fret access, and you’ve got the best that Ibanez can offer in quality and playability.

In conclusion: The Euphoria 10 is the guitar you need if you’re wanting a top tier Ibanez acoustic electric. No other model can offer the high end materials and technology that a player like Vai demands from his signature model.

Product Highlights:

  • Steve Vai signature model
  • Gold grover tuners, tree of life inlay, and metal rosette make the guitar look amazing
  • Top quality electronics from Fishman Pickups, presets set by Vai himself

Do This Before Buying Any Ibanez Acoustic Guitar

You’ve now got a plethora of knowledge about buying any Ibanez guitar. Some models are cheaper and have an excellent blend of quality materials and modern features. Others will be on the high end and use more expensive electronics and tonewoods. Many of you will have differing needs for your instrument and hopefully this guide has helped you come closer to choosing the right Ibanez acoustic.

If you can, go to your local music store, and play some of these models first. If you can’t do that, then watch YouTube videos that showcase the properties of these models.

Play several types of riffs to give you a glimpse of the different frequency ranges the guitar will play within. Listen to whether it has a bright sound like the AE325, or mellow, dark sound like the PF2MH and AC340. See what it sounds like when you play lead, fingerstyle arrangements, and chord strums. Figure out whether the neck is comfortable for you to move up and down the fretboard, while keeping in mind the fretboard radius we talked about earlier.

In summary, the overall best in terms of affordability and playability is the AECW400, which we can’t help but love the black sunburst finish. For a good starter or traveler guitar, we recommend the PF2MH with the 3/4 scale because of its smaller body. If you’d like a high end Ibanez, then the Euphoria or AE325 is your best bet.

No matter what you buy, you’re sure to benefit from Ibanez’s commitment to high quality craftsmanship without having to shell out too much cash.

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