Pros: Good entry level guitar, action is fast and playability is good
Cons: Not real wood, sound, poor construction
As I stated in my last guitar review, my local music store has just received a huge shipment of Ibanez acoustic and electric guitars. Although I have been somewhat familiar with Ibanez electric guitars, I really didn't know a lot about their acoustic line, so I've been pretty eager to investigate some of these guitars so that I would be able to give you my assessment of them.
The guitar that I've selected for review today (after playing two of them for a while last evening) is the Ibanez PF5 acoustic guitar. After thoroughly "test driving" this guitar and making a very close inspection, I think that I can recommend this instrument, but only for a very limited purpose. Before I tell you the basis for my recommendation, let me describe this guitar.
The Ibanez PF5 acoustic guitar is made of laminated woods--it has a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The neck is also mahogany, with a rosewood fingerboard and ivoroid dot inlays. It has chrome die-cast tuners and comes in two colors, black and natural. The looks of the guitar are completed with a high gloss finish.
This first thing that I have to say about this guitar is that it's cheap--you can pick one up new for $175.00 or so, and maybe for a few shillings less if you get in there and really bargain. You might ask--how can Ibanez offer a guitar at such a low price? Well, in the first place the woods used in the construction are laminates, as opposed to solid wood, which are much less expensive than the real thing. Secondly, the chrome die-cast tuners are certainly a budget item, but I could discern no problem with they way they functioned. Thirdly, the workmanship on these guitars leaves a little to be desired. The most noticeable defect that jumped out at me was the sloppy way that the binding was applied to the guitar--you could actually see glue lumped up where the binding was supposed to adhere to the body. The nut and saddle were pretty roughly installed too--none of the precision and meticulous workmanship that you would expect in a more expensive instrument was present in the Ibanez PF5 acoustic guitar.
This guitar has a remarkable lack of heft--it was almost as light as a feather, and had virtually no presence when I held it in my lap. The reason is the lack of real wood in the guitar.
Soundwise, this guitar was deficient, and you can blame this deficiency also on the laminate woods used in its' construction. There's no way that laminates are going to resonate like the real thing, and the result is a sound that lacks the richness and fullness that a true acoustic sound is supposed to deliver. The tones of this guitar weren't balanced, and it sounded way too trebly and jangly for my tastes. The sound was brilliant, but not in the good restrained way that a well-built, quality acoustic guitar sounds like.
I have no complaints about the playability of this guitar--the thin profile neck is perfectly suited to my tastes, and the action is typically Ibanez-fast. This guitar is pretty easy to play, although the pure fingerpicker might want something a little less quick.
I think that the Ibanez PF5 is an ideal entry level instrument--it's not particularly well constructed, and the sound is cheap, but the good playability makes this a good guitar for the beginner. I wouldn't recommend it for any other type use, unless you were on a limited budget and needed a guitar handy just to beat on when you got an idea or an inspiration.
I mean, what can you expect for $175.00?
Thanks for reading.