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Ibanez AFJ91 - Jet Blue Burst Reviews

4.5 stars based on 4 customer reviews
  • from Orlando September 5, 2015Music Background:
    40 Year Player, Collector, Luthier

    My Blue Heaven

    Blown Away. I have heard a lot about the Super 58 Custom pu and boy does it deliver. Great tones and reaction to volume and tone knob. From bright, crisp and clean to dark, mellow and hazy this guitar delivers. Played this for hours today through a Hot Rod Deluxe and was simply amazed by the clarity and response of this guitar. Played a few more hours through a Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker and this guitar rivals (sit down) a Gibson L-5 CES (which I own). I'm not saying its better, but man she plays and sounds nice. At the price I just got this at, $349, I would save the the 8K and buy a few of these. Set up from Sweetwater was perfect for most players with a nice low action with no buzz. I prefer a little higher action than most players so I gave her a little relief and raised the bridge a bit. Set the intonation. After 20 minutes, she was playing nice. I also took a straight edge to the frets first and ready for this - not a single high fret on the entire board - that is amazing. Ibanez does not get enough credit for quality control in my opinion.

    About me, I am collector and have an addiction to guitars - cheap, expensive, name brand, generic, it does not matter. I love playing them (nearly 40 years now), working on them, and adding them to my collection. I have over 120 instruments currently and continue to get more. I have a ton of jazz boxes and this one is the best value I have ever seen or played. My only preference would be a gloss finish, but hey I'm not complaining the blue burst is beautiful. My wife who stays clear of the guitar loft, even commented on how pretty this guitar is.

    Guess I'll be looking for a case for this one. I also am going to go ahead and buy the other Ibanez hollow body on special for $249 with the floating pu. How bad can it be? I am guessing it will be pretty darn good.

    Thanks Sweetwater and Jared as always.

  • from December 1, 2014Music Background:
    Amateur jazz player for 50+ years

    My favorite - after some mods

    Agree with previous, except no need to change the PU. Excellent build quality and sound. The wood-clad zinc tailpiece is likely to break, so I installed a Byrdland-style metal one. The original bridge is over-compensated, and I replaced it with a staggered version. The pickguard is a poor match aesthetically, so I used it as a template to make a mother-of-pearl version, which matches the fret markings. The result: great looks and improved reliability for under $ 100. My other archtops went to hibernation. At this price point, no need to worry about collectibility or resale value.

  • from December 1, 2014Music Background:
    AmateruSwing guitar

    My favorite - after some mods

    As for design, build and sound quality, I agree with the previous reviewer. I purchased this one to have a blue archtop without having to sell all the others. This was also the least expensive way to have the Super 58 Custom pickup, which I find more than adequate for jazz. At this price point, I did not have to worry about collectability or resale value, so I inmmediately installed a Byrdland-style metal tailpiece (the original is clumsy and likely to break) and a mother-of-pearl pickguard to match the fret markings.

  • from Ann Arbor May 6, 2014Music Background:
    Professional Player

    Blue Velvet

    The minute I laid eyes on this guitar in the Sweetwater catalog, I was hooked.

    It all goes back to the Scott Chinery "Blue Guitar" book that was published awhile ago. There were so many beautiful shades of blue
    gracing his commisioned jazz boxes, each one more gorgeous than the next. After seeing the book, I vowed to someday have a "Chinery Blue" archtop. It took some time, but I finally prevailed.

    Ibanez got this guitar SO close to perfect, that I'm still really surprised every time I pick it up.

    For starters, they got the dimensions right. Yea, I know that most of the Jazz Guitar-playing world wants 17" boxes, but those of us who make a living with them know that a 16" box for the average-sized guy is the ticket. Ergonomic, and mathematically sonically correct, for some unknown reason. I'm a guitar fanatic, and many jazz boxes can be oddly/hideously-shaped, but not this one. It's the epitome of the ideal traditional shape: Venetian cutaway, 2 3/4" depth, 24 3/4" scale-- just a very friendly-sized instrument. In fact, Identical in size and esthetic to my '56 Gretsch Streamliner. I suspect whomever was charged with designing the 91 shuffled more than a few choice archtops across the bench before drafting the specs on this one.

    Internally it's parallel braced, which I prefer over X-bracing-- another boon. There is so much about this guitar that fits right in with traditional archtop design, that it seems ridiculous that no one got this close in a modern factory production box before now.

    The matte finish at first I wasn't too excited about, but now I like it- it's glossing up slightly, and feels good, but not "bowling ball".

    The Super 58 is a fine pickup, however it didn't last 20 minutes with me. I swapped it for a handwound Kent Armstrong 12-pole and never looked back. I also installed a treble bleed on the volume, raised the treble action slightly and put roundwound 13s on, in place of the flats.
    All just to sound more like me.

    I was shocked(and still am)at how great this instrument sounds and plays. Price aside, you cannot fault the sonic chutzpah this axe has. Sure the KA coil helps significantly--I know. But you could spend 10 times the money and have a slight increase in performance, sonically and acoustically with a built-to-order box. No knock against all the flagship hand-built lawyer-doctor Jazz rides out there. Plugged into a real rig, this 91 will hold it's own.

    Do I have any gripes? Well yes, just a couple:
    Excellent choice in going with a wooden tailpiece over the super-cheesy bent-metal gold-plated garbage usually on an axe of this price. I think the tailpiece helps the overall tone, and I bet BB would agree with me. But it's a bit "blocky" and could have been trimmed/beveled down a bit for more style. (yea, I know- splitting hairs on a $600 jazz box!)

    Lastly, the pickguard is brown rosewood and most of the fittings are ebony, to go with the blue. Not a big thing, but it's an odd mix of
    blue, black and brown--kinda sounds like the title of an Ellington tune!

    If you need an authentic sounding/feeling Jazz guitar without taking the bar exam, here it 'tis...

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