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June 2017 Giveaway

Ibanez AR Series AR420 - Violin Sunburst Reviews

4.5 stars based on 20 customer reviews
Questions about the Ibanez AR Series AR420 - Violin Sunburst?

Questions about the Ibanez AR Series AR420 - Violin Sunburst?

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  • from Braintree, MA February 18, 2017Music Background:
    Playing 54 years and counting.

    Les Paul Pulverizer!!! (Not to be confused with Les's "Paulverizer"!)

    This guitar is FAR better than ANY Les Paul you'll find, I don't care if it's a $500 Epiphone or an $8000 Les Ripoff. The action, frets, pickups and switching are nonpareil. Sounds good unplugged and better plugged in! The only thing that would make this a better guitar would be if it came with an Evertune bridge: I'm going to have Sweetwater install one on my AR420 ASAP: I got an ESP Ltd with the Evertune and I can't play anything else now...
    Anyway, this sucker is proof positive that the Chinese have finally got their act together. Get one before the tariffs hit!!! ;-)

  • from Mid Missouri November 14, 2015Music Background:
    Casual player since 1970's. No real experience with electric guitars.

    Fantastic service, amazing guitar

    I haven't owned or played an electric guitar since around 1978, but finally decided to give it another whirl. After LOTS of research and questioning of player-friends and acquaintances, decided to go with this Ibanez AR series guitar. Waffled between the 325 and the 420 before pulling the trigger on this fantastic instrument. It's beautiful without being too flashy, feels absolutely natural in my hands, & plays like a dream. I can't say too much about the sound, because I'm currently just playing it through an old Peavey TKO amp (yeah, I know, it's a bass amp, but I have a limited budget!), but I can say that having the ability to switch between the available wiring configurations has got me extremely excited about the possibilities of this guitar and my own potential for improved playing.

    As to service: MY GOODNESS! I am amazed at the level of attention that I received as a first-time customer. Kyle answered all my questions and seemed really to share my excitement at the prospect of this purchase (I don't know whether these guys make a commission on sales, but Kyle's level of enthusiasm for meeting my needs and expectation--he EARNED it!)

    I know I'll be making additional purchases of effects pedals, etc. Sweetwater will be the go-to venue for finding the things I need/want. Thanks, Sweetwater!

  • from mich July 31, 2015Music Background:


    ordered it on wednesday and was playing it thursday night. great guitar the feel,fit,set up and sound were very close if not the same as some guitars costing 4x more. my buddys that played it guessed its cost between 1200 to 1800 dollars ( i did not tell them where it was made ). many thanks to ed for all his help.

  • from Charlottesville, VA January 26, 2015Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Student


    For the price, it's one of the best sounding guitars I own, under 800.00.

  • from Germany March 29, 2014Music Background:
    Worship lead guitarist (player since 1974). Classical, jazz, rock, praise, and most other styles.

    PRS Sound

    The best way to describe the AR420's sound is like my 1990s PRS Custom 24 but with more high end and variety. It has the rich, smooth jazz box tone, tones useful for acoustic or classical pieces, and the bright trebly lead and modern sounds. Changing the pickups and modes really create different sounds. The knobs feel smooth, especially with the rubber rims. The intonation is perfect, even with a tuner. The appointments are top-notch and eye-catching. I would say that this guitar feels just right in my hands. The finish is beautifully done without any visible defects. It's easy to tune because of the intonation, and it stays pretty much in tune. I would have preferred a little hotter pickups, but these humbuckers can drive a tube amp without any effort. I was looking for an intermediate-level PRS guitar for my student, and instead found this amazing guitar. You can't find a better quality guitar with such beautiful sounds for such a low price.

  • from Sierra Vista, Arizona December 8, 2013Music Background:

    Great Guitar

    This Is One Of The Best .Sweetwater Setup Perfect. All Of My Purchases From Your Company Has Been Outstanding. Guitar Players WIll Be Very Impressed With THe Neck Action Of This Ibanez Guitar.

  • from Marion, OH USA October 15, 2013Music Background:
    From 10 years old to 58 and still rocking

    AR 420 Joy

    If your like me you know the only place to buy a guitar is from Sweetwater. Never will you find a Company So Geared toward Customer Satisfaction and bend over backwards for you to make sure your happy from start to finish. This Guitar is So nice everyone that sees it can't believe the sale price. Quality is 5 stars and Finish is 5 stars But the best part is in the Neck its a 5 too. You know as well as I do the only thing that matters is in the neck and then you go from there to the rest of the guitar. I had a hard time focusing on my playing at first because the inlays are beautiful to look at I was to focused on them. I have no Idea how Ibanez is building this guitar for this kind of money but get one before the price goes up. I Love the series, parallel, and coil-tap wiring options on this guitar. They work and give me (with my Line 6 Gear) the sounds I want to get for Songs like Twice as Hard, Jealous Again, Brown Sugar. With a Slide and without this thing plays Wonderful Fantastic addition to anyone Lineup. The pickups in this guitar are able to get that Strat Growl Ibanez Is truly shocking me with there Pickups I'd like to know more about who they have working on there pickups and what they are doing at present because there not junk. there is a lot of thought going into them.

  • from Cedar Rapids, IA August 14, 2013Music Background:

    Beautiful guitar

    This guitar exceeds my expectations. The service I received from Sweetwater was superior as well.

  • from Austin, TX May 28, 2013Music Background:
    Play guitar as a stress reliever.

    Fantastic Guitar

    I was searching for an LP guitar, but couldn't stomach the price. Discovered this little beauty after a Google search for "Les Paul alternatives". Fantastic right out of the box! For the money, you cannot beat it. The finish quality is very nice; the pickups are plenty for a guitar at this level. Buy it, play it, and if you upgrade them later you are still under budget. They are the same $ all over so go ahead and get it here. Ikes from Sweetwater helped me out with a case fitment question and then the guitar and all the rest of my stuff arrived on Saturday! Free shipping that arrived 2 days later on a Saturday. I'm sold on the guitar and Sweetwater.

  • from Abingdon, VA May 14, 2013Music Background:
    Church musician and hobbyist


    First of all, I would like to thank my salesman, Ben Robinson and the fine people at Sweetwater, for an awesome customer service experience! If all companies would emulate Sweetwater's philosophy on customer service, than this world would be a lot better place. I remember thinking to myself that this must be some kind of joke. This type of customer service does not exist. I was definitely wrong. It truly exists, in so many ways, at Sweetwater! I have tried the OTHER online music store and they cannot even come close to my experience here! Sweetwater, you have a customer for life! The guitar arrived completely set up and in flawless condition, thanks to their awesome, 55 point inspection process! Now, let's talk about the guitar. I ordered the Ibanez AR420 in the violin sunburst finish and I have to say that I was blown away! First of all, I can't stop looking at this guitar. The violin sunburst finish on this instrument is absolutely beautiful and the gold hardware is a fantastic touch to an already stellar guitar. Secondly, when I plugged this thing in and started tweaking with my Marshall MG15CFX and all of the different tonal varieties that this guitar offers, I was amazed! You can hear all kinds of tones from blues to jazz to classic rock! You have 3 different tone selectors for each humbucker and you can mix and match. The versatility of this guitar is unlike any guitar that I have ever owned. You don't see a lot of people on the internet with this particular guitar. I believe that this a true, hidden gem that people are overlooking. I decided to go out of the box a little and I am glad that I did. Great job, Ibanez, for making such an affordable, beautiful, and awesome instrument! Again, thank you, Sweetwater for a stress-free buying experience!

  • from Southern California April 22, 2013Music Background:
    Professional Musician

    Great Guitar At Any Price

    Iíve been looking for a ďworkĒ guitar to replace my 1965 Gibson ES-335; itís too old and valuable to haul around to gigs on a daily basis. I played everything on the market; Gibson, PRS, Fender, Carvin; I just didnít like the feel of anything I was trying. I budgeted in the $3,000 range.

    I finally decided to look at Ibanez. On their web site I saw the AR420 and it looked perfect but I knew it would be 50/50, at best, to be a ďkeeperĒ. But I just had to try it.

    One user review I read said the guitar had poor quality control. The guy had returned two of them to finally get one that wasnít broken in some way.

    Sweetwater inspects all their instruments before shipping them so essentially they perform the hands-on QC process that Ibanez apparently skips. The guitar they shipped to me was flawless, beautiful, every bit as nice as a PRS or Gibson at about 1/4 the price!

    The quality of materials and the build are great, super clean binding, everythingís just perfect. The neck feels great and it played nice right out of the box. The tone is real sweet and the switching possibilities offer a lot of tone options. I replaced the bridge with a ResoMax NVS. I finally got the set up all dialed in and I have to say, I love this guitar. I even play it at home in favor of the 335.

    The three piece neck is solid and the body is comfortably light weight. The only complaint I have about this guitar is that the body is a little too light for the neck; itís off balance and it feels like I have to hold it up and play at the same time. The weight of the neck tends to pull downward. Iím getting used to it though, and you donít notice it if youíre sitting. Iíll try a different strap too.

    The bottom line is: This is a great guitar at any price. If it said Gibson on the headstock and the price was $3,000, I would still be very happy with this guitar. But at $649, itís a no brainer. Five stars!

  • from gainesville, fl March 19, 2013Music Background:
    semi pro guitar player

    les paul killer

    first time ordering a guitar without actually holding it....but their excellent website actually showing the guitar makes a big difference when it has a flametop......i dealt with patrick who was beyond nice and helpful....seriously, you here about customer service all the time...but this time it was true...they've easily earned my business....as far as the guitar....plalying 25 yrs and having a les paul custom, fender strat and tele...etc....thiss is a fabulous guitar for the money...also have a 2005 ibanez artist ar300....these r my 2 fav guitars maily for the humbucker pickups and les paul scale length 24.75 which makes bending easier...the abalone time is awesome it looks like a $2000 guitar....

  • from Staten ISland NY November 28, 2012Music Background:
    Guitar player from the 60's and 70's

    Well crafted guitar

    This is an updated and somewhat more accurate review. Sweetwater should delete my first one.

    I bought the guitar from Sweetwater because I could see the guitar in the gallery, and get their 55 pt process, which I consider very important, plus I sincerely trust them. The sell some very expensive guitars and equipment and still spent the time with me, something I appreciated and won me over as a customer. Their answers were also realistic honest and helpful answers.

    I have bought many guitars over the years since 1962 most much more expensive than this one, in fact some 4X as much.

    The guitar arrived from them in perfect condition. I had it shipped in the Ibanez case I also purchased. The fit and finish and craftsmanship were excellent. The nut was excellent with no binding. Intonation perfect. Beautiful fretwork. No buzzing. It sounded excellent unplugged. It played very well right out of the box (after tuning of course). The guitar feels strong and solid. It looks beautiful. Later I replaced the strings with the favorite I use for Gibson-like guitars, Gibson Vintage Reissue Light gauge Pure Nickel 10-46, same as I did on a new ES-335. These are mellow tone-full strings. Once I had my favorite strings on I could do a valid tone test. Many donít realize that the strings, picks and where you pick make a huge difference. I used a Dunlop black Jazz III pick which I like for blues. The guitar sounded great. The Alnico medium output pickups sounded just as I like, similar to Gibson Classic 57s. The Ibanez pickups are very well matched for volume and tone. The neck shape (which I learned about from the Ibanez site and modeled before buying) is quite perfect for this guitar. It is nice and rounded in the back, not with a flat spot as with the 335 I had bought. It is not a super thin Wizard neck like on Ibanez metal guitars; it is appropriate for the guitar. Well I really like it. The switching system, which I really didnít care about when I was buying the guitar turned out to be a great feature. It really can significantly change the tone of the guitar in many good usefully ways. I just was so surprised. Print out the spec sheet from Ibanez for info on how it works.

    I tried it out with some of my favorite amp models in my Fender Mustang III amp and it sounded great. My playing tone is mostly in my fingers so I am really hearing the guitar not a bunch of effects masking it.

    Bottom line, the guitar is well made, and in my opinion could easily sell for much more. I cannot see how this good of a guitar can sell for this price. It exceeded my expectations. I am 100% satisfied with the guitar as delivered by Sweetwater. I would buy it again, and from them. Actually I think if they came out with yet more finish choices Iíd buy another if I like the color as much as this one. Oh help me if they came out with many new colors!

  • from Central New Jersey February 2, 2015Music Background:
    Jack of all trades, master of none.

    Les is more. Don't be afraid of this guitar.

    I have the Blue Sunburst finish and there is no doubt about it, this is a visually striking instrument. I will tell you that it is easily on par with anything in its price range. I have owned several similarly priced guitars and this one is second to none! Fit, finish and execution are excellent. Does it sound like the more expensive, (Yes, I have a one) benchmark instrument? No, but it still sounds great in a different way. Not quite as fat and brighter. Perhaps this is a more modern tone because is compares favorably to the PRS SE245 and Epiphone LPs that I have. The three way tap switches are cool too. I find myself buying sub $750 guitars and liking all of them. This is a real testament to modern CNC machining and tight quality control. The setup felt good from the moment I started to play on it. I have done nothing to it. My only complaint (and this is really nit-picking), is the mini toggle switches have washers that have a small tab sticking up from them, hence the 4.5 star rating. The tab washers are usually installed behind the mounting surface to keep the switch from rotating. They are barely noticeable and in no way is this something that would be a deal killer. This is one time that less, is more, no matter which way you look at it.

  • from Spokane Valley, WA USA January 24, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician


    The fit and finish of this instrument is flawless. The sound is dynamic and extremely versatile. It stays in tune. The weight is just right for sustain and back.

    If you had to buy just one guitar, this should be the one. I love it. I recommend the AR420 to all players, no matter what genre you play in. I do classic rock, blues, and some country.

    If you can find a better guitar/price, let me know.

  • from New York, USA April 13, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    My New Favorite

    I immediately thought I was playing a guitar worth over a thousand and bought it within 3 minutes of hearing it through an amp. It has replaced my PRS and my '79 Maple Strat as my favorite guitar. I am not a huge fan of the neck pickup, which I am going to change, but the guitar sounds and feels awesome. I never really liked Ibanez guitars because I didn't hear a "wood" sound from them, until this one. My favorite accident was trying to get a backup humbucker guitar and walking out with this thing.

  • from California February 8, 2016


    I recently purchased one of these, rather than another Les Paul. This guitar has a beautiful finish, and the workmanship is excellent. I had thought of installing a set of Pearly Gates in it before I received it, but the supplied pups are more that hot enough.
    I enjoy the pickup switching options, which I need to explore more. The packaging and the customer service from Sweetwater is excellent, my sales rep (Mike Godlove) is knowlegable.
    The only minus is no pickguard, but I can add that later.

  • from Oregon coast April 18, 2013Music Background:
    45 years semi-pro

    Good guitar, unavoidable comparisons

    The most obvious thing is that this axe is an eye popper. I love the inlays, abalone purfling and flame top...really looks like a much more expensive axe. It came set up from Sweetwater, so playability/intonation is excellent out of the box. This is pretty close to whats being referred to as a "Les Paul Killer" at a third of the price. The "Super 58 Custom" pickups are medium output, with a solid, balanced tone, capable of warm, classic 'Bucker tones along with the additional options provided by the Tri-sound switching, providing Parallel/Tap/Series modes for each pickup.

    I bought this largely because I've been kicking myself ever since selling my original '79 Japanese-made Artist long ago. That one also had Tri-sound, but it had Super 80 pups on it. These original guitars were made after Ibanez had really REALLY learned how to make guitars and that line IMHO is the best they ever made. The new model is very good, but don't expect it to be as good as the originals; the tuners, nut, bridge are not quite up to the old quality even though quite serviceable, and the pickups may not have enough output for some, especially if you're going for modern scooped tones. I like them personally, but also see room for improvement. Replacing pickups with boutique buckers could be an option, although might be tricky with the tri-sound wiring. The fretwork is nice and level, although could benefit from further polishing. I also notice that, while this guitar is lighter weight than the originals, it is just a tad neck heavy as a result. I think the heavier body of the old ones made them more balanced. All in all, I think they did a pretty good job with this guitar, almost but not quite the quality of Japanese Ibanez Artists made while at the height of their guitar-making prowess.

    A final word on customer service...we had a bit of a glitch in that department; I won't go into the details here except to say that sometimes these things happen no matter what. Whats important to me is that Sweetwater really stepped up their game to make certain that I'm satisfied with the transaction. They're willing to do whatever it takes...Good job!

  • from Waterbury, Ct. USA March 4, 2013Music Background:
    Home Recording, Song Writer And Guitarst

    Mid Priced Guitar With A High End Feel

    I'm No Stranger To A Good Guitar, Having Fiveteen To My Stable To Pick From, I Know A Good Axe When I Play One And This Model Delivers. This Is My Forth Ibanez I've Owened Since The Early 80s And My Second One Built In The Artcore Plant Across The Pond, I Know From Some Of The Buzz On The Forums That Where Its Being Built Is Causing Some Concern As To Quality And Politics. I Felt The Same Way And Being a Loyal American Was a Bit Hesitent To Purchace, However..., This Is A Really Well Built Guitar, Plays Nice Allthuogh Mine Did Need To Be Setup, I Don't Think You Can Ship A Guitar In The Mail Without Having Somthing To Adjust, Once Set up Though This Guitar Plays As Nice As Some Of The Other Big Movers And Shakers In The Industry. Starting From the Top The Tuners Work well And The Axe Stays In Tune,The Nut Is Well Dressed Not sure If its Nylon Or Plastic, Fretboard Is Excellent, But I Find The Frets To be A Little Thin To My Likeing, Also Had a High Fret #19 On The Fretboard That Had to Be Leveled And Dressed {Shipping In Winter Temps Dosn"t Help} Somthing That I Feel Should Have Not Had To Be Done With A Guitar Of This Quality, Pickups Are Mild And Work Great For Jazz , Blues, Or Rock, I Also Feel A Guitar Of This Caliber Should Be Sold With A Hard Case Like The Other Heavy Hitters Out There, It Would Make This A Much Better Deal And Belive It Could Be Marketed For Just Under 7 Tall Ones With Case, All In All I'm Very Happy And Believe If Your on The Fence About One Of These, Go Try One Out, You might Be Surprised.

  • from February 13, 2013Music Background:
    ex pro / home studio projects

    Heck of a lot of value for money

    The AR 420 is as good as any guitar I've played with good intonation and excellent playability.This is true of several guitars in this price range but for me the real point of difference with the AR420 is the uniquely ungeneric sound of the pick ups; sweet, full and enough clarity to cut through, not harsh or clinical. Good transfer from the neck gives superb sustain and plenty of options with the coil configuration switches virtually makes this an all round instrument for my needs.
    Absolutely love the aesthetics of the new AR series models and I have also purchased an AR325 purely for the bubinga top.
    Only a small point, but found a couple of small blemishes in the finish; a small flat spot on the neck of one and a slight spray run on the back of the peghead of the other. This would in no way influence my decision considering how much you are getting for your money.
    I have other more expensive guitars but with this type of instrument on offer I now wouldn't consider spending any more. It's right up there in my opinion with a difference in style and sound. Good job Ibanez !

Questions about the Ibanez AR Series AR420 - Violin Sunburst?

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