I had no idea what lay in store for me when I was asked to review this guitar. All I’d been told in advance was that it was an Ibanez acoustic, and that my honest opinion was wanted (which is always nice). Carefully opening the box, I was presented with a very simple and straight-forward looking dreadnought electro-acoustic, though after further inspection the guitar revealed a few really nice trimmings; the Grover machine heads have that lovely boiled sweet “Brown Pearl” knob and the abalone fingerboard inlay that has been very carefully executed.
Before I get onto the pick up system I’ll cut to the chase and tell you what the Ibanez AW3050CE sounds like acoustically; in a nutshell it sounds big and throaty. I wanted to start rattling out some Radiohead covers but given its bare finishing I though better of it, I didn’t want to send it back with my pick marks all over it which is a good thing to point out as I think the finish might be a little too delicate for some heavy handed players. To me, the guitar was asking to be drop tuned and it handles the tunings really well (my wife never got bored of hearing Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rain Song’). This is the ideal singer/songwriter’s guitar.
The LR Baggs Elemental Pickup and EAS-VTC Preamp are great value for money and in this package they offer a good representation of the guitar without having the issues that some pre-amps have of sounding too piezo heavy. I tried this during a band writing session and it had the right EQ balance by default, which saved having to dial in something.
This is a good guitar that does manage to pop its head above a really saturated market of mid priced acoustics. Its tone, pre-amp and the little finishing touches allow your money to stretch just that little bit further than usual.
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