Brand/Model: Ibanez AW54
Number of Strings: 6
Hand Orientation: Right
Body Material: Mahogany/Mahogany Top
Neck Material: Mahogany
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Price Range: Under $200
Our Rating: 9/10
Ibanez AW54OPN Artwood Acoustic Guitar Review
You might know Ibanez for their unique bridge pins that has set a house trend for the brand, but they’re also known for their Artwood series of guitars. This specific line of acoustics are designed to effortlessly combine both traditional and modern elements of a guitar into one.
What do you get when you merge the two concepts together? The AW54 is what you end up with. So, does Ibanez nail the design, or is it a flop?
First off, you have a very traditional dreadnought body shape with traditional woods like mahogany. Mahogany wraps the back and sides, and solid wood is used for the neck and top. Again, traditional rosewood is used for the fingerboard and bridge.
The back of the neck sports a satin finish while the rest of the guitar body and top feature an open pore, finish-less sheen – or lack of. This may seem incomplete to some buyers, but the open pore finish allows for full resonance and sound projection.
On the topic of sound, you can expect full, rich, and warm intonation thanks to the mahogany. A boomy bass will be present with strong notes in the mid to upper ranges.
You’ll be impressed what a difference sound on this will be compared to other excellent acoustic guitars in its price range. The unique touches the Artwood features is what lends to its acoustic prowess.
Modern components are seen in the hardware that includes chrome die-cast tuners, Ivorex II nut and saddle, and Ibanez’s Advantage black with white dot bridge pins. The Advantage bridge pins are something of note, and it may be all the difference when it comes to tuning and stretching your strings.
Apparently, the Artwood guitar can be both a traditional and modern instrument made to play timeless classics and the contemporary tastes of today!
- Solid top
- Advantage bridge pins
- Open pore
- Ivorex II
- May require setup
The most talked-about feature on the AW54 Artwood guitar is the slim and comfortable neck. The neck curve has a 21-22 mm thickness from the 1st to the 7th fret. This allows for the musician to play for hours on end. The sound is particularly impressive to buyers.
It’s full, loud, crisp, and clear – it’s even said to be better than some other dreadnought guitars that cost more.
There’s really no disadvantage to buying this guitar. It’s going be a star instrument to add to your collection. It’s an excellent guitar for any player, beginner or old. The proof is in the pudding, and the guitar has a delicious feel and sound to anyone who appreciates good music!
- Dreadnought body
- Solid mahogany top
- Mahogany back & sides
Alternative Acoustic Guitars to Consider
It’s hard to top a guitar in this price class that doesn’t have a legitimate black mark against it. But, it’s not the only solid top guitar in the market for less than 200 dollars. The Yamaha FG800 is a prized guitar from the affordable FG series. Instead of a mahogany top, it has a spruce top that’s known to be bright and provide dynamic tonal range.
To help with that is the newly-developed scalloped bracing put on the FG series!
Another solid top guitar in this price range is the Fender FA-115. Again, this one has a spruce top, and it’s also been finished with gloss. It might not be quite as up to par as the Ibanez guitar, but you’ll save a few bucks if your budget is really tight! Check out the full FA-115 Review here.
Ibanez AW54OPN Artwood FAQ
What does the AW54OPN Mean?
This is the model number for the guitar. You can find it under AW54, AW54OPN, or AW54 OPN. It stands for Artwood 54 Open Pore Natural.
Does the Artwood Guitar come in a Satin or Gloss Finish?
It does not. The only finish is on the back of the guitar with a satin film. You can always apply a gloss or a thin coat to the rest of the guitar if you wish although that may somewhat change the sound.
While the soundboard won’t have fingerprints and smudges left on the surface, the porous wood can absorb oils from fingers. It’s best to wash your hands and keep them clean before handling your guitar.
What are Ibanez Advantage Bridge Pins?
A bridge pin’s job is to keep the string secure, taut, and in place. Normal bridge pins can pop out of place when tuning a guitar since the ball end of a string can get caught under the flat end of the pin.
Bridge pins can also be tough to take out when they get pushed in too far.
Advantage pins have a bulb shaped head with a stopper design to prevent pushing the pin too far into the bridge.
They also feature tapered ends to prevent the ball end of a string from getting caught. In this way, the string stays in the correct position under the bridge for maximum security while tuning, adjusting action, and playing the guitar.
What is Ivorex II?
It’s the material the nut and saddle are made of. It enhances natural sound on the acoustic guitar while also managing to attain true intonation. Its unique shape also helps to maximize string vibration for tone, resonance, and projection.
Is the Ibanez Artwood a Laminate Guitar?
Not completely. The top has solid mahogany tonewood, and the back and sides have a mahogany laminate.
Who is this Guitar for?
This guitar is suitable for any musician whether it be a beginner or an experienced player. With a solid mahogany top, it may sound richer as it ages. A beginner will appreciate the slim neck and high quality that will encourage a long lifetime of learning and playing.
Intermediate and advanced players will find that it’s not just a couch-playing guitar but a guitar worth showing off every chance they can get.
Hardware/Electronics You’ll Need
The Artwood guitar comes solo. That’s not disappointing if you understand that high-quality guitars typically come without any accessories and equipment – the entire cost goes into making the guitar instead of being spread thin to include extras.
However, this might present an issue if you’re dependent on your stretching your budget as far as it can go as quality accessories can quickly put you out of pocket.
If you’re a beginner, knowing where to start might be overwhelming.
Check out our “Must-Have Guitar Accessories” if you need help on building your guitar accessory check list. Otherwise, here’s a starting point to get you in-the-know right now!
- Extra steel strings
- Quality Guitar Humidifier
- Capo (optional)
- Metronome (optional)
- Stringwinder (optional)
Standout Features of the AW54-OPN
- Solid top
- All-mahogany guitar
- Slim neck
Our Verdict on the Ibanez AW54
To strum it up, the Ibanez AW54 Open Pore Natural guitar is a natural stunner. It has perfectly combined both traditional and modern components to create a versatile and impressive instrument. The Artwood guitar doesn’t lie – the proof is in the strum!
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Trent is a music lover, musical instrument player and passionate audio afficionado.