Ibanez of course is a name every guitarist is familiar with. They have been associated over the years with some of the most famous players in the guitar world. Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert come easily to mind as well as a new wave of superb talent such as Nita Strauss, Tom Quayle, Anouk Andre and Lee Wrathe.
It is though sometimes easy to forget that this icon of the electric guitar world also produces excellent quality acoustic guitars. It is one of those fine instruments we are looking at in this review, the Ibanez AE245 Grand Auditorium.
My first thought on seeing the AE245 was, what a lovely looking guitar to have such a bland name? This is a guitar that deserves a name not a number but, it is what it is and putting the name aside for a moment there is just so much to like about this guitar.
I knew as soon as I picked up the AE245 that this was going to be one of those moments when I was just so glad that I chose to take up playing guitar as a child, although I do wish I had spent more time on it…never too late of course!
The body shape of the AE245 is very comfortable to hold. Ibanez call it simply the “AE” body but we will call it “Grand Auditorium” because that is more or less what it is. The natural high gloss finish shows off the grain of the solid Okoume top well and is offset by the faux tortoiseshell pickguard. This high quality finish is carried on through the layered Okoume back and sides of the guitar and finished with a fetching off-white binding around the body.
The neck with beautiful wooden vine inlay running the full length of it’s 20 well finished frets looks fantastic although of course that is subjective. Some people may prefer a less ornate look.
The headstock with the Ibanez name inlay is complemented by a fleur de lis motif in what looks like mother of pearl. The high quality die cast chrome tuners are very smooth in operation and the guitar holds tune nicely.
- AE Body Shape
- Scalloped X Bracing with Tone Projection Back Bracing.
- Solid Okoume top
- Layered Okoume back & sides
- Nyatoh Neck
- Katalox fretboard & bridge
- Wooden vine inlay on fretboard.
- 20 frets.
- 651mm scale length.
- 44mm nut.
- 400mm neck radius.
- Abalaone & Maple inlay around soundhole
- Bone nut and compensated saddle
- Ibanez Advantage™ bridge pins.
- Ibanez T-bar under saddle pickup
- Ibanez custom preamp
- Comes fitted with D’Addario® EXP16 Strings.
As you would expect from Ibanez the AE245 is very well built. It feels like a quality guitar as soon as you pick it up and looking closely around the guitar I could find no faults at all. The neck is smooth and the frets nicely finished. Running my hands up and down the fretboard edges I could detect nothing untoward. The wood vine inlay that runs the length of the fretboard was very nicely done and I could see no areas that might have had to be filled due to poor fitting.
The tuners are unbranded die cast chrome but seem to be of high quality and very smooth in operation. The guitar stayed in tune most of the time I had it and only needed a slight tweak here and there on occasion.
I was also happy to see the discreet way the custom preamp had been fitted at the bottom of the guitar. There are no onboard controls but given how good it sounded plugged in I don’t think it needed any.
I really liked the sound of the AE425. The use of Okuoume for the body produces a warm earthy sound with a good spread of overtones and harmonics. Some have said it sounds similar to maple and others that it is closer to mahogany and I would put it somewhere in the middle. It sounds equally at home strummed or played fingerstyle.
Plugged in I thought the AE245 sounded fine. I am generally not a fan of onboard preamps as they nearly always lose much of the acoustic richness of the guitar but I was pleasantly surprised with Ibanez’s custom electronics. It provides a clean, well rounded tone that I think I could definitely see myself using from time to time.
I spent a couple of weeks with the Ibanez AE245 and by the end of it I was very reluctant to let it go. Ibanez have very successfully managed to combine style with substance here. There are not that many guitar brands that can do this successfully. Either their guitars look great but don’t sound very inspiring or they sound great but have the sort of aesthetics that put you off picking them up. Ibanez have got it just right.
One thing I should mention. If you google the AE245 you will find the spec listed at nearly all dealers looks a little different to the one we have given. Ibanez provided us with the spec for this review and we double checked it with them before publishing. However it looks like there might be two versions of this particular guitar so do double check before purchase.
https://www.ibanez.com/na/products/detail/ae245_03.html (the guitar we looked at)
https://www.ibanez.com/na/products/detail/ae245_02.html (the guitar many dealers seem to taken their spec from)
If you have any questions about the spec please ask in the comments section of the video or on our forum, the link for which is below.
So to the question, do I like the Ibanez AE245 and would I buy one? That would be an unqualified YES and YES! Even though this is not an expensive guitar at around £400/€460/$520 it punches well above it’s weight. If you are in the market for a guitar that not only sounds great but looks good, the Ibanez AE245 could well be the guitar for you.
Photography by Sasha Hudson.
More info from: https://ibanez.com
For more discussion on the Ibanez AE245 and many other guitars head over to our forum, we would love to see you there!
For a full list of kit used in making the video that goes with this review please head over to: https://kit.com