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Ibanez Artcore AGB200 Semi-Acoustic

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fergie Fulton, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    After being so impressed with the AGB140 I bought the AGB200. Based on the same design but with a standard scale neck and two new pick-ups, the two points I thought let down my AGB140 have been addressed. The bass is exactly the same colour and finish as my AGB140, a transparent brown with white inlay banding to the edges. Add to that the new features of gold coloured hardware, white headed tuners, and a standard scale and this is a classic looking bass.

    It weigh in at 8lbs, a maple arch top body and a three piece Mahogany neck, with a 30.3" scale, so 22 frets to play on. The transparent brown finish lets the grain come through giving it a deep rich look which changes depending on the light.
    The tuners are closed units in a 2x2 arrangement with white heads to give it a vintage pearl look. Add the white pearl inlay effect on the name on the headstock, the white ivory effect banding to the fronts edges and this is a class finish. The white ivory effect banding continues from the headstock finishing all front edges on the instrument, turn it over and again it appears on the back of the body. The two F holes are finished at their edges, as are the edges of the neck at the fretboard with this detail, nice touch.

    The bridge arrangement is again is simple and sturdy and along with the tail piece is finished in gold (not real gold of course). It has the look of a floating bridge and tail piece, but is in fact fixed in to the body. This is because the body is solid straight down the middle in construction and the sides(front and back) are the semi-acoustic part of the design. The new addition of two humbucker soap bar pick-ups, one neck mounted and one bridge mounted, finished in the same gold colour as the bridge is a fantastic look and now gives the bass the class its predecessor, the AGB140, lacked. There is a single toggle switch to change from bridge to neck or the two together, with a single volume and tone control for all positions. They are great sounding units, the bridge has a dry top end tight sound, the neck has warmth and depth. use the two together and you have it all a great sound with a bit on gnarl if you want it. Use the tone control to cut the top and again each of the setting takes on a new colour. I like the bridge position with full tone cut, it for me gives a great up-right sort of tone, it has an natural feel to it as the guitars adds to that feel and sound.
    The balance is good and the neck again has an easy playability down near the nut as a result of the standard neck. The bass due to the strap button in the back of the body in line with the neck does make this bass hang with the effect that the neck seems further away at the nut, if you are used to basses that hang from top horns. On the AGB140 which has a long scale this was a problem, on the AGB200 it is now not.
    On the down side for me was the fact that I could not find the gauge of flatwound strings I use to replace the roundwound ones that come as standard. In the end I doctored a set of Picato flatwounds to get me out of trouble, but that failed on the E sting as it un-wound on the fretboard side if the nut. After talking to Picato and sending them the measurements in an E-mail that problem was easily solved for under £25. a set…custom made.

    All in all the AGB200 is a great improvement on the now discontinued AGB140, in looks and playability. For anyone looking for a lighter classic looking bass for under £400, then look no further. If this range is a success, and I see no reason why not, then some other colours and finishes maybe the next option for Ibanez if they wished to up the ante again.

  2. HeGone


    Dec 31, 2007
    Great review -- and nice video! I've had my eye on on AGB200 for a few months now. How's the neck width? I've read that it's closer to a P bass, as opposed to, say, an EB-0 or a Hofner.
  3. Your band kicks ass!
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Not really like the Precsion as it is not a deep neck, more like the EB-O, which the AGB140 can sound very much like due to the large single humbucker, which was let down on that model purely on looks for me, never on sound.

  5. JQ1986


    Oct 30, 2008
    Rice Lake, WI
    I've been wanting one of those for a while. I tried one out at a local music shop, came back a couple weeks later to pick it up and it was gone:crying:
  6. HeGone


    Dec 31, 2007
    Thanks for the follow-up. Glad to hear the neck isn't too deep -- I've got a P and an EB-0, and would prefer something closer to the latter. Another great vid by the way -- your band rocks!
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I have only had my AGB200 for a week or so and am looking to get another already as a spare to replace the AGB140. That is only because of the stetch i have to make on the 140 to get to the lower fretboard causes me pain due to injuries. The 200 is definitely easier to play for me than the 140, which is a great bass if you can accept the pick-ups appearance.
    Of course that price is Sterling and included my case for it, i would imaging dollars may be cheaper?

    Thanks glad you like the music.:bassist:
  8. peaveyteen


    May 23, 2009
    ive got one of these and i love it so much.
    it sounds soo good to play and is so comfortable.
    mines has the limited edition ivory finish, which i think looks abseloutly spectacular=D AGB200IV.
    i dont think the picture is a very good one, but in real life it looks amazing.
  9. Dean712


    May 3, 2005
    Thanks for the review, Fergie and others. You helped me decide to try an Ibanez AGB-200 a few months back.

    I bought mine in February 2010, so I have been playing it for 6 months. Overall, I like the bass a lot, and it is a unique addition to my lineup that has been great for certain gigs and will be a keeper that I will continue to go to for years. At $300 including case, it is an incredible bargain. It has filled my need for a lighter, semi-hollow and shorter scale bass perfectly.

    I made one modification to the bass, as shown in the attached photograph. Normally, I keep my basses stock. However, I really didn't like the position of the strap peg on the back of the bass body. It made the bass rotate forward away from my body, and I found that my left hand was getting fatigued fighting the rotation.

    So, I backed the strap peg screw out and repositioned it on the upper side of the bass (see photo - you can see the original hole position on the back of the bass). Be cautious if you try something like this on a semi-hollow bass - because the side wings are hollow, you need to tap on the body to sound it and make sure your drill hole location is into the middle solid wood block of the bass - if it is in the hollow section, there will be less wood to anchor and more of a chance of anchor problems.

    After I repositioned the strap peg, the bass sits perfectly and plays super easy. The neck is medium-thin and really easy to play on, both thickness wise and scale length. For reference, my favorite bass neck is a Rickenbacker 4003, and I also play MM Stingray and Fender Jazz (least favorite of my others). The AGB-200 neck is easier on the left hand than any of those, although going to shorter scale I have to watch my positioning a little because frets are closer together. I would think the bass would be nice for those with smaller hands and/or shorter reach especially.

    The setup took a little tweaking but was not far off as received.

    Where this bass has found a guaranteed spot with me is for my band's "acoustic" outdoor performances. My pop/rock band normally plays medium-sized club gigs with full PA and light show (ie. loud), but we also occasionally do an acoustic night at a local winery, plus parties, etc. This bass looks great on stage in an "acoustic" band setting (although I take a small amp and play wired - it's definitely not loud enough to compete with an acoustic guitar live), and it does have a semi-hollow sound to it (mellower "thump" compared to my other basses) that really fits perfect for that setting. Despite the shorter scale, it will tune down to Drop-D without too much of a problem, although beyond that the shorter scale length might be a problem.

    It is a beautiful instrument - I always get compliments on how it looks. It's easy to play after having moved the strap peg. It sounds great on my band's "acoustic night" performances. For club gigs, I still like my Rickenbacker 4003 best for punch, definition, and sound, but this AGB-200 has been a valuable addtion to my gear at an incredibly reasonable price. It fills my need for an occasional semi-hollow, for a shorter-scale bass, and for a somewhat lighter weight bass (it's a couple of pounds lighter than the others, but still heavier than a true acoustic).

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