Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Review & Prices

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Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Review
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  • From Ibanez's 2023 AF series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Linden body
  • 3pc Nyatoh/Maple neck
  • Bound Macassar Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Super 58 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Super 58 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Walnut bridge
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Speed knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • AF Expressionist Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Ibanez tuners
  • Compare Specs >
  • From Ibanez's 2023 AF series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Linden body
  • 3pc Nyatoh/Maple neck
  • Bound Macassar Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Super 58 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Super 58 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Walnut bridge
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Speed knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • AF Expressionist Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Ibanez tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Verdict: is The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist a Good Guitar?

Made in Indonesia with great craftsmanship while keeping the price as low as possible. It's a guitar with decent playability. It doesn't come with the best pickups, so you might want to upgrade them eventually. It's a well-balanced guitar for playing solos and chords. In general, it offers a good amount of features for the price. But you might want to check other guitars with a better score if you have the budget for it.

Final Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 75
Sound 62
Build quality 55
Value for money 74
Overall Score 64
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist
  • Expensive Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Tremolo
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

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Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Prices

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Is the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist a Good Deal?

Its average competitor's price is $820, which means that the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist is around 45% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all guitars of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Indonesia.

Explore All Ibanez Guitars >

Is The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Easy to Play?

The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Balance
Small hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Scale Length Comparison
Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More guitars with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Neck Profile
Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's neck thickness is approximately 0.827'' (21mm) at the first fret, and 0.945'' (24mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Ibanez website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More guitars for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist has a 12" fingerboard radius. Here's an image comparing this guitar's fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's fretboard radius compared to other guitars

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist has the same radius across the board.

More guitars with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Nut Width
Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Nut Width

The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This size is also known as 1 11/16'' and it's the most common size. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

More guitars with the same nut width:

Frets

The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist has 20 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

Fret Size

Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Fret Size Comparison
Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

More guitars with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 75

Does the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Sound Good? Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood Used in the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist

Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Basswood Body: This is a soft type of wood that is very light and easy to work with. It's cheaper than many other kinds of wood used for guitar building, but it doesn't mean it's low quality. In terms of sound, it accentuates the mid-range, which matches the frequencies that a Humbucker produces.

Maple Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Ebony Fretboard: This is one of the most expensive woods there is, which is why it's mostly used for fretboards. It is dense, heavy, highly resistant and comes in a really dark color that gives any guitar a classy touch. Tone wise, it helps the high side of the spectrum and provides good sustain.

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a moderade level of hot output instead of the overwhelming output that distinguises active pickups in metal.

The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More guitars with the same pickups

20 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Super 58 Bridge Pickup
Super 58 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Super 58 Bridge Pickup
Super 58 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Super 58 Bridge Pickup
Super 58 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Super 58 Bridge Pickup
Super 58 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Super 58 Bridge Pickup
Super 58 Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, guitarists tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist's switch options

What music genre is the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist good for?

As a 6 strings, Hollowbody guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Jazz or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this kind of guitar.

Sound Score

Pickups 60
Sustain 70
Versatility 54
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 62

How well is the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Built?

Where is the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Made?

Knowing where the guitar is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive guitars are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

Still, remember that we're taking about Ibanez here, which is a brand with good renown. They know how to use cheap labor in this country without sacrificing too much quality. So you shouldn't end up receiving a useless or ugly instrument.

More guitars made in Indonesia

Bridge

Walnut: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More guitars with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure the guitar stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist has a Plastic nut. This is a low-quality nut that you might want to consider upgrading soon. Bone and TUSQ nuts are the best for guitars with a fixed or simple tremolo bridge.

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More guitars with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 46
Features 55
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 55

Most Popular Comparisons With The Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist

Ibanez AF95 Artcore Expressionist Specs

General
Brand: Ibanez
Year: 2023
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: AF
Colors: Sunburst
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Linden
Bridge: Walnut
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Ibanez
Fretboard: Bound Macassar Ebony
Neck Material: 3pc Nyatoh/Maple
Decoration: Acrylic block
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: AF Expressionist
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.827'' (21mm) - 12th Fret: 0.945'' (24mm)
Frets: 20 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Speed
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 2
Bridge Pickup: Super 58 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Super 58 (Humbucker / Passive)