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  #1  
Old 02-16-2017, 05:39 AM
Hadar Hadar is offline
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Default Ibanez Archtops

Hello,

I'm about to buy an archtop guitar. I found some great deals on the Ibanez archtops, and I'm having difficulties deciding between the SS500VLS and the GB10.
I'm looking for a rich, fat, mellow jazzy tone.
Any advices/recommendations will be well appreciated.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2017, 05:48 AM
Frankieabbott Frankieabbott is offline
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I'm interested in archtops but don't know much about the Ibanez guitars that you mention. Someone with greater knowledge will answer shortly I'm sure.....in the meantime I hope whatever you get that you could maybe post pics and give a little review.
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:55 AM
Hadar Hadar is offline
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Do you think the GB10 can function as a full hollow bodied archtop guitar? To me It sounded versatile, very clear and beautiful, yet it didn't have that fat dark jazzy tone and it lacked in sustain. The SS500 is considered to be a high qualified guitar from the Artcore series and it sounded more fat and jazzy to me, but the GB10 is amazing too and has such a high reputation.
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:57 AM
Hadar Hadar is offline
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The SS500: https://reverb.com/item/211674-ibane...t-limited-rare

The GB10: https://reverb.com/item/2350178-iban...-guitar-w-case

Once I buy the guitar I'll upload my own photos for sure.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:21 AM
Frankieabbott Frankieabbott is offline
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(Faceslap) I should have sussed that the GB 10 was the George Benson guitar.....I was only just recently watching a YouTube vid of the great man himself playing his and talking about its spec. The SS500 looks great....maybe I can find a sound bite of it on the Tube also. I've been looking at Godin 5th Avenue....Washburn J600 and a second hand Hofner President.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:42 AM
PistolPete PistolPete is offline
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I have an AF75 & I think it's a cracking guitar for the money. Of course I've always used it for blues rather than jazz, so your mileage may vary, but I can't fault the workmanship.

It doesn't come out much anymore now I'm solo, unfortunately, but you can here it on this track, going through a 1960s 1W Silvertone tube amp.
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:00 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Both really nice guitars (I haven't seen an ss500vls in person, but Japanese Ibanez's are top-notch guitars). The floating pickups on the GB-10 are going to give you a little brighter tone, whereas the set buckers in the ss500 are probably more of what you're thinking about in a "mellow, fat, jazz tone," but with some tweaking both will get you there.

Body size will be an important consideration. The ss500 is going to have a good deal more "acoustic" presence, being wider and deeper. It's not an acoustic guitar, but you'll dfinitely be able to use it unplugged for practice around the house.

The GB is smaller and won't have as much of that, but it might be more feedback resistant plugged in. But I often think feedback resiliency in archtops is a manufactured problem, as people play jazz too loud a lot of the time. TURN DOWN!

Overall, I like the vibe of the ss500 a little better. But that's just me.

You're in for a winner. Let us know what you pick.
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Old 02-18-2017, 10:32 AM
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Livingston Livingston is offline
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Hi Hadar,

I've owned both of the Ibanez guitars you are considering. Well actually I owned a GB100, which is very similar to the GB10 - same floating mini humbuckers, laminated maple top i/o laminated spruce top and a 1/2" deeper (measured at the rim). A few years ago, I stumbled across a SS500 and purchased it (off of eBay, if memory serves).

I have since sold both guitars. I've bought and sold a few electric archtops over the last 15 years or so, keeping the ones I liked and selling off other ones to buy/try others.

So, you've gotten great feedback already. Don't know if I my 2 cents will differ much from what has already been said, but here goes.

SS500 – Silhouette based on the GB10/AG series guitars but with a greater depth (3-1/8” at the rim). One of the few solid top Ibanez electric archtops; solid, pressed spruce. Back and sides are laminated (as I recall). The Super 58 Custom pick ups have a very classic PAF humbucker sound…I do like these pick ups very much and have them on other guitars that I currently own. Excellent build quality for the price of the guitar. Certainly would be a sturdy, workhorse for everyday use.

Interestingly, it has nitrocellulose lacquer finish instead of the typical polyurethane finish that Ibanez use. While lacquer is superior for acoustic tone, I have found polyurethane to be my preferred finish for durability, especially for a gigging workhorse. Furthermore, while the SS500 has a solid top and lacquer finish, I didn't find it's acoustic tone to be any or much different than other Ibanez electric archtops.

Classic electric archtop tone as you have described is very achievable with the SS500. Through the right amp, it is a very rich sounding guitar. No doubt, it is a player’s guitar.

GB10 (based on my GB100) – Based on Ibanez’ and George Benson’s description, the smaller, shallower body with laminated plates were designed to offer GB louder amplified volumes while minimizing feedback. Ironically, Ibanez use floating mini humbuckers which seem to have a lower threshold for feedback than top mounted PAF’s. Having said that, GB plays in large venues and with large, loud bands. He manages to avoid feedback. You’ll probably notice he has clear tape covering his f-holes…definitely helpful in mitigating feedback.

I found the GB100 to have a brighter tone than other guitars I’ve owned with similar body silhouette (e.g. AG195, SS500) but with top mounted PAF pickups. Personally, I like the tone of top mounted PAF’s for the kind of music I play.

GB10’s have great fit and finish, durable polyurethane finish (for the working musician) and shallow body not only helps reduce feedback but is also very comfortable to hold. I think GB10’s sound great and have heard many straight-ahead players as well as pop/funk guitarists getting great tones out of a GB.

As an appendix, below are a couple of links to other threads related to the SS500. One of the links is a thread on this forum and the other is from The Ibanez Collectors Forum. Searches for SS500 and GB10 on the latter, will bring up several conversations that may further help you make a decision.

SS500 comments on The Acoustic Guitar Forum

SS500 comments on The Ibanez Collector's Forum

As I always say, to each his own and YMMV.

Good luck and let us know which guitar you choose!
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Last edited by Livingston; 02-18-2017 at 01:09 PM.
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  #9  
Old 02-24-2017, 08:11 AM
jim777 jim777 is offline
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I believe the Super 58 Custom pickups are made in China, the Super 58's are the ones in the higher end models. You can also search through the threads on the Jazz guitar forum at jazzguitar.be, which I believe will get you more insight into the two models than you would get from Ibanezcollectors (I frequent both myself). Me personally, I would go with the GB10 all day every day, and twice on Sundays ( if I couldn't get a PM120)
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:38 AM
jricc jricc is offline
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I was never a big Ibanez fan, too many metal players using them ...
But I recently picked up an AF55 archtop and I must say it is a nice playing guitar. I pinned the bridge, added a SeymourDuncan 59 humbucker in the neck and it really is a versatile guitar, all for $375 with the SD pickup included.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:34 AM
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jsanfilippo5 jsanfilippo5 is offline
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Ive been looking for a jazz box as well. The George benson models I played were great - but not sure I played that specific model.

Guitar center has been fluctuating the price on this guitar AFJ95 for a few weeks now. I saw it get as low as $450 a few weeks ago - and been eyeing it since! Ill probably pick it up http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez/Artcore-Expressionist-AFJ95-Hollowbody-Electric-Guitar-Flat-Antique-Fade-1421743707490.gc?cntry=us&source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=Cj 0KEQiA88TFBRDYrOPKuvfY2pIBEiQA97Z8MZx4_oQS1RIB8npQ Gu5muklY_Bh0uNWFENCGv7KcfNEaAk7E8P8HAQ&kwid=produc tads-adid^172488555108-device^c-plaid^143113603242-sku^1421743707490@ADL4GC-adType^PLA


The other guitar I played that I was absolutely blown away and surprisd with was the GUild Starfire ii. I couldnt beleive the tones coming out of that guitar.
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Old 02-26-2017, 10:19 PM
M Hayden M Hayden is offline
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If you can find an AFJ81 or 91, get it. It's a single-pickup jazz box and huge value for the money. With the tune-o-matic bridge it's more electric-ish, and the wood bridge is, well, woodier and more acoustic. Great simple design, and easy to mod - I have mine set up to swap pickups pretty quickly using an inline connector on the cable from the pickup to the volume and tone. I have used the original ACH pickup, a Super 58 (old one), a Lollar Imperial, and an ancient Bartolini 1S, and they all work pretty well with the Bart being current first choice. Great gig axe, durable and reliable and sonically excellent, way better than I anticipated.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:27 AM
Hadar Hadar is offline
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Default Thank you everyone!

After long thought and consideration, I've decided to go for the Ibanez SS500. I think I kinda felt it from the start.
I am very happy, this guitar is amazing! Very deep, warm, sustained and classic jazzy sound. It is also very pretty and comfy.
The photos attached aren't mine. I'll post photos of my own and recordings soon enough. Thank you very much for your help and advices






You can find more photos on this thread:
http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=344527
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:02 AM
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Congratulations! Beautiful guitar and I hope you get years of great music and enjoyment from your new axe!
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:06 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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You had the great problem of narrowing your choice down to two excellent guitars. I'm sure you would have dug the GB too, but this is the choice I would have made, too. Absolutely gorgeous guitar, and I know Japanese Ibanez quality--it's top notch. I think this one will continue to grow on you.

Now post some sound clips!
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