Ibanez GA5TCE Acoustic Electric Classical Reviews 5

I won a bid on Ebay. This was the first time I bid for something on Ebay and I took some chances in doing this. The sellers obviously didnít know guitars because they had it described as the ďIbanez Thin LineĒ with generic gig bag. Nowhere did they mention the fact that it was classical or that the bag was from Musicianís Friend, which might have helped to sell it. The photo of that guitarís back must have been scratched, because it looked like there was a big ding there, and when I got it, there was none. In the Musicianís Friend catalogue, the GA5TCE lists for $399 and sells for $279. Knowing this and the fact that the Ibanez hard case was $90, I placed my rock bottom bid at $140, and with the sellerís shipping fee, $35, and the insurance on the shipping, I came in at $182.50. I calculated it this way so I would have a total savings of about $100 over what I would have spent at Musicianís Friend, AND get a bag. If the bag was junk, it would have been no loss. And of course, there was a chance that the bids would close for less, but it wasnít likely because there were 17 total bids, 3 of which were mine.

I immediately liked the light weight body and the slimness. When we got it, my husband said ďItís so light, I think they forgot to put the guitar in!Ē As for the finish, I loved the color of the spruce, not bright and pale like some, but a pretty walnut or the shade of a perfect tan. The sound plugged in was awesome--and the sound unplugged is gentle and expressive, with a swelling sustain and overriding mids. Iím guessing the guitar is about 3 years old from its construction date--just about the age in my experience where intermediate guitars start sounding less bright and with more character. The action is super low and very, very easy to play. The neck is slimmer than the traditional classical and the neck radius is smaller than most acoustics, so this was a very easy transition for me from my Fender grand concert.

There is nothing I can say that I donít like--but this has to be said especially because most serious classical players would tend to get a higher priced guitar, and I am an acoustic steel player for the most part, and many players considering this may also be. You have to strum with a softer touch to get the very best sound when you are unplugged. When you strum with a heavy hand, the sound gives in turn a heavy collective mid presence. This is not something I DONíT like --but Iím saying it here because at first strum, I didnít like the sound-- I beat on it too heavily! But I love it now because it has helped me play/express better some songs I might have been rushing on the steel and helped me to reassess some of the dynamics I may have lost. Oh, and as with classicals, there is no strap button...

There was a ding stated on the Ebay listing, but that ding in the back I suspected didnít exist. There were a few on the headstock, but was barely noticeable, even though there were some chips off. Where the strings wind also had some white scratches where the finish was scraped off with the strings. This didnít bother me cosmetically OR acoustically but could be an indication of lesser craftsmanship. There is a little piece of plastic that goes under where the stings tie, behind the saddle-- this piece is becoming unglued from one end and was glued on just a bit crooked to begin with. Other than these very tiny issues, the guitar is extremely beautiful with its binding, high gloss, amazing feel and great tone. I canít close without mentioning the electronics-- it comes with hi, mid, low, volume, and battery check button. Honestly--they pick up great, but the cut and boost range is not very wide, not giving staggering tone changes. Itís just enough to do the job. This is not a complaint-just information.

I love this guitar. Iím going on a 10 day trip and had the ONE guitar I was going to survive with AND play at my brotherís wedding. Iíve changed my mind and am taking this one. It feels great and sounds great and looks truly beautiful. I was prepared to buy this guitar from MF for the $279 and even though I paid the $180 on Ebay, itís worth the full price. If something happened to this one, I would get another one.

Arabella Gordon rated this unit 5 on 2004-08-10.

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