Ibanez Acoustic Electric Guitars under $300 Review: Colorful Choices for Not a Lot of Cash

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Are you looking for a quality, inexpensive, acoustic electric guitar and want some variety in your color options? If so, you’ve come to the right place. The Ibanez acoustic electric guitars I’ll look at in this review should each be available for less than $300, and you will have 9 colors from which to choose.

I’ll look at 8 guitars here, which at first seems like a lot, but we can put 6 of them into two groups because they are very similar models. So in the end this will feel more like we’re comparing just 4 guitars instead of 8.

If you’re in a hurry and just want to see the pricing and availability at Amazon, you can click the links in the list below.

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What Features Are Common to All These Ibanez Guitars?

Even though there are technically 8 models in this review, there are actually a few things that Ibanez kept the same from one to the next.

The first item is the materials used in construction. The backs, sides, and necks of these guitars are made of mahogany, and the fretboards and bridges are made of rosewood.

The body binding on all but the AW54CE is ivory. On the AW54CE it is black instead.

The other main feature that is the same is the pins that hold the strings into the body. Ibanez uses their own Advantage pins. Here is Ibanez’s description of these pins.

“These pins really are an advantage over old-fashioned pins. Advantage™ pins are easier to take out and easier to put in than standard pins. A special bulb-shaped end makes the pin easy to grip and also prevents the pin from being pushed in too far. Best of all, with Advantage™, the pin and string stay put.”

There actually is quite a difference in how these pins work compared to standard pins as you can see in the diagram below.

Ibanez Advantage pins

Comparing the Performance Series Guitars

The table just below the pictures shows you at a glance the other similarities and differences among the Ibanez Performance series acoustic electric guitars in this price range. Although these are in the same series, there aren’t as many similarities as you might expect.

Ibanez PF15ECE
Ibanez PF28ECE
Ibanez PN12E
ColorsBlack, Natural, Transparent Blue SunburstDark Violin Sunburst, Transparent Red SunburstVintage Mahogany Sunburst
Body ShapeCutaway DreadnoughtCutaway DreadnoughtParlor
TopSpruceFlamed MapleMahogany
Body BindingIvoryIvoryIvory
Tuning MachineChrome Die-cast tuners; Half moon knobsChrome Die-cast tuners; Half moon knobsChrome Die-cast tuners
Number of Frets202018
StringsIbanez IACS6CD’Addario*Coated bronze
PickupIbanez Under SaddleFishman SonicoreIbanez Under Saddle
PreampIbanez AEQ-2T with tunerIbanez AEQ-SP2 with tunerIbanez AEQ-2T with tuner
Output Jack¼”Balanced XLR and ¼”¼”
Neck Scale (mm)650650620
Neck Width at Nut (mm)424242
Neck Width at 14th Fret (mm)545554
Neck Thickness at 1st Fret (mm)21.52120
Neck Thickness at 7th Fret (mm)23.522.521
Neck Radius (mm)250250250
Body Length (in.)202019 ½
Body Width (in.)15 ¾15 ¾14 ⅓
Max. Depth (in.)54 ¼4

*Ibanez failed to list which strings come with the PF28ECE on their site. A post at Amazon mentions D’Adarrio.

I didn’t list the finishes for the Performance guitars in the table above (as I do in the tables below) because everything here – fronts, back, sides, and neck backs of each – has a gloss finish.

See these Ibanez Performance Series guitars at Amazon now.

Comparing the Ibanez AEG Series Guitars

I haven’t found it in print anywhere, but I think “AEG” stands for “Acoustic Electric Grand” in reference to the body style of the instruments in this second group.

Unlike the group above, here you will see many similarities from one guitar to the next. In fact, the only main difference, besides colors, is the material used for the top of each. The AEG15II does have different finishes and body depth as well.

One nice touch that makes the AEG12II a little different is that the fretboard has a fancier inlay, as you can see in the picture below.

Ibanez AEG10II
Ibanez AEG12II
Ibanez AEG15II
ColorsBlack, Transparent Blue SunburstNatural High GlossNatural
Body BindingIvoryIvoryIvory
Finish: TopGlossGlossSatin
Finish: Back & SidesGlossGlossSatin
Finish: Neck BackSatinSatinSatin
Soundhole RosetteAbaloneAbaloneAbalone
Tuning MachineChrome Die-cast tunersChrome Die-cast tunersChrome Die-cast tuners
Number of Frets212121
StringsIbanez IACSP6CIbanez IACSP6CIbanez IACSP6C
 PickupFishman SonicoreFishman SonicoreFishman Sonicore
 PreampIbanez AEQ-SP1 with tunerIbanez AEQ-SP1 with tunerIbanez AEQ-SP1 with tuner
 Output Jack¼”¼”¼”
 Neck Scale (mm)634634634
Neck Width at Nut (mm)434343
Neck Width at 14th Fret (mm)555555
Neck Thickness at 1st Fret (mm)202020
Neck Thickness at 7th Fret (mm)212121
Neck Radius (mm)400400400
Body Length (in.)19 ¼19 ¼19 ¼
Body Width (in.)151515
Max. Depth (in.)2 ¾2 ¾4 ⅓

Check out the Ibanez AEG Series acoustic electric guitar at Amazon today!

Comparing the Talman and Artwood Guitars

Finally, we come to the TCM50 (Talman) and AW54CE (Artwood Series) guitars. Here you will see many differences because each of these, as noted, is in its own series. Still, a side by side comparison is worth a look.

Ibanez points out that the neck joint on the Talman double cutaway is located at the 16th fret. This is a couple of frets closer to the body than on many acoustic guitars. The Talman is designed for the electric guitar player who wants the option of playing acoutically. If you tend to play those high notes a lot, this could be a real plus for your playing style.

The only other special item to note about the AW54CE is that it has a dovetail neck joint, making that connection extra solid.

Ibanez TCM50
Ibanez AW54CE
ColorsDark Night Ocean, Natural, Vintage Brown SunburstOpen Pore Natural (OPN)
Body ShapeTalman Double CutawayCutaway Dreadnought
TopFigured AshMahogany
Body BindingIvoryBlack
Finish: TopGlossOpen Pore
Finish: Back & SidesGlossOpen Pore
Finish: Neck BackGlossSatin
Tuning MachineChrome Die-cast tunersChrome Die-cast tuners
Number of Frets2020
StringsIbanez IACS6CD’Addario EXP
PickupIbanez AP2 MagneticFishman Sonicore
PreampIbanez AEQ200M; 2-band EQIbanez AEQ-SP2 with tuner
Output Jack¼”Balanced XLR and ¼”
Neck Scale (mm)648651
Neck Width at Nut (mm)4243
Neck Width at 14th Fret (mm)5455
Neck Thickness at 1st Fret (mm)2021
Neck Thickness at 7th Fret (mm)2122
Neck Radius (mm)250400
Body Length (in.)1820
Body Width (in.)14 ½15 ¾
Max. Depth (in.)3 ½5

Get your Ibanez Talman TCM50 at Amazon


Find your Ibanez Artwood AW54CE at Amazon.

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Author: Gary Sonnenberg

Gary has been playing keyboards since he was very young. He started on a chord organ because that's what his father liked. He's played guitar since he was a teenager, and he recently learned he could keep the beat on a drum set.