Ibanez Artcore Expressionist AM93QM

Semi-Hollow Magic
Ibanez Artcore Expressionist AM93QM
Price: $699.99

There comes a time in a guitarist’s life when one becomes hollowbody curious, and semi-hollow guitars are often the gateway – and they ain’t cheap.

Ibanez offers a solution with its Artcore Expressionist series of semi- and full-hollowbody guitars with excellent construction.

The Expressionist AM93QM Semi-Hollow allows the curious to experience the iconic overtones of Cream-era Clapton, the sinewy sophistication of Royal Scam-era Larry Carlton, and the mellifluous machinations of Grant Green, even when they’re on a budget.

The AM93QM has quilted-maple top, back, and sides, a 12″ radius, three-piece nyatoh/maple set neck, and a bound ebony fretboard with block inlays and 22 medium frets. Other details include Quik Change III tailpiece, Gibraltar Performer Bridge, and two Super 58 pickups.

Plugged into a well-stocked pedalboard and going through a blackface Fender and Marshall combo, the guitar emitted semi-hollow warmth, light midrange, and woody resonance with all the comfort of an ergonomic solidbody; if this guitar were a movie, it’d be titled The Smooth, The Warm, & The Punchy, due in part to the legendary vintage-style Super 58s, which work exceptionally well independently or in unison, providing a transparent edginess that allows the amp’s character and effects to take center stage.

The body’s center block pushes sustain to near-solidbody status while staying lightweight. With no fear of feedback, our AM93QM sculpted gain from a variety of dirt boxes, adding splashes of wooliness and jangle. Ambient and live-sounding, its tone translates powerfully when plugged in – screaming, barking, and soothing. More importantly, it nails Leo Nocentelli’s Meters-style funk tone from the middle pickup.

Played straight into a jazz rig and with a bit of manipulation of its Tone knob, the AM93QM does well playing bop.

While Ibanez has fleets of higher-end semi-hollow models like the John Scofield and George Benson signature guitars, getting to know the AM93QM is fun while exploring shades of blues, jazz, rock, and fusion without being hauled off to the poorhouse.

This article originally appeared in VG’s September 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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