What’s New In Music Stores – Gibson Hummingbird, Ibanez Artcore, Epiphone Sheraton

Ibanez AS73 Artcore

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What’s New In Music Stores Issue 12

This issue, we’re taking a trip to Guitar Center in Clackamas, Oregon. We talked to Mike “Milk” Milikin, who is the Sales manager there, and asked about the Chinese Fender Squiers… specifically the Bullet Strat for $129.00 ($199.00 at Fender.com). According to Milk, these are the best deal in the Fender arsenal at the moment. If you notice, they have the ’60s headstock size, not the new, larger one of the other Squier Series guitars. They look retro. They have a retro bridge, too. And, because the body is basswood, they are lighter than the others using Agathis. They sound great and play great, too. They are a nice buy and ripe for mods, guys.

The Gibson Hummingbird

($3099) (no pic of the one I played… sorry)

Ibanez AS73 Artcore
Ibanez AS73 Artcore

If you remember, way back to Issue 7, I played a Hummingbird at the Guitar Center in Medford. I commented that that guitar was not a $3,000.00 guitar. Well, I played one in Clackamas, with a strange color on it that Gibson doesn’t say exists. It also didn’t have the beautiful neck of the ’60s ‘Bird I owned. It was thicker, more like the new LP’s than even the bad ‘Bird I played in Medford. This Hummingbird, at least, played well and sounded good. No fret buzzing like the first one. So, Gibson has been redeemed by the Guitar Gods for letting the other one out of Montana while the quality control inspector was on break!

Ibanez AS73 Artcore in Transparent Cherry Red

($399)

Anyone that knows me knows I’m a sucker for semi-hollow bodies with humbuckers. Even more so if they’re Cherry! This is a very sweet guitar to play with a very nice sound. Nice neck, not a “Slim Taper”, but not too bad. The body is all maple as is the center block, which makes it a little bright but it does play very nicely.

Ibanez ACH humbuckers with the standard LP controls (volume and tone for each with a 3-way selector), gave me just about any tone I wanted through a used Peavey Bandit 112. The smaller body made playing it really easy for a “Dude of Experience” like me as well. I liked this guitar. I think it’s a nice bargain at $399.

1962 Epiphone Sheraton 50th Anniversary w/Tremotone in Vintage Cherry

($599)

Epiphone Sheraton
Epiphone Sheraton

I can’t seem to find a picture of this guitar with the Tremotone. They all show the Frequensator tailpiece. You have your choice. Small Gibson USA humbuckers, Grover tuners, maple body, mahogany neck, gold hardware, black knobs with metal inserts… and a ’60s, Slim Taper neck. This is the Gibson neck I love. It’s thin, front to back, and is very comfortable for players with shorter fingers. The body is all maple, so it’s a little bright, and the same size as an Epi ES-335 so it’s big compared to the Artcore above. The neck more than makes up for those things for me, though. As I said, I’m a sucker for red guitars… especially vintage cherry! (My Fire Red Strat doesn’t count in that category!)

As I mentioned, I played the guitars through a used Peavey Bandit 112 for $129.00. This was a pretty good amp for that price. It was in perfect shape… 100 watts, 3-way EQ, 2 channels (foot switchable), tube emulation circuitry… not bad. A nice buy, actually.

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Doug Knight

Our “Man on the Street” reporter, with his “What’s New in Music Stores?” series, resides in Coos Bay, OR. You can find him on Friday nights at The Small Events Center at OrCoast Music in Coos Bay.

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