Reader Guitar of the Month: Ibby

A player shares the mods he’s made to an Ibanez ART420 to get more flexibility when playing in his church band.


Name: Bruce H. McIntosh

Location: Gainesville, Florida
Guitar: Ibanez ART420

One day back in 2009, I was in the local music shop ordering PA gear for my church when I happened to spot this gorgeous guitar: an Ibanez ART420. “You had me at spalted maple!” It looked gorgeous, and felt and played even better, so naturally I bought it.

I never did warm up to the sound of the active pickups, despite giving them a couple of years to see if they would grow on me. Never happened. My credo has always been, no guitar will go unmodified for too long. So, out came the active pickups and associated electronics, and in went a Seymour Duncan Jazz/JB set and new controls, along with series/parallel and phase switching.

That was a vast improvement, but after another few years, discontent once again reared its ugly head. After comparing the Ibby to my previous main guitar, a one-off custom Telecaster from Baltimore builder Koontz and Thurston, I decided to replace the Jazz with an ancient DiMarzio Super 2 I found on Reverb. Perfect!

Fast forward to last year. I’ve been playing guitar at my church for just shy of 25 years now, and my role in the music group has shifted quite a bit. Our synth player graduated and moved away two years ago, so I find myself doing a lot of effects, pads, and fills more than straight lead playing. I recently added a Boss GP-10 and a Roland GK-3 pickup to my rig, which gives me a whole new level of flexibility. I guess the next change to the guitar will be to route out a bigger cavity in the back, take apart the GK-3, and install its guts in the guitar body. After that, it’ll be time to replace the tuners. And then ... change is the only constant! PG

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