Ibanez Artwood AC90 2005 model mini restore & setup

Brought home this one at about 11pm, so please pardon the horrible photos.


I did some internet searching and found out from the 2005 German Ibanez catalogue that this one has a solid spruce top with laminate walnut back and sides. So this is a 9 year old guitar. I’ve always loved walnut for its colour and grains on guitars, so I took on the mission of providing a home for this guy.

Had a short stint with a Maestro with solid walnut back and sides a few months back and I still miss the interesting choice of wood. Here you can see on the Maestro that the walnut is dark like rosewood yet the grains are far more exciting.


Tone-wise, however, I still prefer mahogany for its brightness and power. The walnut always feels to me like an in-between without much personality. That’s not to say walnut sounds bad altogether. I’m just one of those spruce top and mahogany guy. 🙂

Back to the “star” of this post – the Ibanez AC90. Ibanez is mostly associated with “shredding electric guitars” so I guess there is nothing to brag about a low to mid range acoustic. However, I feel there are many interesting features on show.

Of course there’s the soft spot for the walnut back and sides. But look deeper and you’ll see some features commonly seen on higher end instruments.

All wood binding on fingerboard and body. Very nice.


Unique inlays on fretboard. Stars and cool looking design on 12th. I totally love this!


Pearl inlay in headstock with Artwood logo. Machine heads have tarnished but they are still smooth and work well. No need to change for now.


Previous owner has done a great job in taking care of this guitar. Finish is still good, no serious scratches at all anywhere. There is a small chip though.

I gave it a good wipe with my guitar cleaner and polish. The guitar plays well and action is really low. I had a feeling I may not even need to replace the saddle. No sanding tonight! Yay!

Seems like all it needed was new strings and a good polish.

I went on to check for nut height and neck relief. Both had very healthy readings. Previous owner or his tech really knows his stuff.

String height at 12th fret with capo on first reads 5/64 of an inch. That’s even lower than my personal “standard” of 7/64. 🙂 Superb playability without buzzing. It’s decided that no further action is required for the setup.


Laying down the guitar on my blue work blanket. This thing is soft and doesn’t scratch up the wood. Bob comes in to inspect that the work area is safe.:)


I decided to replace the stock bridge pins to rosewood pins. I’ve never believed that bridge pins can enhance the sound much but I prefer dark pins and wooden ones. Here’s a tip for putting on new bridge pins. If they don’t slot in well the first time, jumble up the arrangement and get the perfect fit. Don’t go into invasive procedures like drilling or reaming your bridge just yet.


I got the best fit and arrangement after a few tries. This is a good fit so I will remember their positioning.

Put on my favourite Dunlop lemon oil on the bridge and fingerboard. Both are rosewood and needed some nourishment. I went heavy on the oil this time. Koala joined Bob in overseeing the project. Here they are waiting for the lemon oil to dry. They agree the inlays are cool on this guitar. 🙂


Removed the old strings and put on some cheapo new ones. I’m one who thinks any new strings beat old “good branded strings” anytime.


Final tune up and we’re good to go. A lousy shot of the sexy back. Sorry, it’s past midnight and I don’t have good cameras.


The kids are excited. 🙂


I may remove the pickguard soon but I’m concerned about the tan line. It is an old guitar afterall. We shall see.


I’d admit it’s not a big project or complete setup, but it sure was fun knowing that I have taken good care of another nice guitar.


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