Checked out the Ibanez Artcore at Guitar Center last night … I was dreading the corporate megastore experience, but my particular salesguy, Eric, was quite nice and not-pushy. Point to them. Nice bass, the Artcore, though the one in stock had a crack in the top. Oh, and while Ibanez insists that the Artcore line is full-hollow, that’s just the guitars. The basses are, in fact, semi-hollow, with a huge soundblock down the middle. It has just the one pickup, too, though I’m neophyte enough not to know whether I care. I could be OK with the Artcore, though at $399 and in dark walnut, it’s not quite what I had in mind.
So, on to Centaur Guitar, a friendly little shop that’s been open just over a year, whose existence I only learned of yesterday. Jason, one of the owners, was particularly helpful, and noting the absence of archtops in stock, he said he’d order-in an Italia Torino, since Centaur is an official dealer. They’re in the $500 range — really beyond what I want to spend on what may well turn out to be a passing fancy, considering the amp, case, etc. that I’ll be buying as well — but if I haven’t bought something else by the time he gets it, I suppose I could be tempted. Terribly user-unfriendly color chart they have, but Italia Green and Trans Orange are pretty sexxy :). Whatever I do, I think I’ll be making my string, setup and accessory purchases from Centaur, when possible. It struck me as a very good kind of place, and conveniently open ’til 7 every day.