Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tenor Guitar Backup Comparison - Ibanez Artwood Vintage AVT1 vs. Blueridge BR-40T

The Ibanez Artwood Vintage AVT1 and the Blueridge BR-40T are both modern tenor guitars modeled after vintage styles.  Below is a video (audio only) comparing the sounds of these two guitars in GDAD tuning in a backup role on the tune The High Reel.  The Ibanez is first and the Blueridge starts at about 01:09.  The same tenor banjo was used for the melody in each case.  Do you hear any differences in the sound between the two guitars?  (Note in the image on the video that's the Blueridge on the left and the Ibanez on the right).

The Ibanez AVT1 sells for about $299.00
The Blueridge sells for about $399.99

The Ibanez has a slightly thin, tinny sound.
The Blueridge has a warmer, fuller, rich sound.

The Ibanez is fairly quiet.
The Blueridge is louder.  Similar in volume to a six-string acoustic.

Neck Shape
The Ibanez's neck is thinner.  Almost too skinny.
The Blueridge's neck is more round, like on a tenor banjo. It feels more ergonomic.

The Ibanez feels smaller (because it is smaller). It's lighter weight.
The Blueridge feels bigger, but not uncomfortably so.  Well balanced.

Overall Quality
The lower cost Ibanez seems more cheaply made.
For approx. $100 more the Blueridge is a much higher quality tenor guitar. More attention to detail.

The Verdict
Hopefully, the richer, more nuanced sound of the Blueridge comes across in the recording.  If you can afford it, the extra $100 for the Blueridge is well worth it.  You get a much nicer tenor guitar.  The next step up from Blueridge would be significantly more expensive.
Blueridge BR-40T left, Ibanez AVT1 right
This seems like a "bad" review of the Ibanez Artwood Vintage, but the truth is that it's a fairly decent tenor guitar that a lot of people would be perfectly content with.  It's just that when compared head to head to the Blueridge BR-40T the differences in quality are more apparent.


  1. Is there any way that you can do a sound test without the banjo in the mix? It would be a lot more evident what the qualities of each instrument are. I appreciate your written critique more than the sample. Thanks

  2. I listened to your sample again and hear what you are referring to in your written comments. Yet in some way, the Artwood cuts through the mix clearer, even though the BR is fuller sounding. If you do make another sound sample, please include fingerpicking and melody playing as well as strumming. Thanks for considering my feedback