Guitar technology has become somewhat stagnant in the past several years. Sure, there are new pickups being developed, and new guitar models, but all of that is based on decade old concepts that didn’t really change all that much.
The main innovation came in an area where it was least expected. Acoustics came back in style, and manufacturers got a whole new incentive to give this category of guitars a boost. Up until now we had old school acoustic guitars, and acoustic electric guitars which amplified the sound of the instrument without altering the tone.
The new trend that some manufacturers like Godin and Ibanez are slowly starting to develop is combining acoustic guitars and electric guitars into one instrument. This new approach gave some pretty interesting results that revealed the true potential of this new hybrid guitar. Ibanez Montage is the perfect example of this idea.
What is different?
The guitar has a pretty standard acoustic shape, however there are certain differences that reveal its true nature. First and foremost, the guitar is much thinner than a standard acoustic or acoustic electric guitar we are used to.
You are probably wondering how this impacts the sound, and the answer is not much. This leads us to the other main difference between this instrument and a standard acoustic guitar. There is no sound box port, at least not its standard form.
Ibanez Montage guitar, just like other hybrids of this type don’t really have the acoustic capability, and can’t be used without an amp. In order to use these instruments, you have two options. You can use a rather standard piezo pickup that is located under the bridge of the guitar, or you can use the humbucker which sits where the sound port usually would.
This combination of pickups gives you both an acoustic and electric properties in one guitar. IF you want it to sound like an electric guitar, all you have to do is use the output designated for this application.
Similarly, if you want the guitar to sound like an acoustic guitar, you will use the other output. With that said, Ibanez Montage takes things even further. Aside from the three-band EQ that is a part of the on-board pre amp, there’s also a full set of effects at your disposal. This includes reverb, delay, distortion and more, all of it integrated into guitar’s electronics.
How does it perform?
You would think that the performance of such an instrument must be questionable at best. However, that is far from truth. Ibanez Montage brings the best of both worlds. Sure, it won’t sound like a high end Taylor, nor will it give you that Strat tone, but considering what this guitar offers, we can say that its performance is at least good if not great.
The on-board amp and the pickups that come with this guitar are a perfect blend of character. With the controls you have at your disposal, you can dial in a wide range of different tones, both acoustic and electric. After playing this instrument for only an hour, you will realize just what kind of results you can achieve with little to no effort. That is also why these sell so well.
To sum up
Fusion of acoustic and electric guitar is something many guitar players will respond to with mixed emotions. Nothing beats dedicated instruments that belong to each of these categories. However, this new hybrid design showed us that not only can you achieve decent results just by adding a single humbucker into the mix, but also that you don’t have to make a lot of sacrifices to fuse these two different styles of guitars together.
With that said, Ibanez Montage guitar and many others like it will fit a very niche application at the moment. They are aimed at those who play light genres of music in terms of what kind of tone is necessary.
With some trade off in terms of quality of each of the two modes available, guitar players get the functionality of having two distinct instruments fused into one. If pop or classical rock is what your main genre of music is, guitars like these can prove to be a serious tool in your toolbox.