Here's a review of a cheap Ibanez 00 (PN12E-VMS) I just put on Musician's Friend.
I was researching parlors for an article and had no interest in buying anything larger than an "O," then I saw one of these used and very cheap and thought "what the heck?"
BTW, I generally play "full sized" professional guitars, but I got into Ibanez and Washburn Parlors because I do historical reenactments and many so-called "parlor" guitars represent the sizes and shapes of most 19th-century guitars.
I also have been setting up my own guitars since the 1970s, so a guitar that arrives unplayable out of the box doesn't frighten me as long as all the pieces are there, the tuners work, and the neck can be adjusted. (Yes, I HAVE sent guitars back for replacement, including Ibanez acoustics, so I'm aware that guitars like this one CAN have quality control issues that require immediate returns.)
Still, I was pleasantly surprised by this thing's little brothers in the PN1 family. Set up with good strings, they're a blast to play, and a great size for students, beaches, campfires, or Civil War campgrounds. (They approximate "Size 2" guitars, which were introduced around 1840.)
The PN12E is about a "OO," which was first widely available about 1874, which makes it too "modern" for Civil War reenactments, but still usable for Cowboy or Victorian uses.
It costs only a third again as much as the PN1s, but it includes a built-in tuner and pickup, and the sound is bigger because of its larger body. Yes, it needed set up. But as a student or beach guitar it will do fine.
It doesn't have the volume or tone of my solid-topped Washburn parlors (which cost 3-4 times as much). And I have to confess, NONE of the guitars I've tried in this size range have great bass.
But with the built-in pickup, I can get by in a lot of settings that aren't too demanding. Say, you take it on vacation to use on the campground or beach, and someone invites you to a local open mic or such. Plugged in, it won't sound that much different from the $2000 guitars plugged in - the electronics are basically the same.
I'm thinking of getting a case for this and taking it to places like church, nursing homes, parties, and jams where my pro guitars are overkill.
Again, if you order one, be sure to check it out or have it checked out as soon as you get it, no matter WHO you buy it from. Most quality control complaints have to do with minor finish imperfections, which frankly don't bother me because I put wear and tear on my instruments regardless. But they may bother you. And it WILL need set up and probably new strings. But if it arrives in one piece, you may be pleasantly surprised with its sound and playability for the cost.
If you want to see a picture of this and get an idea of pricing, here it is on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ibanez-PN12E-Vin ... s_li_ss_tl
If you buy it through Amazon, I may get a few dollars, but you are welcome to shop around for a better price or try to find one locally.
- Paul Race, Creek Don't Rise
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