Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Which Is The Better Option?

Picking the perfect electric guitar that suits your musical needs can be quite the chore. Most of the time, we’re left with two options that often splits opinions. In this case, we have Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339. Which guitar is better for you? Let’s find out.

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The first thing we want you to understand is that these two guitars are good This is a pretty lengthy article. If you do not have the time to read through all the details in this article, here is an overview of the most important points in the Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 argument:


Table of Contents

Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Comparison Overview

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The biggest highlight of these two guitars is the tonewood. Both of these guitars have maple top, back, and sides, and have a mahogany neck. However, the Ibanez has quilted maple, while the Epiphone has laminated maple.

The major differences between these two guitars are their pickups and hardware types. Also, the Ibanez has a left-handed version, while the Epiphone has a PRO version and an Ultra version.

Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Price to Performance Ratio

Looking at a cost to performance ratio of these two guitars, we have to say that they’re pretty good. These two guitars are affordable enough and provide you with enough quality to last you into your pro stage.

Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Brand Comparative Advantage

When we look at these two brands, we can see a similar heritage. Both of these brands started in the same year, in the 1970s and have been in the business ever since. Ibanez is a Japanese company, while Epiphone is an American company.

Epiphone is known to have great customer service. They are also known to produce really affordable guitars. On the other hand, Ibanez might not have great customer service, but they produce guitars for all price ranges. They also lead most when it comes to innovation.

Ibanez was among the first companies to commercially produce 7 and 8-string guitars. At the end of the day, both of these are great companies, it all depends on which you trust more.  With that said, below is the Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 full comparison.


Ibanez AM93 Or Epiphone ES-339 – Which Is Better?

 

Ibanez AM93

Epiphone ES-339

Body Type Semi-hollow body Semi-hollow body
Tonewood (back and sides) Quilted maple Laminated maple
Neck wood Mahogany Mahogany
Pickup model Super 58 Alnico Classic PRO
Fretboard Rosewood Rosewood
Hardware Gold Nickel
Fretboard inlays Pearl blocks Pearl dot inlays
Left-handed orientation Yes No
Versions One Two (PRO and ULTRA)
 

Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – What Situation Is Best For Which?

Ibanez AM93

Epiphone ES-339

The Ibanez AM93 belongs to the art expressionist series created by Ibanez. This expressionist line is best for jazz.

The Super 58 pickups are used by some of your fav jazz players, and even funk player, Eric Krasno, on their signature guitars.  

This only goes to prove that these pickups work really well in producing jazz sounds, but are also versatile enough for other musical genres.  
For the quality provided by this piece of instrument, this is very affordable. Yes, you would have to spend a few bucks to get this, but trust us, it’ll be worth every cent.
The Epiphone ES-339 refers to two guitars that both belong to the Epiphone ES series.

The first guitar in the ES series was the ES-335, otherwise known as the Dot.

However, people felt like the ES-335 was a bit too bulky. Epiphone went back to the drawing board and came back with the 339 versions as a remedy.  

The PRO and Ultra versions of this guitar have smaller body dimensions than the Dot, but carry the same quality, number of frets, and scale length.
Because this guitar is a semi-hollow guitar, you don’t have to worry too much about its weight.

For most people, they feel the sound is never good enough with hollow-body guitars, but the Super 58 pickups slapped unto this guitar makes it an exception.
This guitar is also a semi-hollow guitar, which means that it also has a really comfortable weight.

However, the sound of the PRO and Ultra are different, because they come with different pickups. We’ll highlight them soon.
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What Features Do The Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 Have In Common?

Maple tonewood

Mahogany neckwood

Rosewood fretboard

Semi-hollow body

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Tonewood: Maple

Both of these guitars are made with a maple top, back, and sides. On one hand, the Ibanez AM93 is made with quilted maple, while on the other hand, the Epiphone ES-339 is made with laminated maple.

Just like we explained earlier, we’ll be looking at how maple works generally, as a tonewood. Thereafter, we would look at the disparities between quilted maple and laminated maple.

Being that both of these guitars have maple as their tonewood, immediately you should know that they would have a similar feel. Although for most people, that is not very important.

One thing to note, though, is that these two guitars do not have the same sound. This is because, unlike acoustic guitars, the sound of electric guitars is majorly determined by the pickups and the other electronics.

However, that is not to say that the tonewood doesn’t affect the sound, it does. Which is why it is called “tone” wood.

Speaking of sounds, maple has a really bright sound. It is no wonder why maple is one of the most popular choices for electric guitar tonewoods. It has a very striking sound, kind of like the sound of a bell.

This sound is the preferred sound for many electric guitars. This is because of the kind of music they are usually required to play, and the sound needed for such genres.

When compared to a tonewood like rosewood, we have to say that maple is not the hardest. Indian rosewood is more popular for acoustic guitars and bass guitars and is considerably harder than maple.

However, the reason it is not used for electric guitars is because it produces a warm, mellow sound, which is not really preferred for electric guitars.

What is quilted maple?

Quilted maple refers to a type of figure that appears on the surface of the maple wood. This figure is generally caused by environmental factors that affect the tree through its growth.

It produces wavy lines along the surface of the wood. These lines are quilted, hence its name. This figure bears a striking resemblance to waves of water.

Many professionals, both guitars and luthiers alike, believe that the quilting of maple does not affect the tone, only the looks. Quilted maple is kinda like flamed maple. They both look cool, with significant no tonal difference.

What is laminated maple?

Laminated maple refers to layers of thin maple strips that have been glued together to form one finished wood. This process through which these pieces of wood are joined together is referred to as “lamination”.

Most of the time, we see laminated wood being used in budget guitars, simply because it’s a lot more affordable than solid wood.

However, is the quality good enough? That’s the question we’re sure is ringing in most of your minds, which we’re going to answer now:

Which Is Better Solid Wood Or Laminated Wood?

There are five main characteristics that we can use to determine which of these woods is better in your use case and they are:

1. Durability

2. Tone

3. Looks

4. Price point

Let’s now go into these in detail.

1. Durability.

When it comes to durability, a lot of people would opt for solid wood straight up, and most times, they won’t be wrong.

Because laminated wood is formed from thin pieces of wood glued together, they are not as thick as solid wood. Because of that, they are not as durable as solid wood.

However, there is one part of durability where laminated wood is preferred, changes in temperature and humidity.

Unlike laminated wood that depends on artificial glue to stick together, solid wood depends on their natural resins for their stability. These natural resins are drastically affected by rapid changes in temperature and humidity.

In the simplest terms, if you travel a lot and your guitar is your trusted companion, you might want to opt for laminated tonewood because solid wood is bound to breakdown soon.

On the other hand, if you don’t travel and live in a house with very well-regulated temperature and humidity, solid wood would be a lot more durable than laminated wood.

2. Tone.

When picking a guitar, for many people, tone is the ultimate. However, when looking at the fact that this guitar is an electric guitar, we can easily say that the wood affects the tone, but not as much as it would have been an acoustic guitar.

With that said, yes, solid wood guitars have better sound. With laminated wood, some of the sound is absorbed by the adhesive used to keep the pieces of wood together, affecting the general sound output. Simply put, a laminate guitar does not resonate as freely as a solid wood guitar.

3. Look.

The look of the guitar is one that is not considered important by most people. However, for some section of the crowd, a sexy-looking guitar is all that matters. Whichever group you belong to, we’re sure you don’t like an ugly-looking guitar.

Solid woods bear their original color, except in certain situations where they are finished with another material. Bearing their original color, the beauty of solid woods is determined by the wood used in particular.

On the average, good looking woods like cocobola and Brazilian rosewood are pretty expensive and not readily available.

On the other hand, laminated wood can be made to accentuate certain grain patterns and colors of that particular wood used. This makes it easier to get a better-looking laminated wood than solid wood.

4. Price Point.

Because of new-age technology, the price point of solid wood and laminated wood guitars are in the same playing field, determined mainly by their quality.

The technology available to us now makes it easier to harvest wood, which makes the construction of woods ultimately more affordable.

The two guitars in the Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 argument, serve as a perfect example. One is solid wood, the other is laminated wood, both guitars are in the same price range.

Right now, the value you can get for budget-friendly guitars is completely insane! The choice moves from being a price thing to any of the other three listed above.


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Body Type: Semi-hollow Body

Maple is a very heavy and highly dense tonewood, which makes it quite uncomfortable to carry around. To make these guitars lighter, amongst other reasons, both Ibanez and Epiphone decided to make both these guitars semi-hollow bodied.

Basically, there are three electric guitar body types. The first is a solid body type, the second is a semi-hollow body type, and the third is the hollow body type.

These body types, like pointed out in their names, are described by the amount of wood inside the guitar. The first is completely filled, the second is half-filled, and the hollow bodied-guitars have nothing inside them.

Semi-hollow guitars bring you a little of solid guitars, and a little of hollow guitars. The first thing we see is that they reduce the weight of the guitars, which is a great thing being that maple is quite heavy.

The next best thing about semi-hollow guitars is that they produce a really resonant sound. This sound produced has a mildly warm tone. These guitars work pretty well with amplification, producing little feedback when volumes are at their highest.  

Neck Wood: Mahogany

Both of these guitars use mahogany as their neck wood. Many people believe that the neck wood of an electric guitar does not affect anything concerning the guitar.

However, we do not think that is true. Although in little amounts, the neck wood definitely affects the overall tone of the guitar.

The most popular choice for neck wood, for electric guitars, is maple. The reason being that maple is very hardwood, which makes the neck pretty stable and durable.

So, how does the hardness of the wood affect your guitar?

Well, as you play the guitar, you apply a lot of tension on the neck. In the long run, the hardness of the wood on the neck determines its durability.

If you have a neck wood that is not hard, it’ll be really difficult to keep your strings tuned after you’ve played your guitar for a long time.

There is a test called the “Janka hardness test”. This test is to determine how hard a particular wood is. It is measured in pounds.

The typical maple wood measures at 1450. However, there is ivory maple that measures at 1500, and soft maple that measures at 1000.

Mahogany, which is what these two guitars have their necks made of, measures between 800 and 900. The margin is wide because of the many types of mahogany available all over the world. Which shows you that although Mahogany isn’t bad, it’s not as good as maple.

However, we have to look at the affordability because mahogany is a lot more affordable than maple. This is one of the reasons why these two guitars are really affordable.

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Fretboard: Rosewood

The final similarity between these two guitars is their fretboard. As a guitarist, we’re sure you understand the importance of your fretboard. It is the part of the guitar that you interact with the most.

For a fretboard to be considered great, it needs to have three things:

Three Things To Consider When Picking A Fretboard

Looks

Feel

Sound

Looks. Yes, a lot of people argue that this is the least important thing to consider when picking the guitar, but that doesn’t mean it’s not on the list.

When you go to a new place to play, they don’t know how good you sound. The way your guitar looks might encourage them to stay and hear you play, or have them think you’re just a silly kid.

This means that your fretboard needs to come with a nice finish, or needs to be conditioned regularly. For rosewood, the latter is the case. Rosewood does not need a finish. Because of that, you would need to condition it regularly.

This process is an easy process. It’s a simple swipe over the fretboard, with a rag and a conditioner. For this, you want to buy a guitar conditioner, sold separately.

Feel. The second thing you need to consider is the feel of the fretboard. Just like we said earlier, you would interact with this a lot, sliding up and down. If the feel isn’t right, this interaction is difficult.

Like we mentioned earlier, rosewood doesn’t require a finish. That’s simply brilliant. Because there is no finish, rosewood has a completely natural feel.

So, if you’re one that likes his guitar to always feel natural, you’ll definitely love these guitars. Also, because it’s so natural, you don’t have to bother about any chemicals getting on your fingers.

Sound. This is the last, and certainly, the least. For electric guitars, the fretboard contributes very little to the overall sound produced by the guitar.

Although little, it is necessary we mention that rosewood produces a warm and mellow sound. This compliments the striking, bell-like sound that is produced by the maple tonewood.


Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Features Unique To Each Product

Alright! The part you’ve been waiting for, it’s now time to look at Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 in detail. If you haven’t read the similarities between these two products, scroll up.

In this section, we would be looking at the features that one of these guitars has, that the other doesn’t. Afterward, we would look at whether or not those features generate pros or cons.

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Features Unique To The Ibanez AM93

Super 58 Pickup Model

Gold Hardware

Left-handed version available

Pickup Model: Super 58

The first and probably the biggest difference between these two guitars is the pickup model that each of them uses. When it comes to electric guitars, the pickup is the most important feature that you need to look out for.

Unlike acoustic guitars where the sound is determined by the quality and build of the guitar, electric guitar sounds are determined by the pickups.

The pickup model used in the Ibanez AM93 are the Super 58 pickups. These pickups are produced by Ibanez, themselves. We always love it when the same company that makes the guitars, makes the pickups.

When the same company makes the guitar and the pickups, you get better implementation of the pickups in the guitars.

The Super 58 pickups are very popular among jazz players. They were used by a few very notable jazz guitar players, as their pickup of choice.

However, it is not to say that these guitars are only good for jazz playing. They are really versatile, which means that they work well with other musical genres too.

Eric Krasno, a popular funk player, also uses Super 58 pickups, and they work really well for him.

One reason why a lot of people like the Super 58 pickups is because they are the same pickups used by Ibanez, across different price ranges.

This makes people feel like they’re getting similar quality in value with the pro guitars, for a more affordable price.

The sound produced by the Super 58 pickups is smooth, which is why it’s loved by jazz players.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to take our word for it. Why don’t you hear how the guitar sounds for yourself? Check out the video below:

Hardware: Gold

Any guitar hardware that is labeled “gold” is not actually gold. That is the first point you need to take note of.

Most of the time, what is referred to as “gold” hardware, is actually, nickel-plated hardware that has been overlaid with a thin layer of gold.

Now, that is for the guitars from trustworthy brands, like the Ibanez AM93 we’re talking about. For cheap guitars, this is simply gold painting. Do not be deceived.

The reason why a thin layer of gold is overlaid on the nickel hardware is that gold does not tarnish, it is soft, and it does not corrode.

Corrosion is something a lot of guitarists have trouble with. With gold-plating, corrosion does not occur, at least for as long as the plating remains.

However, it is to be said that gold hardware is not cheap. It is not as affordable as nickel.

But the good side is that these two, unlike nickel and chrome, are interchangeable. If the gold hardware needs to be changed, you can easily slot in nickel hardware if you don’t have the money for gold hardware.

One trouble people always have with gold hardware is how to clean it. “How do I clean my gold hardware without washing it away?” Well, you would have to get a non-abrasive cloth and a little dishwashing soap.

Also, you would need a lot of patience. Most of the polishes available will wash away the gold plating along with the dirt on top of it. Therefore, you’ll need to stay clear from those.

Left-handed Version

Well, it’s really nice to see that someone is looking out for the lefties. 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, which means that we also have a lot of left-handed guitarists.

However, not all guitar types manufactured come in a left-handed version. We are glad to tell you that the AM93 comes in a left-handed version. It comes with all the features that the right-handed AM93, only differing in its hand orientation.

Also speaking about the versions of this guitar available, unlike the Epiphone ES-339 which has two, this guitar only has the only type.


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Features Unique To The Epiphone ES-339

Alnico Classic Pro Pickup Model

Nickel Hardware

Two different versions available

Pickup Model: Alnico Classic Pro

This pickup, alongside two other pickups, were manufactured and present to customers in 2014, by Epiphone. Like the pickups used in the Ibanez AM93, this pickup is manufactured by the same brand that produces the guitar.

The Alnico Classic Pro is an upgrade to the traditional Alnico pickups. If you’ve used the Alnico pickups before, you’ll know that they have traditional tonal characteristics. The Alnico Classic Pro pickups act give off the same tonal characteristics.

However, this Pro version has a higher output and a more modern sound. We’re sure that is what you want for your guitar. Being manufactured by the same brand, you can rest assured that the integration of these pickups into the Epiphone ES-339 would be top-notch. In fact, this guitar is one of the pioneer Epiphone guitars to carry these new pickups.

We’re sure you already want to hear what these pickups sound like on this guitar. If that is the case, you don’t have to wait any longer. Check out the video below to hear what these pickups sound like on this guitar:

Hardware: Nickel

The first opinion people have about nickel is that it is “old school”. Well, that is true because nickel is the oldest hardware plating that is still being used today. Although, it is beginning to be phased out by chrome hardware.

When comparing nickel and chrome hardware, nickel tarnishes very fast. This is the reason why a lot of people prefer chrome hardware to nickel hardware. However, if you would like your guitar to have a vintage look, you definitely want some yellowish nickel hardware.

One thing you’ll need to be bothered about is corrosion. With nickel hardware, you’ll have to change your hardware more frequently than you would’ve with chrome hardware.

Finally, it is important for you to note that you cannot fix chrome hardware where there was once nickel hardware. Nickel hardware and chrome hardware do not mix.

If you get a guitar that has nickel hardware, you’ll need to replace it with nickel hardware. On the other hand, if you get a guitar with chrome hardware, you’ll need to replace that with chrome hardware.


Versions: Two Available

There are two versions of the Epiphone ES-339 available. One is called the Epiphone ES-339 PRO, the other is the Epiphone ES-339 Ultra.

Both of these are really similar. This is no surprise, being that they belong in the same series. The only difference between these two guitars is in the electronics. The PRO version uses the Alnico pickups, which we’ve looked at earlier.

The Ultra version, on the other hand, uses Epiphone’s Ultra III electronics. The Ultra version brings the best of the Ultra world of electronics in an ES hardware style.

The pickups used in this Ultra guitar are Epiphone ProBucker pickups. Just like the name implies, this is a pro-level pickup, designed by Epiphone, made affordable for you. We know the question on your mind right now, and yes, the Ultra is more expensive than the PRO version.

However, check below for a video so you can listen, for yourself, what the Epiphone ES-339 Ultrasounds like. Afterward, you can compare with the ES PRO to find out if the Ultra is worth the extra bucks.

Also, it is to be said that these two ES-339 guitars do not have a left-handed version. This is a bummer, we know, but nothing we can do about it. However, what we can do, we did.

We went through the trouble to find you a similar guitar, by the same brand, but not exactly the same features. If you want to check that out, click here.


Why Should I Get The Ibanez AM93 Instead Of The Epiphone ES-339?

The Ibanez AM93 comes with Super 58 pickups that act really well for jazz music, and are also versatile enough to play other genres comfortably.

Another reason why the Ibanez AM93 is great is its gold hardware. Gold hardware is not corrosive, it’s soft, and it does not tarnish.

Finally, if you’re left-handed then it’s a no-brainer. The AM93 is available in a left-handed version.

Why Should I Get The Epiphone ES-339 Instead Of The Ibanez AM93?

It’s available in two different types: PRO and Ultra. The PRO version comes with Alnico Classic Pro pickups, while the Ultra comes with Epiphone Probucker Pickups.

Both of these pickups work really well with a variety of music genres. However, because they are two, you have the option to pick the one you like better.


Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Unique Cons

Ibanez AM93

  • It only has one type, which means, limited options.

Epiphone ES-339

  • Nickel hardware tarnishes pretty quickly.
  • It is not available in a left-handed version.

Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Common Pros

 

Ibanez AM93

Epiphone ES-339

PriceThese two guitars fall under the same price range. For beginners, these might not be very affordable.

However, when you look at the quality that this provides, you can find value for money.
Being in the same price range, this also offers value for money. Although, the Ultra version is slightly more expensive than the PRO version.
Body typeBeing semi-hollow body, this guitar reduces the weight of the guitar, which would’ve been heavy because of the maple tonewood. Apart from the weight, being a semi-hollow guitar, this guitar works well with amplification and gives back little feedback.
Fretboard The fretboard is made with rosewood, which has a really natural feel. The fretboard is also made with rosewood.
 
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Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Common Cons

 

Ibanez AM93

Epiphone ES-339

Neck woodMahogany is good wood. However, maple would’ve been a better option.The neck of this guitar is also made with mahogany.

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Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – General Feeling Amongst Users

Ibanez AM93

Epiphone ES-339

People who bought this guitar really liked it. Ibanez is a very popular brand, and they did not disappoint with this particular guitar.

The price and quality make this guitar an intermediate level guitar.
People who bought these guitars also liked it. Some people got the PRO, others got the Ultra. Whichever one people got, they got the value of their money.
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Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – What Do We Think?

When looking at the Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339, we have to say that each of them has their strengths and weaknesses. In these situations, it is difficult to pick an outright winner. At the end of the day, the decision boils down to your preference, what you want, and the style of music you want to play.

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Ibanez AM93 Vs Epiphone ES-339 – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Gibson Es 335 and Es 339?

While these two guitars are very similar, there is more than one difference between the Gibson ES 335 and the ES 339. From their size to the tone they produce and even down to where they originate from.

If you are not at least 6 feet tall, then there is a high chance that the ES 335 will be too big for you to play comfortably. The ES 339 is like a smaller alternative to the ES 335 with a unique tone.

Where is Epiphone Es 339 made?

The classic design of the Epiphone ES 339 with its rosewood fingerboard, laminated maple body, and a solid center block is made in Qingdao, China.

This factory was opened sometime in 2004 and it is now the major source of almost all Epiphone guitar – minus a few exceptions.

Epiphone as a brand has various manufacturing factories scattered across different companies. Their main headquarters is in Nashville, Tennessee, United States.

Do hollow-body guitars sound different?

Hollow-body guitars have a very clear sound difference from the Solid-body guitars.

When the strings of the Solid-body guitar is struck, there is literally no motion transferred into the body of the guitar. Therefore, all the sounds and vibrating patterns only come from the vibrating strings themselves.

But with the hollow guitar, the vibration of the string is transferred to the top through the bridge. The sound peg takes the sound from the top to the back. Since the top, back, strings, and the air in and around the guitar all have different shapes, sizes, and densities, they vibrate in different patterns, producing more unique and diverse sounds.

Does Fender own Gretsch?

In 2002, Fender struck a deal with Gretsch to take over the manufacturing and distribution of Gretsch Guitars. This was a great deal as it took the Gretsch sound to several places around the world.

Gretsch has been in the industry for over 135 years. The company was originally started by a 27-year-old German, Friedrich Gretsch, in Brooklyn, New York. 

The company has undergone different transitions before the final one in 2002. From Friedrich to his son, Fred, and then to Fred’s son, Fred junior in 1942.

Do heavier guitars sound better?

It depends on what type of sound you want from your guitar.

Most agree that lighter guitars generally resonate better in response to the full spectrum of string vibrations. This results in sounds that have a brighter and more open tone.

While for heavier guitars, on the other hand, they give off a richer and fuller sound. This is said to be as a result of the huge size of the wood that anchors the pickups and the strings.

What is the most expensive guitar in the world?

The most expensive guitar that has ever been sold is the “Reach Out To Asia” Fender Stratocaster. It was sold for 2.7 million dollars in 2015.

The guitar came out from the “Reach Out To Asia” project of Bryan Adams. It was set up to help the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. This disaster killed over 230,000 people across 14 countries.

What makes this guitar unique is that it has the most number of signatures of famous rock stars inscribed all over its body.

A total of nineteen signatures from artists like Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards, amongst others, are on this guitar.

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