The AR500 features an arched maple top with creme binding on a double-cutaway mahogany body mated to a set-in three-piece maple neck with a 22-fret ebony fingerboard with binding and pearl and abalone split block position markers. Components include dual Ibanez humbucking pickups, a Gibraltar Tune-O-Matic style fixed bridge and tailpiece with decorative "cloud" and VelveTune machine heads.
For 1980 the plain maple top was replaced with a curly maple top; this figured top was alternately described as flame or tiger maple throughout the run. Pickups are listed variously as Super 58 or Super 80 depending on the year and catalog.
Controls consist of a master volume and (passive) tone and a Tri-sound switch for each pickup along with an active EQ Tone System consisting of a ±6 dB boost (gain) knob and a 3-band ±15 dB active EQ (bass, middle, treble). A toggle allows the EQ system, which is powered by a 9V battery, to be activated along with an LED indicator.
The AR400 is a related model with a 2-band Active Tone system.