6-string alder electric guitar with roasted maple neck, Seymour Duncan pickups and extensive switching system
Ibanez launched their AZ series electric guitars in 2018, catering to what they call the “third phase” of guitar playing—the movement of young contemporary guitarists who are transforming the way the instrument is played. This guitar includes the recognizable features of popular Ibanez solid-body electrics, like the smooth Oval C neck, the asymmetrical double cutaway shape and the distinctive neck heel, but this axe has otherwise been redesigned from A to Z with the next generation of electric guitar players in mind. Ibanez is considered a modern, somewhat experimental guitar company, and this AZ series is meant to combine that exploratory approach with their decades of experience.
Built for comfort and longevity
The Ibanez AZ series solid-body electric guitar uses S-Tech treated maple for the neck, a first in the world of electric guitar building. This process involves treating the wood with nitrogen and heat, increasing stability, durability, water resistance and tolerance to temperature changes. The neck is sealed with an oil finish which simulates the comfort of a well-worn guitar neck.
Ibanez finished the fretboard edge with a smooth curve that extends from the border between the fretboard and the neck, and then to the surface of the fretboard. The detailed neck shape is precisely carved using a ball mill for consistency. The width measurements of the fretboard are 42 mm at the nut and 56.4 mm at the last fret. These dimensions allow for an easy grip in the lower register, plus a more modern feel in the higher register.
Built for comfort while sitting or standing, the body on this model features a smooth back contour and big forearm contour designed to fit the player naturally. The AZ body has an especially deep waist and different radii on each body edge curve (3 mm on body top, 8 mm on body back), designed to feel right in any position.
New electronics in collaboration with Seymour Duncan and GOTOH
The custom Seymour Duncan pickup for the AZ features a moderate output through Alnico-5 magnets to keep the clarity of the fundamental tone when using a distortion sound, and to deliver a clear pick attack. From treble to bass, and from high-E string to low-E string, the overall tonal balance is evenly adjusted and works well with various effect pedals. The metal cover on the Humbucker Hyperion pickup gives a classical look and moderated sound.
The new T1802 Tremolo Bridge comes after a collaboration between GOTOH and Ibanez. It features machined titanium saddles and a machined steel tremolo block for a quick response, thick lows and rich highs. The 10.5 mm string spacing allows for easy picking across strings, including techniques such as string skipping and hybrid picking. The snap-and-hold tremolo arm socket makes it easy to load a tremolo arm, and the arm torque adjuster enables fine torque adjustment without any tools. The 2-point floating tremolo system allows for a super smooth tremolo motion when either raising or lowering the pitch. Ibanez also collaborated with GOTOH to add their Magnum Lock machine heads, which have an established reputation for tuning stability. Plus, the built-in H.A.P. (Height Adjustable Post) system allows for the adjustment of string posts for the appropriate tension of each string.
Lastly, this AZ guitar brings it all together with the dyna-MIX 9 system and Alter switch, which combine to offer nine sound variations in one electric guitar. Guitarists can easily switch between humbucker and single coil modes with just the mini switch, or use the Alter switch to explore the wider variety of voice options. One mode is even able to simulate a humbucker sound from the combination of the 2 single coil pickups, creating the option to play this model like an HH guitar in addition to the versatile HSS setup.