The new Ibanez AZES – or AZ Essentials, take your pick – offers both hard-tail and trem versions of its existing AZ models, but at a price that is hard to beat. Designed in conjunction with Tomo Fujita, these new models could be a winner for Ibanez.
I own an Ibanez AZ model, and I can say from experience that they are great guitars. So, when the news broke that Ibanez was now about to offer a new wallet-friendly version, it certainly caught my attention. Their AZ Premium and AZ Prestige series are already very popular guitars worldwide and so this new AZES range could be a big seller.
This guitar is based on a poplar body, paired with a maple 25″ scale length neck that’s got a Jatoba fretboard with nice clean white dot inlays. The fretboard is loaded with 22 medium jumbo frets and has a 250mm radius (roughly 9.5″). I think that the neck join will also please a lot of players, as it follows a nice ergonomic design, just like the AZ Premium and Prestige models.
Hardtail or Trem?
The hardtail version is called the AZES31, with three single-coil pickups. Or you can go for the AZES40 with the T106 tremolo bridge and an HSS pickup layout. Other nice hardware on offer includes the one-piece maintenance-free jack; no more loose jack sockets. They also chose tuning pegs with a split shaft to help you string up easily.
Both guitars are fitted with Ibanez Essentials single-coil pickups with ceramic magnets. The AZES31 has an SSS layout, while the HSS AZES40 model adds in an Ibanez Accord humbucker.
Another feature that’s worth checking out is called dyna-MIX. It comes in two versions: dyna-MIX8 for the AZES31 and dyna-MIX9 wiring for the AZES40. Both offer you extra pickup voices, in combination with the five-way selector switch. I’ve found this dyna-MIX system quite useful on my AZ model, so it’s great to see it as standard on these new budget models.
The finishes for the AZES40 model are Purist Blue, Black, and Mint Green, while the AZES31 will be available in Vermilion and Ivory.
This could be a great guitar for anyone looking for a well-made instrument. I love that Tomo Fujita was involved in the design, as he is a phenomenal player. Check out the official demo video below to hear these new AZES models in action.
More Ibanez AZES Information
Ibanez AZES Video
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- Ibanez AZES31 in Ivory: Ibanez
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- Ibanez AZES40 in Purist Blue: Ibanez
- dyna-MIX9 switching: Ibanez