Ibanez has announced a raft of updates to its popular AZ series of guitars. The headlines? Rosewood fretboards as an option, a 7-string version for players that need an expanded tonal range as well as new pickups. And they look pretty sharp, too, with some great features and hardware. Let’s dive in.
Ibanez AZ Series
Full disclosure: I purchased a new Ibanez AZ model at the beginning of the lockdown in 2020, so I’ve spent almost a year with one at my disposal. These guitars have Seymour Duncan Hyperion pickups and the dyna-MIX 10 switching system, along with Gotoh bridges and staggered locking tuners. It’s an insanely versatile instrument and the pickups sound wonderful across the board. The neck is another highlight: roasted maple with glow-in-the-dark side dots and 24 stainless steel frets. It’s killer, much fuller than the slim neck on my old Ibanez RG550s. But it plays super fast and feels fantastic thanks to the lightweight matte finish. I would go as far as to say that it is one of my favourite necks on any modern guitar from the last 10 years, and I own a lot of guitars.
Anyway, with all that out of the way you can probably guess that I am a fan of this Ibanez range. Trying one of these out should be on every guitarist’s bucket list. Now Ibanez has added 7-string versions of the AZ, the HH-configured AZ24027 and HSS-format AZ24047.
I wish they had catchier names, but Ibanez loves the code-like naming conventions. These new 7-sting models have Seymour Duncan Hyperion 7 pickups, a Gotoh T1872S bridge and a 25.5″scale length AZ7 Oval C roasted maple neck, giving you that low B string. I think they look amazing.
AZ Series Prestige models are made in Japan. Check out the tones in the video below, I think these models sound sweet.
RRP- AZ24027 and AZ24047 both USD 2199 each
If you are a traditional 6-string player, Ibanez also has something for you. You can now order your guitar with a rosewood fretboard on the new AZ2204N model, which also comes with a tortoiseshell pickguard and a set of the new Seymour Duncan Fortuna pickups. Ibanez bills them as having a moderate, tonally balanced output. They sound pretty darn nice in the official demo video below.
Other updates to the AZ Series this year include a non-recessed bridge cavity for increased resonance and a new Gotoh T1702B bridge, along with an updated 228 mm to 305 mm compound radius. These new models will be available in Prussian Blue, Antique White and Black finishes. All Prestige models are made in Japan, so expect the build quality to be excellent.
I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on some of these in 2021. That is if lockdown ever ends…
RRP – AZ2204N USD 1999