The new Ibanez AZES or AZ Essentials line as they are calling it offers both a hard-tail and trem version of their already 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 already own one of the Ibanez AZ series models and so I know they are great guitars, so when the news broke that Ibanez was now about to offer a new wallet-friendly version, well 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.
Based around a poplar body with a slightly shorter maple 25″ scale length neck that has a Jatoba fretboard with nice clean white dot inlays. The fretboard itself 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.
The colours on launch include Purist Blue, Black, and Mint Green, for the AZES40 along with Vermilion and Ivory for the AZES31.
Hardtail or Trem
There is a hardtail version called the AZES31 with three single-coil pickups or you can go for the AZES40 with the T106 tremolo bridge instead and an HSS pickup layout. Other nice hardware on offer includes the one-piece maintenance-free jack, so no more loose jack sockets. They also chose tuning pegs with a split shaft, to aid in getting them strung up easily.
Each guitar is fitted with Ibanez Essentials pickups which are single-coils with ceramic magnets for the AZES31 in SSS format, and an Ibanez Accord humbucker which is also ceramic, for the HSS layout AZES40 model.
You also get the dyna-MIX8 for the AZES31 and dyna-MIX9 wiring for the AZES40, both of which offer you extra pickups voices, so apart from your five-way selector switch. I’ve found this dyna-MIX system quite useful on my AZ model and so it is great to see it offered as standard on these new budget models as well.
This could be a great guitar for anyone looking for a well-made instrument and 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.
RRP – AZES40 EUR 329 and AZES31 €299
More Ibanez AZES Information
Ibanez AZES Video
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