Confinement NGD: Ibanez AZ 2402

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by Musiscience, Apr 30, 2020.

  1. Musiscience

    Musiscience Hail the Ibbyborn!

    Messages:
    1,593
    Likes Received:
    1,586
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    What a better time to get a new guitar than in confinement? You get to spend a lot more time playing and enjoying it rather than having any kind of social interaction. Buckle up, this is going to be a long review!

    So I have been on the lookout for an Ibanez AZ for at least 1 year. Considering the price, and the fact that I did not have that kind of disposable income last year, I had settled for something else. Fast forward one year and I stumble on one heck of a great deal on a new one at a local dealer. Perfect timing!

    Onto the pics. They have been taken on purpose with meh lighting. I find a lot of the AZ pics on the internet are overexposed and do not represent how dark the neck is in the room. These pictures are more accurate as far as finish and neck color. This was a concern as I didn't think it looked good at all on Ibanez website. It does look stunning (IMO) in person.

    1Resize.jpg 2Resize.jpg
    3Resize.jpg

    Neck: I will start with the neck, as this will be the most polarizing part of this guitar. It has been mentioned many time that it is a departure for an Ibanez solidbody. While this is all true, it is nowhere near as thick as some reviewers makes it sound like (see picture). The profile is an hybrid between an Suhr Modern Elliptical and a modern Fender C. Very comfortable, ergonomic and medium sized. One thing is certain, it has nothing to do with a 17mm Super Wizard. The finish is smooth and very fast under the hand. Luminlays are a great addition.

    One thing you notice right away is how resonant the neck/guitar is. I'm unsure if this is a byproduct of the roasting process, but this without a doubt the most resonant guitar I owned. Maybe the size of the trem block and titanium saddles?

    Electronics: The pickups is the other most talked about aspect of this guitar. Made in USA, exclusive Seymour Duncans that produce 10 sounds and are only vaguely described on Ibby website. After browsing Seymour Duncan's forums, it seems like they share DNA with the Pegasus and Sentient set. They sound quite fat, but with very good note definition and a lot of sustain. It's not a set that would do percussive metal very well, but they sing for leads and sound very natural clean. The switching system is very useful (and actually found a use for all sounds except the center position). These are the best split and tapped single coil sounds I have heard on an HH guitar. The tap sounds (first and 5th position, switch up) are reminiscent of a P-90 while the second position (coil split) sound very close the Cutlass I just parted with. It would be too long to go through all the sounds, but it's highly unlikely you wouldn't like at least a few of them if you are into singles and mid-output Alnico V humbuckers. These are without a doubt the finest Ibanez exclusive pickups (Dimarzio Ibz are terrible in comparison).

    Hardware: nothing but high quality here, as anyone would expect from Gotoh on a prestige axe. The bridge is a trusty 510 with titanium saddles and recessed cavity. The tuners are interesting, they release or lock the string automatically by winding the tuner in each direction. Also the height can be easily adjusted by removing the string and screwing/unscrewing the post. The stainless frets are very appreciated, thank you for listening Ibanez!

    Fit and finish: I will not dive too deep here. The finish is what would be expected from a prestige guitar, very good. Nothing to mention here. On a previous thread, I have seen some concerns about the neck pocket gaps. Maybe it's just mine, but it is so tight you couldn't fit a sheet of paper.

    In summary, I just love this guitar. Ibanez really knocked it out of the park with the AZ. They listened to the players (at least those who helped design it) and it shows. If you get an opportunity, you should definitely try one out!

    Note: why is grammarly telling me my text sounds aggresive? :lol:
     
  2. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,749
    Likes Received:
    2,280
    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Location:
    California
    Wow this post was extremely informative. Now I know that real people actually user grammarly in real life :lol: !

    You seem to enjoy the guitar, and thanks for spelling out the info on the pickups. I bet that's going to be useful info for many people on the fence, especially on what expectation to have (versatile although not the most "modern sounding" out there). My experience with that guitar echoes yours. I doesn't really have any flaws. Headstock may not be everyone's cup of tea, but that's about it. Happy NGD to you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
    AkiraSpectrum likes this.
  3. Walter W.

    Walter W. SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    227
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2019
    Location:
    Macon, Ga
    Very nice
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  4. Crash Dandicoot

    Crash Dandicoot ยป Supra-ise!

    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Alberta
    The darker lighting looks great on the ice blue finish. I like a lot of things about the AZ but the heel is just to die for. So comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. Congratulations!
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  5. Musiscience

    Musiscience Hail the Ibbyborn!

    Messages:
    1,593
    Likes Received:
    1,586
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    Thank you, that was my goal. When researching the guitar, so much of the information I found was either very unspecific or simply listing the specs.

    The headstock really grew on me, it looks nice! haha
     
    AkiraSpectrum and mbardu like this.
  6. Surveyor 777

    Surveyor 777 I measure things

    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    142
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Congrats!

    When these AZ's first came out, I had no interest. I couldn't stand the headstock and I didn't like that it didn't look like a "normal" Ibanez.

    Times have changed. When I bought my S6570 from Sweetwater earlier this year, my sales guy said he just bought an AZ and loved it. I looked into them more. I know a Harley Benton Fusion II isn't the same as an AZ, but I have one of the HB's and love it. That got me thinking I may be interested in an AZ. Maybe, someday. I actually DO like the headstock shape, now.

    Again, HNGD!
     
    HoneyNut and Musiscience like this.
  7. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,700
    Likes Received:
    5,160
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    china
    no dammit. you'll buy more S's.
     
    aesthyrian likes this.
  8. IbanezDaemon

    IbanezDaemon Raptus regaliter

    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    4,520
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    A really beautiful instrument. Classy finish and THAT is a wonderful looking roasted neck!!
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  9. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    6,292
    Likes Received:
    2,227
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    Congrats! That is one of the best finishes/colors on the AZ's. What kind of deal did you get on it (if you don't mind sharing)?

    Nice review, especially of the pickups. Yes, I think you have it right, that the pickups are 'modern' in style but don't seem to be naturally predisposed to do the 'percussive' mid-range thing.

    I have yet to play a Prestige AZ but have played 3 Premium's. The first one I played had a VERY thick neck, especially near the nut, but the other two were much more modest in terms of thickness. For the most part, the 3 Premium AZ's I played felt great and I'm sure the Prestige's are another step-up!

    Love the darkness of the roast on yours! Supposedly the Prestige's tend to have darker roasts than the Premium's (from what I've seen and even heard from Ibanez rep).

    Enjoy that beauty!
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  10. shadowlife

    shadowlife Contributor

    Messages:
    2,197
    Likes Received:
    488
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    1984
    That looks great!

    If there was a fixed bridge AZ model, I'd seriously consider grabbing one.
     
    Musiscience and Jeff like this.
  11. BlackSG91

    BlackSG91 Loves Black Guitars & Meng Mengs

    Messages:
    2,187
    Likes Received:
    2,626
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Location:
    Oshawa, ON
    Hopefully you get some outdoor pictures of that lovely guitar.:agreed:


    ;>)/
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  12. bzhang9

    bzhang9 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    504
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    The specs on the AZs really sets it apart from other modern strat variants, I didn't get with it but it felt better than a suhr, cutlass, and american strat

    The premiums are also top notch and has the same specs and hardware with a figured top
     
    Luchilleus and Musiscience like this.
  13. MoJoToJo

    MoJoToJo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    138
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Location:
    The Black Stump.Australia
    Bit has been said about tuning stability on these, not sure what is going on with that? Maybe guys expect this trem to be up to Edge whammy tricks just because it has Ibanez on headstock. I have always found Gotoh trems very good. Congrats on the new guitar.
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  14. MoJoToJo

    MoJoToJo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    138
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Location:
    The Black Stump.Australia
    Trem & nut not the same on the Premium Graphtec nut & T1502 Gotoh trem plus Basswood body. Prestige Bone nut T1802 Gotoh trem & Ash body.
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  15. Musiscience

    Musiscience Hail the Ibbyborn!

    Messages:
    1,593
    Likes Received:
    1,586
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    Thanks a bunch! The color being that nice was unexpected. Pictures from the Ibanez website were pretty bland. I got it for about 1350$ USD new in Montreal! Just got really lucky :)!

    The roasting process is interesting on the prestige. It seems like Sendai Technologies in Japan (S-Tech!) had that nitrogen rich wood roasting process for construction materials and Ibanez was the first to use their product for guitar building:

    http://archive.is/2018.01.03-162626/https://www.st-wood.jp/about/
    https://ibanez.fandom.com/wiki/S-Tech_wood

    [​IMG]

    The premium has a more traditional roasting process.

    I'll see what I can do when we get better weather!

    No tuning problems yet, but I will let you know when I get more play time with it. The tuning issues seemed to come from either trem abuse or the way the nut is cut on the tuners side from what I could gather
     
    BlackSG91 and AkiraSpectrum like this.
  16. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    6,292
    Likes Received:
    2,227
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    Very cool about the info on roasting differences.

    Wow! That is an amazing price!!! That's basically $1000 dollars (CDN) off retail for a new guitar in perfect condition.

    Enjoy it!
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  17. Adieu

    Adieu SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,810
    Likes Received:
    1,409
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Location:
    Moscow
    Looks like a tele neck
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  18. GoldDragon

    GoldDragon SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,268
    Likes Received:
    389
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2014
    Location:
    Delaware
    If they made one of these with a Floyd, I would buy it in a heartbeat!

    Regarding the resonance, I have played alot of guitars over the years, and I suspect a thicker neck makes the guitar more resonant. Thats probably why the AZ is becoming so popular.

    The trend to use the thinnest necks possible through the 80s-90s-00s.. in retrospect didn't make alot of sense. As a beginner a thin neck might feel more inviting when you are trying to work out the chord shapes, but at my current age, neck thickness has nothing to do with playability.

    Regarding the wiring, I think they first used that ten position wiring on the Herman Li Egen guitar. I found the wiring diagram on the ibanez site and I wired it into one of my guitars. It was cool at first, but for me I only used a couple of the sounds; definitely not worth the complexity if you have to wire it yourself. But if it came on a guitar, I would certainly use it.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
    Musiscience likes this.
  19. jephjacques

    jephjacques BUTTS LOL

    Messages:
    3,531
    Likes Received:
    4,215
    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Location:
    Halifax, NS
    Nice, glad to see you got a good one!
     
    Musiscience likes this.
  20. Karg

    Karg SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    41
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    Unique looking guitar, looks great.
     
    Musiscience likes this.

Share This Page