What Ibanez Say:
Currently, we are seeing an explosion of young contemporary guitarists pushing their playing techniques into exciting new directions. We are viewing this trend as the beginning of a third phase of guitar playing. All at Ibanez have challenged themselves as guitar designers to step up and answer the needs of this third phase.
In launching the AZ series, the goal was not to merely create a completely new guitar model, but to sculpt a great guitar that can foster the potential of the modern ‘third phase’ while maintaining traditional elements. Even though Ibanez is thought of as a modern guitar brand, it has decades of accumulated knowledge and a history of pushing the boundaries. The AZ series carries with it all of the hallmarks of these tried and tested Ibanez qualities. The harmonic balance between bridge and pickups, nut and machine heads, neck and fret material all work together in order to help the guitarist create their desired sound. From A to Z, there is no aspect of guitar making that we ever overlook. This tradition has been passed down masterfully to the AZ series.
AZ Modern Oval C S-TECH WOOD® roasted maple 1pc neck
S-TECH treated Maple is used for the AZ’s neck construction. This is the first time it has ever been used in a guitar neck construction. Its nitrogen-heating-treatment increases the wood’s stability, durability, water resistance and tolerance of temperature changes. After extensive prototyping and trials, we concluded that 20.5mm thickness at the 1st fret and 22.5mm at the 12th fret is the optimal neck thickness for this process. The neck is sealed with an oil finish (sealer coat) which helps make it feel similar to a well-played guitar neck.
In order to achieve supreme neck grip comfort, The fretboard edge is finished 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 ultimate consistency. The width measurements of the fretboard are at 42mm at the nut and 57mm at the last fret. These dimensions allow for an easy grip in the lower register, and a more modern feel in the higher register.
A shallow body back contour and a big forearm contour make the guitar body fit the player naturally, thus increasing playing comfort. The AZ body has a deep waist and different radii on each body edge curve (3 mmR on body top/8 mmR on body back), making it easier to play in both standing or sitting positions.
Seymour Duncan® Hyperion™ Pickups
The custom pickup for the AZ was developed in collaboration with Seymour Duncan. The pickups feature 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.
dyna-MIX 10 w/Alter switch
It offers ten sound variations, and can easily switch from humbucker and single coil modes with the mini switch. The power Tap mode provides a realistic single coil sound despite its two humbucker pickup layout.
Ibanez T1802 Tremolo Bridge (made by GOTOH® )
The new T1802 Bridge 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 10.5mm string spacing allows for easy picking across strings, including techniques such as string skipping and hybrid picking. The snap and hold tremolo arm socket can 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.
GOTOH H.A.P®-M machine heads
The AZ comes with GOTOH® MAGNUM LOCK® machine heads, which have an established reputation for tuning stability. Its H. A. P® (Height Adjustable Post). system allows for the adjustment of string posts for the appropriate tension of each string.