Ibanez AZ2402 Review WiredGuitarist April 30, 2018 Ibanez Guitar Reviews, Uncategorized Ibanez have expanded their lineup this year with a new series called the AZ line! Get all the details on one of their Prestige flagship models the AZ2402. Be prepared… your wallet is in danger. Features: – Alder Body – Roasted Maple Fretboard – Jumbo Stainless Frets – Seymour Duncan Hyperion Pickups – Bone Nut – Gotoh T1802 Tremolo – Gotoh Magnum Lock Tuners with Height Adjustable Post – 5-Way Pickup Selector – Coil Tap – dynaMIX 10 Switching System with Alter Switch – Luminescent Side Dot Inlays While the guitar itself is extremely simple on the surface, it is decked out beyond belief, and one of the highest quality Ibanez Prestige models I’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. High-quality brand name parts from Gotoh and Seymour Duncan, plus countless subtle changes that improve both versatility and playability. The neck is everything you’ve come to expect from Ibanez, with a phenomenally fast profile and flat radius, ideal for any shred-head. As great as that is, Ibanez has gone the extra mile by designing a very deep, smooth cutaway at the back of the instrument to give you surprising fret access. With extra jumbo frets – stainless steel I might add – you can really grab a note for bends or wide vibrato with ease. Tone: Ibanez’s standard choice of basswood bodies is fine, but there are very few people who cite it as their wood of choice. Luckily, they’ve smartened up and used alder in this model, giving it that same warmth and character of more traditional instruments like the Stratocaster. The baked maple neck is a great pairing, brightening up the tone and providing a very articulate sound acoustically that translates beautifully through a clean amp. Having never tried a set of Hyperion pickups before I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they appear to be moderate output pickups. They use an Alnico 5 magnet so they’re rather powerful passives but I wouldn’t quite call them high output. There’s no particular strong EQ curve to these pickups, they seem to be extremely balanced across the frequency spectrum and the fretboard, with very consistent bright and clear pick attack. The tone is far more exciting and unique than the typical Ibanez basswood and high output pickup combination but has no problem keeping up with higher levels of gain despite that. The notable quality that encapsulates these pickups is their consistency. No matter where you are on the neck your tone always comes across very balanced – not sharp up high or muddy down low – and the pick attack has a very similar evenness to active pickups. This guitar would easily become my go-to for countless gigs. Anything in the area of fusion, rock, and progressive metal… I can’t find any place where this guitar would fail me. Despite the coil-tap and similar wood combinations, I wouldn’t use this for a straight-forward Stratocaster or Telecaster sound (country and blues come to mind), but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a convincing runner-up to the real thing. Build Quality: In a word, immaculate. The first thing I look for when a guitar has this many features is the build quality, as it’s very common for the flash to be a distraction from where they’re cutting corners. Despite the heavy amount of boutique and aftermarket components, there was not one issue I could find in the execution of this build. Perhaps I got lucky with this particular model, but the overall feel of this instrument tells me that’s not likely to be the case. Final Thoughts: When an instrument impresses me this much, my complaints tend to be tiny little nitpicks. In this case I have two, the first being simply that not everyone enjoys the feel or tone of stainless steel frets. Great feature for the price of the guitar, but they may be narrowing their audience a bit. My second gripe is this… the finish. Ibanez got it very backward with their AZ lineup. They have both Prestige and Premium models, but the Premium has far better finishes and overall aesthetics than their Prestige models! Multi-color fades and flamed maple tops are something we should be seeing on these high-end models, but instead, we get plain single-color finishes and plain tops with even more plain burst finishes. You dropped the ball on that one, Ibanez. That being said, if those are my only two qualms with such a rich, fully-featured, high-quality instrument, I can’t really give this guitar any rating below 10.