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The Ibanez AZ gets affordable at $299 with the new Essentials line

We love the Ibanez AZ series guitars but let's be honest, a lot of us can't afford them. Well now things have changed big time with the AZES range - or Ibanez AZ Essentials to give their full name. These are super-affordable electric guitars

The Indonesia models were designed with John Mayer's former guitar teacher, Berklee professor and YouTuber Tomo Fujita and includes two models; the hardtail AZES31 and the AZES40 with vibrato.

In the video above, Ibanez signature artists Tom Quayle and Paul Gilbert join Fujita in singing the praises for these new models. 

Ibanez

(Image credit: Ibanez)

We're pleased to report that both models feature dyna-MIX with an Alter switch for ten easily accessible pickup combinations. Ibanez even debuts a new T106 bridge with rounded saddles for the new series.

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Ibanez AZ Essentials electric guitar

Ibanez AZES31 in Vermilion (Image credit: Ibanez)
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Ibanez AZ Essentials electric guitar

Ibanez AZES31 in Ivory (Image credit: Ibanez)

Clearly this isn't some watered-down afterthought. For the price these looks like very capable guitars. And the consideration in the specs here makes these more than just an ideal gateway beginner guitar

Ibanez

(Image credit: Ibanez)

The AES31 features a trio of ceramic single-coil pickups, five-way blade selector and an impressive range of possible pickup configurations as shown above with series and parallel wiring via Ibanez's dyna-MIX8 switching system. 

It features a poplar body, bolt-on maple neck and jatoba fingerboard. Like the AZES40 it's also a a 25-inch scale - slightly shorter than the other AZ models and ideal for younger players. 

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Ibanez AZ Essentials electric guitar

Ibanez AZES40 in Purist Blue (Image credit: Ibanez)
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Ibanez AZ Essentials electric guitar

Ibanez AZES40 in Black (Image credit: Ibanez)
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Ibanez AZ Essentials electric guitar

Ibanez AZES40 in Mint Green (Image credit: Ibanez)

The AZES40 features two single-coils and in the neck and middle positions with a humbucker in the bridge and the different combinations via the dyna-MIX9 system as shown below. 

Ibanez

(Image credit: Ibanez)

The AZES31 models are currently available to preorder from Thomann for just £257 / €298 here, while the AZES40 is £284 / €329.

Sweetwater also has the new models available order here

Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar.