We love the Ibanez AZ series (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab)!
The Indonesia models were designed with John Mayer (opens in new tab)'s former guitar teacher, Berklee professor and YouTuber Tomo Fujita (opens in new tab) and includes two models; the hardtail AZES31 and the AZES40 with vibrato.
In the video above, Ibanez signature artists Tom Quayle (opens in new tab) and Paul Gilbert (opens in new tab) join Fujita in singing the praises for these new models.
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.
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 (opens in new tab).
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.
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.
The AZES31 models are currently available to preorder from Thomann for just £257 / €298 here (opens in new tab), while the AZES40 is £284 / €329.
Sweetwater also has the new models available order here (opens in new tab).