“Designed to Inspire” – the experience of developing the current AZ series is not limited to the prestige category of Japanese high-end production. The manufactured in Indonesia AZ versions of the premium series actually have comparable design features and are also quite similar equipped. This is worth a closer look.
There are three models to choose from in the Premium AZ Series. Two versions with SSH pickup configuration and 22-fret fretboard, which differ only in their color and another with two humbuckers and 24-fret fretboard.
In principle, the guitars of the Premium AZ Series follow in almost all aspects of the design and even the electrics the versions of the already introduced Japan Prestige AZ series (issue 02/18). However, we find significant differences in the tonal range (body), in the vibrato system and in smaller details.
The Facts: American Basswood (Linde) was used for the optimally contoured double-cutaway body of the premium versions. For optimal gaming comfort, he also received a comfortable investment bay on the top of the carcass, as well as the so-called Super All Access Neck Joint, a soft-balanced transition for receiving the firmly anchored in the carcass neck with four sunk screws.
The wood of the one-piece necks from Roasted Maple receives its distinctive caramel color through a special heat treatment and is therefore made more stable and insensitive to temperature fluctuations. Also the glued maple fingerboard with 12 “radius was treated like that and got besides a perfectly made jumbo stainless steel binding (22 in the SSH version, 24 in the HH version) black point pads and fluorescent luminlay side dots for the better Layer finding used on dark stages.
The parallel backplated headstock in the typical Ibanez design gives access to the inserted truss rod. The strings are led straight from the winding cylinders of the Gotoh Magnum Lock mechanisms to the Tusq XL saddle from Graph Tech (in the Prestige series Bones) and swing with a straight pull (string retainer for E and B strings) 64.8 cm scale between the latter and the Gotoh / Ibanez T1502 Tremolo Bridge, a two-point system with an insertion arm, individually adjustable steel riders and a cast zinc block (on the Prestige line with titanium riders and steel block).
Basically, the presented premium models differ in their electrical equipment – here HH, there SSH configuration. In fact, like their big Japanese sisters, they are equipped with Hyperion pickups, developed by Seymour Duncan in close cooperation specifically for Ibanez.know more about best Japanese guitar brands
The AZ242BC got two Hyperion humbuckers screwed into the ceiling, which are switched with a five-way toggle and managed by well-positioned, general-working volume and tone controls. In addition, the guitar was given the sound-expanding dynaMix10 system. With the position of the small toggle switch down, the conventional switching level is applied:
The AZ224F has two single-coil pickups in the middle and middle position plus a humbucker on the bridge, mounted on a Strat-style pickguard. There we also find the switching and control elements in the same positioning as in the AZ242. The following standard sounds are available via the toggle switch of the dyna-Mix 9 system:
- Neck SC,
- Neck SC + center SC,
- Middle SC,
- Middle SC + bridge SC,
- Bridge HB.
- Alternative sounds of the second sound level:
- Neck SC and center SC in series,
- Neck SC and single coil of Bridge humbucker parallel,
- Neck SC and center SC in series plus bridge humbucker in parallel,
- inner coil of the bridge humbucker,
- Bridge humbucker.