WARNING this is long! So the Ibanez AZ series has been out about a year now and the only one I have seen in a store in NJ or NY was... NONE! While on vacation in London 2 months ago, I actually saw one of these mythical beasts. Crazy that I had to go to EUROPE to try one out! It was a Prestige AZ2402 in Ice Blue. I wasn’t sure if I would like the neck shape beforehand but, I ended up liking it a lot. So as a result, I’ve been on the hunt for one. I started checking the usual online suspects to see if there were any sales on any of the AZ prestige models. Didn’t find anything compelling. But, I narrowly missed out on the bidding for a limited run model I didn’t know existed until I saw the eBay auction. I set my sights on this Regal Brown limited run model unless I could find a great deal on the Ice Blue or Martin Miller model. Which brings me to... I decided to buy one new. The color looks HOT to me and I missed out on the only used one it seemed was available at this time. I chose a very phone customer friendly store in Fort Collins, Colorado by the name of Spotlight Music. http://www.spotlightmusicstore.com/ Within 15 minutes, we negotiated a fair price and I was told I’d have a tracking number the next day and that it would arrive before week’s end. I received the tracking number an hour later, the same day... and the guitar showed up on Friday and was packed for WAR! The factory Ibanez box was fully and thickly bubble wrapped inside an outer oversized guitar shipping box. In fact, I took a moment to call them up and compliment their packing job. OK, so on to the guitar. I’m greeted by this: So far, so good! I notice a small paint spot in the recessed cavity for the Gotoh but, no big deal. I play it for a bit unplugged and it’s acoustically vibrant... we’re looking good here! The action is atypically high for an Ibanez but, I do my own setups, so I’m not concerned. I plug it in and like the tones I’m getting out of it. I turn the amp off, grab the included prestige tools and bring it to my table to start setting it up to my preference, and really give it a good visual once over. I discover that the paint splotch in the trem cavity isn’t a splotch after all. It’s a piece of paint missing and I’m looking at a 1/4” of bare wood. So this irks me a bit because I bought this new but, I’m prepared to not worry about it and continue to set it up. Then I see some small scratches from its factory setup at the truss rod channel. So again, I’m like well I did buy a new guitar but, it’s minor and can happen to anyone who isn’t super careful when adjusting the truss rod. I adjusted the truss rod. Works fine. Lowered the titanium saddles a bit and lowered the entire bridge until I got to the string height that “speaks to me” for this guitar. Tuned it back up to pitch and proceeded to play it unplugged again. All is going well UNTIL I get to the high e 13th fret... plink. Huh!?! The note is choking. Bends in that area are also choking in the 13-15th fret area at a whole step. To the lesser extent, the b string as well. I calm down because I’m getting agitated now and plug it back in and proceed to hear the 13th fretting out sound through the amp and am supper bummed. I sighted the neck and it’s not the neck but, what looked to me to be slightly high 14th and 15th frets (as well as a slightly too high slotted nut because the 1st/2nd frets were kind of hard to press down as opposed to the rest of the frets). Now I have hit my LIMIT. I decide to call dealer in the morning. Dealer immediately asks me to hold on and repeat my concerns to their tech, which I do. He asks me a couple of questions like string height at certain frets and agrees that I’m not setting it up for micro action and it shouldn’t be buzzing/cutting the note(s) off with what I am describing to him. He asks me for pictures of certain things and I send them. He tells me he’s going to call his Ibanez rep and get back to me soon. Which he does. About 40 minutes later and apologized that it took so long to which I replied, I didn’t think he get back to me this quickly. He said the rep wanted to know how far I was from Ibanez HQ (Bensalem, PA). If I was local I could drop it off to be looked at. If not, a shipping label would be generated for me to ship it there and to wait for a call from Ibanez the next day. So the next day comes and no Ibanez call, so I call the store the following day and let them know and they say sit tight, they’ll reach out to rep again... before I let them off the phone though I ask about the possibility of an exchange and they say as long as they can get their hands on another one. Within 5 minutes of hanging up, Ibanez calls, says they’ve received my pictures, a video and a description and proceeds to ask me a few questions and if I want to add anything. He gets my email address to send a FedEx label and explains that the techs there are GREAT and will look over the guitar and see if repair or replacement will be the course of action. He tells me that it’ll take about 2-3 weeks for a turnaround. The tech from Spotlight Music called me back stating I will be called today without fail and I thanked him and told him that Ibanez already did. I shipped it to Hoshino USA (Ibanez’ Bensalem headquarters) on Monday, it arrives to them on Tuesday. Thursday I sent an email to Ibanez to make sure they knew that the guitar arrived and that I really would prefer a replacement. The inside rep tells me that it did arrive but, unfortunately, it’s up to the techs whether they replace a guitar or repair it. Then... he proceeds to say... now with that being said, the tech decided to replace it and that it’s shipping out to me today and I’ll get it tomorrow! Mind you, this is the same week I shipped it to them...how’s that for FAST warranty turnaround time! I want to publicly thank Jen and Rob at Spotlight Music and Bill at Ibanez for making this all happen so quickly (and also the west coast Ibanez rep and the tech who swapped out the guitar for me)! Here is the replacement AZ2402FF in Regal Brown Burst. The replacement came setup with the string height that I set the old one up with which was a nice attention to detail touch and it had no finish flaws of course. Sounds just as good too. I am very happy now!