Ibanez AZ - Can you get a better guitar at $2000?

cshore

Member
Messages
498
Comparing guitars at new prices, I have to say I'm unbelievably blown away with my Ibanez AZ2402 after owning it for a year. Let's call this guitar what it really is - a Suhr killer. I would, and have put this guitar up against 3 or 4 Suhr Moderns and the Ibanez competes with them flawlessly. The Ibanez has perfect fretwork, a great roasted neck, pickups that sound awesome and maybe the single best non-locking trem that exists.

At $2k, I struggle to come up with another guitar that can match the combination of features (figured top notwithstanding) and quality. Of course I'm comparing new prices to be fair. I don't doubt that if you can find a Suhr for that price used, it can go head to head. Same thing with other comparable smaller boutique shops, and maybe something like EBMM. But again, I don't think you can find any of those guitars new at $2k.

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cshore

Member
Messages
498
Price to quality ratio seems great.

It's the intersection of price, quality and feature set that make the AZ's stand out to me. For some people, if things like stainless frets and a roasted neck don't matter, then I'm sure you can find other guitars that scratch the itch for this price. However, I'd still bet that the list of guitars that are similarly high quality is short.

This isn't a thread to just boast about the AZ however; I really want to know what else is out there at a similar price.
 

JamesW

Member
Messages
69
Kiesel Theos would come close. Roasted neck, stainless steel frets, chambered body, flamed maple top for less than $2,000. Mine cost more than $2,000 as I had chosen a few upgrades such as quilt maple top and HSS config, trem, roasted birdseye maple fretboard. With that being said, if I wanted a plain top, I think I would have been very happy with the AZ Prestige. Tremendous value in the AZ as well.


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s2y

Member
Messages
20,189
I was first in line to order an AZ2204f. I'd agree that there's not much in the price range that's as nice.

GMW used to make guitars for about that price, depending on options. Sadly, he's only taking repairs these days and not building.
 

Steely Dave

Member
Messages
1,114
Kiesel Theos would come close. Roasted neck, stainless steel frets, chambered body, flamed maple top for less than $2,000. Mine cost more than $2,000 as I had chosen a few upgrades such as quilt maple top and HSS config, trem, roasted birdseye maple fretboard. With that being said, if I wanted a plain top, I think I would have been very happy with the AZ Prestige. Tremendous value in the AZ as well.


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I have a Theos on order. Can’t wait to get it.
 
Messages
5,988
Comparing guitars at new prices, I have to say I'm unbelievably blown away with my Ibanez AZ2402 after owning it for a year. Let's call this guitar what it really is - a Suhr killer. I would, and have put this guitar up against 3 or 4 Suhr Moderns and the Ibanez competes with them flawlessly. The Ibanez has perfect fretwork, a great roasted neck, pickups that sound awesome and maybe the single best non-locking trem that exists.

At $2k, I struggle to come up with another guitar that can match the combination of features (figured top notwithstanding) and quality. Of course I'm comparing new prices to be fair. I don't doubt that if you can find a Suhr for that price used, it can go head to head. Same thing with other comparable smaller boutique shops, and maybe something like EBMM. But again, I don't think you can find any of those guitars new at $2k.

View attachment 483489

Suhr has an attention to detail that many other manufacturers in my experience just can't match, but of course with the price tag to boot. I have MANY guitars but none of them are as "perfect" as my custom Suhr. You can take a microscope to that guitar and not find a single speck out of place and even unplugged it just instantly puts a huge grin on my face. I was lucky as hell to find a $5K Suhr for about $1600 in mint condition, but I can see why they command the price tag they command.

Kiesel in my opinion compares very well with Ibanez Prestige stuff, and offers the added benefit of a huge range of customization (but this isn't news to you, I think you have/had one). They're also an incredible value, there is no other company offering USA-built custom shop instruments starting at $1300 and their wood selection is just stunning.

I love the AZ series too though, very nice guitars...but for my money I'm getting something from Kiesel for that same price tag built to my exact specs.
 
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jogogonne

Member
Messages
1,616
I played a AZ2202 last year and I was really impressed. It was used and I almost bought it, but I felt the price point was too high.

I mean, you may have an argument, in an overall sense although I would say if you're into Strats, you can get a really good one at that price point.

I think one thing is that people don't want to pay that much for a solid body/non-superstrat Ibanez. It's not their market...
 
Messages
5,988
I am sure you will love it. One thing about Kiesel is that the build and finish of a guitar is the same across all the different models, irrespective of price range. I actually find my Theos to be built just as well as my K Series.

Yeah for sure, the price is just a matter of options and whether there’s some special thing involved like Jeff doing the finish himself, etc. What model K series do you have?

I keep plotting an Osiris but wish they’d do a pick your top with one I really liked as I’m super picky about top woods. Got super lucky with my Vader via a pick your top, but now I’m leaning towards just doing an Osiris top-less :).
 
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NelDGT

Member
Messages
409
Yes! I sold a few guitars after acquiring the metallic blue prestige one. It’s become my main player guitar
 

JamesW

Member
Messages
69
Yeah for sure, the price is just a matter of options and whether there’s some special thing involved like Jeff doing the finish himself, etc. What model K series do you have?

I keep plotting an Osiris but wish they’d do a pick your top with one I really liked as I’m super picky about top woods. Got super lucky with my Vader via a pick your top, but now I’m leaning towards just doing an Osiris top-less :).

I got the K6H. Mark's single neck and M12SD bridge. The finish is one thing, but things like fretwork etc is quite even across the board. I hope to get another one, probably a Vader, Aries or even headless K (if budget allows), but the price increases over the last 2 years (this applies to most MIA manufacturers due to supply chain issues) is just a bit too fast for me. Ibanez's price still remains fairly reasonable IMO.

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Messages
5,988
I got the K6H. Mark's single neck and M12SD bridge. The finish is one thing, but things like fretwork etc is quite even across the board. I hope to get another one, probably a Vader, Aries or even headless K (if budget allows), but the price increases over the last 2 years (this applies to most MIA manufacturers due to supply chain issues) is just a bit too fast for me. Ibanez's price still remains fairly reasonable IMO.

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Sweet build! And yeah the Vader is definitely my favorite model of theirs. Kiesel’s prices have gone up a bit but they’re still cheaper than anything comparable out there and the increases have been fairly small, something like $50-$100 per year which is kind of negligible on a $1500-$2000 guitar. There have been much larger price increases from other manufacturers.

This is my Vader, can’t get enough of it.



 

cshore

Member
Messages
498
Kiesel Theos would come close. Roasted neck, stainless steel frets, chambered body, flamed maple top for less than $2,000. Mine cost more than $2,000 as I had chosen a few upgrades such as quilt maple top and HSS config, trem, roasted birdseye maple fretboard. With that being said, if I wanted a plain top, I think I would have been very happy with the AZ Prestige. Tremendous value in the AZ as well.


View attachment 483502

Love that Theos, and love Kiesel. I've owned 2, still own my Delos, and I will say I think the Ibanez outshines my Kiesels in terms of the neck, slightly nicer pickups and I also prefer their trem over the hipshot. I do love that the Theos comes chambered as standard, and the Kiesel neck is obviously also a really good neck. I just like the AZ neck a little better (when I say neck, I'm referring mainly to fretwork and how well I can set it up without issue).
 

cshore

Member
Messages
498
I just wish Ibanez would make the AZs with some nicer finishes. None of them appealed to me.

This is definitely true. I took a long time to decide to pick one up because the prestige line has really unassuming finishes. I didn't love the sunburst until I saw it in person and realized it actually looks really nice, but you have to see it close up and in person to bond with it visually IMO
 




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