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

BaliGod

Silver Supporting Member
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383
Sounds to me like we should take a look at it. Purchased used or new?

That would be awesome, except I am in Bali . . .

I purchased new from Hiendguitars their Bali location about a week ago.

I actually sent June a WhatsApped (the owner or guy that runs it) a message tonight asking him to let me trade in, but he said no as they do not sell used guitars so could not trade.

To be candid, I won't play this ever so I wanted to trade it rather than burn $2,500. I took it to the studio last night with 4 other guitars. Picked it up once and put it down right back for the ESP. Very bright and somewhat thin sound and me putting the Aldrich did not help the sound.

Seems like a fret may be a bit uneven around 15 or 16 and neck is a bit rough feeling. When I adjust action to a reasonable level it frets out on decent high E string bends in that one spot so I had to raise action. Really, I can play anything in the studio from a playability standpoint. The sound got me. Sounded very thin and bright. Could be electronics or tone of this wood?
 
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s2y

Member
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20,189
The only reason I haven't bought one is that they don't have one with Tone Zone/Air Norton, and I'm not familiar with the stock pickups. There's an RG Prestige that I've got my eye on...

View attachment 483900

I wish that model had a flame or quilt top and a maple fretboard, butt otherwise that's a pretty killer guitar.
 
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5,989
Used kiesel's on reverb don't usually go cheap anymore. Their resale value has climbed significantly, and has been pretty darn good for a while now. Most listings I'm seeing are close to new prices, but of course no wait as opposed to buying new.

Yeah those people are delusional though, 90% of the point of something like Kiesel is to get your own specs so thinking someone's going to settle for exactly what you picked out at brand new price just to avoid a 3 month wait...nah. The ones that are at or close to new price just sit forever unsold for the most part unless they happen upon a buyer who wants that exact spec AND they have "universally" desirable features without anything too off the beaten path. This is a Reverb thing though, most people there drastically overprice their listings. You can still find Kiesels and Carvins for really great prices at places like GC.

That said, the resale value has certainly been increasing over time. I used to frequently get Carvins and Kiesels for 50% off the new cost, but now that's getting to be a very tall order.

They have gone up but I still see great deals on Kiesels more often than I do on say PRS or Fender Custom Shop. E.g.:

^ That is a steal at $1199.

No offense but this one is about as far from being a "steal" as you can possibly get, it's really close to brand new price for a super basic build.

This comes out to $1300 shipped before tax, so after tax it'll be closer to $1400. If you spec this out new on the builder with these options it comes to about $1600. A $200 discount from new AND it's listed as a smoker's guitar where you might notice a smoke smell...hardly a "steal".
 
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seward

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,810
I wish that model had a flame or quilt top and a maple fretboard, butt otherwise that's a pretty killer guitar.

I've owned a bunch of Ibanez guitars, and that RG seems to bring all of my favorite specs together. I wish the AZ models had a little more mass to them, along with pickups that I'm familiar with.
 

s2y

Member
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20,189
I've owned a bunch of Ibanez guitars, and that RG seems to bring all of my favorite specs together. I wish the AZ models had a little more mass to them, along with pickups that I'm familiar with.

Weight seems to be about the same as my RGs with an unscientific grab.

I have the HSS 2204f. The pickups are the ok-est I have ever heard, but they make up for it with versatility. I like them for low to mid gain, but high gain has something odd going on. Sometimes I debate swapping out the pickups and sometimes I think they're more than good enough. I'd love it if the AZ wiring became a standard among Ibanez and other builders.
 
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1,496
They have gone up but I still see great deals on Kiesels more often than I do on say PRS or Fender Custom Shop. E.g.:

^ That is a steal at $1199.
Good for what it is but that one has almost no options that aren't standard. In 2019 it was probably 1500 with the case new.
 

seward

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,810
Weight seems to be about the same as my RGs with an unscientific grab.

I have the HSS 2204f. The pickups are the ok-est I have ever heard, but they make up for it with versatility. I like them for low to mid gain, but high gain has something odd going on. Sometimes I debate swapping out the pickups and sometimes I think they're more than good enough. I'd love it if the AZ wiring became a standard among Ibanez and other builders.

I love the wiring, it looks like they've transferred it into a few other models (the RG Prestige I posted has something like it).

I don't know why I think the AZs aren't as big as the RGs, may be the rounded corners (RG hard edges are one of the things I don't like about them).

I buy Ibanez guitars to use with gain, and the Tone Zone works really well for me. I think that most AZs come with SD Hyperions (or actives). I don't really have any way to listen to those p'ups before I buy.
 

BigDoug1053

Gold Supporting Member
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6,096
As far as I can tell, the Ibanez AZ line seems to address all the issues TGP loves to complain about.

No locking trem, no fancy top, thicker neck, no 16" radius. They come with custom Seymour Duncan pickups that lack "Seymour Duncan" labeling. On the plus side, they have SS frets, roasted maple neck, locking tuners, a standard (Strat style) Gotoh trem, and fancy pickup selections to get good single coil tone options.

And here's my new AZ24027 7 string... It took me awhile to adjust the action down to where I like it, and it is very noisy (perhaps a shielding project?) but otherwise it's a great feeling and sounding 7.


 

Flowergun

Member
Messages
150
It's the best guitar at 2k and yes it's better than the Kiesels. Love my Gilmour looking AZ that I've had since late '20. Visually I prefer it to anything Suhr but I'm also an Ibanez fanboy. You have to pay quite a bit more to get anything noticeably better if that's even a thing.
 

cshore

Member
Messages
498
It's the best guitar at 2k and yes it's better than the Kiesels. Love my Gilmour looking AZ that I've had since late '20. Visually I prefer it to anything Suhr but I'm also an Ibanez fanboy. You have to pay quite a bit more to get anything noticeably better if that's even a thing.

There was recently one of those Gilmour ones on Reverb for $1350 and I had someone offering me the same for my Kiesel Delos. I hesitated and the AZ sold, I kind of regret it. But I'm also not sure whether I'd prefer the regular 2204 or the 2204N. I love the look of the white 2204N. Can't get my hands on either guitar to try out though. I've only ever come across the 2402 in the wild.
 

s2y

Member
Messages
20,189
I love the wiring, it looks like they've transferred it into a few other models (the RG Prestige I posted has something like it).

I don't know why I think the AZs aren't as big as the RGs, may be the rounded corners (RG hard edges are one of the things I don't like about them).

I buy Ibanez guitars to use with gain, and the Tone Zone works really well for me. I think that most AZs come with SD Hyperions (or actives). I don't really have any way to listen to those p'ups before I buy.

There are clips with guys tearing it up with their AZ with high gain. I suppose the right tweaks could fix everything. My "regular" Duncans and DiMarzios seem to naturally do the 80's high gain I like with ease. Something about the Hyperion pickups are weird.

That being said, I just picked up a J Custom with DiMarzio True Velvet singles and I actually prefer the Hyperion. This particular DiMarzio seems to have too much high end and is very noisy compared to the Duncan.
 

FuzzMuff

Member
Messages
642
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

Roasted Maple.
 

Assumer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
251
I agree with Mr. Suhr. I have one and it is far from bright. Every position is usable and sounds great. Plays great too.
 

keej

Member
Messages
38
As far as I can tell, the Ibanez AZ line seems to address all the issues TGP loves to complain about.

No locking trem, no fancy top, thicker neck, no 16" radius. They come with custom Seymour Duncan pickups that lack "Seymour Duncan" labeling. On the plus side, they have SS frets, roasted maple neck, locking tuners, a standard (Strat style) Gotoh trem, and fancy pickup selections to get good single coil tone options.

And here's my new AZ24027 7 string... It took me awhile to adjust the action down to where I like it, and it is very noisy (perhaps a shielding project?) but otherwise it's a great feeling and sounding 7.


Well, I guess it depends, but for me, personally - no locking trem - sucks, thicker neck - sucks big time, no 16' radius - sucks. I would be very happy if they made an AZ with an Original Edge, and a roasted maple Original Wizard neck with extra jumbo stainless steel frets, a flat radius and maybe a couple of EMG's, like an 81 and 60 or something like that.
 

BaliGod

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
383
I agree with Mr. Suhr. I have one and it is far from bright. Every position is usable and sounds great. Plays great too.

I suppose it all depends upon what one is used to. In the US I have my Custom Shop Fender Strats, some very early CSS and some new, and here in Bali I am using what is in that picture above through Friedman JJ and Mesa Boogie Triple Crown and Orange cabinets that I put in Greenback, Creamback and have Vintage 30s in.

The Suhr is only one I am disappointed in even after changing pickup. Again, maybe something is whacked in mine, but I have my guitar and amp tech here doing pickup swap. My tech is killer. Nothing we did. Sound like that off the shelf. I was just not able to play through amp before I purchased. Bought it on reputation alone.

I have played a couple of Suhr Classics and they played very nice. The Modern I have falls well short.
 
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BigDoug1053

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,096
Well, I guess it depends, but for me, personally - no locking trem - sucks, thicker neck - sucks big time, no 16' radius - sucks. I would be very happy if they made an AZ with an Original Edge, and a roasted maple Original Wizard neck with extra jumbo stainless steel frets, a flat radius and maybe a couple of EMG's, like an 81 and 60 or something like that.

I hear you. My shredder 6s and 7s are much easier to play and I love flat boards. 12" is my minimum.
 

BaliGod

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
383
Tried again. I just spent a few hours in my home studio tweaking and playing these 4 Start style guitars. I played the same 5 songs on all 4 in Drop D and C#. I even adjusted the action on the Suhr for C+ as it fretted out pretty bad when I dropped it. The other guitars did not need adjustment, but I was hoping to dial the Suhr in.

The E-II even has heavy 60 (low E) strings and it clearly came out on top of these 4 overall. I have owned that 2005 Orange Fender Strat since new and gigged/toured heavy with it and it really needs new frets.


Playability: (1) 2005 Fender Strat Deluxe; (2) 2013 E-II Horizon; (3) 2002 Ibanez RG620QM; (4) New Suhr Modern

Sound: (1) E-II Horizon with EMGs; (2) Ibanez with Suhr pickup; (3) 2005 Strat with Stock Pick ups; (4) Suhr Modern with Suhr Aldrich Pickup


The E-II should be the least playable with these heavy 60s on it. The Strat has has .09s and both the Ibanez and Suhr have .10s.

The E-II simply blows me away. I cannot get over how good this guitar is and I only paid 14.500.000 Rupiah for it ($1,011 USD). I paid like $630 USD for the RG620QM here in Bali. The Suhr was $2,370 USD in Bali.

Strats.jpg
 
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