Ibanez AZES40, Purist Blue
Ibanez AZES40, Purist Blue
Overview by GAK
The Ibanez AZES40 in Purist Blue is a member of the affordable AZ Essentials line, which was designed alongside acclaimed guitarist and tutor Tomo Fujita. The AZ ES electric guitars condense the qualities that made the high-end AZ series so popular - classic styling, slick playability, exceptional versatility - into a keenly-priced instrument that’s perfect for beginners and intermediate players.
At the core of Ibanez AZES40’s resonant and balanced tone is its ergonomic Poplar body. Tonally, Poplar is often compared to Alder due to its full, detailed sound and sweet upper-mid range. The bolt-on Maple neck provides a buttery-smooth playing experience, the rich sustain and the crisp note separation that makes Maple a go-to tonewood. It’s particularly noticeable when you play chords, as each individual note is clear and defined.
The Ibanez AZES40’s is adorned with a smooth Jatoba fretboard and 22 medium frets. Jatoba is known for its durability and the warmth it adds to the mid-range frequencies. Ibanez’s innovative All Access Neck joint allows you to play the upper reaches of the fretboard with ease.
A highlight of the Ibanez AZES40’s feature-set is its 25" scale length, which straddles the line between a traditional Gibson and Fender neck. The AZES40’s 25" presents a slinkier feel, making it a lot easier to play. It’s great for players that prefer the feel of a shorter scale or are smaller in stature. The fretboard has a 250mm radius, which strikes a beginner-friendly balance of roundness and flatness. What we love about the Ibanez AZES40’s neck is that it’s perfect for a wide range of genres and playing techniques - whether you’re thumb-over-the-neck bending or executing lightning-fast lead lines.
Ibanez have kitted out the AZES40 with a pair of Essentials single-coils and Accord humbucker for an ultra-versatile HSS configuration. With these pickups and the 5-way selector switch at your fingertips, you can go from a glassy, crystalline tone to a raucous, aggressive one in an instant. If that wasn’t enough tonal range for you, wait until you flick on the Alter Switch. The Alter Switch is part of Ibanez’s dyna-mix 9 switching system, which gives you 9 distinct tones to play with - 4 more than your standard S-type guitar. With the Alter Switch on in position 1, for example, you can replicate a neck humbucker by combining two single coils in series.
When it comes to hardware, Ibanez have designed the AZES40’s to take the focus of setting up and let you spend more time playing. There’s no doubt that the AZES40 is one of the easiest guitars to maintain and gig within its price range.
A common issue with affordable guitars is the jack input failing. That’s where the AZES40’s mono-unit input jack comes in. Because it’s built from a single piece, the mono-unit input jack can stand up to the loosening, contact and annoying disconnection that can happen over time. The ultra-stable T106 tremolo bridge allows you to pull off expressive vibrato and features round steel saddles for maximum picking hand comfort. The T106’s saddles also have a wide height adjustment range, making set-up a lot easier. The tuners boast a split-shaft design and die-cast housing, which facilitates fast and painless string changes.
We’re huge fans of the Ibanez AZES40’s versatile tone, effortless playability and affordability. A lot of the Ibanez AZES40’s features, including the dyna-MIX 9 switching system and Alter Switch, are usually what you’d find on an instrument that’s more than twice the price.
- Maple neck
- Jatoba fretboard
- Medium frets
- Poplar body
- Essentials / Accord S-S-H pickups
- Ibanez machineheads w/ Split-shaft
- T106 tremolo w/ Comfort round Steel saddles
- dyna-MIX9 switching system with Alter Switch
- 25 inch scale (AZES)
- 250mm fretboard radius (AZES)
- Mono-unit output jack
- All Access Neck Joint