Article by Christian Klaus (Lynbrook Store)
I feel it fair to say as guitar players our wants far out way our needs, but rest assured most of the symptoms we’re feeling as a Guitar community can point to a clear diagnosis of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). As a long time player/collector of electric guitars I find myself often looking for a renewed inspiration and different path requiring an instrument that may be niche to that direction. In the search for that instrument, 90% of the time I ask how many personalities does this guitar hold in itself, because ultimately what I’m really searching for is a guitar that can do it all.
“A To Z Development”.
AZ one of the largest and most innovative guitar companies, Ibanez have provided more pivotal moments than I can imagine in the history of guitar manufacture; but the bold movement Ibanez decided to make in 2014 was unlike any other. There was a growing community of guitar players spanning the globe that were digging deep into the past to create a inspiring new frontier for guitar not too dissimilar to the explosion we saw in the early 80s thru to 90s. These guitar players were pushing further than the catalogue generics were providing , with many players deferring to custom builds to reflect their own personalities. Ibanez, not prepared to stand in one spot for too long, wanted to design an instrument that encompasses the soul of this musician forging a new frontier. There is no better way to breathe a concept to life than go to the source of your inspiration, the player.
Ibanez tirelessly travelled the globe spending time with players such Martin Miller, Tom Quayle , Marco Sfogli and Andy Timmons , discovering what defines them as a player and most of all what their guitar of choice needs to bring to the table.Body shapes,neck size, heel sculpture and pickups every facet was looked at with a true sense of organic motivation . If you haven’t had a moment to listen and identify who these guitar players are definitely do so , their versatility and depth of expressiveness has certainly had a hand in the fruition of a guitar that can take you from A to Z .In 2018 Ibanez released their Az Guitar line to the world.
Watch the Ibanez AZ product launch video
“Get Lost In A Feeling”.
As many out there I also have been a devoted Jem and RG disciple since the 1980,s so when I first opened the very cool hard case included( you know that feeling right!) with a new Ibanez AZ2204-ICM laying safely inside there was a certain comfortable sense of home and familiarity but also a profound realisation that Ibanez had created a totally fresh identity. We see a lifelong body shape re imagined through rounder curvaceous lines in Alder Wood , including a heel sculpt that is so visually stunning and equally as comfortable.
Ibanez have carved a a new soulmate into their range with the design and feel of this body.The 22 fret oval roasted maple neck with its throwback to early design Ibanez headstock and logo presents a fuller just perfect feel in the hand with stainless steel frets abound.This is undoubtedly one of the best necks you’ll ever play, sitting alongside up there comfortably with the Suhr’s and Tom Anderson’s of the world. The roasted maple will give a playing feel you may have only dreamed of and an overall stability not found in other guitars. A clever little touch that adorns the topside of the fretboard is the Luminlay side dot inlay that comes to life in between songs on a dark stage.
The Humbucker single single combination to my mind seems to be the most versatile layout that will work in a variety of playing environments.
Ibanez have chosen to go with a set of Seymour Duncan Hyperion Passive/Alnico,s.In many guitars I own personal intervention on countless occasions has occurred in the search for the perfect replacement pickup choice for a particular instrument, that will not be the case with the Ibanez Az2204-ICM. The Hyperion pickups most certainly have more power than I have in most of my other guitars but it does something extraordinarily well .From 1 to 10 presents incredible board range but it has many exciting stops along the way, LOOK UP KIDS! Yes it’s exactly like taking the family on a road trip. Don’t drive at full speed, I invite you to explore winding just a tiny bit off the top to see the subtle nuance it will create.
Turning off the modern freeway back from 10 you just might find a little back road to vintage goodness. Even setting back to 6 on the volume will land you in a thick juicy expressiveness tone town that you will struggle to walk away from . So what is that little 2 way switch between the volume and the Tone you ask? It’s called the Alter Switch and combined with the Dyna-MIX9 switching system it gives you with every position on your five way selector and alternate sound with the Alter switch. For example if you’re playing the single neck pickup flick the alter switch and go from a juicy bouncy spanky sound to something similar to a darker cloudier les paul tone , very useful in the real world of carrying one guitar. This format continues through all pickup selections except the bridge position.
“Can One Guitar Do It All?”
It’s in our nature to evolve as guitar players , to be inspired by different guitar designs and others that play them. We hope that when we place a new guitar in our hands it will steer ourselves on a path that we haven’t yet travelled and discovered ,to ultimately become the best player we can be.Its not often I stand in one spot for too long with my playing whether it be rock, jazz fusion blues ,country and metal so I required something ultra versatile that followed me. I needed one guitar that can do it all, and yes the Ibanez AZ2204-ICM is definitively that instrument. After taking this guitar on stage ,studio and announcing our “til death do us parts” I’ve discovered this isn’t a want , it isn’t a need guitar .The Ibanez AZ2204-ICM is a Must Have.