Specifically, Ibanez has bolstered the attacking arsenal of its AZ Premium collection, which is engineered to “open the gate of your reservoir of inspiration”.
It’s a fairly straightforward drop (a trio of new finishes have been debuted for three of the models) but Ibanez has sought to up the ante with the AZ24P1QM – a Deep Ocean Blonde-finished instrument that brings back an HSS configuration to the Premium platform.
As well as its aquatic aesthetic, the guitar comes packing with a set of premium Seymour Duncan Hyperion pickups – a humbucker in the bridge, two single-coils in the middle and neck – which are wired to Ibanez’s dyna-MIX9 switching system with Alter Switch.
To translate, the dyna-MIX9 offers nine sound variations, and offers both humbucker and single-coil sounds by way of an additional mini switch.
As for some more fundamental features, the HSS AZ Premium boasts a basswood body with a quilted maple top, an AZ Oval C roasted maple neck and a 22 jumbo stainless steel-fret roasted maple fingerboard.
A Gotoh T1502 tremolo bridge lines up alongside Gotoh MG-T locking tuners, with the well-spec’d six-string also arriving with mother of pearl dot and Luminescent side dot inlays.
The new-for-2024 AZ Premium is available for $1,399.
As mentioned, the rest of the drop is concerned with cosmetics alone: across the board, Ibanez has added Twilight Blue Burst, Prussian Blue Metallic and Dragon Eye Burst to its AZ Premium roster.
There are, naturally, some common specs that can be found between the AZ42P1, AZ427P2QM and AZ47P1QM.
For example, each arrives with a basswood body, with those boasting the ‘QM’ suffix to their product code also flaunting a quilted maple top. The fret count has been bumped up to 24 – jumbo, stainless steel – with Gotoh MG-T locking tuners, mother of pearl dot, and Luminescent side dot inlays all making the cut.
As for differences, the Dragon Eye Burst variant features an HSH configuration composed from DiMarzio units – Air Norton and The Tone Zone humbuckers with a True Velvet single-coil – and opts for an ebony fingerboard.
The HH-engineered AZ42P1, meanwhile, drafts in a rosewood fingerboard, and enlists the tonal services of two Seymour Duncan Hyperion humbuckers. Here, a dyna-MIX10 switching system with Alter Switch – which behaves similarly to the aforementioned dyna-MIX9 circuit – can also be found.
That just leaves the Twilight Blue Burst: for all intents and purposes a quilted maple-topped, seven-string sibling to the above, arriving equipped with Hyperion 7 humbuckers, and expanded Gotoh T1572S tremolo and a rosewood fingerboard.
As for prices, the seven-string weighs in at $1,449, while its six-string variant is slightly more affordable at $1,299. The HSH model, meanwhile, is available for $1,399.
Head over to Ibanez to find out more.
For more NAMM 2024 news, visit our dedicated NAMM 2024 hub.