Josh Smith teases a Strat-style version of his signature Ibanez FLATV1

Josh Smith
(Image credit: Josh Smith/Instagram / Mackenzie Lenora)

Earlier this year, Ibanez announced its AZS series of Tele-inspired electric guitars – a collection that was headlined by blues guitar ace Josh Smith’s signature guitar, the FLATV1.

In a move that surprised many, Smith’s first foray into the world of Ibanez was crafted to accommodate his playing style and tonal repertoire, which is celebrated for its blend of blues, jazz and funk.

Now, it looks as though Smith is set to bolster his arsenal of self-named axes, with a new Instagram post teasing the possible arrival of a double-cut, Strat-inspired iteration of his FLATV1.

The picture itself undoubtedly shows a FLATV1-styled guitar, with the sleek black finish and matching headstock revealing the guitar in question is not a regular old factory model from Ibanez’s AZ Series of similarly designed guitars, but rather a new model altogether.

If anything, it bears a greater resemblance to the newly introduced AZ Essentials range – specifically the AZES31 – due to the fact it comes equipped with single coils as opposed to the HSS configuration found on the majority of AZ axes.

Of course, it seemingly ditches the AZES line’s jatoba fretboard for what probably is a maple or roasted maple ‘board – the same appointment can be found on the FLATV1, though this wood looks lighter – but favors the line’s vintage-style T106 bridge over the regular AZ’s two-point tremolo system.

Aside from the triplet of single-coils and hardware appointments, the guitar sports an orthodox-looking control layout comprising a five-way selector switch and a trio of control knobs.

It’s possible that the controls come equipped with a whole load of push-pull switching systems, though the original FLATV1 kept things simple with its control circuits, meaning it’s not unreasonable to expect a similarly streamlined approach will also be taken this time round.

One commenter on the post asked the question on everyone’s lips – “Wait… the S-Style isn’t a new sig model, is it?” – to which Smith responded, “Not as of now but who knows, maybe a FlatV2 or a FlatVAS!”

Let’s not forget that before the original FLATV1 was released, Smith released a slew of cryptic Instagram posts that teased its imminent arrival. Given that context, speculating that an all-new Smith signature is indeed in development is not entirely foolish.

Only time will tell, so keep your eyes peeled on Josh Smith's Instagram account for any future tidbits relating to the elusive model.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.