With its eye-catching poplar burl top, scorching tone, and easy playability, the Ibanez AZ427P1PB is a force to be reckoned with. This 7-string solid-body has a basswood body that issues a balanced tone, and its ergonomic contours offer unmatched comfort, no matter if you're sitting or standing. Plug it in, and the Seymour Duncan Hyperion humbuckers deliver precise, powerful tones—even under the highest gain settings. The onboard dyna-MIX10 switching system provides ten different pickup combinations for limitless tonal exploration. Here's Nick Jennison with the review.
Ibanez's AZ series has found favour with players of every style, and with good reason. They offer the legendary playability and versatility that Ibanez is known for but with a more conservative aesthetic that's less likely to get you the "side-eye" from your fellow musicians than, say, an RG.
Historically, if you've wanted a mid-priced extended range guitar from Ibanez, you were limited to their more "metal" offerings. Enter the AZ427P1PB - a seven string AZ from the more affordable "Premium" line. Made in Indonesia but sporting the same high-end hardware and appointments found on the Japanese-made "Prestige" line, this guitar is a very tempting proposition for players looking for a truly pro-level seven-string without breaking the bank.
Available in just one finish, the charcoal black burst is eye-catching without being gaudy, and there are few musical settings where this guitar won't look at home. The poplar burl top is gorgeous and a refreshing change to the usual figured maple top that typically adorns this type of guitar.
The roasted maple neck is exceptionally tactile, with a C-shaped profile and a comfortable 12" radius that sets it apart from the flatter, thinner RG 7 string necks that you may be familiar with. It's a meaty offering but not at all cumbersome, and the 24 jumbo frets make bends, slides, and fast shreddy passages feel effortless. One of the qualities I look for in a seven string neck is how easy it is to pick up and play without having to spend too long adjusting to the presence of the extra string, and I'm pleased to report that the adjustment period for this guitar was basically zero.
Tones come courtesy of a pair of Seymour Duncan Hyperion pickups, the more aggressive of the AZ pickups. That's not to say that these pickups are super-overwound "metal" pickups - they're plenty hot but also very dynamic and full of character. The bridge pickup will chug with the best of them, but it also handles more restrained styles with grace. The neck pickup is full, throaty and articulate, with a killer soloing voice that tracks fast picking and legato lines no matter how much gain you have dialled up… and these two tones are just the tip of the iceberg!
The Dyna-MIX 10 switching system offers no less than ten distinct tones, ranging from full humbucking sounds to sparkling single coils and everything in between. It's possible to configure each pickup as either a fat-sounding series humbucker, a clangy and cutting split coil or an open and airy parallel humbucker. In practice, we were able to dial in convincing tones for country, funk, slide, classic rock, fusion, metal… you name it, the AZ427P1PB can handle it, and all with the benefit of the extra range that low B string affords.
Seven strings and tremolo bridges - especially non-locking designs - typically don't go together terribly well, but the Gotoh T1572S bridge on this guitar is the perfect balance of stability and sensitivity. Because of the extra string, it's difficult to get a floating tremolo to feel smooth and responsive without being too "wobbly" on low chugs, but the balance is perfect here.
If you're in the market for a pro-level 7-string that won't look out of place on a pro gig and won't cost the earth, this is the guitar for you.
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