So I intentionally left this update late. For 2021, the AZ sees a new iteration, the AZN (N = Non-recessed bridge cavity). This is essentially an AZ with the following differences:
- Gotoh T1702B bridge. Brass saddles in this one as opposed to the titanium saddles in the AZ’s T1802. More single coil zing, that’s the intention.
- Compound radius: From 9-ish to 12″
- Rosewood fretboard
- Seymour Duncan: Fortuna pickups
- Non-recessed bridge cavity. Folks, Ibanez failed to realize that there’s actually no cavity at all underneath the bridge, so ‘non-recessed’ here is a redundant reference. Duh.
So what is the intention of it all? Ibanez is appealing to more players out there who are very used to the traditional / vintage S-type feel by adding subtle changes. I own the AZ & it has a very contemporary feel, it won’t sway the traditionalists to try (let alone switch camps) but the AZN here is edging closer to their inclinations. Even the Fortuna pickups are more classic-sounding compared to the AZ’s Hyperion pickups. Finally, that cavity absence allows the player to set the bridge flush against the body if you are a non-whammy person but doesn’t mind having a bridge there – the Eric Clapton camp.