AXS32 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (57 votes)
Ibanez: AXS32
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Purchased from: Gianetta Music

Sound — 10
The original pickups, pots and tone caps produced that Ibanez soud, which I abhor. The Sung Il Tune-O-Matic Bridge shook and rattled. All in all, it was a typical Ibanez-tone. I have since remedied that. I replaced the broke Bridge with a Gotoh Tune-O-Matic, spent the extra bucks on Gibson P-94's, CTS pots and .15 mfd Orange drop tone caps. Since it was a rare set-neck Ibanez and had a solid mahogany body/neck, I knew given the proper electronics, it could sound killer. I was absolutely correct. One of the best playing and sounding guitars in my collection. Completely re-wired so as to overcome any Ibanez wiring shortcuts they are notorious for. Everything in the cavity is new and wired by yours truly. Only structural mods were enlarging the pot post holes to fit domestic CTS pots. And it sounds creamy creamy creamy! The rating I would give for the original configuration and components would be 2.

Overall Impression — 10
I play heavy blues-based rock. Ibanez pickups are only good for one thing- 80's hair metal shredding, which I hated in the 80's and like even less now. I have issues with Ibanez wiring and pots, too. Too many shortcuts and budget basement parts. This is the first Ibanez I have owned since my Roadstar II, some 20 years ago. I simply do not like them, usually. Bolt on, treble heavy, lousy pickups, bad tone- UGH! But this one is different and I had never seen one before. I've been playing for 30 years, owned many, many guitars, my favorite of which was a non-reverse 1965 Gibson Firebird with three P-90's that was stolen from me. This guitar with the P-94's cames as close to that sound as anything else I've owned. Run through my 70's Music Man HD-130 reverb head through a Marshall 4X12 cab, it sounds like heaven. If lost or stolen, I would do whatever it took to find another. Although it needed extensive upgrades, once done, it is an amazing guitar. I love it, all around. Great tone, great construction, great palyability. All of the things I hated and made it sound so...Ibanez-y are gone. The fret access is by far and away the best playing feature of this guitar. Plus, it looks really boss. As I said, it very closely imitates the sound of Vintage P-90's in a Firebird, but a little richer and darker, and it actually plays better. My wife has an eye for quality and knew that, given enough TLC, this one could be THE guitar. She was absolutely correct. As for any other Ibanez guitars? I don't think so. Tricks are for kids, I like guitars with tone and personality. Ibanez, generally, produce neither. But this one? Wish I had ten of them.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Solid as a rock. Well made (Korea has become THE place for great, cheap axes), good tone woods and good basic design. Hardware is very good for stock, but that'll eventually hit the dustbin, too. Removed original strap buttons to install Schaller locking system, but they were solid, as well. Finish should last, but will eventually be buffed to a semi-gloss as it's played, as all satin finished do.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Factory set ups are never very good, but this one was surprisingly near what I like. Once I finished setting it up to spec, I was surprised to find it is probably the best playing guitar I own since the theft of my '65 N/R Firebird. That is saying quite a bit. Pickup adjustment was fine, but the pickups were so God-awful it didn't matter. Now, they're perfect. Bridge, as I said, was Chinese junk and gave up the ghost as soon as it was touched. Machine heads, pegs are quite a bit above what would be expected. Stays perfectly in tune. Fretboard is smooth, well grained and quick as a bunny. Binding is a nice touch and adds class and good looks. Matte finish is alright, but if they'd spent a few extra pennies on gloss, It's have been worth it. Evenually I'll re-spray it with Nitro.

Features — 6
Given to me as a gift by my wife, who saw the guitars potential. 2004, World plant, Korea. 22 fret, rosewood fretboard, semi-chunky, very NON-Ibanez neck.Fairly wide, fairly low frets. Solid mahogany gem cut body, set three piece mahogany neck. Satin black finish. SG style body, string thru Tune-O-matic bridge, dual buck 3-way pickups (Simply awful sounding. They're gone, now.) No idea who made the tuners, but the original Bridge was Sung Il garbage that broke the instant I began to set intonation- also gone, now.

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