Ibanez AX120 Review

Written by Mark Le. Last updated on September 18, 2020.
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Ibanez AX120 Review

Guitarists and their guitars are almost like kings and their crowns. When choosing a guitar for your church band, you must carefully consider all its features and elements. Your guitar must interlock with you as a musician and also produce a good sound quality on stage.

This is why you need to know all about the guitar you intend to buy. A solid option for churches or praise bands is the Ibanez AX120. It is characterized by its versatility which makes it suitable for all occasions. If you are considering the Ibanez AX120, then reading this review will add value to your decision.

The inaugural moment for my current likeness towards this guitar was when a teen garage band emerged in my neighborhood last year. I was apprehensive since I expected it to be a nuisance, but I was pleasantly surprised, especially when I heard the guitar solos.

Hearing the rich sound and tone, I knew I absolutely had to ask about it. I found out that the kid was using an Ibanez AX120, and I promptly added one to my own arsenal thereafter. Since then, I have realized the full potential of this guitar.

When I bought my very first guitar, I could not find holistic reviews to examine and this eventually resulted in certain losses. With this review, I intend to make sure that you may not have to experience the same. Read on to find out more about the Ibanez AX120 electric guitar.

Things to consider when buying an electric guitar

No musical performance is truly complete without a guitar. Guitars form the cornerstones of enchanting praise and worship music pieces. You would certainly want one in your band to have an impact on the congregation. 

It is always better to conduct thorough research before jumping right into purchasing an electric guitar. The quality of music depends upon the instrument and its features. Test out each of these things at a store and decide what works best for you.

If you are a beginner, then you should probably opt for an acoustic guitar. An acoustic guitar will help you polish your skills and allow a more nuanced learning of music.

Here are some dimensions to judge a guitar by when selecting an electric guitar, be it for praise bands or personal use:

The Tone

Hollow or solid body? Poplar wood or swamp ash? All these factors affect the tone of a guitar. The importance the tone will hold for you depends upon the way you want to use it.

Do you wish to use your guitar for live performances or recordings? If it is solely for a church band, you would want an electric guitar that allows you to stay grounded at the moment without having to worry about the tone. You'd best be looking at a range of guitars that can produce silky smooth solos and crisp, clean chords.

The Feel

The feel of an electric guitar harbors great importance. You would want to go for a guitar that feels great and natural to hold and play. Things to consider include the size, radius of the fretboard, and thickness of the neck, amongst others.

The Look

The way an electric guitar looks is, of course, a point to keep in mind. Electric guitars come in a lot of simple or funky patterns. You would want a guitar that looks good in all environments.

This is a factor to consider especially when buying a guitar for a church band. You would want to pick a guitar that looks elegant and classy, and not a heavy, extremely flashy guitar.

Presenting the Ibanez AX120 Electric Guitar

Whether it’s a good tone that you’re looking for, or an attractive look and affordability- I think that the Ibanez AX120 has got you covered on all bases. In a nutshell, this guitar is a 22-fret, solid-body electric guitar model by Ibanez.

The AX120 is suitable for players all across the spectrum of skill. You could be a beginner, an amateur, or a seasoned professional, and this guitar would still suit you. It is versatile, and fit for all genres of music.

This guitar ships as part of a bundle, and that is something I personally appreciated. This is good because it benefits beginners, who may not have all the gear they require to start playing. It also comes with a soft cover and cleaning cloth.

The Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24 electric guitar is a popular and leading choice for church purposes. It has a solid maple and mahogany construction and dual humbuckers. These make it capable of vast variations in tone.

Compared to this, the AX120 also boasts of Classic Elite dual humbucking pickups and impressive tonal range. It has a shorter sustain, due to its poplar body which is softer than mahogany. The AX120 is lighter and produces brighter tones than the PRS SE Custom 24.

The 2019 version of the AX120 replaced the poplar body with basswood. The treated New Zealand pine fretboard present in the 2018 variant was also exchanged with jatoba. In 2020, the original bridge was swapped with the new Gibraltar Performer.

The AX120 is suitable for all kinds of users but if you are a gigger, you should look for other options that are more sustainable and can handle greater wear and tear.

Pros

  • Affordable and cost-effective
  • Classic look and elegant body
  • Great sound quality
  • Bright, clear tones
  • Solid construction with double-cutaway body
  • Offers different sonic options

Cons

  • Shorter sustain
  • Neck feels heavier than body
  • Stock pickups are not that great, get feedback
  • Fret ends may be sharp
  • Fretboard is not entirely smooth

Primary features and benefits - Ibanez AX120 Review

Ibanez is a known name in the music industry, with its reliable instruments and brand. The AX120 was introduced in 2018 as part of Ibanez’s AX series. Let’s take a look at the features of the Ibanez AX120.

Body and Tone

It has a solid body made of poplar wood, which is great because it helps in producing brighter, clearer tones. The poplar double-cutaway body is sturdy while being lightweight, and this is a positive feature to have since it allows comfortable long performances.

Have you heard of Steve Morse? He is amongst the most renowned guitarists across the globe, and he vouches for poplar body guitars. In fact, his signature guitar is made of poplar wood.

The Ibanez AX120 offers resonant and meaty tones. However, one thing that I wish I knew before I dabbled in it was that it has a shorter sustain (the duration the strings vibrate for before the note dries out) than a lot of other guitars.

The poplar wood body is the reason behind this because it is a relatively softer wood. To beat this, the guitar also comes in a basswood variant if you buy the 2019-2020 version.

The guitar has a tortoiseshell pickguard and fixed bridge and tailpiece. The 2020 Gibraltar Performer bridge has 10.5 mm string spacing, which is ideal.

Neck - Ibanez AX120 Review

The body is bolted to a neck made of maple. It has a 22-fret treated New Zealand pine fingerboard and comprises of proper binding as well as white block position markers. The scale length is 628 mm.

I prefer rosewood for fretboards since it is smoother, but treated New Zealand pine holds up well too. The 2019-2020 versions use jatoba, which is certainly an improvement.

I once had friends with a pair of toddlers over at my place, and they got their hands upon my guitar. Needless to say, I had to make quite a few fixes after that.

The bolt-on neck of the AX120 made it really easy to repair it. This is why I recommend it over set necks. Bolt-on necks are cheaper and easier to repair.

Electronics and Strings

As I mentioned before, the AX120 has dual humbucking pickups. This is great for you since it rejects noise and interference using phase cancellation. A smoother, louder, and deeper sound is produced as a result. This kind of sound is bound to echo beautifully in a worship or praise performance.

The Ibanez AX120 offers two tone control setup switches, two volume switches, and a three-way toggle switch. Thanks to this, you can benefit from a lot of different sonic options, which allows you to produce a more personalized sound.

The tuners are simple to use, though they are rather ‘soft’ and you will need to tend to them quite often. Some people complain about the tuners not being properly aligned, but I have not come across this issue.

Customer Reviews

I believe that the best and most fool-proof way of confirming the quality and reliability of a product is to go through customer reviews. Wouldn’t you agree? I visited various forums and searched all over the internet to gather enough information from people who have tried and tested the Ibanez AX120.

Most of the reviews are positive and people are incredibly happy and satisfied with this guitar. It seems that the AX120 serves church-goers really well and is preferred by praise bands too.

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Alternatives to the Ibanez AX120

The Ibanez AX120 is very cost-effective. Its features are also desirable and are not likely to leave you dissatisfied. However, there may be certain reasons due to which you may not be able to buy this guitar. In that case, here are some alternatives:

Ibanez ART120QA

If the dependable nature and top-notch quality of Ibanez have got you hooked, you could go for the Ibanez ART120QA as an alternative to the AX120. It does not only look cool but sounds great and won't break the bank either.

It is very similar to the AX120 in almost every way.

In comparison to the Ibanez AX120, here are the variations:

  • Purpleheart fretboard
  • Richer and fuller sound

PRS SE Custom 24

The Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24 electric guitar is perhaps the most sought after guitar when it comes to praise bands. It offers top quality at a relatively low price for a PRS. It has all the pros of the Ibanez AX120 and none of the cons. 

In comparison to the Ibanez AX120, the differences are as follows:

  • More expensive
  • Mahogany body
  • Rosewood fingerboard

Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS

You may be looking to buy more than one guitar for your church and may want to seek an electric guitar that will not push your budget.

The Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS is a competent yet low-priced electric guitar that you could check out. This makes it an affordable option if you need to buy it in a greater number.

In comparison to the Ibanez AX120, this guitar has the following variations:

  • Standard, single-coil
  • Standard humbucking
  • 647.7 mm scale length
  • Laurel fingerboard
  • Lower price

The Final Word

Every church needs to have a worship and praise band to elevate the congregation in a joyous celebration. Even for solo performances, string instruments are necessary.

Before you buy a guitar, it is crucial to go into detail about its performance, range and features so that you make only the best decision. The Ibanez AX120 is a befitting guitar that serves all purposes and leaves the users as well as listeners happy.

In fact, even if you are not searching for a guitar specifically for the church, the Ibanez AX120 is a good option. It looks elegant and classy, feels great, and also has a wonderful tone.

Before I bid you farewell, I would like to remind you that when it comes to making decisions, all things must be taken into account logically and practically. Don’t worry, because based on personal experience, I can say that the Ibanez AX120 will not disappoint you!

Article written by Mark Le
An enthusiastic and charismatic Christian – dedicated to living a life of full service to the ministry through helping churches in bridging the gap between the Gospel and Technology.

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