Ibanez AEW40ZW Review – Looks and Tone
One could assume at first glance that the AEW40ZW is all looks, but you’d be wrong. It is a guitar that can also deliver a good tone whether acoustically or through an amp.
The AEW40ZW is a steel-string acoustic/electric made by Ibanez. The top, back, and sides are all laminate zebrawood. The top is backed with X-bracing. The shape of the body is Ibanez’s own AEW design with a soft Florentine cutaway that allows access all the way up to the 17th fret. The body is bound on the top and bottom with rosewood. Wooden multi purfling is on the top.
The mahogany C-shaped neck is topped with a rosewood fingerboard that has maple dot inlays. There are 20 frets on the satin finished neck that has a radius of 250mm (9.8”). The plastic nut has a width of 42mm (1.65”). The headstock has an overlay of zebrawood to match the body.
The bridge is rosewood that is topped with a compensated plastic saddle. The strings are anchored with black plastic bridge pins. The rosette is a simple maple circle. The scale length is 648mm (25.5”).
The onboard electronics are an Ibanez AEQ-SP2 preamp with a Fishman Sonicore pickup under the saddle. The controls are treble, bass, and volume knobs. There is a built-in tuner that bypasses the output when engaged so the audience doesn’t have to hear you tune. There are two outputs- a balanced XLR and 1/4” jack. The battery door is right next to the preamp controls, and it takes a 9-volt battery.
There are two strap buttons already installed. The tuners are chrome die-cast tuners with black knobs. It only comes in Natural High Gloss finish, but there are different AEW models to choose from with different wood tops like walnut, spruce, and quilted ash.
The body dimensions are: the lower bout is 406mm (16”), the body length is 508mm (20”), and a maximum depth of 101.6mm (4”).
There is no case included with the price of the guitar. Ibanez recommends their AEL50C case, which is hardshell with plush lining.
When I walked into the local guitar store this is the guitar that grabbed my attention. The zebrawood is stunning, and the use of maple and rosewood for accents just adds to the beauty.
The neck is very comfortable and fast. It is narrow and slim so those with really large hands may have issues with it though. The satin finish does not get in the way of playing.
The sound is sweet and very even across the registers. It also has a good dynamic range. Plugged in it maintains its good tone. I’d prefer a 3-band EQ and a phase switch, but I think that is just looking for something to complain about. The only other minor gripe I have about this guitar is there is a slight neck dive. Otherwise this guitar has both looks and tone.
- Slim and narrow neck is both fast and comfortable.
- Absolutely beautiful look.
- Includes both a 1/4” jack and XLR outputs.
- Would prefer a 3-band EQ and phase switch.
- No case included with the price of the guitar.