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Saying goodbye to Telecasters and Jazzmasters

Ibanez AX120 Metallic Baltic Blue

It happened...

...I have no more Telecasters nor Jazzmasters. All traded out.

Here's how things went down:

My standard rule with guitar acquisitions is if one comes in, one must go out because I don't hoard guitars.

When I bought the Ibanez GAX30, I traded out the Sonic Blue Squier Jazzmaster.

When I bought the Ibanez AX120, I traded out both my Squier Bullet Telecaster and Squier '72 Telecaster Thinline.

Yes, I bought both Ibanez guitars within just a month's time, because I think they are just that good.

I'll have more details on the AX120 later this week. While it may look similar to the GAX30, there are several things about it that are quite different, so watch for that.

Why?

Once I experienced that lovely 24.7" scale neck on the AX series Ibanez, I was absolutely amazed at how much better my fret hand felt playing it compared to a 25.5".

I know the 24.0" short scale exists with the Squier Mustang HH and Squier Jaguar. In fact, I briefly owned a Jag, but hated the position of the bridge as it was always getting in my way. The Ibanez with its 24.7" scale and its bridge positioning just suits me much better.

When I got the GAX30, my Telecasters immediately got put away and I barely even touched them. After a few weeks, I picked up one of my Teles, started playing, and... wrist strain. Not bad, but noticeable. Just minutes after going back to the 25.5" scale, my wrist told me that it was time to part with the Telecasters.

And so I did. The Telecasters went out and I got a second Ibanez AX, this time the AX120 model.

Why didn't I get the AS63 or GART60, which also has the 24.7" scale? Price and appearance. The AS63 doesn't have the block inlays. The AS73 does, but that's out of my price range. The GART60 was within my price range, but again, dots on the neck and not blocks.

As said above, the GAX30 and AX120 look similar but are definitely different, each with a distinct tonal character. I'll be covering the differences soon.

What changed enough for me to jump ship?

My playing style changed enough to where I needed a shorter scale guitar, but it had to be one that felt right, looked right and was priced right. The Ibanez was it. They had the right guitars at the right price, and I jumped on it. I have no regrets.

At this point in my guitar playing life, I don't know if I'll ever go back to 25.5" scale again. And that's not just for Fender and Squier designs but any guitar of that scale length.

Is 25.5" bad? Of course not. But my fret hand doesn't agree with it.

Would I go back to a Telecaster if one were offered in a 24.75" scale?

Maybe. But the problem is that nobody builds one for a reasonable price.

Yes, I could buy a "Gibson scale" conversion neck from Warmoth, slap it on a loaded Tele body, and ta-da, 24.75" scale length Telecaster. But the cost involved with that? About $600 or more, all told...

...and I'm about to spend that kind of cash just to get that shorter scale neck. With an Ibanez AX, the cost is $150 to $200 - for the whole guitar. And it's a darned good guitar at that.

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