Ibanez Paul Gilbert signature AF2 Airplane Flanger – review

This purple monster will rock your world!

Paul Gilbert has been making people drool over his modified ADA flanger for many years. It’s all well and good GASing for an effects pedal, but when ADA were a company that had folded many years ago, and finding ADA flangers is an improbable exercise what is one to do?

Thankfully Paul Gilbert and Ibanez had been working on making a signature flanger with all the cool tones Paul’s modified monster is capable of, and more.

At the start of this year Ibanez and Paul announced the release of the Ibanez AF2 Airplane Flanger, an awesome retro-looking purple monster of a pedal.

Thanks to the guys at Better Music in Canberra, I was able to borrow an AF2 for me to review. After seeing the specs, and the videos on the Internet I was wanting one of these bad boys, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I hope to pick up one to keep in the new year.

The Ibanez Paul Gilbert signature AF2 Airplane Flanger is a fantastic pedal to use.  It has two modes available in the pedal; the “Taxi” mode which offers you four controls (Manual, Speed, Range and Enhance); and the “Takeoff” mode which gives you the crazy flange sound previously only available in modified old ADA Flangers. There are two footswitches, one to turn the flanger on and off, and one to switch between Taxi and Takeoff mode.

Paul Gilbert was kind enough to write up some of his favourite settings for the pedal, enabling you to dial in awesome tones as soon as you open the box. From here you can build on them and create your own flanger sounds.

The only real problem with regards to ease of use (and it’s not really a big problem) is that the pedal can only be powered by your standard Boss style 9 volt DC negative tipped power supply. It’s no great deal though, Ibanez clearly must have thought that the there was no point to putting a battery option on the pedal. It would probably chew through them pretty quickly.

Ibanez and Paul Gilbert really did some wonderful work designing the AF2. The pedal is really easy to get awesome vintage, modern, and crazy flanger sounds out of. Add to it that the aforementioned Paul Gilbert settings are available in the instructions, and dialing in great tones are easy.

Another awesome thing that Ibanez have packed in to the AF2 is some sort of noise gate. Flangers are quite often noisy pedals, and Ibanez saw fit to fix this straight out of the box. With the flanger engaged it is cutting out all noise almost instantly when you stop playing notes.

The AF2 really is a versatile flanger pedal, as it is capable of generating flanger tones heard in many different styles of music. You can get  those psychedelic vintage 60’s tones, EVH and 80’s rock/metals swirls, through to awesome slow flange tones that sound great in modern metal.

One of the settings listed in the manual is a Wah Tone. It mimics the “sweet spot” on a wah pedal where some might set their wah for a great cutting solo sound. It definitely works nicely at cutting through, and could be very useful for soloists who don’t have a wah pedal.  Paul Gilbert says he has never heard this sort of tone from a flanger pedal before.

You can also go all out with the AF2 and create retro SCI-FI lazer pistol sounds, police sirens, and of course the signature Paul Gilbert “Takeoff” effect.

The AF2 is a well-built pedal with metal chassis construction, and nice solid footswitches giving that nice sturdy click you expect from good footswitches. The pots used for the controls seem to decent units too. The base of te pedal also has some nice rubber feet lifting it off the ground slightly. Ibanez have taken care to build a solid, quality unit, and I see these pedals lasting for some time.

If you are looking for a versatile flanger that provides amazing tones, and out of this world sounds look no further than the AF2 Airplane Flanger. It’s built to last, and will inspire you with the sounds you can create.

A big thanks goes out to Better Music in Canberra for allowing me the privilege of borrowing gear from their store. There are a great bunch of knowledgeable guys there.

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