SZ520 Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 07/31/2009 category: Electric Guitars
Ibanez: SZ520
The comfortable slim body with fat Mahogany tone and sustain that made the S famous is there -- but the SZ features simple fixed bridges and a 25.1 scale neck that has a different feel than the S guitar's 25.5 scale.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.7
 Reliability & Durability: 9.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5
 Features: 9.5
 Overall rating:
 9 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.6 
 Users rating:
 8.4 
 Votes:
 225 
reviews (15) 18 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 11, 2005
3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Features: I believe it was made in 2004 but mine came with the Seymour Duncan pickups so it sounds even better than the one without them. And the SZ without the Duncans still sound better than a double humbucker $700 Gibson. It has 22 medium frets on a rosewood neck. A solid mahogany top with a great quilted top. It looks sweet. A string thru body so it sustains longer than a any other guitar I've played. I'm serious you can hold the same note a lot longer. It's a double humbucker and freakin rocks. Also if you like the heavy Gibson / acoustic guitar feel it has that. // 10

Sound: I play everything from Metallica, to Linkin Park, to RA, and even as soft as Dave Matthews and this guitar still pulls it off, with the right setup it can do everything. I just use a Roland 30 which gets me by for now and though the amp isn't fantasitic it still sounds good. It has a very rich full sound much like a good acoustic. And when you swith it to the lower pickups it's harder than you can believe. To be honest seeing as how I play so much different stuff this is the guitar for versatility so if your like me with little money, a lot of creativity, this guitar could be all you need. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Overall the feel and look of this guitar is fantastic the only complaint I would have is that the strings and pickups are set up a lot like an acoustic but on an electrics so if you jamming hard the 1st string can sometimes slip off the boards. The cool part is that the frets are set so high that if you push hard enough you can move it in and out of tune. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It won't break or scratch or ding, I've banged mine on everything and it's still brand new. It will last longer than everything else on the guitar, and into the next Ice Age which could be soon. // 10

Overall Impression: If you want to play all kinds of music because your not sure if your taste will change or even if you want to stick with one music this guitar is for you and especially for the money. And nothing compares to it. // 10

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overall: 9.8
SZ520 Reviewed by: nathan_killeen, on january 14, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Features: I don't know when this guitar was made but I do know it was made in korea, but whenever this thing was made it was almost perfectly in tune when I took it out of the box! It has 22 medium frets with no inlays, except a rather cool looking SZ-flame at 12th. Also, it has a 25.1" thru-neck design, and the whole guitar is made of mahoghany, of which you would expect to be quite heavy- but its strangely light. I bought the blue quilted maple finish and I have to say it looks amazing, and the blue finish even goes up the neck to the headstock, which looks and feels amazing when your playing. It has 2 special SZ passive humbuckers which sound amazing, 3 controls (2 volume, 1 tone) and a 3-way selector. Probably the best feature of this guitar is the Gibraltar 3 fixed bridge with thru-body stringing, this is like a Tune-O-Matic but with smooth edges and no stoptail, add this to the set neck and it results in massive sustain, almost as good as a les paul. Also, the stock tuners on it are pretty damn good, as it takes ages to go out of tune, like I said, it was in tune out of the box. // 10

Sound: I play mostly metal, and this guitar gives me exactly want I want. I currently play it through a 30 watt Zoom, and although this isn't the best amp in the world, it still sounds amazing. The bridge pickup gives me a perfect heavy distortion sound whilst staying perfectly clear (good for Trivium), and the neck pickup can create a great bright, clean tone for stuff like Funeral for a Friend and other more mellow stuff like Wheatus. The SZ is never noisy, no matter how much gain I put through it, and when your playing metal this is a really good aspect to have. I dont really know how much variety of tones this guitar can kick out, but I acspect it'll deliver no matter what your playing style. I compared this guitar with an Ibanez RG, and in my opinion the SZ is a much better guitar, especially if your a metal player, and the RG is supposed to be a purely metal guitar. Now that says something. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar was nicely set up from the factory, but I tweaked it to my own preferences, which was incredibly simple and quick to do, I didn't even need to use the excellent instruction leaflet that came with it, and now plays incredibly fast and smooth, and the 25.1" scale is much easier to play on. The only thing I found a bit annoying to do was set the innotaion properly, but thats only because I changed the string make and the action slighty, but it was made easy but the Gibraltar 3 bridge. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I haven't played this guitar live yet, but it has had a bit of rough play, and it's withstood that like it was nothing, it hardly ever goes out of tune, it's easy to clean and you couldn't harm the hardware even if you tried, yet alone the finish. The stock strap buttons were good, but I still changed them to strap-locks anyway, because strap-locks rule. I dont think I'd ever do a gig without a backup, 'cause that's just stupid, but if my other guitar wasnt available I wouldnt worry, because this guitar really is as solid as a rock. // 10

Overall Impression: Like I said, I play metal, and this guitar is perfect for me. I've been playing for almost 2 years now and accourding to some of my more experienced friends I've learnt very quickly. My band is competing in a battle of the bands competition in a month or two, and I can't wait to get this guitar out on stage, as just looking in the mirror whilst practising looks amazing, because its only got one inlay and its an amazing colour, so playing it in front of a crowd should be great. If this guitar was stolen I would definately but anohter one, without a doubt, I'm even thinking of getting another one just so I've got 2 to play. The best thing about this guitar is how it's such good quality, its got a thru-neck, a revolutionary bridge system and it wasnt stupidly expensive, this is by far the best guitar out there for this price, and it could easily sell for 500. I don't wish this guitar had anything different about it, except maybe some EMG's, because EMG's sound even better. // 10

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overall: 10
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 05, 2004
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 375

Purchased from: Rainbow

Features: This guitar was made in 2004 in Korea. It has 22 medium rosewood frets with a 25.2" scale. The neck has no inlays, but it really isn't something that should keep you form getting this guitar. There are markers on the side of the neck if you get lost. The scale is smaller compared to that of other Ibanez models like the RG, which has a 25.5" scale, but I find this scale much more confortable. One feature that really stands out in this guitar is the set-in neck. This is mostly found only in the more expensive models (Gibson, PRS, Schecter), so your getting great quality for an amazing price. The mahogany/quilted maple top is amazing and seems like it won't scratch. This guitar also has the Gibraltar III bridge, which is a very comfortable version of the tune-o-matic bridge. Instead of the sharp ends on the bridge, it is curved and smooth, making it more comfortable on your hand when keeping there and also extends string life. All the electronics are of very good quality and so far have shown no problems. The guitar has 3 knobs and a 3-way selctor. The knobs have different purposes than that of most guitars. The first is neck volume, the second bridge volume, and the third is a master tone. This is very helpful when switching between pickups to get a good variety. The pickups are also of very good quality (IBZ SZ1 (H) Neck and IBZ SZ2 (H) Bridge). One thing that really suprised me was the quality of the factory tuners. I tuned the guitar a week ago and it is still perfectly in tune. Every aspect of it is perfect. // 10

Sound: The Ibanez is the exact guitar for me. I play rock and hard rock, so I'm very often using heavy distortion. Ibanez guitar are very well known to play this type of music and are very well suited for it. I play straight into my Ibanez 15R and it works very well. The guitar isn't at all noisy; the pickups are really great. The bridge pickup gives a more live and bright sound. The neck pickup is much more bassy. The third middle setting is a combination of both pickups, a little bassy but not as much as the neck. All three selections give a very rich sound and each can be used at different parts of songs. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was almost perfectly set-up. The action was and is great, not too high but low enough to eliminate any buzzing. The only thing was that I had to have the truss rod adjusted. The neck was a little too straight, causing a slight buzz. The pickups were also very well adjusted. The neck pickup is fairly low and the bridge pickup high, perfect for strumming and single string picking. All together, there were no flaws with the guitar. Everything is perfect and working properly. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar definitely looks like it will withstand live playing. I haven't played it live, but when I play at home, I can get pretty crazy. It's still just like it came from the store. The hardware will last you as long as you need it. Everything is sturdy and very well constructed. I doubt there will be any problems with the pickup selector, which is very sturdily constructed. If playing with this guitar, you wouldn't at all need a back up. It is very dependable and will withstand as many hours of continuous playing as you need it to. The finish is also rock solid. I really rock out on it and there isn't a single scratch. It isn't only beautiful but very reliable. // 10

Overall Impression: Like I said earlier, I like to play rock and hard rock, so this gutiar is God for me. It fits my style perfectly. I'm 15 and have been playing for 6 months. I have to say, this is you of the best investments I have ever made. There is nothing a regret about this guitar. It's simpler than other Ibanezes, but also very good. Lock tuning was never a choice for me because of how I change tuning very often, but I still really wanted an Ibanez. This was the perfect match for my situation. If this guitar was stolen, I'd probably go crazy trying to hunt that a-hole down. But I'd definitely get another one. This is a great guitar and compares very well with other $1,000 to $2,000 guitars. You can save yourself alot of money and get jsut as good guality. I was originally planning to get an Epiphone Les Paul. Not only is the Ibanez cheaper by about $150, but it is a much better guitar. This Ibanez has a feel very similar to the les paul, but it is much lighter and of better quality. The Epiphone usually has problems with the tuners and very often with the pickup selector. This is something you won't find in the Ibanez. It is much more comfortable to play. Think of it this way. Gibson makes Epiphone, so Epiphone can not have as much time and quality put into it since it is soo much cheaper. No one makes Ibanez. Ibanez is the top of its company, so they must put their all into their guitars because it is their best and all they have. I also looked into the Schecters. These guitars also looked very nice, but a Schecter that was similar to the Ibanez cost over $600. There in nothing Ibanez should change about this guitar. It is perfect. It is a great investment for players of any skill level. Playing without inlays makes you look like a much better player too. If you like this guitar, make your choice quickly. The price of it is constantly going up. On Musician's Friend this guitar is selling for $480. It started at about $400. I got mine 2 weeks ago for $375. As you can see, I got a great deal for it, so that makes me all the happier. If the price is going up, that tells you something. It is a very good guitarthat is getting move expensive beacuse of its great quality. It is worth much more the $400. This one could go in the $1000 if it weren't an Ibanez. // 10

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overall: 10
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 06, 2005
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: This guitar is quite versatile. It is best for that les paul style sound, although with the coil split, Strat-like sounds are somewhat attainable, albeit without some of the beef. I currently use this guitar with a Mesa/Boogie Single rectifier combo amp (50W, 6l6 tubes). It is almost a match made in heaven. The bridge pup produces a very full rich overdrive tone with plenty of balls while remaining warm. For stock pickups, the SZ is well ahead of most guitar companies. The neck pickup excels on a clean channel/amp setting. Very warm, thick and melodic. Do be aware that string types can severely affect the tone. I use EB power slinkys and this thing sings! Clean sounds are bright, clear and warm. Extremely versatile guitar. Does clean, overdrive, and heavy distortion very well. I personally prefer it for those huge singing clean notes with a bit of delay. The sustain on this guitar is stunning. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Straight from the factory this guitar is stellar. Action required only a half turn on the bridge. Slight buzzing on the 7-9 fret, but it is hardly noticable. Intonation is perfect, and has not needed adjustment yet. The tuners are good as long as they are kept tight. I have noticed the B and G string tuners coming loose and resulting in detuning of the strings. This is only slight, and easily reparied with a screwdriver. No flaws whatsoever in the finish, pickups were adjusted perfectly, absolutely no complaints at all. Perfect as is straight from the factory. // 10

Overall Impression: I play a lot of different styles, from lead guitar to heavy rhythm to searing clean, this guitar does it all. I've played Teles, Strats, Pauls, none of them compare. This is the best guitar out there for the money, nothing else comes close. If it was stolen I would buy another one in a second. If I had one other guitar, it would be a Telecaster, but this one will never be replaced, only accompanied. I love it for its looks and tone. The clarity is remarkable, the warmth and depth are incomparable. I would recommend this guitar to anyone. // 10

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overall: 10
SZ520 Reviewed by: AngryGuitarist, on july 11, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 530

Purchased from: Guitar center

Features: This guitar is relatively new. It was made in 2005, Korea. 22 frets. Maple woods, with birdseye quilted finish, which looks amazing. Has the 3-way switch tone selecter, and the 3 knobs for volume. // 10

Sound: The sound to this guitar is really unique. This guitar can really play a wide variety of different things, I play mostly metal (Atreyu, Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Lamb Of God). So it sounds great on that, but I took my guitar to the real test, I played stairway to heaven on a clean channel through my amp, I went to a nice guitar store, picked up a guitar that was about 5000 dollars, played Stairway To Heaven on that, and I'd say my Ibanez sounded a lot better. My guitar instructor loves country music, you know, with the annoying string bends, I let him play my guitar, and he sounded great on it. The sound is unique on this guitar. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar set up from the factory was great, however, I must warn all of you Who choose to buy this guitar, if you use drop tunnings on a built through neck guitar, Over time the neck will bend due to the lack of tension created from the strings, if you wish to play dropped tuning music a lot, you might want to get the neck adjusted by a professional guitar repairsman. there is nothing you can do to stop it if you play in dropped tunings, this guitar was still in great condition when it was bought and in great condition to this day. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is solid and beefy. I accedently smashed it into walls many times and nothing happened. But, another warning. You cannot break the neck on this guitar, since it is a through the body neck. the guitar in other words is in one peice all tegether, so it would be a great loss if you broke the neck off. I use Strap locks on ALL of my guitars. It's worth the extra 10 dollars to get them locked in so you can do all of the wild "Steve Vai" tricks you wanted. Yes, this guitar was built to last. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar is simply amazing. For its price and the quality, simply amazing. I don't see how a person can pay double the price for a thousand dollar Gibson that sounds just as good (if not better) as the Ibanez. This is a great match for my style of music. If this guitar was stolen, I would seriously call the fbi, have them hunt down the loser who stole my guitar and demand that that same person who stole my guitar bought me 10 of the same guitars he just stole from me. Again, this guitar beats any Gibson Les Paul any day, for the price, and the sound and quality. // 10

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overall: 8.8
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 31, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: I'm not sure when it was made, as I have never really checked, but I do know that it is made in Korea. The body is made out of mahogany with a quilted maple top and the neck is made out of maple. It is a set-neck and the joint where the neck and body connects is very very well made. It looks and feels very smooth almost as if it was a neck-thru. There are 2 volume knobs, 1 tone knob, and a 3 way toggle switch. The fretboard is made out of rosewood with a unique flame/skull inlay at the 12th fret. They come with Seymour Duncan/Ibanez pickups (although, some models don't). It is also a string-thru body with a set bridge. // 9

Sound: I have two of these guitars and they both have Seymour Duncan/Ibanez pickups. The pickups are pretty good considering that they are stock. They are quiet, they suite any style fairly well, and they are probably one of the best stock pickups I have ever used. Some models don't come with these pickups for reason I don't know. I have never tried those ones out but from what I have heard, they are not as good as the Seymour Duncan/Ibanez pickups. Another interesting thing is that each guitar is slightly different in tone. I have two of these and they don't sound the same even with the same set-up. One is heavier with a darker tone and the other is slightly lighter with a brighter tone. I'm not sure if it is just my guitars or all of them are different. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I'm not sure how well the factory set-up was becuase I normally change the strings, tune and adjust everything the second I bring any guitar home. The only thing wrong I guess are the tunning pegs. It is not a big deal though, they were just a little loose and needed to be tightened. The electronics and everything else on the guitar was fine. Oh..also after playing for a while, the hardware start to oxidize (get kind of cloudy looking. It is caused by sweat and I not sure if it can be prevented or if it is a big deal. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This is one of the best manufactured guitar I have ever played. The quality is superb and can be compared to higher end guitars. The hardware, starp buttons, electronics, finish etc. Are all great. You can definately count on this guitar. Everyone needs a backup when playing a show incase of any misfortune, but your chances of needing to use the backup is very slim. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall impression... Well, I bought two of them. I bought one for $650 at Tom Lee and totaly loved it. Soon after, Ibanez replaced it with the SZR model, which I don't like, so I went out to find another one. They were not available in stores so I check ebay and bought a new one for an incredible price at $300. It was a no reserve auction and I got lucky. It is hard to find new ones these days. If you are looking to puchase one, it will pribably have to be used. For the price and quality, this guitar is 100% worth it. At least check it out if you are even slightly interested. // 9

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overall: 9.6
SZ520 Reviewed by: Bristlehead, on may 03, 2004
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: Not sure what year it was made, but I'm pretty sure (don't have it with me at the moment and I'm a little to lazy to go downstairs, heh) that is was made in Korea. It has 22 medium frets, a quilted maple top. Really nice. It looks awesome. Maple body, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard. When I bought it, it didn't come with anything! Lol, that's probably just where I got it, but I don't even know what the controls do! I got mine at $450, but now it's at $475! Seriously, get it while you can, why do you think the price keeps going up?! // 10

Sound: It's an Ibanez, of course it fits my style. I play a lot of hard rock and metal, and this guitar is God for me. I'm using it with a Marshall MG amp. Soon to be using some Digitech effects. There's a really full sound. But it doesn't sound good on a few of the settings. But I couple really rock like none other. Just mess around with it and your amp, you're bound to get something that you like with this guitar. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Everything about this guitar is awesome. The look, the feel; everything. The one thing that isn't good (but I think that it's out of my own fault) is that...dunno what it's called...where you plug the cord into the guitar...there's this thing that tightens to where the cord goes and where the cord thing is on the inside of the guitar...and it's REALLY loose. And won't stay tight. Then again, it might be me, but I doubt it. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is very reliable. I take it with me wherever I jam, and it hasn't broken yet. The finish like won't scratch. It's cool. It looks brand new even though I've had it for a while. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, this is a very good guitar. Pair it up with a good amp and some good effects, and you don't need a $1,000 guitar to sound awesome. 'Nuff said. // 10

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overall: 8
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 05, 2004
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 474

Purchased from: Steves Music Store (T.O)

Features: The guitar I purchased was made in Korea, however I am not sure if it's a 2004 or 2003 model. There are 22 medium frets with rosewood fretboard. The neck is 25.1, which to some guitarists, is a bit short. The top is maple with a quilted pattern and the body is mahogany. The thickness of the body is just perfect for me since I'm a small person. Pickups are double humbuckers - one at the neck and one at the bridge. The bridge is string-thru body design that helps strings last longer because there aren't much of an edge force on the strings. Three controls - vol, brightness and tone. The guitar also comes with a neat inlay of 'flame' located at the 12th fret, there are side dots located on the neck. // 8

Sound: Personally, I play mostly worship music at church. You can say mostly acoustic sounding, but I do try out some rock and alternative christian music. This guitar had the look and sound that I wanted. I more rockier sound with the double humbuckers, and no single coils. Currently, I have a Crate GT15 2004 model, and it works fine with my DigiTech RP300 Multi-Effects Pedal. I play for fun, so I don't play in gigs or anything, it's more of a hobby which I enjoy doing. I find the clean and distortion sound quality from the guitar reasonable - with the price I paid. I'm pretty much happy with the sound quality from this guitar. // 6

Action, Fit & Finish: When I first picked up this guitar, the action was really low. I prefer playing at a low-medium height, and so the salesperson was nice enough to adjust it for me. The pickups were not adjust as I liked the way it sounded right from the box. The bridge was different for me, since I had a Pacifica there was more string space for my palm to rest. With the SZ, I found myself placing my palm on the bridge which felt more comfortable for someone like me who had small hands and arms. There were some minor flaws in the guitar, but it was due to other people testing out the guitar. One or two scratches on the guitar, they were not visible unless you look closely. The fretboard had some white tiny markings near the nut and at the last fret. Besides that, the guitar was in good condition. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I only played this guitar in church, and it reponds very well. Since I use a less expensive amp at home, the sound quality is boasted much more at church because the amp is louder and bigger. The hardware will definitely last me at least 10 years for someone like me. Of course, that's if you don't bang your guitar at the walls and floors! The strap buttons are solid and wide so your strap will stay in place, but I changed them with strap locks just to avoid any accidents and ensure better safety for my SZ. I think if you do a lot of gigs, this guitar is pretty versatile and tough, it will last you a couple of years. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, I am impressed with this guitar. For the money I paid, it's worth every dollar I paid for it and even more. I only been playing for a bit over 3 years, and I have tried playing guitars that are over 1000 dollars. The quality of those guitars are better, but this guitar has them just by a bit. I never liked the look of expensive guitars, some reason, most of them seem to look a bit odd than cheaper guitars. Maybe it's just my preference on design, but the SZ definitely has a good mix of some famous guitars. It had the Fender 'Strat look', Gibson 'Les Paul' Double Hums, PRS inlay and headstock. It was just the exact and ideal guitar I wanted and now I own one. And if I wanted to trade this guitar, I would only trade for the upgrade version of the SZ, that's if Ibanez comes out with one in the near future. // 8

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overall: 9.6
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 27, 2004
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 474

Purchased from: Tom Lee

Features: This is a 2004 model made in Korea I believe. It has 21 frets, and is a solid top. This guitar is all mahogany for body and neck. The finish is quilted top. Pickups are double humbuckers - one at the neck and one at the bridge. The bridge is string-thru body design that helps strings last longer because there aren't much of an edge force on the strings. There are 3 controls given, volume, brightness, and tone. // 8

Sound: The sound is absolutely fantastic. I play many contrasting styles, and it fits for each of them. I have a Marshall Mode Four Guitar Amplifier Full Stack with MF350 and 2 MF400 Cabinets and since I payed almost $3000 USD for it, it definetly brings out the sound in this guitar. It's got a rich and full sound, and it's very, very clean. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was great, everything was set up to my liking. All the pickups were adjusted perfectly. The guitar didn't really have any flaws but I do have to complain about the strings that came with it. Buy new ones. They last forever since the guitar is made so the strings can last a long time. But I bought a pack of Elixer Strings anyways. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I play in a band thats been performing for 3 years now. The guitar looks like its gonna last me atleast 10 years. The strap buttons are solid, but I advise you get strap locks. I once had a Mexican Fender Strat that dropped onto the ground because I was playing it and the strap slipped off the button. I've been playing guitar for over 5 years, trust me, get strap locks. The guitar looks like its Bullet proof. It looks brand new even though I've had it for almost six months. // 10

Overall Impression: I have one of the most expensive guitars you'll ever find, a Gibson Custom Shop Jimmy Page Signature Les Paul Electric Guitar, and as much as I hate to say it, the Ibanez SZ520 sounds like its one of these. A $600 dollar guitar sounding like a $4,100 guitar. I have to compliment Ibanez, this is perhaps their greatest guitar. If anyone stole this guitar, I would hunt them down and shoot them. This guitar is so great. The bright blue finish is absolutely wicked. A lot of people have complimented it for looking so great, and some of my friends think that it's a $10,000 dollar guitar and refuse to play it! // 10

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overall: 10
SZ520 Reviewed by: NotQuiteFree, on january 04, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 480

Purchased from: Albany Music, Albany, OR

Features: My new favorite guitar has a beautiful quilted maple top and a "Black Berry" finish. It also includes the flame inlay at the 12th fret. Made with a through-body style neck, the guitar is built like a rock. It's design also provides throbbing bass while still allowing for screaming lead licks. The classic dual humbucker pickup combo allows for surprisingly clear clean sounds, as well as stunning distortion capacity. I am in love with the Gibraltar III bridge, and the strings passing clear through the body. 3 controls given: top pickup volume, bottom pickup volume and mix. This unusual control scheme allows for great sound control and tone adjustment. // 10

Sound: This guitar plays amazingly both clean and distorted. The powerful SZ1 and SZ2 pickups push every note through with stunning clarity. I play rock and punk, and for both, the guitar astounded me. I also play some Green Day, "Good Riddance" (a completely acoustic song) on the split setting, and it is almost as if I am playing on an acoustic guitar. For humbucker pickups, I have noticed almost no noise coming through. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I am uncertain as to wether or not Albany Music set the guitar up or repaired it in any way, but when I got my hands on it, I discovered that the action was perfect! I was stunned. The pickups are spaced perfectly from the strings (to the millimeter). The body, controls, and the tuning pegs, I am certain, will last forever. This guitar is built for the road. // 10

Reliability & Durability: As I have mentioned before, this guitar is build like a Sherman tank. The finish isn't going to wear off, not even with years of playing. The through-body neck design ensures that it will last you forever. I wouldn't be afraid to take this guitar to a show without a backup. Not even close. I wouldn't do this with either of my other guitars (Fender Satin Strat, Ibanez GSA60); they're just not built with the same quality and care that this guitar was constructed with. // 10

Overall Impression: Due to the nature of the rock/punk music I play, this guitar is perfect for someone like me. I know I treat my guitars like they're made of steel, and I know that I can expect this one to perform. If this guitar was stolen from me, I'd buy another one. I know, also, that even if it isn't stolen, I may buy another one of a different color somewhere down the line. I was surprised the price was so low for the quality of the product. Thanks Ibanez, and keep up the great work! You've made me a loyal customer. // 10

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overall: 10
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 05, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This guitar is amazing. I had a Johnson Strat in the past and have been playing for 2 years and getting this guitar was the best thing that's happened to me. It ahs set in neck, easy tuning knobs, and I love the Gibraltar III bridge. It has the two knobs for adjusting volumes and the mix one, which can make very cool sounds. It's body is all mahogany with a bound rosewood finger board and has 22 frets. // 10

Sound: I play a lot of rock type of music from metal, to alternative, to emo acoustic and am in 2 bands at the moment and this guitar makes the perfect sound for all the types of music. Playing on it (when on the right settings) it's almost like playing an acoustic guitar. I use a old school Fender amp (125 watt) and the amp isn't the best or anything but the guitar just overcomes that. I also use a Zoom effects pedal and/or a Dunlop overdrive pedal. This guitar is very sensitive to the touch considering you can hear the smallest fingering on it even if you aren't strumming or picking anything which makes riffs a lot easier for me. It can sound quiet and eerie for the gothic type of music, heavy on distortion for metal, just flat out pop rock sounding, and acoustic for emo softer kind of stuff. There is a large vairety of sounds this guitar can make. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up very well, and the pickups were adjusted well. It had everything perfect. Absolutely no flaws in the finish and making of this guitar. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definitely withstand live playing and will sound amazing while you're at it. The hardware seems durable enough to last you a long time. The strap buttons stay solidly on and never fall off (unlike my other guitar). I was most definitely use this guitar on a gig without backup. The finish is good enough to last and would most likely not wear off with lots of playing. // 10

Overall Impression: The Ibanez SZ520 is perfect for any type of music and a great match. If it was stolen or lost I would most definitely buy another one! I love the sound of it and my favorite feature is the distortion with high depth chorus because it makes such a rich and full sound. When I was going to buy a new guitar I was at first going for a Epiphone SG going at $200 but when I saw this guitar I just immediately had to plug it in at the store and fell in love with it. The 12th fret flame inlay also really just tops it all off at gigs because people will go crazy when they see someone shredding a really cool looking and sounding guitar. // 10

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overall: 10
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 31, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: I bought this guitar second hand when I was on holiday in Boston (I am originally from Belfast Northern Ireland). It was however in brand new condition when I got it. I think the person who sold it must have just needed the money really really badly and had nothing left to sell, because there can be no other reason for selling this guitar. Maybe he needed a kidney? I think the guitar was made in 2004 but cannot be sure, and was made in Asia but I cant be more specific. It has two humbucker pickups, placed perfectly in kneck and bridge positions. The pickups are amazing. I sat for about three hours the day I bought the guitar trying out the various guitars they had in the store (and they had everything). I tried Jacksons, Telecasters, Strats, Gibsons, other Ibanez guitars and they all sounded ok. Then I tried a Schecter and immediately noticed a massive increase in sound quality, however the build was putting me off. It didn't look very well made, the workmanship was cheap and sloppy looking. I was going to buy it however when I tried the Ibanez SZ250 as its good looks had caught my eye, and straight away you just know this guitar is special. The sound quality is in a league of its own. It blows all the other guitars out of the water (even the Schecters) due to its great pickups, excellent build quality, materials used, and bridge and kneck. All combined they give amazing tone and sustain. The Gibraltar III bridge is an excellent peice of kit, and the flame inlay on the fretboard is just another great bonus. I also love the neck on this guitar as it alows easy fast playing because it is thin, and the great sustain means you just have to touch the strings for great solos, but it is also great for playing chords, and can have a great acoustic sound and tone. I own the blue coloured SZ250 and love the colour, it looks sweet, but also professional. // 10

Sound: I play mainly alternative rock music, such as Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Deftones, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Babyshambles and so on. The guitar is great for alternative rock as you can get some very cool sounds, and really no matter what you would be playing I think this guitar will still sound amazing and fit that type of music. You can get a very wide range of great sounds with the guitar alone, exasserbated by the amp you are using and possbile effects, the sounds are pretty much limitless. It is hard to make this guitar sound bad! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: As I got the guitar second hand I have no idea how it was originally set-up, but I doubt it was set up very differently than when I recieved it. When I recieved it, it was set up perfectly and I have no complaints about this guitar at all! // 10

Reliability & Durability: The guitar is strong and the body is resiliant. The strap locks are also a lot better than on any of the other guitars I have as they are alot wider making it virtually impossible for the guitar to fall. I would never advise anyone to use a guitar at a gig without a backup, but if you were going to do it, this is the guitar. The fretboard is also very tough and resiliant and will last a long long time. // 10

Overall Impression: I have been playing gutar for about 5 years and have never played a better guitar. I like the sound of Gibson SG's in sound but they don't have the same neck scale and I find them too stiff and don't like the strap lock positions, and I like Stratocaster necks but they don't have the same sound quality especially in tone or sustain. This guitar hits the nail on the head for me, as the neck makes playing solos and shaping chords very easy and sounds better than anything out there for the price, or even for three times the price. If you are thinking of buying a new guitar, try this one out at a music shop and you will definately want it, and for good reason! Good job Ibanez! // 10

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overall: 9.8
SZ520 Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 03, 2006
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 655.2

Features: Brand new and in excelent condition straight from the shop. People have already said all the basics about the guitar so I won't go into it now. I have the black version of this guitar and I have no complaints at all. I fell in love with it when I saw it and all other guitars didn't compare. I wasn't so keen on the other colours but the wood finish on them makes up for what ever colour you choose. // 10

Sound: I think that this is an extremly verstile guitar and you can produce pretty much any sound you want to out of it. I play mainly rock, punk and alternative with quite a lot of distortion but with out all that it has a brilliant full and warm sound. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was very well set up and adjusted. No flaws even though it had been in the shop for a while. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I haven't had this guitar for very long so I can't really comment on its durability but it's survived a few live playings but only with another electric as well so I don't know how it would handle by itself. // 9

Overall Impression: I also own a Mexican made Fender Strat which is completly different from the Ibanez. They are both brilliant but its depends what you are looking for. Really the only thing you can do is pick it up, play it and if if you love it buy it! If it were stolen or lost I think I would buy another one the same. My only compliant would be that it didn't come with a strap and the one that I chose doesn't stay in one of the strap buttons very securely but thats easily sorted out. I am very impressed by this guitar and by its value for money. I was considering the Fender Telecaster and the Ibanez SAS32 but they were out of the picture as soon as I picked up the SZ520. // 10

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overall: 10
SZ520 Reviewed by: acytonestd69, on march 20, 2006
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Sound: I play metal and hard rock. This guitar matches up to my playing style. I play lead and rythm guitar. I use Kustom amps and Ibanez FX and Dunlop expression. This guitar can get noisey in a good way and a bad way. The bad way is slang for good, using my street cred as much as possible. When the pickup selector is set to the neck it has a very warm rich sound and when it's on the bridge it has a real good quality for distortion. I find it like in sound quality to a Les Paul, just better. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: It was really good but I had to fuck around with it because of my cousins complaint that the action sucked. I got it back to factory setting. Everything on this guitar was pretty well adjusted. The flaw about this guitar is on occassion the screws from the bridge get loose and are a pain in the ass when they come out. I still love it to death. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I used this guitar for a few shows plus on an upcoming show in April. I not only have used this guitar with out a backup, I survived through it. I lovt the SZ model so much I have 3 of them, all tuned differently. And one I think I will be doing work on the pickups. The finish on my guitars will last a long time 'cause I take care of my guitars almost everyother day. // 10

Overall Impression: I luv Ibanez guitars and they match my playing style almost to well. I've been playing for about 5 years now and I've primarily been playing Ibanez guitars. I wish I had asked if they make an Ibanez SZ single cut. If this guitar were stolen I'd be out for blood and looking for this guitar. I love that it's mine I hate Fender guitars my favorite feature is going to have to be the action and how well the neck is. // 10

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overall: 8.6
SZ520 Reviewed by: |Matt Dolan|, on august 15, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 400

Purchased from: Regent Street Guitars

Features: 22 average sized frets with 25.1 inch scale, allows good reach to higher frets. Solid mahogany body with quilted top which looks VERY nice. Gibraltar 3 bridge. 2 volume, 1 tone and 3 way selector controls. Seymour Duncan Pick-ups. Good stock tuners that don't let the guitar go out of tune easily. The guitar is quite heavy, bit lighter then a les paul, I like the weight of it as it isn't to heavy but allows you to feel as if it isn't going to break easily. There was no acessories with the guitar I bought. // 8

Sound: I still use the stock pick ups with mine, which are great. The Bridge pick up is a aggressive attacking kinda sound which sounds good with gain, good for stuff such as metal/punk. The neck pick up is a warm tone, good for blues. The pick ups aren't noisy at all to be honest. This guitar has the same kind of versatility to a les paul, and does it very well. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up well when I purchased it, I'm not sure if the guitar shop did anything because it was bought for me as a suprise. Everything seems to have been in working order in the year I've had it. The pick up height was nice. The finish as I stated earlier is very nice. I got mine in 'Transparent Purple', I love the look of the dark purple with the ripples of the quilted maple in it. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've bashed it off my slanting roof in my bedroom quite abit, and it's that spikey artex kind of texture, finish hasn't been chipped yet. The hardware is all nice looking even after the year of abuse it's had from me. The strap buttons are quite good, but I'd defo buy a strap lock when if I started to gig properly. I'd use it without a back-up for the occaisional gig I do with my band, but every guitar needs a back up. The finish is top notch. // 9

Overall Impression: I usually play stuff such as, Arctic Monkeys, The Cribs etc, generally indie pop/rock whatever you want to call it, the same as my band plays. I've been playing for 3 years now, my practice amp is a Fender Frontman 15G, hopefully upgrading to an Vox AD50VT in the near future. In band practice I use an AVT50 half stack which I get a good tone out of. I've also used it in a Peavey valve combo for recording, but I can't recal which model it was, whatever one it was, it made it sound very good. If this guitar were to be stolen I probaly would buy something like a Epiphone Les Paul prophecy or Zakk Wyldd Epiphone, but that's only because I love having new guitars, but the Ibanez SZ520 is a very good guitar for the price and I would suggest it to anyone. The only thing more I could of asked for the guitar to have is coil taps, but even without them the guitar is still very versatile. // 9

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