GSZ120 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.3 (91 votes)
Ibanez: GSZ120

Price paid: £ 99

Purchased from: Vision guitars

Sound — 8
The original pick-ups are pretty good for classic rock and blues, but they sound pretty thin, almost single coil like, not particularly HOT but to me they seem very smooth. Add a decent pre amp or pedal and you can get a great metal tone as well out of the bridge p-up. The neck pick-up is actually quite sustaining considering is low output, sounds much like a single coil, rich tone and great with cleans. I use a Boss ME-25 and a Marshall MG100HDFX head with a Marshall 1922 2x12 cab. It sounds absolutely fantastic just straight through amp, especially for the price! Surprising it goes very well with my Schecter C-1 Exotic Star. Also to my biggest surprise it pulls off harmonics quite well too. I swapped out the bridge P-up with a DiMarzio X2N and added a magnet to the neck pickup to increase the output, oh boy does it sing! The X2N compliments the tone of the basswood strangely well, reacting to how you play your guitar, if your aggressive it will really show in your sound, and vice versa.

Overall Impression — 9
I play a varied style of music, and with the X2N now in the bridge, it fits everything I do. With the X2N and the guitar together it cost me 140 and its the best money I've spent on gear. I own a Schecter C-1 Exotic Star and it really does compete with that in all categories. I love the feel of the guitar, the easy playability, the sound, the versatility, the size and the look. If it was lost or stolen I would get another one in an instant. I actually traded in an S470 and almost got an RG instead, but the guy at the counter actually recommended this instead, Genius! I only wish I could have a locking trem with this guitar, and that the X2N came as standard with it. This guitar is like the lonely kid from school who everyone underestimated but after trying out for the team, shocked everyone by just owning a-s! If I ever get famous with my own signature model this will be it!

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar WILL without a doubt withstand live playing, and does so on a regular basis. So far I have been playing this guitar for 2 years and have not noticed any hardware issues, everything seems so high quality considering the price. There's no oxidised metal, no loose pegs or screws, nothing. I have not had any incidents with the strap buttons, the only incident is the jack nut came loose, a quick tighten and everything is fine. I rarely take a backup to gigs due to travelling issues and I don't fear in any way that I would need one.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought this guitar second hand, so after setting it up I noticed the action was so unbelievably low. I did the penny test, placing a penny under the strings and it held it pretty tight. I dare say it would go even lower if your into serious fine tuning of the frets. The cut away on the bolt on neck allows full access to the 22nd fret, and the medium frets offer reasonable space for your fingers, especially if you have rather large hands. The neck is pretty quick and quite small so jumping between octaves is sooooo easy! The body for me is quite comfortable and being a particularly small guitar, doesn't weigh you down or get in the way too much. To me It feels small but mighty, however you can't really wear this guitar low, as you would probably look silly with it been a small guitar. I've allowed others to play this guitar and they all say the same thing, its so easy to play, but its a bit small. It stays in tune really well, taking a battering from the hardest of players. The finish is very hardy, its had a few knocks and bumps but the finish seems pretty thick and protected. Sadly the back is pretty scratched from my belt but ah well.

Features — 7
Volume knob for each pickup, one tone knob for both, 22 frets medium, basswood body, standard pickups, full tune III bridge. (I added a DiMarzio X2N to the bridge).

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