S420 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (113 votes)
Ibanez: S420
1

Price paid: £ 350

Purchased from: Music King

Sound — 8
I play a broad range of styles. The band I'm in plays alternative rock and this guitar certainly fits in nicely to the style. It is certainly a versatile guitar even with the infinity pick ups. It makes a nice change to the Epiphone Les Paul Black Beauty I also own as its not continuously rich with tone but this guitar has a good amount of tone and sustain considering its breadth. I use it with my Boss ME-20 pedal and so far have only used it through a 15-watt Marshall practice amp. All my presets are set for my les paul and I hardly need to change anything other than eq to accomodate this new guitar. I also play some steve vai/joe satriani instrumental rock/metal stuff and this guitar finishes it off nicely with some added chorus/phaser. Its no les paul or Gretsch when it comes to deep tone blues but the pick ups give a nice muddy blues sound with the right suopport and on clean the guitar does have good clarity, particularly with the neck pick up in parallel.

Overall Impression — 8
This guitar in my opinion truly is craftsmanship. It goes without saying that this review makes it look like it shines out over anything and I'm not saying it does but it sure is good. Others of you will have different experiences if you purchase this guitar, that goes without saying but I can't fault - not yet anyway. I've been playing for 7 years and have only owned this, my Les Paul and a Tanglewood nevada. If you want to get a guitar with a tremelo bridge do not pass by a guitar with a ZR bridge. Even if you want a stop tail or can't decide the amount of spring tension you can add on this just my rubbing your thumb over a wheel is incredible. Although I will say if you have the extra cash then buy youself a good set of pick ups or go for a higher spec model such as the S570 or a prestige. I love the bridge and the overall shape of the body. Personally I don't really see the point in active pick ups, I wouldn't choose a guitar based on that. I had a little list going of guitars I would be interested in owning and it came down to a choice between this and the new Ibanez RGD320, which is very nice even though it has an Edge III bridge which is why I came to my decision but if you're in the market check it out. I would buy this guitar again in a heart beat if I was deprived of it. There's only one thing I would change/wished it had and that is it would look really cool in white (would like the choice of some other colours for this guitar) and it would be perfect if the neck had some nice artistic inlays/fret markings, although I could produce my own in fairness - I'm just lazy. I imagine over time maintenance will be needed but so far I am thoroughly impressed - well done Ibanez!

Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar I can see surviving a skydive with no parachute. At the outset it's so thin it looks like you could put your hand through it just with a hard strum but no it is completely solid and strong. Strap buttons are solid, the tuning lock doesn't move a nanometre, and the neck is very well solidly attached to the body. This guitar could withstand any gig. It's very durable. The ZR bridge looks monstrous on this thing (in a good way) and using it makes you feel like you're going to rip the guts of the guitar yet it withstands Herman Li style whammy bar lifts and the best thing about it is the tuning doesn't go, it is a very stable piece of kit. I wouldn't think twice about using this without a back up but wouldn't let my les paul miss out on all the action.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I was concerned that on receiving my guitar the action might be set high as my friends of mine have had the experience of ordering an Ibanez and the next day taking it in to the local music store to be set up properly, but no I'm extremely happy with how its set up, the action isn't high, the neck is perfectly straight and fast, the tremelo is set perfectly, frets are finished beautifully, the pickups are equal height to the strings - overall, good job Ibanez!

Features — 8
Made in Indonesia the new 10 Ibanez S420 alike the previous S320 has a matt black finish, infinity 1 & 2 pick ups (these give it a very bright yet muddy tone. I may replace the neck pick up with a DiMarzio at some point), 5-way selector and zero resistance tremelo bridge featuring the ZPS and spring tension adjustment system for easy adjustments with a tuning lock at the top of the neck. This guitar has 24 frets. It only has 1 inlay on 12th fret but there are markings down the side of the neck to help you not get lost. It has an Ibanez wizard II neck which is very smooth and thin. The fret board is rosewood and the neck maple with a mahogany body. It comes with a lead, all the tools for the parts, a gig bag and strap. A great piece of kit. It is extremely light and very thin but sturdy.

40 comments sorted by best / new / date

    rottman
    INF pickups are not as bad as people say... at least the bridge pu, for distorcion. they have a simple sound and you can ear every note, the rest of the job it's on EQ and AMP (with an all-tube amp). fame doesn't mean quality, and please don't be infected by Marketing
    toast565
    doive wrote: 1) why have a 5-way selector switch on a guitar with only 2 pickups?
    Have a look at the ibanez website if you care enough, there's some vaguely impressive system which kind of turns the humbuckers into single coils and combines them in various ways... don't know how good it sounds though..
    jneal1221
    haha i wanna get this guitar just cuz of the name... paint that shit red yellow and green with bob marley's face on it in black!! 420!!!
    enselmis
    I've got a korean made 620, and it's damn nice, especially with DiMarzio's. Too bad mine doesn't have 24 frets. Damned earlier models, although I only got it a year ago.
    axeslinger0u812
    I have the 320, and it sounds great, in my opinion. Nice, warm tone that offsets my jacksons bright tone nicely. The bridge and feel is perfect for me, but I found the main problem with the guitar to be the string locks. Very poor quality. I only changed my strings four times before the one of holes got stripped, and I can't lock the low E and A strings at all. Disappointing. I usually use it for rhythm playing anyway, as the jackson is built more for leads, but the 320 bridge is just so fluid and smooth, it's a shame. I would definitely recommend the guitar on all other specs for someone shopping in the price range though. The string lock problem could be an isolated issue as well. Just a heads up.
    1nSingularity
    i'm now put off buying this as the pickups seem rather poor quality. Someone compare the muddiness to an Epiphone SG so I can get the picture
    Vedicardi
    I've been looking at this model for a while, and I didn't realize it was so cheap online! I'll be going for this ASAP
    G-Sage
    nice guitar, ive played one but CANT STAND floating bridges, damn you to hell floyd rose, damn you
    evan-simpson22
    I actually like these jacks cause this way when you sit down and play it, if the guitar is leaning on the chair it isnt bending the crap out of your string, and i happen to have played this guitar, there was no inlays, i didnt like that..
    rlheart
    when was the production on these switched to the indonesia plant? my S320 was made in Korea.
    fenderarmy
    gulliver wrote: I have the S320 (although I hated the black, so re-painted it) from the look of the review and Ibanez website the only difference between my S320 and the new 420 is it now has 24 frets... (the 320 only has 22...) What an innovation!!!
    I have the S320 also, and mine's got a Dimebucker in the bridge, surprise surprise. I'd kill for those 2 frets. Also, you can't fit a Vox amPlug in the input, which angers me to no extent.
    khag82
    I guess there have been some problems with weak materials in the bridge on the S320. Does anyone know if this issue has been fixed by Ibanez for the newer model? Has anyone had trouble with crap materials with the S420?
    EGENSeeker
    I Just put my downpayment on this guitar. It's gonna take a week to ship. I can't wait
    Janak
    Are you people ****ing serious? You seriously don't realize that the difference between the S320 and the S420 is the fact that the S420 has 24 frets?
    Farid Macleod
    Chozodragon wrote: 8000man wrote: looks great.. I just hate the looks of where you put the jack I wish it was on the side of the body instead It's very easy to jack in and out with this feature. But I rather agree with you, it's not really beautiful =\
    i agree !! maybe it's so thin that they couldn't do this :
    Geldin
    I'm considering getting one of these now. It's even in my price range!
    warbeast19
    i have almost the exact everything on my guitar. i have the s520, which was made in indonesia too.
    8000man
    looks great.. I just hate the looks of where you put the jack I wish it was on the side of the body instead
    Chozodragon
    8000man wrote: looks great.. I just hate the looks of where you put the jack I wish it was on the side of the body instead
    It's very easy to jack in and out with this feature. But I rather agree with you, it's not really beautiful =\
    EpiExplorer
    Friend has this, his main guitar, different finish I think though. Sounds alright, actually, but its a little uncomfortable to play sitting down. Whammy bar is alright, but the locking tuners dont seem to hold very well.. though they do hold if a string snaps from the top end (which incidently, is what happened )
    JustLikeMe
    boogie_maan wrote: that's a S320 !!!!!
    no. This picture is directly from Ibanez official page for S420.
    gulliver
    I have the S320 (although I hated the black, so re-painted it) from the look of the review and Ibanez website the only difference between my S320 and the new 420 is it now has 24 frets... (the 320 only has 22...) What an innovation!!!
    swampie
    What's the difference between this and a 320? Anyway I recommend this guitar (if it's anything like the s470 which I assume it is) to anyone who needs a great all around guitar.
    cobracarg
    swampie wrote: What's the difference between this and a 320? Anyway I recommend this guitar (if it's anything like the s470 which I assume it is) to anyone who needs a great all around guitar.
    the difference is the number of pickups... you can either hsve 1 or 2,,,
    MR.Shamanistica
    EpiExplorer wrote: Oh wait a sec, my friends is an HSH setup.. what ones that then?
    Humbucker single humbucker?
    FenderMaster
    have the s520, looks and sounds almost exactly the same, same body, same bridge, neck etc, and inf 1 & 2 pick ups. it feels nice, but i just don't feel comfortable resting my hand on the bridge, and tbh, the locking nut didn't keep it in tune that great.. i actually removes the whammy bar for that reason... love the neck and body, not a big fan of the bridge or pickups
    EpiExplorer
    MR.Shamanistica wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: Oh wait a sec, my friends is an HSH setup.. what ones that then? Humbucker single humbucker?
    Yeah. everythings the same on this guitar as on his, except that pickup setup.
    doive
    2 questions? 1) why have a 5-way selector switch on a guitar with only 2 pickups? 2) how can you judge a guitars sound having ONLY played it through a 15w marshall practice amp (i assume an MG)