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.