S420 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (113 votes)
Ibanez: S420

Price paid: £ 359

Purchased from: GAK.co.uk

Sound — 8
I mainly play metal and some neoclassical [I mainly use the rectifier model on my Roland Micro Cube], and this guitar suits it perfectly. I like to use the neck pickup [Inf1] for lead playing because I love the smooth tone I get in the higher register. Unfortunately, the tone starts to become a bit muddy lower down. The bridge pickup [INF2] has a great clarity to it. The tone sounds brilliant when compared to the INF4 pickups, which are used on RG120 I have. I can easily get a varied tone with the amp settings. I can go from dark sounds to a scorching HOT lead tone.

Overall Impression — 9
This is definitely a good match for my style of metal. I've been playing for over five years now and I have finally found the right guitar for me. It plays great, looks great and just is great. As I've said before, I have an RG120. While it was a good guitar, this S420 simply outclasses it in terms of features and playability. My favourite features on this guitar are the thin body, thin neck and the ZR tremolo system, which can definitely take a divebomb beating! I compared this S420 to the RG470 and went with the S series because I've heard good things about the trems and I did not want another RG shaped guitar. I also like the S420 HH configuration. I don't want a single coil getting in my way. The only thing I wished this guitar had [let's be reasonable here] is a greater choice of finishes. While I love the BBS finish, I would have preferred a sunburst yellow finish.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar definitely seems solid. If my RG120 could withstand live playing, I certainly not see why this S420 cannot. The hardwear seems like a tank. The strap buttons are solid, but I put some washers in as straplocks just to be safe [my RG120 nearly went crashing into the ground because I didn't do this to it]. The finish seems like that it will last a long time. Once again, if the finish on a low-end RG can last long, this one should too.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This guitar was set up perfectly from the factory. After I tuned the guitar [strung with 0.9s - 0.42s from the factory], I noticed the intonation was pretty much perfect after I did the 12th fret harmonic test. I didn't even notice a fingerprint on this guitar. The bridge was routed well too. My only complaints are that the bridge pickup was not that high enough for me [I like my high output]and that the volume knob is slightly looser than the tone knob.

Features — 10
This Ibanez S420-BBS was made in 2010 and has these features: - Slim mahogany superstrat body - Blackberry sunburst finish, which looks damn sexy - Zero-Resistance bridge - Lightning fast 3 piece maple Wizard III neck - Infinite 1 [neck] and 2 [bridge] pickups - Standard Ibanez tuners - One volume and one tone knob - 5 way pickup selector switch - neck humbucker, parallel connected neck humbucker, neck and bridge, one coil from neck/one from the bridge and the bridge. Great versatility! This Ibanez also features the Zero Point System. With the Zps bar in, the movement of the bridge is similar to that of a Strat, but has better tuning stability. If you take it out, the bridge moves just like a floating trem would, but with slightly less tuning stability. I've taken my Zps bar out, and the tuning stability is still amazing.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have the blackberry burst. Replaced pups with DiMarzio Tone Zone (bridge) and Air Norton (neck) and this guitar is my main workhorse.
    ..Kinda dissapointed,, I've just bought this "well, I thought Perfect -unblemish guitar"- i've tested the guitar for about half hour - no problem,,.. but when I got home .. and playing for some 10 mins.. "horrible Sound comes out from the Speaker of the Amplifier.. Tried the same set-up with my Yamaha RGX420 D6.. and my Cort EVL-K4.. "No Horrible-Buzzing Sound".. Therefore "there is something wrong with my New S 420... the dealer - is willing to replace with a brand new one-- warranty--- (Although-- I loved the Neck, String, Intonation set-up we did in the store for about an hour- i do not want to replace this guitar )the store will take about two weeks. Zero stock in the store.. Anyone -whatseems to be the problem -Iv've checked with Barrel Jack- pretty -all wires were connected in their own-place...
    For everyone arguing, the S320 is of slightly lower quality [the quality is indicated by the first number.e.g. RG120 is low end while S5470 is high end. All S models got 24 frets in 2010.
    I just bought one 3 days ago, and I haven't played it yet mainly because the ends of the frets stick out past the edge of the fret board and they could do some damage to one's hands.. any of you guys ever came across the same issue with this particular model? i'm going to wait a couple of weeks until my guitar tech friend comes back from a trip and take a look at it