Purchased from: American Music Supply
Sound — 10
The two Ibanez humbuckers are good quality, and the sustain is incredible, no lie. Clean or muddy, this guitar does sound very good. The bassist in my band works for Ibanez, and he turned me on to this guitar. He said that "It's the best quality guitar Ibanez makes," and he was right. No matter your style of music, you can find a way to really personalize this guitar. A great buy, no, probabally the best buy for the money.
Overall Impression — 10
I personally play music such as Led Zeppelin, NoFx, Iron Maidien, Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Nirvana, Bad Religion, Sevendust, System Of A Down etc. A lot of different styles. If you want to drop down with this guitar, you must buy. 11 gauge strings. They come out of the factory with.09 gauges, and too much pressure with your palm will make the strings rub the bridge pup. If taken care of, this could be a guitar you could hold on to for a very very long time. I was going to buy a Gibson SG, but I honestly enjoy playing this more. Sounds amazing, I would def. buy it again. I wouldn't Switch the pickups out either. I like active pickups like EMGs, and I love Seymour Duncans, I have a single coil sized humbucker SD Hot Rails in my Strat, but I honestly think that the SZ pickups are great. Buy it, you'll like it.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar is light. I'm worried that if I bang it bad, it will crack or chip. The hardware is good quality, toggle Switch will never break, and I mean never. Much better than a Les Paul toggle. Strap buttons are very solid. My strap buttons on my Strat broke off after 2 months! It seem dependable, I haven't played a show with it yet, but I would not use it on stage without a backup, I suggest never playing on stage with out a back up.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Not bad. It's an Ibanez. If you're use to playing a Fender, Gibson, or PRS, it's different. I personally like it more than my Fender. It's wide from top to bottom, and skinny from back to front. The three-piece set in neck is fantastic. So much more comfortable than a bolt on like the Strat, and easier to reach the higher frets than a Les Paul. It is a very good looking guitar, with the flame inlay on the 12th fret. The natural wood finish gives it a professional look, almost like it cost more than it actually is worth. Lightweight, pretty, medium action. Pretty cool.
Features — 8
I was reading these reviews before I purchased my Ibanez SZ520, and I noticed that everyone gave it a 9.5 or above (I promise to give an honest review). Needless to say I was still hesitant to purchase this guitar. I am left-handed, and if you want a specific guitar you have to order it online (being a lefty). I have been playing guitar for 12 years, and I currently own a Fender Strat. After getting this guitar, I am quite satisfied with the purchase. It's extremely light weight to my suprise, so much lighter than my Strat.