S520EX review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (309 votes)
Ibanez: S520EX

Price paid: $ 592.5

Purchased from: Leone's Music World

Sound — 10
I mainly play metal, like bands such as Bullet for my Valentine, (older) Avenged Sevenfold, and a little bit of Slayer, and there isn't a guitar I've played that felt better. Seriously. It's extremely easy to move around with, because it's so thin and light. Currently, I'm running it through a Fender 25R Frontman amp with a Boss Metal Zone MT-2 distortion pedal. Through the amp itself, it's got a bit of noise in the background, but when I patch her through the pedal, it shows that noise Who's Boss (ha ha, funny). The distortion, cranked up to full on the pedal, sounds incredibly crunchy. The clean channel on the lead pickup sounds like the beautiful part of a song of the Devil. It's what I picture Satan's singing voice sounding like xD.

Overall Impression — 9
This guitar stands up against songs such as I'm Alright, by Niel Zaza, but then, you step on that Boss pedal, and I rip out Bad Horsie by Steve Vai (with the help of my friend's Wah-Wah, of course). This guitar, although was originally designed for Metal and Hard Rock, I think if need be, it could be appropriate in the most professional of occaisions. I've been playing guitar for close to 3 1/2 years now, and I also own an old Univox Hr-335 (A Gibson Les Paul Rip off), that's a semi-acoustic/electric. When I got this guitar, I seen the difference in guitar making from '56, to '04. It felt so much more solid, yet it's lighter. This guitar is a guitar I would definately buy again, over and over and over again. To be honest, I sort of want to start a collection of S520's, and just get them all custom painted. That would be wicked xD. I love the tremolo system. It seems to be one of the most sturdy parts on the guitar, which is surprising, because it does the most movement. I do, however, wish the guitar was more of a flat black, instead of high gloss, because it would show less finger prints.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will stand almost any beatings you can put it through (without actually trying to destroy it, of course). I think everything on the guitar is solid, but above all the strap buttons reign supreme in that category. Slamming down on the guitar often has a wearing effect on the buttons, but I've yet to run into a problem with it, and I highly doubt I ever will. This would be my only choice in guitar for a gig. Really, I think bringing anything aside from a $1500 Jackson would be a slap in the face. The only thing I don't like about the finish, though, is that it shows finger prints quite easily.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar, from factory settings, is awesome. It's perfect for me. There are zero flaws in it, and I find everything completely perfect. Almost all of the hardware was covered (and still is, actually) in plastic protective coating. I've had no problems with the action what'soever. I find that the strings are low enough for me to sweep, but with zero fret buzz (a modern marvel).

Features — 9
I'm fairly sure this guitar was made in 2004, in Japan (not 100% though). It's got a super sleek and think 25 1/2" 3 Piece Mahogany neck with 22 killer jumbo frets, with three solitary scratch inlays at the 12th fret. It's got a Solid Gloss Black finish (I'm fairly sure it's the only colour that's available, but I've also heard of a mythical Ultra Violet that's apparently available, but I've not seen one with my two eyes). It's got a locking tuner head, which, once you get it tuned right, is incredibly convienent. Sadly, though, the locking heads make it take a long time to tune, until you get really used to it, and once you get it tuned, you almost don't want to waste your perfect tuning job by unlocking the heads to change the tuning. Almost every time I pick up my guitar I find myself wanting to change tunings. It's got a sort of modified Floyd-Rose style bridge, which Ibanez calls the "ZR Tremolo System". According to their website (I haven't physically taken the guitar apart to check if this is true, that's crazy), there is actually ball bearings inside the system, to allow for easy, uninhibited tremolo use. Also, I find no matter how hard I reef of the Whammy bar provided, the guitar stays in the perfect tuning I managed to achieve (like, really, I honestly held the black beauty by the bar after wailing out a tap harmonic Dime Bag style. A gutsy move though. I was fairly drunk with excitement at the time) Although there was no case supplied with it (it came in a plain old brown box, which has become my new fort), I decided to blow $75 on a black hard-shelled case (it's got black velvet lining on the inside, which highly compliment the look of the guitar. Two pockets on the inside are perfect for keeping your spare picks, a tuner, or maybe even a pedal and a patch cable or two). It came with an extremely short patch cable, maybe 5' long, which is just sitting inside the case now, but I think it would be very useful if I was ever down a cable, and just needed something to go from my amp to my pedal. It also includes Five different sized Allen Wrenches (six-sided). Only one I've used so far is the 1/4" one for the locking tuning head, but I'm sure they were included for a reason, and for someone more acquainted with the guts of a guitar than I am.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    im trying 2 get a new guitar...iv narroed it down 2 this and the Dime-O-Flame...BOTH EXTREMELY COOL!!! what do u guys think? i play all ROCK and METAL, and can SHRED/Sweep pick...what u think guys?
    vengeance302: The Scale is 25.5 I do believe, with 22 frets. This sounds like an aweosme guitar by all the great reviews it gets, i'm saving up for one when I get a job.
    are the pickups from this guitar active and what neck joint does it have
    i owned the guitar for like, a hour today. my grapa traded my fav strat today behind my back and got this for me today. i was really upset but i tried it and i noticed to sounded like total crap (found out i left my wah on the bassy part by accident lol)but i loved my old strat and i brought it back, i felt kinda bad, but i loved my strat :< (note the guitar didnt stay in tune at all, i tuned the open strings to normal but when i compared them to other strings they were completely off, and they were in tune...)
    oh yeah forgot to mention i tried it before and i fell in love with it, but i still love my strat more :x
    I own a strat and this guitar but.. This guitar will kill, rape, pillage and burn any stratocaster in its wake. It will play absolutely anything you throw at it, and surprisingly, it outdid my fender on ALL fields, not just metal. If your I.Q. hovers somewhere above 50, you should know how to tune and adjust this guitar within fifteen minutes of having it in your hands.
    I fell in love with this guitar when i played it at Guitar Center and a few weeks later my parents bought it for me! I think its the best guitar i've ever played. Its a little costy (600$) but totaly worth it.
    blash have u ever tuned a floyd rose before, because one of the main points of this guitar is that it stays in tune no matter what u do to it