S520EX review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 5
  • Features: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.7 (309 votes)
Ibanez: S520EX

Price paid: C$ 700

Purchased from: Ibanez Distribution Center Canada

Sound — 7
I play metal mostly, and for being an "extreme metal" guitar, I wasn't that impressed, I still have it sitting in my room with all my other guitars, and I prefer my $500 Dinky to it to be completely honest. It does have a thick mahogany sound to it, very warm, but it just feels lacking to me. All in all a decent sound I guess.

Overall Impression — 7
Overall I didn't particularly like this guitar all that much, it's a beast when it comes to holding up and staying solid, but none of the other features to me stood out all that much. I was pretty disappointed with this guitar, but I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Apart from all the bashing I have done on this guitar, Ibanez has always to me been a pretty solid guitar manufacturer. This guitar has lasted me years, and I have played the hell out of it to try and make it work for me, and just screwing around and jamming, I have never played it Live, but it can withstand a beating. The strap buttons, when I got them like I said were loose, but they do hold up after a little tightening. For thin little toothpick of a guitar, it holds up with the best of em.

Action, Fit & Finish — 5
I'm a bigger guy so I need a guitar that will fit me properly without me feeling like I'm cradling a small child that I could crush in any moment. that's the impression I got from this guitar, it just feels feeble. I hate to just sit here and bash the guitar, but it's about time for a real review. I don't like the small body, it was too too slim. The neck is a whole other story, I understand some people do like thinner necks for "shredding" ability, but for me it was too slim, I the back of the neck almost felt flat to me, like it had the round sanded down or something. There were definately a few screws loose as well. The bottom strap peg was loose, and the tremolo was the most difficult thing to change (I play in drop B#, I got it in Standard). Not the greatest first impression.

Features — 6
The S520EX was my second choice of guitar when I took my trip up to the dist center. I was kind of disappointed when I was handed the guitar, but I figured for lack of a better reason I should just try her on for size.The features from the super thin, super small body, to the horrible trem, I must say were pretty lame. The tremolo didn't allow the guitar to stay in tune for long enough, and any drop or rise in the trem would cause the strings to go completely out of tune. The pickups (for my taste) were extremely weak, but that's probably just because I'm used to playing EMGs. The finish is a very nice, I thought, but easily chipped away. For me, perfect amount of knobs, I don't like too little or too much so it was a good balance. I guess you get what you pay for, this guitar comes from Korea, and though I don't like to admit to Japan, or USA made guitars being better, the proof is in the playing.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I just went from a fat, heavy, more expensive Schecter Hellraiser to one of these ($500 during a guitar center sale) and... it's amazing. It's actually interfering with my job, because all I can think of is playing my new S520Ex. If you're looking for a slim design, you should definitely it give it a try.
    i was just wondering which would be better the SAS32FM or the s520ex because i have the choice between the 2 but im not sure which one would be better for me...i play mostly metal and alternative
    Broke the headstock on my Gibson yesterday. Went to Parker Music (Houston) to look at Schecter mainly, as well as PRS. I have actually avoided Ibanez like the plague in the past. I picked this one up on a whim because of its thinness (is that a word)? This f#cker is light. Played so smooth, natural and easy. I feel so stupid for having disdained Ibanez in the past. This guitar is my new-found love. My Gib was heavy; the beautiful Schecters were even heavier; this axe is nothing on my shoulders. I'm an aging punk rocker (1st gener) and so the weight is a huge plus. I know the axe is more metal oriented but this girl can play tear jerking cleans too. So any thing from classical to the most satanic of metal can be accomplished. This guitar f#cking rocks, dude.
    would this be good for playin stuff like (trapt, underoath, blink, new found glory) just email me thanx ashrr213@yahoo.com