S520EX Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 03/26/2013 category: Electric Guitars

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Ibanez: S520EX
With fast, flat necks, thin bodies, and a fat mahogany tone, these Ibanez S520EX guitars are for extreme metal players, but are versatile enough for all genres.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.6
 Reliability & Durability: 9.4
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.3
 Features: 9.1
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (17) pictures (6) 72 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.4
S520EX Reviewed by: 01chardw, on october 27, 2005
29 of 34 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: GAK.co.uk

Features: With fast, flat necks, thin bodies, and a fat mahogany tone, these Ibanez S520EX guitars are for extreme metal players, but are versatile enough for all genres. The Ibanez S520EX is thin around the edges for comfort, but thicker around the neck, with Ibanez pickups and Ibanez's ZR bridge for more sustained tone. Ibanez's Zero Resistance tremolo with ball-bearings combined with Zero Point System provides smooth almost sensual arming, incomparable stability and quick return-to-pitch. The Ibanez S520EX is called the Extreme Metal model and for good reason. While Ibanez S series guitars have always been able to hang in there with the hardest, heaviest metal, Ibanez decided to build an S series guitar that looked as heavy as it sounds. The S250EX features a mahogany body with a black finish, a three-piece Wizard II neck, a bound 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with a special inlay on the 12th fret, black hardware, and a ZR Tremolo bridge. The S design has proved popular with every genre from goth to gospel, and Ibanez has all kinds of artists playing it. But they noticed an upsurge in the number of players of extreme forms of heavy rock and metal asking them for S guitars. The S can already get the sounds of those kinds of music, as well as just about anything else, but Ibanez felt the S line-up needed a guitar with the right look for those genres. // 10

Sound: Humbuckers are infinity 1 and 2. Sound unbelievably good when playing metal, of which this guitar is designed for. I play it through a DigiTech RP200A. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: No flaws that I know of. Nothing loose. Action is perfect. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Feels sturdy, and I can somehow tell this guitar wil last me a very long time. Finish is a metallic grey flat and is lovely. // 9

Overall Impression: I play a lot of metal, but because this is a versatile guitar, I can play anything from funk, to blues. Please, if your thinking of getting an Ibanez, have a look at the S520EX. It will not dissapoint. I don't know why no one has reviewed it yet anyway. The best guitar I have ever played, listened to, touched, and had the honour of calling mine. You can keep your les pauls and shove them up your. // 10

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overall: 9
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 03, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: American Music Supply

Features: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9
S520EX Reviewed by: paSTAR, on august 29, 2007
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 599.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: 22 frets. Not sure what kind of neck, might be Maple, but it's slides really nice. Solid body. Shiny black finish. The cutaway is so great, easy reaching for those really high notes. 2 knobs, volume and tone, with 1 3-way selector to control both EMG pickups. Could've had a 5-way selector though. Locking tuning nuts. Bought the guitar alone. // 8

Sound: Fits my music style for really fast playing, as in metal with plenty of palm mutes. Amp used: Behringer GMX212 with a heavy metal UK sound. Equalizer: 10, 2, 8. Not a very noisy but it has it's own tone where you can hear the notes very crisply through distortion. Wonderful sound when clean as well. Guitar can make every sound that I can think of. Only one I can't do is whammy harmonics, I should've bought a whammy bar. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Not sure how the guitar was set up in a factory but the outcome was great, the pickups are rock solid and give just the right rock solid tone to go with it. Everything was great about the guitar, especially the nice finish. Guitar if any flaws, would have the locking tuning nuts open, instead of closed. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definitely withstand Live playing with the exception of smashing it and lighting it on fire. Coupled with the hardware and solid strap buttons, it is definitely reliable. I would definitely put my life on this guitar if any guitar, but to be safe as with everything would have a backup guitar. The finish is definitely excellent and will always stay on, but would need to be polished to keep it nice and shiny. // 9

Overall Impression: I play metal mostly, and this guitar is absolutely perfect for it, the distance between the bridge and knobs is just perfect for me, although for people with large hands I would not know. I have been playing for 4 years and I definitely do not regret even touching this guitar, after first playing it I could not put it down. I asked everything I could think of when buying this guitar, I asked about strings and changing gauges, how the bridge worked as well as the tuning machines. I'm very glad a had a very guitar-literate salesman. If it were stolen I would cry, but I would seriously consider buying it again. The thing I love most about it is the neck and how easy it is to play on it. I hate the locking nuts, but I can get used to it, it doesn't affect my playing. My favorite feature about it is the EMG pickups and how crisp the sound can be, of course, coupled with how good your amp is. // 9

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overall: 9.8
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 16, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 599.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This guitar is a god-send for all versatile guitarists. It is a foreign made and quite cheaper alternative to it's amazing counter part the S-Prestige. With 22 jumbo frets on a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard, this guitar is built for speed. The extra thin mahogany body with the very sleek shiny black paint job make this guitar stand out very much. Not to mention the amazing idea from Ibanez on the ZR (Zero Resistance) bridge, which fuses the full floating and the double locking tremolo systems together greatly. The tremolo is changeable from double locking to fully floating through the back piece by the tension adjustment. Just pop off the little bar and float on. The Ibanez Infinity humbucker setup gives the guitar a very crunchy sound which drives the essence of every metal guitarist. // 10

Sound: I myself am a player in the ever-growing genre of hardcore/screamo, so this guitar suits me absolutely perfectly. I run my guitar through a Mesa Dual Rectifier solo head, and am soon getting a Peavey 5150 cab for my head which will put my sound up there with the best. The guitar definately has a pretty good sound on the exception of the Infinity pickups which really don't have a wide tonal range. But despite that lonely minor setback, after raising/lowering the pickups you can really get a great sound out of this guitar. I really also like classic rock and blues and with this guitar I can Switch anytime I want to pretty much any genre I want to. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: the guitar was very well put together. I haven't even needed to change the action on it at all since I've bought it. The action is setup perfectly. The pickups however needed adjusting. I needed to raise the bridge and the neck pickups. The guitar was put together absolutely perfectly. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar has already seen shows and has tested positive on all levels. The locking nuts however stripped relatively quickly. But other than that the hardware has proven perfect. I replaced the strap buttons with a Dunlop straplok system, being as this is a nice guitar and I would hate to drop it. Overall this is a very very reliable guitar. I wouldn't give it up for anything. // 10

Overall Impression: In my genre of hardcore/screamo this guitar matches me perfectly. I have been playing guitar nonstop for around 3 years. I own a Traynor ygl mark 3 tube combo amp. I have also a mesa dual rectifier solo head. I have an Epiphone SG that I wouldn't trade for my life. a DigiTech Death Metal pedal, a Boss ml2 metalcore pedal and a really old Aria acoustic guitar. I am eternally happy with this guitar. This was a very wise decision on my part and if I had the choice I would buy the same guitar. // 10

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overall: 9.8
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 21, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 599.99

Purchased from: guitar center

Features: Hey Zach looks like my reveiw made it. Well I think this guitar was made in 2006 in Japan. This guitar has 22 jumbo-frets with a wizard 2 thru neck with 2 infinite pickups (nothing compared to an EMG) but still good. It is a solid top guitar with a nice basswood body. Nice almost glossy finish. It has a ZR-zero resistance tremelo which is no Floyd Rose but is nice and smooth in action. The pickups are passive and the tuners are locking. // 10

Sound: This is and all around awesome metal guitar and it fits my agressive style of play which is derived from Lamb Of God, Slayer and Behemoth. I'm currently using a drive amp but I think my friend Zach's Peavy Bandit would make it soun great. It's noisy on the bridge pickup but on the neck pickup it has a rich bright sound. It can make great harmonics sound (my favorite is on the 4th fret in drop d that makes it sound like an industrial siren). // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: When you play the guitar you can't help but feel like your king of the world. The pickups were adjusted perfectly and the bridge was routed perfectly. The only problem I had was when I was changing the tuning and it took forever to change it with the bridge system. // 9

Reliability & Durability: If you ever play live you need this guitar because it look and feels like you could unleash hell upon it and still look and play flawless. The hardware looks like it will last a lifetime and the strap buttons are solid as a rock. If it were me I would be okay going up on stage without a backup with this behemoth of a guitar. This guitar finish as beautiful as it is is also tough as nails it will last a lifetime with the exception of you torching and sanding it. // 10

Overall Impression: I play heavy and death metal and this guitar is perfect match. I've been playing for almost a year now and I also own a piece of crap Yamaha. If this guitar was stolen the person Who stole better hope to god that I don't find him. I love everything on this guitar except for the difficulty of tuning it. My favorite feature is the way this baby sounds. I compared it with a RG7 and an Damien FR and Damien 7, but I'm glad that I found this one. // 10

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overall: 9.2
S520EX Reviewed by: superfaligous, on july 30, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 730

Features: Well basically look at the other peopls for the features. I got it with free bag, tools, and an extra spring. Basically I'll tell you everything is comfortable and under shining light, it looks good. Well I give it a ten compared to guitars this price range. Not saying this beats expensive guitars, but compared to guitars around this price, I say it beats a handful of them. // 10

Sound: I play metal to blues and some others. The clean is ok but the distortion is killer. I have some crap amp so I use effects, I connet a Boss MD-2 thru a SD1 looped thru a ns2. Makes no noise at all. I also tried it on Marshall amps, I'd say it's killer. The distortion just kills. I would not say this is a really versatile guitar, it sure can play all music, but it especially shines in the genre metal and hard rock. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: All set up fine. Action is low and good, also really smooth. I got it set up by the shop so duno bout the factory. Pickups and finish and bridge were also perfectly fine. I found no flaws, but if you have to be skeptical there was some dust, but it's all cool. One thing I need to emphasize it that the tremolo rocks. don't listen to people telling how it's cheaply made and crap, I tell you I aint. I look at it and I abuse the f--k out of it it's still fine, and you can even raise the guitar just by holding the tremolo. Uber! // 10

Reliability & Durability: Reliable. I smahsed it I kicked it but hey it's alive. Strap buttons are rock solid, if they camoflouged it I'd say it belonged to the guitar body itself. The finish is sure to last. I mean I'd trust my life on it. It's not a delicate thing. It's strong and made to last. I could def depend on it. Though it has a tremolo but I would trust playing this without backup, and I have, and it's perfectly fine. // 9

Overall Impression: Yes this is a good match for my music I play I play metal most. I have been playing for 1.5 years and this is my 2nd guitar. My first guitar was some cheap Strat knockoff. If it were stolen or lost I would buy another guitar, because when I get better I do need a guitar in a higher level and price range. But if I was to choose again and went back to the past I would buy this guitar again. I did shitloads of research and at first I bought this kinda doubting it. But after I bought it all I had was happiness. I wouldn't tell stories about killing people to get the guitar back. I just wish it was cheaper, but hey, maybe I'm just cheap. // 9

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overall: 9.2
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 15, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 731.982

Purchased from: Back Alley Music

Features: This guitar came with its own gigbag, strap, 40 picks, and 2 allen key's for the floating bridge, its floating bridge is a locking Ibanez ZR (zero resistance)trem and has a wheel on the back which controls the torque of the trem (how hard it is to push/pull) and a slide which alters string tension, for easy changes of string gauge, useful lark. Comes with 2 humbucking Ibanez infinity pickups, neck and bridge (INF1/INF2) and a single volume knob, one tone knob and a jack dish that is carved into the body, trademark for most S series guitars. my model is in MGF (metallic grey flat) with black hardware and a 3 way pickup selector. // 10

Sound: I play mostly heavy metal but I do cross the boundry of going into blues or classical music and I can say hand on heart it fills all the check boxes for each style, it can be heavy and agressive with any pickup but depending on the attack you apply it can be soft and gentle for some bluesy licks. I'm putting it through an Ibanez WD2 (weeping Demon wah) and either a DOD Thrash Master or a Line 6 Uber Metal distortion pedal with built in noise gate and a Laney pro tune lead from the AOR series with electro harmonix tubes (old 70's tube amp customised by me) it can be noisy, but with the Uber Metal noise gate on its completely silent. the bridge pickup has a real crunchy metal sound with lots of clarity and not as much chunky sounds but the neck pickup has all the chunky & bassy sounds that you would expect. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar is put together perfectly, the pickups give all the sounds I expected, and the action is everything I wanted and more, good job. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The guitar is only about an inch wide at its thickest, at the centre of the body and at the edges it's only a few milimetres wider than the strap button but it still seems sturdy, I would depend on it live playing but I wouldnt use it without a backup because that's just crazy with any guitar. The finish is specially made with Ibanez so I don't reckon its 'thin and easy to wear off' because it's pretty well done and nice to look at of course. // 7

Overall Impression: I'm going to fit an EMG AfterBurner on it to give it even more punch and give my solo's and fills even more 'wow factor'. I love the trem on this thing, perfect return to pitch and so adjustable to your playing with the resistance adjuster and the trem acrobatics. If there were anything I hate about it it would be the jack socket keeps maybe too much of a good hold, a little difficult to remove but I suppose playing live that would be a good thing. I compared this against an Ibanez RG1570 Prestige and this only narrowly won, the RG is the next guitar I'm getting or a Jackson RR5 Rhoads. I wish it had 24 frets because I've never had a guitar with that feature and I wish it had a coil tap. Oh yeah, and maybe Hendrix's signature on it for when I need to sell it, that won't be for a while though. // 10

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overall: 9.6
S520EX Reviewed by: JakeM6381, on september 01, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 592.5

Purchased from: Leone's Music World

Features: 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

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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). // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 9.4
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 05, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 550

Purchased from: Guitar Centre

Features: 2006 made in Korea, 22 extra jumbo frets on a binded rosewood fretboard, with a beautifully thin 3 piece neck and a solid top. the mahogany gives a wonderful fat tone.In satin black in the Ibanez s style Ultra thin body. The ZR bridge is the only one of it's kind in the world and the ball bearings give it smoothness, extreme whammability and always puts you perfectly in tune. 1 volume, 1 tone and a 3 way selector Switch. comes with two box style passive humbuckers (Ibanez infinity 1 and 2)and as the trem is double locking it locks at the bridge and nut. Came with the whammy bar (which wasn't the correct one but looks even more metal with the black one I got) and all the tools etc which you would expect to come with any guitar as well as a manual. // 8

Sound: The Guitar has a lovely fat tone and you really can get some killer whammy effects with the ZR trem, however I am contractually obliged to use EMGs on every guitar I buy so the infinity pickups didn't get much of a test but trust me put a pair of '81, '85s in this and it will give you the most metal sound on the planet. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was just about perfect and from the moment I picked it up I knew it was right, the action was lovely and low with no buzz at all and the strings were not too stiff either, the EMGs were perfectly installed whilst I waited and great, and the bridge is was raised just right. The overall quality of the guitar was superb. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Solid as a rock, I've been using it almost on its own for lots of gigging for about 7 months and the trem is still as smooth and comes into tune as well as it did, the pup's still give killer metal sounds and even though I've dropped it a couple of times there still isn't much damage at all. // 10

Overall Impression: Like I said it is perfect for metal but also is a good all round guitar, I have been playing 7 years, my first guitar was a $100 destroyer and I've spent nearly 2 grand on ones before but this is the best metal guitar I've ever owned and although I look forward to buying a v blade it will have to go some way to compete with this. This goes perfectly with my Peavey cab and Boss pedals and I can replicate almost any guitar sound in the world an pull it off. Best features: definately the neck, the trem and those good looks. Worst features: not many even the stock pickups are good enough for most stuff. I thought about buying a similar priced Jackson Dinky but they're just not in the same league for playability or sound. If this guitar had emg's on the shelf and was made in the usa it would be one of the great guitars, as it is it's ceratinly one of the best metal guitars for for under 2 grand and would recommend it to everyone. // 10

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overall: 10
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 14, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Samuel Music

Features: 2007 Ibanez S520EX in the flat olive green. this guitar looks amazing and has the metal tone to match. come with locking nut and Ibanez ZR tremelo. Wizard IIthree piece neck with claw inlay at the 12th fret. Ibanez infinity 1 and 2 pickups that sound good playing anything! 3-way pickup selector, tone and volume controls. Mahogany body that's amazing for metal and almost anything else that could be played. // 10

Sound: This guitar is a straight up metal guitar! I play using a DigiTech DF-7 distortion factory pedal and a Fender H.O.T. amp and it sounds amazing! The Infinity pickups are the best I've ever owned, they can play anything from metal to blues and don't sacrafice any kind of tone. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was was put together perfectly ready to be played. the finish was just amazing flat olive green which looked amazing and got away from all the other black and red metal guitars that everyone else plays. They guitar hasn't got any flaws or anyhting that would be a problem wiht playing it or even looking at it! This guitar is beautiful! // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar maintains tuning forever! The locking nut is very efficient and the fine tuners on the bridge don't budge. The strap buttons are secure and are reliable. The finish on the body looks great and is lasting very well. The guitar comes with a 1 year warrenty through Ibanez and it covers just about all the normal wear and tear damazing that happens to normal guitars. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar is an amazing choice because of the body contours that make it the most comfortable around and becuase of amazing tone it puts out. I honestly couldnt say anything bad about this guitar! A+ for Ibanez on the design I could ask for anything else! I chose this guitar over the Jackson DKGM dinky because for the body contour! It really makes the biggest difference when playin a show, this guitar is the cadillac of guitars! Good job on chekcing this guitar out if you have and if you haven't, then you better get on it because it's gonna be ur loss if you don't. // 10

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overall: 10
S520EX Reviewed by: Dithindious, on august 06, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 395

Purchased from: Merchant City Music

Features: Made in 2006 in Korea the S520EX has 22 jumbo frets on a Rosewood fingerboard mounted on a bolt on an ultra smooth Wizzard II maple neck. This neck is nothing other than a speed demon. The Super-Strat style body is made of a ultra thin and light pice of mahogony to be light with no loss of tone. My model came in the (MGF) metalic gray flat finish which has an odd cross between matt and metallic to produce a reflective grey colour that has an almost matte feel and look to it. The bridge has one of the finest tremelo system ever designed and created in it, the ZR Zero Resistance tremelo system which provides smooth tremelo action along with precise and quick return to pitch. The guitar comes with Ibanez' own INF1 + INF2 pickups which are designed to be passive EMG clones. One volume control and one tone control keeps things simple along with the 3-way selector switch which gives you acces to the entire range of tones possible by these pickups The stock pickups however are not the strong points of this guitar. The tuners are basic Ibanez own ones however they are good enough to get you in tune for the trem systems fine tuners which are extremely precise and smooth to balance out any inconsistancys after the locking nuts are bolted down. It came with a cable, which although it looks flimsy I have been very unforgiving with it for tuning and traveling and the liek however there's not even the slightest hint of fizz or crackle in it yet, very impressive. // 10

Sound: The thin body of the S series guitar may fool some into thinking it can't possible hold it's own compaired to the wide fat bodys of say a Les Paul. I must assure you however this is far from the truth! The S series bodys are designed to be thickest around the pickups which leads to huge tone that even I would not have thought possible from such a small guitar. I use this guitar for metal as it was designed for (the ex standing for extreme) I run mine through a Boss MT-2 metal zone primarily into a Marshall AVT150x. With the stock pickups the overall sound was nice however fairly loose. The pickups were slightly noisey however a wide range of tones was accessable. With the volume and tone rolled back slightly and the neck pickup selected a fairly reasonable blues sound was accesable all be it slightly too loose and inprecise. With the tone maxed along with the volume through the bridge pickup good metal tones can be accesed from Black Label Societys slightly heavier than rock through to At the Gates extreme death metal tones. With stock pickups a 7 out of 10 would seem fitting. This guitar however did not truly sing until I installed a set of EMGs. An 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck. With this set nothing less than a 10 is fitting. For me the metal tones through the MT-2 and the 81 in the bridge were nothing less than the exact sound any metal fan is after. This did not make it any less diverse however. The warmth of the mahogony body made blues, classic rock and even dare I say glassy clean accesable with the right eq settings. With EMG's a perfect ten, with stock pickups a 9 cause there good value for money. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: An Ibanez quality set up from the box! That is to say it was set up very well for E Standard, action nice and low trem system in balance. It was out of tune but that's to be expected if you order from online. D'Darrio strings that most people will like. This however was not for me and after a brief fiddle about in E Standard I removed the d'darrios and installed EMGs, put on a set of 10-60 GHS and dropped it down to C#. Adjusted the truss rod, balanced the trem. Lowered the action to were I like it and then retuned it. From then on the behemoth of a metal machine was born! Out of the box you wouldn't have to do anything to it if you wanted to play in E Standard other than tune it which is nice and simple. The trem is easy to set up, even for people Who have never used a trem system before as very little technical know how is required such is the genious of the design of the ZR. The finish is smooth and consistent the whole way around it, even now almost a year on there is no places it has worn away. Everything that's metal remains rust free however some of the black paint on the bolt that holds the trem on has came off due to sweat, that's not a problem cause even if it does beggin to rust it can be replaced easily enough. Out the box perfect setup for E Standard. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar would withstand Live playin even if I would not. I'm very carefull with it but it's solid as a rock! The strap buttons are not loose in the slightest and everything remains tight and in good working order. If I was ever crazy enough to gig without a backup this would be the guitar to do it with! As I said before the finish is solid even with thrash metal downpicking scraping away at it and the odd minor knock. // 10

Overall Impression: I did not set out to give this guitar a ten but I really can't think of a valid reason why it deserves anything less than a perfect score! It plays nicer than any other guitar I've ever played including '60s Les Pauls and Original Strats and even this guitars bigger more expensive brothers which dare I say, would not cope with metal as well. I play all styles of music but this is my main guitar for my main genre. Metal. From old thrash through to modern tech metal. Anthrax to At the Gates to Madman is Absolue this guitar can handle it all. Couple it with EMGs and it's the pinacle of metal. That isn't to say it can handle the clean passages in my favourite maiden songs or my favourite old rocks songs, quite the opposite it does a brilliant job at these. This guitar will never be stolen because if anyone tries then I'll have to kill them in a horribly painfull way. However I do plan on buyin more copies of these (maybe in diff colour, maybe black this time) for different tunings live. The only minor annoyances I have with this guitar is maybe that the pickup selecter sticks out so much not that it really bothers me but other people have mentioned it, usually out of jealousy that there guitars aren't as good looking. I played other more expensive guitars but this is the one I kept coming back to so I bought it and I've never looked back once! Take my advice invest 560 and buy this guitar plus a set of EMGs! // 10

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overall: 9.6
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 06, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: A Guy I Met At A Music Store

Features: Features are the same as everyone elses. I got mine used from a guy at I met a music store who was looking to get back into playing bass again, so I didn't get a bag/case with it. But he did give me the manual and all the tools/parts that came with it. It's a mohogany super thin Strat style body that's grey. The new Ibanez floating ZR trem. Passive electronics, 5 way selector and master tone and volume. 22 Jumbo Frets on Rosewood fingerboard and Maple Neck. Inlay at 12 fret makes for a clean looking guitar. // 9

Sound: It had great versatility as soon as I got it. The 5 way selector lets you select from bridge, north coil of bridge/south coil of neck, bridge and neck, neck in parallel and neck in series. The one thing I didn't like is the fact that the Bridge pickup is an Alnico and the Neck was Cermaic magnet. So the neck got swapped for a dimarizo pickup. Bridge will be following suit soon. I switched out the tone pot for a linear taper and changed the capicator. but overall, this was all personal preference and does not need to be done. sounds great as it is... I'm just a hopeless tinkerer. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I'm not sure how it came from the factory as I bought it used. The guy I bought it from wasn't too sure what he was doing with it. When I brought it home I tuned it and played it for a day or so before taking it to the bench to disassemble, clean, change parts and reassemble. I made a few adjustments, but nothing was to the point that it "had to be adjusted" or it wouldn't play. It was all personal preference again. The craftsmanship is out of this world on this guitar. All the electronics were superbly put together and the excess wires were actually secured with a cable tie! I also liked how the output jack is a stereo jack that's just wired for mono, so it's able to be retrofitted later on. good job Ibanez! it actually looked nice in the control cavity! // 10

Reliability & Durability: I think it could withstand Live playing. I'm not light on my guitars. they get abused. If she doesnt't hold up, then she doesnt't hold up. I would never play Live with out having a back up. that's not saying anything about a guitar, I just don't think you should ever rely on one guitar. Finish is good. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar can pretty much fit into any style of music. My biggest disappointment was that it was 22 frets and 24. Oh well. it's still a great guitar. Two things I do love about the new ZR Bridge: they included a screw that's part of the bridge, you can take off and screw in the back of each saddle piece and adjust the intonation without detuning. awesome idea! Second, the Saddle Lockdown bolts are offset from the string, another huge help. Good guitar to work with. Recommended to all. // 10

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overall: 9.4
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 10, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: I'm not sure what year this guitar was made in but, I'm pretty sure it was made in Korea. The guitar has 22 jumbo frets, it would be nice if it had 24. The body is made of Mahogany, the neck of fret board is made of Rosewood. It has a high-gloss black finish. Ibanez's S guitars are very comfortable, it's very thin, literally like an inch thick at it's thickest (but still sounds amazing.) The bridge is the original ZR trem, which I don't have many complaints about. When everything is set up right and locked, it's hard to get this guitar out of tune. It is kind of confusing to restring, but you eventually learn how. I'm kind of confused about the 3-way selector, because on Ibanez's site it says it has a 5-way. That may just be with the newer models, but what ever. It also has a volume and tone knob, which isn't anything special. The pick-ups are the way they are from the factory, and are Ibanez's Infinity pick-ups(INF1 & INF2.) I can't really tell you about how they sound, because they sound amazing to me, huge improvement from the Washburn I bought used. The guitar came with many things, a hard case, free 1 year extended warrenty, and other little items. This is mainly because the store lost the trem arm, so they gave me all that stuff because of that. // 10

Sound: This guitar sounds awesome, I don't play anything hard very often, because, I don't really like metal. I do play a lot of Joe Satriani, from Time Machine to Crying, this guitar sounds great with all of them. this guitar would sound better, but my parents are cheap, I can't get a job so I have a Micro Cube. I also write my own music, which I write on very clean settings with no distortion, this guitar sounds amazing even in those settings. Even though made for metal, this guitar can handle anything. The guitar is not noisy at all, very clean, bright, beautiful sound. Of course when the strings go dead, it doesn't sound amazing, but after I replace them and all that, I could play it for days. I'm going to give it an 8 here, just because I know it's not the best sounding guitar, but it's very good for what it is. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I love how the guitar is set up, as well as the finish. Although finger prints as well as grime show up very easily on the high-gloss, It's a very sexy guitar when cleaned. The claw mark on the 12th fret, I didn't really like at first, but it's actually pretty nice. (I got this guitar because of the amazing ratings it was getting, not the way it looked.) I love how it feels when I'm playing it, the neck is very comfortable and easy to do a lot of stuff on. I found that bending inparticular was very easy to do on this guitar. The bridge, was a little uncomfortable at first, but I got over that. No complaints here really, everything is solid. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Yes, this guitar would withstand Live playing, I have played it on stage before. The hardware is very solid, I would feel comfortable playing without a back-up, which is what I did. The finish, if taken care of, will last for a very long time, I've been using mine for a year now and is still amost in perfect condition (I clean and polish just about every week.) // 9

Overall Impression: I do not play what it was made for, like I mention earlier. I play a lot of Joe Satriani's music, from Time Machine, to Crying, to Midnight. This guitar handles them all very well. Even though on my Micro Cube, the guitar sounds awesome close-up. I do have a pretty long cable and went out of my room, and I wasn't impressed with my amp haha. I also write my own music, which is all on very clean settings with no distortion... the guitar still sounds amazing. I've been playing for three years, and I play this guitar anywhere from one hour to twelve hours in a day. I have a Micro Cube, and a Boss pedal. I almost never use my pedal because I think the guitar sounds better without! If it were stolen, I would probably buy a different guitar, I like to change things up. But, I am very happy with my decision in getting this guitar. I love this guitar, everything is perfect for me, very comfortable, light, easy to play. I really only hate cleaning, tuning, and restringing the guitar, but who doesn't? I would not compare with any other product, I do not like Fender or Gibson or really any other company. I only wish it had one thing, and that's 24 frets. // 10

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overall: 9.4
S520EX Reviewed by: Phisikz, on october 27, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 799.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This guitar was made in 2006 in Korea, so good quality. It has 22 Jumbo frets and the action is really low so it's good for fast up and down neck movements. This guitar is perfect for metal and Rock N' Roll in general. It's a solid top and has a very nice gloss finish. And is using a zero resistance ball bearing bridge, so it makes your tremelo vibrato come out crazily clean. It has two humbucking pickups, one in the neck position, and one in the bridge position. The pickups are Infinite pickups, but if you wanna swap them out..good luck because on a count of how freaking skinny this guitar is you'll have to cut away a cavity to store the pickups parts if you do swap them out. And it has locking tuners at the bridge and a locking nut at the neck so it helps for hardcore jamming without going out of tune. // 9

Sound: It suits my music style perfectly. I am a big Death metal fan and this guitar suits me and my hardcore needs. I am currently using a Drive amp ( but will be getting a Spider III amp) and a Boss metal zone pedal. it's not noisy at all. it hum, rattle or anything. It really can produce harmonics like a beast. both artificial and natural harmonics. and so much more I'm still finding out. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: It was set up near perfectly at the factory, no real flaws with it. The action like I said was real low so it's good for speed and sliding. the bridge was properly routed, still no problems and I've had it for almost a full year. the pickups were adjusted perfectly to the bridge system. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar has already withstod some of my gigs and is doing great still. the hardware will last for a while even though the finish on the pickups is wearing to the gold layer a little bit. The straps buttons have gotten a little loose since the initial purchase. I could go on stage without a backup since I'm still a local musician, but if I go on tour I could use a backup. The finish will last a long time trust me, it barley scratches as is and is near impossible to crack or chip. // 9

Overall Impression: I play death metal and rap metal as of now, and this guitar is versatile enough to supprt my needs. I've bheen playing for two years and I own a Yamaha pacifica, a Drive amp, a Boss metal zone (MT-2) pedal, and my Ibanez S520EX. I wished I asked about the perfect amp it would go with, but I kinda like looking for the right one... for now. If it was stolen I would be infuriated for a long time. And I would buy another one becuase I'm an Ibanez fanatic now. I love the action and look of the guitar, I hate the pickups they sound kinda chepa to me. My favorite feature is the freat marker-less fretboard, it makes me look more skilled than I actually am. I compared it to an Ibanez RG-7, an Schecter Hellraiser. // 10

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overall: 7
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 04, 2008
0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 700

Purchased from: Ibanez Distribution Center Canada

Features: 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. // 6

Sound: 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. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 5

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 7

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overall: 9.4
S520EX Reviewed by: Dio10101, on march 26, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 599.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: I bought this guitar from Guitar Center in December 2008, for about 600. The guitar has 22 frets all of which worked properly (no buzz, no dead frets, etc.). It has a beautiful, arched, double cutaway mahogany body. It has a solid black finish. It has a licensed Floyd Rose Tremolo, which despite the complaints I've heard about, is great. It has two DiMarzio made Passive INF pickups, which sound as good as most anything I've heard stock on a guitar. It has a master volume and a master tone, which was slightly disappointing so I couldn't use it's 3-way pickups selector as a killswitch. // 9

Sound: It fit's everything I play, it picks up all the distortion I could need and has almost no background buzz. Gives a full, bright sound, just the way I like it. It can play anything from Children Of Bodom to B.B. Kin, and very well at that. I use it with a Line 6 Spider III and Spider III Jam with an MXR Dime Distortion, a BBC green screamer and a Dunlop Crybaby Wah. I just love the sound // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was setup to my not-so-high-not-so-low standards, and the action was exactly where I wanted it to be, making it the easiest playing guitar I've ever played. The pickups were fine. The bridge wasn't quite where I wanted it to be, so I adjusted it's height to my dive bombing and squealing Standard. The pickups selector isn't what I would call noiseless but it doesn't interrupt playing at all. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar can withstand some good gigging. It has been knocked around a few times and it has no serious damage. I accidentally made a small scratch in the finish with a paper clip when I was getting a broken string bit out of the saddle. The strap buttons are secure and keep my strap on nice and tight. The finish seems like it can last a decent while. // 9

Overall Impression: The guitar just overwhelmed me, I played it for less than an hour and knew it was the one. It is absolutely perfect for my various styles of metal. I've only been playing 9 months, but I got good fast (thanks to hours upon hours of practice). I didn't need to know anything more than I already did. This is being compared to several Les Pauls, Strats, Shecters and Deans and only one I have played tops it, and it was more than 3x the price. My favorite feature is the neck which is more like a classical neck, which I have always enjoyed the feel of. I chose this one of the wall at guitar center due to the pickups, inlay(three slashes at the octave) and the Floyd Rose tremolo. I wish the body was a little more like a Dean, but that's not really an issue. I love this guitar and recommend it to anyone Who is looking for a new guitar, and people who are switching from Classical to Electric. // 10

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overall: 8.2
S520EX Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 26, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: World Of Music, Pietersburg

Features: I've had the S520EX for about 9 years now. My bro passed it on to me because he saw that I had a greater interest in the guitar than he did. My model was made in Korea around 2004 (I could be wrong). It is the Gun Metal Grey finish, which was a matt colour, but after about 2 years of jamming the entire paint job became glossy which still looks great. It has 22 jumbo frets, 3 piece wizard 3 neck and rosewood fret board. The body is Mahogany and is undoubtedly the most comfortable body on the market. The ZR (Zero Resistance) trem is a magic piece of hardware, I've gigged with this guitar extensively for over 8 years as my main and only guitar, The pups are a tad bit droned out (Passive INF1 & INF2), but like Ibanez said, It's built for metal, and that's what they were made for. It has a 3 way toggle switch that sends the tone from bright and twangy all the way to a muddy tone, which is always fun to mess around with. Since the Guitar was a gift, I got it with all the allen keys and a custom case I bought for my old Washburn Mercury Series. // 8

Sound: Sound wise it is quite versatile in tonal range. Adjusting the pup height will allow you to play with the sound a bit, but only a bit. Raise them too high and you'll be left with a tone that resembles that of a entry level Ibanez. For my style of music (Progressive/math) it's well suited, For the shred guitarist, its very handy. The dives, pinches and harmonics that can be produced will make you realize that this guitar stands out from the rest in its price range. I run it direct through a Peavey Valve King all tube 50watt and with the lead setting, I've gotten some of the cleanest and brightest of tones. So much that It was solemnly used to record my previous bands album with. There is no noise... Unless you sit very close to your amp while practicing (But that is normal) In distortion mode live on stage I've seldomnly received feed back or any buzzing. Overall a quite guitar when you need it to be. Variety in sound is limited, my experience with the guitar is that it can provide blues tones and a slight hint of jazz. But this guitar is really made to shred. It has a bright clean tone, but not as bright as I'd like it to be but that is only player preference. All in all for metal, this is a great step forward if you'd like to get a reasonably priced guitar that will out perform higher end models. // 6

Action, Fit & Finish: Set up was and still is incredible. Like I've said, I have had this thing for 8 years now and I've only had to send it in for intonation once (Only due to changing of string gauge). The action has always been beautifully set and has made it possible to throw blistering solo's without busting your fingers. Play-ability is the main reason I've kept this guitar all this time. I have never experienced a more comfortable guitar yet. All routings are neat and professionally done. There is absolutely no flaws with the craftmanship of the body or neck. One problem I have had, and continue to have is poor fret filling around the 12/13 fret, it produces dead notes from the higher e string. But I'm sure a guitar tech can easily file it down to stop this. That is about the only flaw with my guitar. The bridge did oxidize around the 4th year of ownership. But I've solved that by regularly cleaning the entire guitar with Dr. Ducks Axe Wax. Since this, no oxidation has occurred whatsoever on any of the hardware. My pick up covers have seen better days paint wise, But that is mainly due to my playing style and the amount of sweat I produce thanks to the South African heat in summer. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Reliability wise... It's been my main and only guitar for live performances. I've replaced the standard strap buttons with Dunlop strap locks just in case I find myself twirling the guitar around my neck. (Haven't yet)But the standard ones were on for a good 3 to 4 years without issue. I've never broken a string on it, It's never gone out of tune, it's stayed in drop C in my case for over 3 months unplayed and it was not out at all. The ZR bridge is by far the most stable thing I've come across. Besides the trem arm route (I seldomly use the trem arm) the bridge is solid. All hardware has lasted for 8 years of my playing, touring and neglect (I no longer neglect my instruments due to financial crisis haha). Finish is rock solid with no flaws, although I have seen a few 520EX in green with some finishing flaws (Could be the fact that they were Indonesia built). Would I gig with it? HAHAHAHA I wouldn't leave for one without it. // 10

Overall Impression: I play progressive/math metal and I dabble in soundscapes as well. It's a great guitar to experiment with. I use no effects, It's direct to amp them mic'd and then effects are added in recordings. I've been playing for roughly 13 years now and this guitar has sold me so much that I have no issue with having to get another guitar, although I would like to get my hands on a Ibanez RGA prestige 7 string. I currently own the Ibanez 520EX as well as a Ibanez BTB 4 string made roughly around the same time as the S. Both are solid and have gone through many, MANY gigs. If it were to be stolen or lost, no questions asked, I'd find another one and buy it straight away. I love:

  • The action and feel of the entire guitar
  • The sound and sustain it produces
  • The overall build quality for its price range
  • The ability to wow me even after all these years with regards to playability. I hate:
  • The dead notes I get at the 12/13 fret, but It is an easy fix
  • I've compared this guitar to a LTD 1000 and it may be sub par in the sound dept, but it's much more comfortable and fun to jam. Overall if you are looking for a good prices, reliable as hell guitar for your metal needs, get the Ibanez S520EX *make sure it's built in Korea haha. // 9

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