Price paid: $ 1999
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 10
This is the 2014 Ibanez Prestige S5528LW 8-string guitar. As with all Prestige models, it is made in Japan by team J-Craft. There are 24 jumbo frets on a 27 inch scale rosewood neck. The neck itself is a piece maple wizard 8 neck with 2 Wenge skunk stripes. Inside the neck is a KTS Titanium truss rod. The body is made of mahogany with an African Black Limba top. The top of the headstock is also capped with limba.
This guitar is well balanced, but a little heavy. It is an ERG though, so weight comes with the territory. The whole guitar has a satin finish, very smooth and the neck is very fast. The bridge is a Gibraltar string-through bridge, and the string ferules on the back of the body are both compensated for intonation and for the thickness of the ball ends for thicker strings. This guitar has passive electronics, with a 5 way pickup selector. The pups are DiMarzio D-Activators. Beautiful creme binding plus the beautiful wood selections makes this guitar really pop.
It's simple, effective, and looks great. Just how I like my guitars. As an owner of another Prestige Ibanez, it meets my expectations. There is only one thing that I didn't like about this guitar, and that would be the tuners. They are fantastic tuners, and they lock from the back. But the string holes are very small. This guitar shipped with a 65 as the low F#, which pretty much felt like spaghetti. Went to put a thicker gauge of strings on it, and they didn't fit. In fact, you can't fit anything other than a 65 through the string hole without modifying the tuners. Since I don't want to drill out the tuning peg to bet a bigger string in there, I opted to leave it as is and just unwind the outer winding of a thicker string to get it through the hole. I use GHS strings, and this works great. It's time consuming, but a good fix. At this point though, that's more of a nit-pick than anything.
Sound — 10
My musical styles vary. I play a lot of different "genres" of music, but I do play a lot of metal. Of course, the ERG is a metal machine. But this beautiful guitar can do SO much more. Here's my gear:
- Peavey 3120
- Mesa Boogie 2x12 (with black shadows)
- TC Electronic Arena reverb
- Boss DD7 delay
- Lovepedal Amp50 overdrive
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar came to me set up with strings that were way too thin, especially in the low end. It needed a setup with proper strings, but that was it. The pups were in the right spot, and there were no scratches. The case this thing came in is HUGE and I could use the padding inside as a pillow. The case is also gator skin, which is cool. I was really unimpressed with Ibanez shipping this thing tuned a half step down with such floppy strings on it. Not a good move. But that is a minor issue. I do wish that they made more than one finish choice for this guitar, because I really would buy another one if they did. Other than that, everything else about this instrument is pretty flawless.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing feels like a solid instrument. Prestige instruments are just solid and well built. If this thing holds up as well as my other prestige, I can expect to have this thing for years to come. My other Prestige is an RGA120, which I've had now for almost 10 years and it's still completely original. I can see the S5528 being just as sturdy and rugged. I would definitely gig without a backup if I needed to, but that is trust that I put into my own care for my instruments and the quality that prestige models offer.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall impression is great. It's a Prestige, so expect to be satisfied with the quality of the instrument. I have been playing for 17 years, and this thing suits me well. I plan on using this thing for a whole lot more than metal, and it can truly handle anything you throw at it. If it were stolen I would probably cry, but I would totally buy another one. I give this thing a 9/10 overall just because they didn't have the foresight to realize that using such wimpy strings would be an issue and not accommodating the ability to easily use thicker strings. They ALMOST thought of everything.