SA120 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 6
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.8 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.2 (194 votes)
Ibanez: SA120

Price paid: $ 375.99

Sound — 9
Even though this guitar's bridge keeps the strings in tune when you do string-bending, it isn't designed for Metal (which is the only genre that I play). The amps and effects that I use with the SA120 are the Line 6 Spider III 75 Watt and it's effects. The guitar itself is noisy if you don't have a noise-gate activated, but it's only noisy when you crank the volume on the guitar. All in all, it is not good at all for Children Of Bodom, but the sound is really quite good for Heavy Metal.

Overall Impression — 7
I play metal and nothing but. This guitar is a pretty good guitar for that "heavy metal" sound, however, you just can't do any crazy techniques with the whammy bar. I've been playing for about 3 years, and during those 3 years, I've tried out a lot of guitars. I ended up buying the SA120 because the price was right. Looking back on the day that I bought it, I really wish I would have gotten the BC Rich Wartribe, which was $200 bucks more than the SA120. I have learned, however, that price-wise doesn't make a difference to the sound, which is the most important thing. You can have a $5000.00 guitar, and it could sound like shit! And of course, you can buy a $200.00 guitar, and it might sound better than a PRS and a Gibson put together! What I am saying is this: Don't buy a guitar because it is the lowest priced instrument in the store, and don't buy a guitar that is the most expensive either - Always buy the guitar that has the best sound, or at least the sound that you're looking for.

Reliability & Durability — 5
Would this guitar withstand playing Live or a gig? Probably not. It does give out a good sound, but I would never just take the SA120 without a good backup.

Action, Fit & Finish — 6
This guitar was not set-up very well at the factory. There is some low fret buzzing, the frets were not leveled very well, the bridge should have been made better, and so on. Another flaw is that the master volume control on the guitar is too close to the bridge pickup. I'm always hitting it with my hand when I pick, which can turn the volume down...

Features — 7
It says that this guitar is made in Korea; I might have an idea what year it was made, but I don't want to say in case it's wrong. The SA120 has 22 Medium frets; it's a solid-top, Mahogany body, has kind of a transparent finish, and the body style is almost like a Strat. The bridge style is a tune-o-matic, but not great for anything fancy or heavy. (You can't play Children Of Bodom, Metallica, Slayer, or Pantara songs with it, because you'd probably break the entire guitar) The controls are: Volume, Tone, and a 5-way selector.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I am going to buy an electric guitar soon. But im confused about which model to buy, sa120 or sa260fm? im advanced-beginner player and not into metal. which one will be better for me and why could anyone suggest me?
    I love my SA120. Played it for 4 years now, both in studio and live, without any problems. Use it through a Mesa Boogie dual rectifier and a Engl E670 SE together with a TC Electronic G-system. It sounds wery nice. I use this guitar more than my Ibanez JS 1200 and 2400. Really recommends this guitar. Fast and reliable.
    I have this guitar, its been great. I'm somewhat of a begginer, but I did my homework before getting this guitar. It's great, and I definitely reccommend it to anyone who wants a good versatile guitar to start out with, and maybe to continue playing!
    These things are pretty sick. I have one and it plays great. It's so easy to move around on the neck and it's a good beginner-intermediate guitar. But I'm thinking about putting a new bridge pickup in it, anyone got any good reconmendations for what i should put in it? I was thinking maybe a AHB-1 Blackouts. I play Metalcore and Thrash so would this be a good choice?