Purchased from: L.A. Music
Sound — 9
I'm mostly into metal (Lamb Of God, In Flames, Between The Buried And Me, As I Lay Dying, the Black Dahlia Murder) right now and my SA can get really good tone despite the fact that it's a fairly thin guitar. At the moment I use it mostly with my Vox AD15VT, which really allows me to experience the versatility of the SA220. It sound fantastic with the heavy distortion and pretty good in terms of bluesy clean sounds as well. Although it does have a 5-way pickup selector I usually only use 2 or 3 of the options. The bridge pickup is the only way to go with overdrive, anything else just sounds muddy. For cleans I use the neck pickup as well the parallel selection (the neck pickup is parallel connected), you get a pretty bright twang. Sometimes I play around with another option where both humbucks are supposed to act as single coils. The middle selection with both pickups is pretty brutal though, muddy and not really useful for anything. Overall you can get a lot of different great sounds out this guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall this is a solid metal axe, and versatile. I've been playing guitar for exactly three years and this is my third guitar. The SA220 has actually been discontinued so you probably wont find too many more in stores. It was definitely the best guitar around in it's price range. I was comparing this guitar to other's that were hundred more in price and the SA beat them out without a doubt. The SA if an extremely comfortable feeling guitar. It's light, looks good and sound great. If this guitar were stolen I would probably spend the extra cash and go for an upgrade, perhaps an Ibanez Prestige S? I hear they're incredible.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I personally have never played a Live show but I have No Doubt in my mind that this guitar could take it. There are only two aspects of this guitar that might worry me a bit in the Live setting. The maple top of the SA seems somewhat fragile, I've but I small ding in it and when that happened I didn't really hit it too hard. If you were playing Live and accidentally hit something with the guitar it might chip easily. The other thing is that the strap buttons are pretty slick, I've had my strap slip off the button before but luckily I had a good grip on the neck. I'd advise getting strap-locks before playing Live with this guitar. Other than that the strap buttons are solid, the hardware is solid and I think you could depend on the SA in a gig without a backup. It doesn't seem likely that the finish will wear off at all, but it might chip like I said.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar came to me nicely set-up. Nice low action and virtually no string buzz. The pickups were adjusted perfectly. There were no flaws when I bought the guitar, although I don't really like the little cap on the pickup selector, it can come off easily which would be bad news in a gig.
Features — 8
- 2005, made in Korea. - 22 medium frets, thin and fast 25.5 scale SA maple 3 pc neck. - Mahogany Strat style body with a flamed maple top. - Floating SAT30S tremolo bridge (probably the worst aspect of this guitar's features, it tends to go out of tune easily when you use the whammy bar). - IBZ AH3 humbucking neck pickup and IBZ AH4 humbucking bridge pickup (not top of the line Ibanez but still solid). - 5-way pickup selector. - Standard Ibanez tuners.