SA220FM Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 10/09/2008 category: Electric Guitars
Ibanez: SA220FM
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. IBZ AH3 humbucking neck pickup and IBZ AH4 humbucking bridge pickup.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5
 Features: 8.3
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (1) 35 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.6
SA220FM Reviewed by: shrediquette, on december 12, 2006
5 of 7 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: L.A. Music

Features: - 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 9
SA220FM Reviewed by: useyourillusíon, on may 09, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Mansons Guitars

Features: Only bad thing I can really say is that somehow the bridge pickup fell inside the guitar so I had to put the springs back in place, and also the top strap button came loose so I tried to screw it back in but the screw grooves were completely worn! So I had to get a bigger screw but my screw button is too small for it. Oh another problem, the volume control tends to go a bit stiff when it's nearly at max, and you have to turn it all the way down to 0 until the volume actually changes a lot. // 7

Sound: I mainly play rock (Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue, Velvet Revolver, etc), Metal (Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, Dream Theater), and some bluesy stuff like Jimi Hendrix. I play it through a Marshall MG 250 DFX Combo. On clean it sounds very bright. The bottom strings tend to sound louder and bright than the top 3 (that could depend on how I'm picking though). For metal I would say it plays fairly well, depends what your settings are on the amp. It's not exactly the "ultimate metal guitar", but I'd just say it's pretty versatile for all styles. It's really good for blues and jazz. For that I Switch the pickup selector to the 2nd from right. When I play Dream Theater stuff, I'd say it sounds quite close to John Petrucci's sound on the Scenes From a Memory Album. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Everything was completely perfect. Mansons always make sure everything is perfect before selling it. The pickup selecter is quite noisey though, when I change pickups it makes a loud echoey sound (the kinda noise like when you knock on the body of the guitar). Also the volume toggle is quite stiff. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've had this guitar for 1 year and 7 months and it is still in perfect condition. Like I said before though, my strap buttons came loose and I had to replace them with a larger screw until I can find a strap button that will fit the screw. I would depend on it in at a Live show without a backup, my guitar has never failed me and I play it for a good few hours every day. The finish is really good. I have a small bedroom so I'm always hitting it on walls and stuff and there is no visible/hearable damage on it. Just take care of it (like you should with any guitar). // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal, rock, and some progressive, and a bit of blues. This guitar is very versatile and will suit all your needs. I also own a BC Rich Warlock and a crappy ION Strat copy. The Ibanez SA220FM totally slays them. If it was stolen or lost, I would save up my money and get the upgraded version of it (I think it's out of production now. I chose to buy this guitar because I preferred the shape and feel and weight of it to the other guitars in my range that they had in stock. The other guitars I tried out were a Jackson V guitar and an Ibanez RG something, and an Ibanez SZ320MH. The only thing I don't really like is that the strings feel quite tight, and harder to bend that what it would be on say an RG. I'm also thinking about fitting it with some EMG 81 and 85's seeing as I mainly play metal/heavy rock. // 9

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overall: 9.6
SA220FM Reviewed by: Cofflecakes, on september 14, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 380

Purchased from: KC's Rock Shop

Features: Fairly simple, but that's the way I like it. Came with Allen keys, a small hex wrench and a nylon strap. // 9

Sound: I mostly play metal & punk, and it sounds amazing. I also used it in school for jazz, blues & funk, and it sounded great there too. Depending on the player, it can get nearly every kind of sound your after. It's not very noisy at all, and 4 of the 5 pickup selections work great. The middle choice sounds a bit muddy. I mostly use it with a Marshall DSL50 head, and 1960AV cabinet. A few of the local bands around here use this guitar, and my friends are always asking to borrow it for their shows. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Action was super low, it feels perfect. The pickups were great too. The setup was simply amazing. There was no problems with the wood or any of the hardware. When I got it, the only flaw was the bridge strap button was loose. And buy loose, I mean it held tight, but it spun around when you twisted it. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar has seen about 45 shows since I bought it, although most of them not with me, and it's doing great. All the hardware is still going fine. The finish is still perfect, despite being dropped, thrown around, swung and having beer spilled on it. You can depend on it, but to gig without a backup is just plain stupid. I always have 2 guitars with me, in case I break a string or something else goes wrong. But that all comes down to the musician, not the guitar. // 9

Overall Impression: I play metal, screamo & pop-punk music, and this guitar did great for them all. I've been playing for a few years, and I'm not going to spend an hour listing all my gear. I love the feel, the weight and the look of this guitar. The only thing I don't like is. Well, I love it. For 500AUD, I haven't seen a better deal out there. I compared it with heaps of different guitars, and the only ones in this style that matched or beat it on sound were 3 times it's price. I liked it so much, I bought a 2nd one a week ago, and I'm about to buy a 3rd, to have them set up for my different styles & tuning. // 10

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overall: 9
SA220FM Reviewed by: Sasms, on october 09, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 800

Purchased from: Holden Hill Music Store

Features: My SA220FM was made in Indonesia (as it says on the back of it's headstock), it has 22 frets with a very fast neck. It has a mahogany body with a maple flamed top. It has a SAT30S tremelo bridge and has two pick-ups: for the neck, it has an IBZ AH3 humbucker and for the bridge, it has an IBZ AH4 humbucker. It has one volume nob, one tone nob and a 5-way pick-up selector. The fingerboard is rosewood and the frets have pearl Dot inlays. // 9

Sound: I mainly play metal and although this guitar isn't really big and you wouldn't expect it to have a chunky metal sound, it actually does fairly well when I plug it into my Marshall MG50. I can get a really good distorted sound out of it depite the fact that it is so thin an light. I find it brillient for playing solos because of it's thin, fast neck when eaily allows my hand to slide up and down the neck. On the clean channel, it has a nice bright sound in the Treble notes but when I play some Bass notes, it drowns out all the treble notes and it sounds very unclear. Although I mainly play metal, I play a bit of blues and Jazz, and it turns out really clearly and you can really define each note you play. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: When I bought this guitar, it had no scratches and the strings that were on them were really good and I have had to replace them yet even though the guitar is a year old. I feel the qualitly in the strings are still there. The only thing I did not receive was a whammy bar which I later got free from the store because they forgot to put it in. Apart from that everything was how it was supposed to be when I bought it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is very durable even though it looks as if it will chip easily, I've smacked my guitar around a fair bit when I get carried away playing and all I've had is a tiny chip on the tip of the headstock and the humbucker coming of it's spring. I have no major or visable scratches even though I've performed with this many times. It's is only a year old and it doing rather well for what it's been through and I expect it to last me a lot longer. From what I've been told, the strap buttons aren't very good for holding on straps but I've got a really tight strap and it has never fallen off once, even when I chucked it into the air and caught it by the strap. // 10

Overall Impression: My style of playing metal, I think it is a great guitar and proberly the best one of it's price range. I've been playing guitar for 5 years now and it is God-like if I compare it to my old Monteray and from playing my freinds guitars, I am really happy that I bought this one because it is a very good and affordable guitar. I love it's maple top flamed finish, it looks brillient in the spot light, the only thing I hate is how easily it goes out of tune when I use the whammy bar. If this was stolen, I'd proberly look around a bit and get a Jackson rr series or an Ibanez rg series, I here they're much like this one. // 9

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