Price paid: $ 470
Purchased from: Marshall Music (South Africa)
Sound — 10
Well, I listen mainly to older Rock, from say the 60's and 70's... However, I feel this guitar's sound is very, very versatile to almost all players styles. I play through a Line 6, Spider 3 75 watt (which I will be changing shortly). Though I have not played this guitar through as many amps as I've liked to, I believe the sound is great and has great potential for guitarists. The humbucker is thick and creamy, and sounds best with some distortion. On clean the humbucker seems to twangy for my personal liking. Switching the hum to a single creates a thinner sound (duh), though I've heard better single coils before. The middle single coil is effective for clean and maybe a few bluesy numbers. It has a great soft clean sound. The neck single coil works well distorted and clean, and gives a thin enough sound to play rhythm on both settings. This guitars sound is, just, spectacular.
Overall Impression — 9
The Ibanez SAS36FM is a gem in its range. Complete value. I am absolutely in love with it. There are few other guitars out there in its price range that could match its value. If it was stolen, obviously I'd see what new products were available, but I'd definetly buy it again. Anytime. I love the variety of my guitar. How I can Switch from playing heavier rock to soft jazzy numbers. You can actually do about anything with it. In the future I'd like to look at different pickups, but thats just my curiousity looking for new sounds.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've had the guitar for almost a year now and I'm yet to encounter any serious issues. Other than adjusting the bridge occasionally my guitar is completely flawless. As a gig guitar it seems almost perfect, forgetting the floating bridge. If you break a string, the bridge tends to detune all the other strings. This can however be solved by buying a specialised spring (forgot what the damn thing is called). Other than that. Your good to go. Believe me, this guitar will rock your socks off.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
When I purchased the guitar, everything was set to perfection, action and all. I've never found any flaws with the guitar, and I've been meticulous with my searchings. Pickups at correct hight, and so forth. The most irrating thing is changing strings for the bridge. The notorious floating bridge must constantly be adjusted for a new set of strings. This usually happens when you buy strings with a higher or lower gauge.
Features — 8
This guitar is very special to me. Frankly, for the price, this guitar is an absolute angel. Body: firstly, a thin body and neck makes this guitar quite compact. Set Standard with a mahogany body and a flamed-maple top, the guitar is peticularly light (for such a heavy wood). Its very shapely and easy on the eyes, even moreso than my girlfriend (I'm dead serious =P). The neck is rediculously thin, in fact, Im yet to find a guitar with a thinner neck. Bridge: the Ibanez SAT Pro II bridge is just great. Can't really say any more than that... It's a floating bridge, without the Floyd Rose clamps at the top and small tuners at the bottom, meaning you can't go racous with the whammy bar or else you'll be going out of tune within minutes. I like the fact that Ibanez guitar whammy bars work on ball bearings, meaning you have very smooth control of the bridge. The pro's and con's of the floating bridge are rather obvious. Pots and Pickups: S/S/H setup is very effective on this guitar. A True Duo Humbucker at the bridge allows you to Switch from hum to single (I'll talk about the sound later). The two Axis single coils sit at the middle and neck. The guitar comes with a single volume pot and tone pot and a 6way pickup selector. The volume pot can be raised to control the True Duo Humbucker.