Sound — 10
I play metal, rock and blues. My influences would be Rhoads, Gilbert, Van Halen, Wylde, Dimebag, Hammett, Iommi, Mars, etc. (The usual suspects!) and also Chuck Berry and BB King. For my style of music, the SZ320 is perfect. Throw the volume knobs all the way up and hit the bridge pickup, and it's a screaming metal weapon. Roll some volume off, drop onto the neck p'up, and it'll give creamy, smooth blues sounds. The clean tone out of this guitar is DELIGHTFUL, beautiful and shimmering without being shrill. I play this guitar through a Marshall JVM410H (live) and a Marshall AVT150x (in practices) and the range of sounds and tones the SZ320 can produce is stunning. As is the sheer take-the-paint-off-the-walls output! For comparison, I've also played this baby through a Roland Cube 15 at house party jam sessions and it STILL sounded great. The highest praise I can give this guitar is that its currently one of only two guitars out of the thirteen I currently own that hasn't had its pickups replaced with EMGs (the other being a Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Custom)
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is the first Ibanez I've ever acquired (becasue it's the first one I've ever LIKED.) and it has surprised me massively. My other guitars are Gibsons, ESPs and Schecters, so this baby had a lot to live up to, and I can honestly say I've never had a guitar punch this far above it's weight. As stated above, I'm a metal and rock player and this guitar suits my needs perfectly. If my word ain't enough, Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth) uses one of these guitars unmodified for live and recording work, so that's gotta be a good recommendation. I've been playing for about twelve years now and guitars are what I do for a living, so I know my onions and I've seen a fair few instruments in my time, and this is easily one of the most impressive I've come across. It's a rare find. To be honest, I'd probably place this in the top 4 of my collection (along with my Gibson Custom Shop LP Custom, ESP MII Custom and my Schecter C1 Elite) Were this guitar lost or stolen, I'd be absolutely gutted as I've never seen one quite like it before. I can honestly say I love pretty much everything about this guitar. The only real criticism I can level at it is that due to the shape of the headstock, the machine head for the G tends to protrude the tiniest bit, which makes it just that little bit more likely to catch on things (and therefore get knocked out of tune.) The only thing I wish it had would maybe be two tone controls rather than a master tone, but if I'm perfectly honest that's just because I like nitpicking. All in all, this is a fantastic guitar and if you have a chance to buy one, don't let it pass you by!
Reliability & Durability — 9
This thing is built like King Kong and will probably last longer than I will. I've been using it for a couple months now as my 2nd main guitar (of four) on stage, and it's yet to bat an eyelid at the hammering it's been getting. Hardware is rock solid and the strap buttons don't even think about moving. Normally the first thing I do to any of my guitars is replace the tuners with Gotoh Magnums, and it hasn't been necessary here as yet. I'll probably do it out of habit at some point, but so far the Ibanez harware is grand. Some mild oxidization on the control knobs, but who cares. I never gig without at least two guitars, but am very, very confident that if I had to this one would stick the pace. Only concern would be that because the black finish is so high-gloss it might mark up a little easier than I would like, but so far this hasnt been a problem. Overall build quality is unusually (and unreasonably) high for a guitar in this price range.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I can't commment on how this guitar was when it came out of the factory as I got it in a trade deal I made with a buddy of mine, but he said he'd barely played it so I'd assume it was fairly close to factory condition. Once I'd replaced the strings, everything was pretty much good to go. Finish was flawless, as was the action. It's probably one of the nicest set-up guitars I own. Don't know whether this is due to the Gibraltar bridge or if I just got lucky! Unusually, this guitar didn't have very much wrong with it at all in terms of A,F&F, (i'm normally VERY critical in this department, after all, ironing out scrapes like these is part of my job) The only criticism I could level at it, and even this was after actively looking for a flaw, was a very, VERY minor choke around the 14th fret, which after a minor fret-polishing and fiddling was sorted out perfectly.
Features — 9
This guitar is an Ibanez SZ320. It was made in Korea in 2003. It's a neck-through-body construction featuring a 22-fret 3pc maple and Bubinga neck into a hard mahogany body with a maple cap (Which weighs an absolute TON)and a sleek gloss black finish with Abalone Dot fretmarkers and a cream/yellow 1-ply bind. Frets are jumbo-sized ad the neck scale is an unusual 25.1" Neck profile is not too dissimilar to a Les Paul and is quite wide for a superstrat style guitar It features a Gibraltar III bridge and a string-through-body setup, which provides massive sustain when coupled with the rock-solid neck-through construction. Style-wise, this guitar is closer to a PRS or Schecter than an Ibanez, its a strange take on a superstrat - definitely unlike any Ibanez I've seen before. Pickups are Duncan/Ibanez hybrids (3-way selector, 2 volume and master tone controls) and the tuners and all other hardware are stock Ibanez. I'm a professional musician, I'm also a guitar technician for a touring metal band and I collect guitars as well, and I've had literally dozens (probably 100+) of guitars pass through my hands over the years, and this is one of the nicest guitars I've ever played, hands down.