Price paid: $ 474
Purchased from: Steves Music Store (T.O)
Sound — 6
Personally, I play mostly worship music at church. You can say mostly acoustic sounding, but I do try out some rock and alternative christian music. This guitar had the look and sound that I wanted. I more rockier sound with the double humbuckers, and no single coils. Currently, I have a Crate GT15 2004 model, and it works fine with my DigiTech RP300 Multi-Effects Pedal. I play for fun, so I don't play in gigs or anything, it's more of a hobby which I enjoy doing. I find the clean and distortion sound quality from the guitar reasonable - with the price I paid. I'm pretty much happy with the sound quality from this guitar.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I am impressed with this guitar. For the money I paid, it's worth every dollar I paid for it and even more. I only been playing for a bit over 3 years, and I have tried playing guitars that are over 1000 dollars. The quality of those guitars are better, but this guitar has them just by a bit. I never liked the look of expensive guitars, some reason, most of them seem to look a bit odd than cheaper guitars. Maybe it's just my preference on design, but the SZ definitely has a good mix of some famous guitars. It had the Fender 'Strat look', Gibson 'Les Paul' Double Hums, PRS inlay and headstock. It was just the exact and ideal guitar I wanted and now I own one. And if I wanted to trade this guitar, I would only trade for the upgrade version of the SZ, that's if Ibanez comes out with one in the near future.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I only played this guitar in church, and it reponds very well. Since I use a less expensive amp at home, the sound quality is boasted much more at church because the amp is louder and bigger. The hardware will definitely last me at least 10 years for someone like me. Of course, that's if you don't bang your guitar at the walls and floors! The strap buttons are solid and wide so your strap will stay in place, but I changed them with strap locks just to avoid any accidents and ensure better safety for my SZ. I think if you do a lot of gigs, this guitar is pretty versatile and tough, it will last you a couple of years.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I first picked up this guitar, the action was really low. I prefer playing at a low-medium height, and so the salesperson was nice enough to adjust it for me. The pickups were not adjust as I liked the way it sounded right from the box. The bridge was different for me, since I had a Pacifica there was more string space for my palm to rest. With the SZ, I found myself placing my palm on the bridge which felt more comfortable for someone like me who had small hands and arms. There were some minor flaws in the guitar, but it was due to other people testing out the guitar. One or two scratches on the guitar, they were not visible unless you look closely. The fretboard had some white tiny markings near the nut and at the last fret. Besides that, the guitar was in good condition.
Features — 8
The guitar I purchased was made in Korea, however I am not sure if it's a 2004 or 2003 model. There are 22 medium frets with rosewood fretboard. The neck is 25.1, which to some guitarists, is a bit short. The top is maple with a quilted pattern and the body is mahogany. The thickness of the body is just perfect for me since I'm a small person. Pickups are double humbuckers - one at the neck and one at the bridge. The bridge is string-thru body design that helps strings last longer because there aren't much of an edge force on the strings. Three controls - vol, brightness and tone. The guitar also comes with a neat inlay of 'flame' located at the 12th fret, there are side dots located on the neck.