Brilliant of Japan: Ibanez S520 Review – Light and Universal

It is heavy enough to give strong tone and marvelous sustain and airy enough to be comfortable for everyone! This is all about Ibanez S520 – the lightweight and elegant model featuring absolutely outstanding price-quality balance.


The graceful-shaped guitar Ibanez S520 comes in expressive Blackberry Sunburst. Maple neck, rosewood freatboard featuring offset dots gives a bit discreet but noble look.

The standart-scaled (25.5″) guitar with mahogany body will please you with the perfect professional sound, bolt-on neck construction provides fast, furious attack without loosing and “fat” tone.

The thin Wizard III neck improves efficiency of great playability affecting to responsiveness and speed. An impressive range of tone textures can be achieved thanks to quantum pickups and 5-way switch.

The most extreme sonic passages can be realized with the Edge Zero II tremolo, and you should have no doubt that the guitar could be easily returned to perfect tuning.

24 Jumbo frets provide a perfect fretjob and this is another special famous feature of this guitar family. The Ibanez s520 black also comes with:

  • FR-style locking nut of 43 mm;
  • headstock made in black – typical for S-series;
  • original tuners;
  • the bridge turns to be Ibanez Edge Zero-II locking tremolo;
  • pickup configurations are completed with two hambuckers: one Ibanez INF1 on the neck, and one INF2 on the bridge. This versatile combination provides lots gain and power for aggressive sounds.

To become excellent in handling and sound the guitar can be also completed with different combination of pickups for those whose professionalism achieved higher level – it can come with DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan and EMG.

You can offer installation of active boost and EQ circuits and your version will please you completed with SPC, PA-2, EXG, RPC, VMC. The life time of guitar is due to employment, on the whole it is modern, reliable instrument.


Ibanez s520 wk review tells us that this is light, comfy guitar, easy to play when you are standing, and excellent for not very tall musicians. It’s also very ergonomic and stays in tune very well.

You can use this guitar even if you are not experienced. It is easy to set up despite of the fact that Ibanez s520 has a locking whammy bar system. It helps to reduce the load on the pegs and helps to keep the string structure, while the floating lower paddle allows changing the tension of the strings by changing the pitch of the sounding notes. Some users propose to complete the guitar with fixed bridge.

The period of use depends on your attitude. If you will take care – the guitar will serve you for a long time.

It is hard to fit around for those who have little hands – the guitar neck is rather wide. One musician shared the opinion that “it feels like you’re fretting a butter knife”. If you consider that pickups are average, you can use a modeling amp.

Do not sell it even if you need extra money – just try to get them another way – as you could hardly find the instrument with such high quality for this price. It’s extremely versatile and can really give a solid sound for almost any style.

Any dream has a price

On the whole we can resume that it will be your best purchase of light, versatile and ergonomic guitar if you choose Ibanez s520. Price in India, US and Europe is about 540$ – the average for used ones, and you can find maximum 100$ discounted ones if owner needs to sale them faster. The new instrument can cost up to 1800$. But the price is really reasonable.

And as almost 90% of users are ready to recommend it to their friends – doesn’t this fact make this guitar a really worthwhile thing?

What about the alternatives: Ibanez s420 vs s520

The S520 doesn’t have the spring tension wheel on the back, in contrast to the S420. S520 has more appealing finish, two humbuckers with covers. S470 has oval inlays, two humbuckers and middle singlecoil without covers.

It doesn’t make difference in playing on both models, but according to reviews the fret edges of the S420 are quite sharp.

S470 is more versatile due to the middle coil and pickup blending between middle, neck or bridge.

We found the complaint about the Ibanez s420 – the middle coil gets in the way of picking.

Ibanez RG vs S

There are a lot of similarities, but tonewoods and body style of these series differs.

Basswood is used in Ibanez RG guitars – a deep, dark tone with a nice amount of woodiness and resonance.

S 520 instruments come with mahogany – a richer-sounding tonewood, with deeper sound and better articulation. They are much thinner and sleeker and have slightly arched tops.

The increased resonance of s 520 achieved via the mahogany. RG is a bit edgier, S – sounds sweeter.

Different tonewood tops give different colors of the sound.

Many guitar players considering about the sound when making decision between the Ibanez RG and S. But it is about feel and playability too. S-series have thinner, more elegant bodies but plenty of musicians would never part with their “fat”, heavy RG.

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