Brilliant of Japan: Ibanez S520 Review – Light and Universal

It is heavy enough to give a strong tone and marvelous sustenance and airy enough to be comfortable for everyone! All this is about Ibanez S 520, the lightweight and elegant model featuring absolutely outstanding price/quality balance.


The gracefully-shaped guitar Ibanez S 520 comes in expressive Blackberry Sunburst. Maple neck, rosewood freatboard featuring offset dots gives a bit discreet but noble look.

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

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

The most extreme sonic passages can be performed 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 fret job and this is another special famous feature of this guitar family. The Ibanez S 520 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 humbuckers: one Ibanez INF1 on the neck, and one INF2 on the bridge. This versatile combination provides lots stength and power for aggressive sounds.

Those, whose professionalism achieved higher level, can become excellent in handling and sounding the guitar by means of using different combination of pickups, it can come with DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan and EMG.

You can choose 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 depends on the usage, on the whole it is a modern, reliable instrument.


Ibanez S 520 wk review tells us that this is light, comfy guitar, easy to play while you are standing and excellent for not very tall musicians. It’s also very ergonomic and perfectly stays in tune.

You can use this guitar even if you are not experienced. It is easy to set up despite the fact that Ibanez S 520 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 permits the strings tension changing by changing the pitch of the sounding notes. Some users suggest completing the guitar with a 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 find a right variant 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 S 520. Price in India, US and Europe is about 540$, which is the average for used ones, and you can find maximum 100$ discounted ones if the 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 S 520 doesn’t have the spring tension wheel on the back, in contrast to the S 420. S 520 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 both models, but according to the reviews the fret edges of the S 420 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 S 420: 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 differ.

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

S instruments come with Mahogany, which presents 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 is achieved by the Mahogany. RG is a bit edgier, S  sounds sweeter.

Different wood types give different sound tones.

A lot of guitar players are considering the sound while making a 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 thick, heavy RG.

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1 Response

  1. Lisbeth
    I want to say that I am a big fan of Ibanez guitars and I want to say that Ibanez S520 is not an exception. I really like the fact that the neck is made of a single piece of maple in two octaves (24 frets) is designed specifically for the most comfortable high-speed game. Another obvious advantage of this guitar is passive pickups Quantum have stunning tonal characteristics, as well as deep and warm dynamics of sound transmission. And in the end I would like to say that I love this model because of tremolo bridge. Tremolo bridge Edge-Zero II was designed specifically for extremely accurate reproduction of the tremolo effect. It allows you to keep the system for a long time even with prolonged use of the lever, which, by the way, was designed in such a way as to prevent unwanted hand touching.

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