Ibanez SZ520

Price Paid: 
$250
Condition: 
Used
Country of origin: 
Korea
Body wood(s): 
Mahogany body with quilted maple top
Neck wood: 
Mahogany
Fretboard: 
Rosewood
Fretboard Scale: 
25
Number of frets: 
22
Pros: 

 

The SZ520 is a fairly lightweight guitar, considering that it's not chambered and about as thick as a Les Paul.

 Has one of the most comfortable set neck heels I've played, the joint is as smooth a contoured as most neck thru guitars. The neck contour itself is beefy, and pretty wide, not quite rounded like a 50's neck.

Body, neck, and headstock binding.

2 volume 1 tone, with a 3 way pickup selector. 

The Gibralter 3 bridge is seriously comfy to rest on.

Stays in tune relatively well, and the fretwork is solid.

The finish is good, much better than what Ibanez has been known for.

They are pretty cheap on the used market, new they sold for only about $500.

Cons: 

Discontinued, Ibanez really dropped the ball discontinuing this Korean line, I think they are every bit as good as the top PRS, LTD, and Schecter's that have come from Korea, and much better than the Indonesian guitars Ibanez was making then too. Pickups. I had a natural oil finished SZ320 that I bought in 2004, which had the DiMarzio designed IBZ pickups, I'm a Seymour Duncan guy, but the DiMarzio designed pickups, I'm not sure what they were modeled on, were MUCH better sounding than the Duncan IBZ pickups, which are the HB versions of the Distortion bridge and 59 neck, I replaced them with a real 59 and a Custom and the guitar rocks. This guitar came out a little back when the Korean guitars were just starting to be well made, unfortunately they were still not being made with premium parts, like Grover tuners and U.S. made Duncan, DiMarzio, or EMG pickups, so along with bad pickups you won't find Grover locking tuners like on most fixed bridge Korean imports, but as I said the ones they come with work. The single flame inlay is both cool and lame at the same time, cool when I saw it first 9 years ago, lame now... I'd prefer no inlays.

Summary: 

This is my second SZ model, sold the SZ320, regretted it for a few years, when the chance and need for guitar of this type came up, I got the SZ520 instead. This is no $3000 PRS, hell, it's not even my $1300 Carvin CT4, but it's definitely a gig worthy guitar and cheap enough to justify purchasing just to noodle at home with, and is a nice throwback to the thicker necked fixed bridge guitars Ibanez was making before going crazy with cheap finished paint stirrer neck super strats. I highly recommend one of the SZ models to anyone considering something like a PRS Se.

Overall Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)