any Ibanez S series users here?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Elkoki, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. Elkoki

    Elkoki Senior Member

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    This might not be the post you're expecting. I had an Ibanez Sv470 about 10 years ago, I bought it online before trying it. When I got it, I was SO disappointed in its tone. It sounded so thin, weak, and had nearly no sustain. The guitar came upgraded with EMGs an 89 in the bridge and an H in the neck which is basically an active single coil. It also had a Kahler tremolo, I thought that with all these upgrades the guitar would sound great. But it honestly had one of the weakest tones I had ever heard. My $300 Schecter sounded so much fuller, meatier, better sustain even with it's stock pickups. I wound up actually selling the Sv470.

    So the whole reason for all this ^, is because i'm now looking to buy another guitar. and there's just something so attractive about the S series guitars. They're so thin and beautiful, that i'm tempted to buy one again. but my experience with them has always left me disappointed, I also played a S520ex with Dimarzio pickups that I thought sounded so weak and thin too with poor sustain.

    am I the only one who thinks these guitars sound this way? I've been playing for around 12 years and used these guitars through quality tube amps and I always felt they lacked that low end chunk and the higher notes sound tiny.

    What do you S series users love about those guitars so much other than them being so light?
     
  2. Who

    Who Who is not here. Please leave a message.... Premium Member

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  3. Elkoki

    Elkoki Senior Member

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  4. NeubyWanKaneuby

    NeubyWanKaneuby Senior Member

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    I had an S7320 years ago, and thought it was great. Only reason I got rid of it was that I was trying out 7-string guitars, and they weren't really for me. I'd buy another S-series if it was a 6-string.
     
  5. Benjammin

    Benjammin Senior Member

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    I've never owned one, but I like the style, and have played several. The thing that always keeps me away is the wide neck. I like the way they sound, though I certainly wouldn't compare one to a Les Paul. They're much closer to a Strat with humbuckers (Charvel, etc), which I prefer myself, but I can see why a shredder type player would prefer the Ibanez
     
  6. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    I got an Ibanez S540, brand new, in 1987 - Desert Sun Yellow, Original Wizard neck, 22 frets, three on/off switches, push/push coil split on the volume for the Humbucker....it's an SSH with the DiMarzio/IBZ pickups, and the back-stop tremsetter with an Original Edge tremolo. It sounds AMAZING!!! I still have it. It's the ONLY guitar I have kept for all the years I have been playing. It hasn't been out of the case in years, but I still have all the original paperwork and it is unmodded.

    One thing that I always enjoyed about it was how it sounded MUCH bigger than it actually is. The playability was always top-notch. Even as a kid I enjoyed the smooth fluidity in the tone - thick but clear and articulate. The guitar sings and sustains almost as good as my PRS'.

    I have never liked the way Ibanez diluted their line of guitars and has them made all over the place. Those mid-80s Ibanez guitars were top-notch. I would ONLY buy one again if it was from '87-'92.
     
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  7. Who

    Who Who is not here. Please leave a message.... Premium Member

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    I have the same color and year. I like the '87 because it is the first year, and it has the three switches. Later years went to a blade-switch (which is probably a better choice when playing live. Those mini-switches are small.)
     
  8. Elkoki

    Elkoki Senior Member

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    Is it similar to the 540r? I would gladly buy one of those. I've heard one before, it sounds way different than the Sabers of today. It actually reminds me more of a JS guitar. It sounds exactly how you described it, thick, clean and articulate, that's the exact tone that I want. every S i've tried didn't come close, they all sounded thin and weak. They must've been way better in those days. I saw a 540r for sale locally but it's neck was replaced so I passed on it

    I also noticed the older ones had thicker bodies than the ones of today. http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338014323&icep_item=162630203643
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
  9. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Yeah, the one you posted is pretty similar - more streamlined in features. Regarding thickness of the body, I think the original S guitars were thinner than the modern. It has a bit of girth around the neck pocket, but the rest tapers down to near nothing. I got a 25th Anniversary RI and it was much heavier and a bit thicker on the taper. Really, it had very little in common with the original. The color was even wrong. I dumped it pretty quick.

    [​IMG]

    The R guitars are thicker all the way around, taper on the top side, and have very rounded edges. Similar, but quite different in the details. If you want what SHOULD be (can't promise since it's not mine) a killer S, go for the one on ebay. It has the same pickups mine does. I always liked those and never felt the need to change them - they are PERFECT for the guitar. Avoid any S with V series pickups...in my opinion that's when they turned to trash.
     
  10. Who

    Who Who is not here. Please leave a message.... Premium Member

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    I had an '87 S540 Saber. One of two guitars that I sold, and later regretted selling.

    It had the BackStop and factory pickups.

    IbanezS540 (2) (Custom).jpg
    IbanezS540 (23) (Custom).jpg


    When I saw the 25th Anniversary editions in GC, I got interested in getting one. They went on clearance in 2013 for a good price.

    I tried it out. It seemed "OK". Just OK. I couldn't put my finger on it... the guitar had an interesting design bridge. The quality seemed good. It just did nothing for me. I wasn't excited about it at all. I passed on it (but did save the picture, for some reason).

    IMAG0208 (Custom).jpg


    I went shopping for a "real" one on Craigslist. Here's a Craigslist tip.... post a "wanted to buy" ad. People hardly ever do it. There are plenty of people who have gear but don't want to go through the hassle of selling on CL or eBay.

    I've bought a couple of things this way. I get the gear I want, at the price I want (I'm setting the price), with no competition or hearing "I sold it already".

    I got what I wanted. In an "80s" color. Sadly, the bridge pickup had been replaced. I put a Dimarzio X2N in there. No, it's not the perfect pickup for the guitar. I just figured... if it's going to look 80's, it's going to sound 80's!

    IMAG0214.jpg IMAG0215.jpg IMAG0216.jpg
     
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  11. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Oh, also - about the R....it IS the JS guitar. That's what Joe modified and decided to use as the platform for his signature model. Those can be very nice - and if you can find an ORIGINAL R, I think it is WAY better than the JS. It is less "personalized" for the Satriani tone. The original R is just a killer rock/fusion guitar.

    Speaking of tone....

    I have always chased ONE type of tone, and it is basically a fat (but clear), with a thick midrange, with good sustain and an articulate voice. I like my notes to feel like they are sliding into feedback, but I like enough clarity to play open chords and have the notes ring true.

    My original S got me close - 30 years ago. BUT, they are some inherent flaws in the construction of the instrument that hinder ALL of my criterion. The first is the locking trem. While I find the original Edge to be sonically superior to the German Floyd, its "cast" design creates different sonic issues. It will thin the sound.

    The second flaw for me, in creating the tone I want, is the neck. While the Wizard I (or original Wizard) is not as thin as the Wizard II (and overall seems to be constructed WAY better), the thin neck is going to contribute to a lack of sustain and the absence of girth will affect sustain.

    The S is a quick instrument. I would not define it as a shred guitar. I would refer to it as a space-aged jazz/fusion instrument. Rich Lasner and a small part of the Ibanez design crew at that time were all into fusion. The Maxxas and the S were their vision of the greatest fusion instrument. The big S users at the time of release were Frank Gambale and Alex Skolnick - both jazz/fusion inspired players.

    IF you purchase one with that in mind you'll be okay. It will not be a locking trem version of a LP or any other thick body, thick neck guitar.
     
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  12. Who

    Who Who is not here. Please leave a message.... Premium Member

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    Elkoki,

    I don't think my Saber has tons of sustain. It is not a screamer. I think those attributes are more a function of the amp, than the guitar.

    Someone put it very well in another thread... (paraphrasing:) ""when used like that, the guitar and pickups are more like a midi-trigger, and anything will work".

    I can say, my Saber is noticeably different than a humbucker Strat or Tele, or a Les Paul. I've never been good at describing sound with words, so I can't tell you what I feel the difference is.

    I can say, for a "full" "warm" tone, my Schecter C1 (with factory Duncan JB/Jazz) was much better than this Saber. I sold the Schecter. I can get that "tone" from any Les Paul. Even a $200 Epi with a pickup swap. I kept the Saber.

    If I had to whittle my collection down to just three electrics, I'd keep my MIK Gretsch, my S540 Saber, and my Strat Plus.

    And not because the Saber is a spectacular guitar. I have others that are better. I just feel I could easily replace any of the others for years to come, in a day, shopping the used market. I don't know if I could do that with the Saber.
     
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  13. Who

    Who Who is not here. Please leave a message.... Premium Member

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    Oh, I also recommend color-matching strings. Because 80s.

    [​IMG]

    Guitar in "black light":

    [​IMG]

    (That Strat next to it is my other "keeper". So dull in black light! ;)
     
  14. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    HAHAHA - you like the DR colored strings?!?!? Man, I could not wait to get those off my 25th....flake-city!!

    Looking at your S makes me want to dig mine out. Maybe tonight I'll take a trip down memory lane....though I haven't changed the strings in 4-5 years!!!
     
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  15. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Yeah, I can second this. When I got my S I was using a Boogie MKIII (then a MK IV when they were released). A HUGE part of my tone was, and always has been, the amp. The attributes I gave above were a combo of the S and the MKIII.

    On the flip side, when plugged into a Marshall the S doesn't hold out notes forever - it takes on a more "balanced" tone that bends slightly toward the treble frequencies. Add a TS to the Marshall (talking 800 series here - as that was the amp of the period) you get back a lot of "meat" in the tone. Hard to explain, but the easiest way to explain it would be like this:

    Want a blank, easy to play canvas? The S is your guitar. It is well designed, and the other parts of the signal chain will impact it greatly.

    I will compare it to my arsenal of PRS guitars.....

    While PRS comes in different flavors these days, in the end I KNOW when I plug one in I am going to get the tonal attributes given a couple of posts above. While there are some amps the PRS doesn't like, for the most part it will deliver the goods everywhere.

    The S will be more of a chameleon. Through the mentioned Boogies and my Rivera amps it was/is a BEAST - not in an aggressive death metal way, but in delivering all the attributes I want in my tone. Plug it into a JC120 (which I have done) and it becomes a more delicate instrument. You CAN make it sound ugly - the HB has enough output...but in that application it is UGLY. Plug it into a Twin Reverb - it will twang and bark with clarity, especially with the coil split on the HB.

    I could go through a million examples. The best way to explain it is that a good S will be a platform for tone not THE tone....does that make sense?

    To me, THAT is what is missing from S guitars after 90-91. They became too tonally specific - too generic if you will.

    What are you looking for the S to accomplish tonally/musically?
     
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  16. Who

    Who Who is not here. Please leave a message.... Premium Member

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    mmd, that is a GREAT post!

    I never put my finger on it as well as you have. I know mine is "different", but couldn't say what it is.

    I have definitely felt that when I plug in a Strat, or Les Paul, I know what to starting point to expect. With the Saber... I had to play more. At times, I could plug it in and think... this is a crappy guitar. Other times, it is glorious (depending on the chain).
     
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  17. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    I have been through that "this is a crappy guitar" thing numerous times over the years - especially when I add to, or modify the rest of my signal chain!!
     
  18. tzd

    tzd Senior Member

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    Here's the tone of the S series thru JVM from one of the most prominent Saber player today

     
  19. Elkoki

    Elkoki Senior Member

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    Yeah but my biggest complaint was the thickness in tone, the ones i've tried always sounded thin no matter what amp I plugged into . I played a s520ex with Dimarzios into an all tube high gain combo called a Peavey XXX. and it couldn't even compete with a $300 Schecter with stock pickups. The Schecter was way thicker sounding , when soloing and with riffs.

    I don't think S series was originally made for metal, but a lot of people use them for metal.

    Sabers do have a sound of their own, same as Teles, Strats and LP's all sound different. Sabers have their own tone as well. I actually like the way they sound clean, they sound thin but it's a sound I haven't been able to get with my other guitars.


    My biggest complaint about the S series guitars i've had is that they just sound THIN. You can probably run them through a bunch of effects and make them sound thicker . They weren't meant to sound super thick anyway, my problem is some people review them and say they sound super thick , even way more than RG's . kinda misleading.. I've compared my $300 Schecter with stock pickups next to a s520ex, and the Schecter sounded way fuller. Everyone has their own tastes in tone, I can see why a thinner tone would work better for certain music. Basically I just wanted a great lead tone but also a great hard rock metal tone and I wasn't getting it with the S520ex even through an all tube high gain tube amp ( Peavey XXX). If I don't like the tone and sound of a guitar to begin with, i'm not going to run it through tons of effects just to make it sound passable...
     
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  20. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    The S isn't SO thin in tone that it is unusable. It also isn't as thick sounding as a LP. It has a balanced tone. I have always been able to get a great, singing lead tone (and when I was using the S I used NO effects other than a wah pedal) and a fat, heavy tone. Historically I usually can just run my amps neutral (tone knobs set to noon, or round abouts) and get a great tone out of the guitar.

    The Triple X is an amp that if you start maxing the gain you have to do more drastic EQing to make the sound not be mushy. My advice, if you get another, would be to start with your EQ flat on the amp. Dial in just enough gain to give the tone some meat/sustain, and balance the EQ for what seems to be missing in the tone.

    I have, in the past, set amps where the mids are maxed out to get the sound throaty enough for my tastes. I tend to dial the bass back to just where the tone has "body" and only dial in treble for "clarity". Most often, if my amp has a presence knob, I only dial it in at stage volume to make sure the sound has enough overall clarity. As you get louder the more natural treble occurs anyway.

    What are some bands you like the sound of? That might help us out.

    I'll dig mine out tonight (which I was planning to do anyway) and do a quick video for you. I am surprised the tone is as thin as you describe.....
     

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