Pros: Wizard II neck, decent Floyd Rose, versatile sound, attractive "s" inlays
Cons: Pricey, bridge pickup hum
It was the best of guitar; it was the worst of guitar. It was the age of glam; it was the age of death metal. It was 1988, and I was only 16. Guitar, at this point in my life, was everything I though about, everything I dreamed about. To a kid wishing he were the next Randy Rhoads, Kirk Hammett, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Alex Skolnick all rolled into one, the mid-to-late eighties brought hopeful visions of stardom. I confess, I was a teenager and held large-looming dreams, but when the Ibanez Saber first appeared on the shelf of my local music store, I drooled like a Pavlovian canine. From the angled Wizard neck and shark-tooth inlays to the never-before-seen, sword-thin mahogany body, the Saber was the ultimate axe any aspiring guitarist would want. They have not changed much over the past fifteen years.
The Saber has now evolved into the ?S? series, with the S470 being the most popular of the group. The S470 still boasts a bolt-on Wizard II neck ? one of the best necks made. It has a large radius (15? or 400mm) that allows your hand to easily reach all of the frets and move with fluid speed up and down the rosewood board. The frets are jumbo and allow easy fretting due to their precise filing and Ibanez?s attention to detail. Rock maple in construction and raw in its appearance, the neck sports new ?S? pearloid inlays. These inlays are even more physically appealing than the old shark-tooth or basic dot inlays.
The electronics and pickup configuration are well matched for versatility, but the sounds achieved are only marginal. The five way switching between the AH1 (humbucker) in the bridge, AS1 (single coil) in the middle, and AH2 (humbucker) in the neck allows for anything from a Les Paul ?growl? to a Stratocaster ?quack.? The best sounds are found in the neck pickup, which provides a deep, mellow clean and distorted tone. The bridge pickup is only marginal and audibly hums when facing your amp, a problem that is most likely due to poor shielding. The single coil, moreover, is weak and only tries to compliment the neck pickup. After sampling your own sounds, you might want to make some changes in the pickup configuration.
The guitar comes with a Low TRS II (Floyd Rose licensed) locking tremolo system. The tremolo works well and sets up like any other Floyd Rose does, but it is not the more upscale Edge tremolo found on the Prestige series. The Edge sits lower in the body cavity and allows for more hand interference without altering the pitch of the guitar. The Low TRS II sits higher, but with good picking habits, the tone does not change. Some people have complained about these tremolo systems and their difficulty of string changes and set ups. It is a Floyd Rose; you sacrifice simplicity in set up for bar dives and trilling whammy effects. This tremolo is no harder to adjust than an original Floyd Rose.
The body of the S470 is elliptical and thin in profile. That it is made of thin mahogany is why it possesses beautiful bottom end, sustains well, and is light in weight. The guitar?s thin body is pleasant to play while standing, for you can hold it close to your body. Sitting with it is comfortable as well.
The tuners are standard Ibanez six-in-line Schaller knock-offs, but with the locking nut the tuners you use do not make that much difference.
Considering the S470 is made in the Samick plant in South Korea and sells for about $600.00, this is a great guitar at a price that could be better. I am amazed at some of the high quality instruments that come out of South Korea. Not all Korean guitars are at or above par, but the Ibanez line carries their own in qulaity. Most people would fain buy a Korean guitar for the sake of domestic allegiance. Swallow your pride, people, and save a few bucks! The Ibanez guitars are as good and versatile as most American Strats I have played, and I have played many. My suggestion is to offer about 10%-15% less than the marked price on the S470. If you deal with a larger retailer (e.g. Sam Ash, zZounds, Guitar Center), they can adjust the price and still make a profit after paying the commission.