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Ibanez S series
Manufacturer Ibanez
Period 1987 — present
Body type Solid
Neck joint Bolt-on, Set-in
Body Mahogany with Poplar, Maple, or Bubinga top (except for cheaper standard, non-GIO versions, which just have mahogony)
Neck 3pc and 5pc Wizard II Maple with Bubinga
Fretboard Rosewood; 22 fret (1987-2007); 24-fret (2008-)
Bridge S: Lo-TRS Floyd Rose Licensed(1987-2003); Ibanez ZR locking Tremolo (2003-2007); Ibanez ZR-II locking tremolo (2008);
SZ: Hardtail with tune-o-matic;
SA: SAT Floating tremolo;
SV: synchroniZR Floating tremolo
Pickup(s) H-S-H, H-S-S (SA only), or H-H IBZ Infinity pickups; Ibanez AH pickups

The Ibanez S Series (also known as the Ibanez Saber Series) is a guitar series produced by Hoshino Gakki. This series was introduced in the late 1980s. Despite the fact that it uses Mahogany (known for being very heavy and dense), it was touted as an extremely thin and comfortably designed guitar, that still packed a punch visually and tone-wise, retaining the resonance of mahogany. Like the RG series, it also has prestige models, as well as derivatives, namely the SZ, SV, and SA series.



The Ibanez Saber (S) series was introduced for the 1987 model year, around the same time as the Ibanez RG. At the time it was introduced, it was known for its sleek, contoured mahogany body that conformed perfectly to the torso, as well as a fast, unfinished maple neck (Wizard) that was the slimmest on the market at the time (17mm thickness at the first fret). These first models used an "HSS" pickup configuration with an IBZ/USA humbucker at the bridge, and IBZ/USA hum-canceling single coils in the neck and middle positions or "HH" with humbuckers at both neck and bridge spots. Originally the pickups were selected via individual mini switches, but at some point in the 1988 model year Ibanez replaced them with a five-positions blade switch. Like many Ibanez guitars of this era, the Sabers were equipped with a double locking Edge tremolo system, licensed under Floyd Rose patents. At the time there were two production lines for the S model: one was in Fujigen, Japan, and the other was in Bensalem, PA, USA, where they would build the guitars with Japan-made parts. In the USA S models, they installed a counter-tension system called the Backstop in the springs cavity, a device that helped keep the guitar in tune after a string-break and during double-bendings, although getting it stiffer. The Backstop was halted in 1988 as the players preferred a more free and smooth tremolo feeling.

Current models

All S and S-derivative models have curved tops, compare to the flattop the Ibanez RG process.


S series

The current (2003 and 2007) S series uses a Zero-Resistance (ZR) tremolo system, and, according to Herman Li, "Stays in tune no matter what kind of crazy things I do." However on his signature Ibanez EGEN guitars, Herman chose the Edge Pro tremolo over the ZR. The ZR tremolo system uses ball-bearings and a built-in counter-tension system (Zero Point System), which acts similar to a Hipshot Tremsetter, in that bending strings will not cause others strings to become flat. Essentially this means that the bridge isn't floating freely, however the stop-bar can be removed to change the tremolo to floating operation. Also, the ZR Tremolo has a spring tension adjustment screw, allowing adjustment without screwdrivers to pop open the back-plate. Frank Gambale endorsed a Saber model in the mid-1980s, which became the basis for his signature FGM Series guitars of 1987. Gambale has also played various other Ibanez models such as the RG1270dx.

2008 S Prestige series

The 2008 S-prestige [1] are Japanese-made high quality guitars. Sporting a ZR-II locking vibrato system and a 2-octave (24 frets) rosewood neck, it was first tried out by Herman Li, and then became the basis for the E-gen.

S 7 string series

Ibanez continued their reign of the 7 string world by re-introducing the Ibanez S 7 string due to popular demand in 2007. A similar model had been discontinued and 7 string models were left to the RG series and some signature guitars. The first in the series, the S7320 sported all the same basic features as the non-Prestige models of the S Series (22 frets, Wizard-II neck, thin contoured mahogany body, ZR tremolo, jumbo frets) but had a different pickup configuration consisting of 2 Ibanez Axis Humbuckers, the AH1 and AH2, no middle pickup, but a 5 way selector giving the user the choice of Bridge, Bridge (single coil mode), Bridge and Neck (single coil mode), Neck (Single coil mode) and Neck, giving a wide array of tonal variation, allowing this guitar to be used not just for metal, but almost any genre. In 2010, they replaced it with S7420, which is similar except with 24 frets.

SZ series

The Ibanez SZ series is a derivative model, basically the hardtail version of the S series, with a thicker and heavier body and a shorter 25.1" set-in neck. Unlike the S or SA, it has a 3-way selector switch, at which the mid position is two single-coil (inner coils of the humbuckers) instead.

SZR series

The Ibanez SZR series is a series introduced in 2008 to replace the SZ. Like the SZ, it has a thicker and heavier body (60mm thickness) and an even shorter 24.75" set-in neck, similar to Gibson's guitars. Otherwise, it is identical to the SZ, with 2 tone knobs and a 3-way selector switch, at which the mid position is both humbuckers in split coil mode using the inner coils. The SZR series was discontinued in 2010. This was most likely due to low sales.

SA series

The SA series is a more "standard" series, in that its S-based body, but slightly thicker, has a flat back and an arched top, with a smoothed off bolt-on neck. It also utilizes the SAT single-locking (only at bridge) floating tremolo. Prior to 2008 series, SA is the only standard (non-budget) range of solid-body guitar that use non-locking tremolos.

SV series

The new SV series[2] sports a 24-fret neck, along with SynchroniZR, basically a non-locking ZR trem, but utlizes locking tuners and graphite nut. It comes with True-Duo coil tap system; on an H-S-H configuration, the True-Duo coil-tap system allows it to have the tonal quality of a traditional S-S-S config guitar.

As the S, SZ, and SA series are designed to cover as wide a range of music as possible, they either have the "True-Duo Bucker" coil-tap humbuckers, or are able to connect the humbuckers in parallel, resulting in a tone similar (though not quite) to single coils. All three have their own Prestige model. The SA and SZ also have the budget Ibanez GIO models. (GSA and GSZ, respectively) However, the first generation SZ2020 features a Seymour Duncan Distortion (bridge) and a SD Jazz (neck).

Famous users


  1. ^ (Japanese) Ibanez 2008 Prestige | S5470
  2. ^ (Japanese) Ibanez 2008 Prestige | SV5470F

External links


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