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|Ibanez S series|
|Period||1987 — present|
|Neck joint||Bolt-on, Set-in|
|Body||Mahogany with Poplar, Maple, or Bubinga top (except for cheaper standard, non-GIO versions, which just have mahogany)|
|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. Introduced in the late 1980s, the S Series is notable for being a streamlined mahogany bodied guitar with a maple neck that plays comfortably while 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 as well as an unfinished maple neck (Wizard) that was the slimmest on the market at the time being only 17mm thickness at the first fret. These first models used an "HSS" pickup configuration with an IBZ/USA humbucker at the bridge and two IBZ/USA hum-canceling single coils in the neck and middle positions or "HH" with humbuckers at both neck and bridge slots. Originally the pickups were selected via individual mini switches, but at some point in the 1988 model year Ibanez replaced them with a 5-way 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 in Fujigen, Japan, and one in Bensalem, PA, USA, which assembled the guitars from parts made in Japan. 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.
The current (2003 and 2007) S series uses a Zero-Resistance (ZR) tremolo system. 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.
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 variations, 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 for the addition of a full 2-octave fretboard.
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.
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.
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.
The SV series sports a 24-fret neck, along with the SynchroniZR tremolo system; basically a non-locking ZR trem that utilizes locking tuners and a graphite nut. It also comes with a True-Duo coil tap system that Ibanez claims to give the guitar a more accurate tonal quality of a traditional S-S-S guitar.
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).