As with several S-series guitars I've played over the years, the S5470 is surprisingly resonant and loud when played unplugged. This results in wonderful clean sounds, especially with the slipt humbucker/single coil pickup settings. There is also a good range of overdrive/distortion flavors - biting, punchy from the bridge humbucker, smooth solo lines from the neck pickup. The guitar has slightly more mids and an the basswood Ibanez RG series, and definitely a nice tonal spectrum. The pickups are rather hot, and I usually had to turn down on the amp's gain when playing these to maintain good tonal definition - but then, the guitar is anyway geared towards high-octane shredding.
The pickups are pretty good pickups for stock pickups, very hot, but over time slightly lacking "soul". But I wouldn't pull them out immediately. I found especially the central single coil to be unusually loud, and that's intended so it can be sunk into the body far enough to be out of reach of the pick, and still maintain high volume.
One beef people have with the guitar in general is something called "sustain problem": notes played especially in higher registers sustain with different dynamics than on other guitars. It's subtle, but notable once you start paying attention to it. The note sustains with full volume for a while and then goes dead. However, comparisons with other guitars will quickly reveal that it's not a "problem", as the guitar sustains easily as long as other Ibanez bolt-on necks. It's merely the dynamics of the sustain, as other guitars sustain notes with constantly fading volume. So I'd not call it a problem, but a feature - like it or hate it, the guitar sounds great, plays great, and has loud sustaining notes, so no oddities here ;). Aparently exchanging the pickups changes the dynamics again, but I have not had the chance to test that.
The tremolo is the ball bearing-based ZR bridge, which feels playful and spongy, it's fun to use it.
|Action, Fit, & Finish ||
I test-played several of these extensively in stores, so I can't comment on the out-of-the-box setup. But low action and straight necks should be no problem with the guitar's hardware and manufacturer specs. Very good and consistent fretwork on the ones I played. The finish of the axes I have seen was flawless - the neck's back finish has a nice satin touch to it, and the different color variations of the guitar including the body binding are executed nicely, in particular the transparent finishes (which allow to gauge the quality of mahogany used on individual guitars, which can be quite variable).
The ZR bridge's cosmo black finish is however not always the sturdiest. Wiping it clean with a polish cloth after playing keeps it shiny and nice, however. The pickup rings are nonetheless notorious for fast decoloration.
|Reliability & Durability ||
I have had ZR tremolo equipped S series for a while and they are sturdy, including the tremolo bridge. No complaints here. It comes with a luxurious Prestige S case that protects the guitar very well.
|Customer Support ||
Being a huge international company, Ibanez customer support is not as personal as with smaller brands. But their call center is fast, ordering parts is easy, and there are tons of web forums run by geeks that can help with any trouble.
|Liked about it ||
- Sleek, comfortable body shape that makes gigging and transport easy and adds to the looks.
- Nice neck profile and finish
|Didn't like ||
- Pickups maybe a tad bland, but that can be remedied easily.
- Cosmo finish not always so sturdy
- None of the color options available in the US is exactly to my liking ;).
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