Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best? - Jemsite
All Other Guitars (including Prestige) Discussion about other Ibanez Guitars not covered in the above topics. Includes J-Custom, USA-Custom, Prestige subforum.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 450
Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

I think I want to book end my S5470 Viking Red which will be arriving at the end of the week. I've been looking at 1988+ model years and I didn't pull the trigger on a 1995 "S" last night because I wasn't sure if the quality was on the decline by then. And of course it's now gone. I noticed on guitars with the neck plates, there's no serial on the back of the headstock. Trying to avoid any fakes or misrepresented guitars too.

I've done a ton of research but I can't seem to find a definitive answer. I've seen people say up to the early 2000's but others seem to think the late 80's to early 90's. I really like some of the early models with the toggle switches, pretty unique.

I also have questions about the trem systems, the years they changed and which are considered best and most importantly, still serviceable. I don't want a trem I can't get new parts for if needed.

Advice appreciated. My S5470 will be my first Ibanez in a long time and it'd be cool to have my high school dream guitar as well. I really wanted an S back in 1988 but couldnt' afford it as a high school student saving for college.
MichelIV is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 11:59 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 182
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

IMO, in terms of final assembly and fretwork, the older the better. The newer guitars have a lot of things going for them, but I think the old ones got more individual attention. My earliest guitar is a '91, so I'm not sure if they were even better in the '80s.
just4kinks is offline  
post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 450
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

Yeah that's sort of my question...should I stick to the late 80's, early 90's, don't look at anything newer than say a 96...but the early 90's guitars surely have some improvements in mechanicals (5-way switch for instance) or even the terms. I feel like I get an identity crisis when I start researching Ibbys. Waaay too many model variations.
MichelIV is offline  
post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 12:14 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Coast California
Posts: 217
Reviews: 9
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

I have both a 97 (HSH) and 91 (HSS) S and although they are both excellent examples of Ibanez qualitty the 97 is just a touch better. Not enough to make much of a difference. They are both near mint with little wear and play great. Around 1990 the bridge changed from the edge to the lo-pro which is of the same quality with just a different feel. you should note that the edge will except a dtuna and the lo-pro will not if you are into that. I am concidering changing the bridge to an original edge on on of them just to add a D-tuna. Other than that both are great and even though one of the guitars was played significantly the knife edges look almost new. The 97 was a closet queen so it is just about perfect all around.

The newest Sabers are very nice. I still feel the quality is not quite the same as the 80/90 Sabers mainly due to wood quality. To me the older ones just have better tone, resonance, and sustain. The new ZR may have a part in this (when compared to the edge) but it is a very, very stable trem. I also have a indo S570 which is nice, but I did change the neck over using a 2008 RG reissue nech that has taken that guitar to a new level of playability. I really do like the ZR becuase of the stability and design. The modern S also has 24 frets which I like but I prefer the neck pickup placement on the 22 fret models.

All this being said I owned a 2012 S5470 for about a month before returning it. Great g guitar with good looks but not as good as my older sabers from an overall quality standpoint. I just couldn't justify the $1500-$1800 compared to a $300-$500 s540. This prompted me to look for the upgraded neck to be S570 which satisfied the 24 fret needs and gave my a high quality neck which I felt was the only thing lacking on the indo S.

Regarding your decision to go Ibanez. I have played just about every guitar made and always came back to by Les Pauls bacuase of the tone. Some of the other felt better, lighter, more comfortable, better necks, but none had the tone. The S gets me close to that base tone. It is not the same the LP's have more sustain and are a bit fatter throuhout the range, but it is in the right ballpark. So by using the right pickups I can maintain my prefered tone while getting the faster more agile playability. I really love the flat thin Ibanez necks. Neck shape has never really been a huge issue for me in recent years, but I do prefer the playability of the wizzrd type neck (1,2,3 super, ultra, etc. i just doesn't matter much to me). Now if I want ever lasting sustain and thick tone I just pickup my LP Custom with its thick mahagony neck.... there is just no substitute......but speed, agility, and flexibility the Ibanez S540 has no substitutes.
fly_with_v is offline  
post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 12:19 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Coast California
Posts: 217
Reviews: 9
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

...And I think after 98 is the beginning of the quality reduction, also when they began moving production to Korea, so mainly the 2000s. Quality has began creaping up since 2008 but still not quite 80/90's standard. I think there are some very fine newer guitars but the consistancy is not the same.
fly_with_v is offline  
post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 450
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

Thanks for the feedback v...I purchased my S5470 used for what I would consider a good price as I too didn't feel it justified an $1800 price tag either.

Good to know on the tremolo/d-tuna. I was thinking of adding that and a trem brass block.

I decided to get something which has a more modern tone as both my other guitars (PRS and a Fender) are set up for more vintage, blues, hard rock stuff.

I also see some prefer the models with the square neck and neck plate vs. the more contoured later versions which seems strange from a playability standpoint so I didn't really understand why.

I'm really interested in playing two side by side just to feel/hear the differences first hand.
MichelIV is offline  
post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 12:43 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Coast California
Posts: 217
Reviews: 9
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

You can get the Brass block for both the Edge and Lo-pro. Too bad something isn't available for the ZR, although I am not sure if would add much as there isn't much room for a bigger block... and it is just a very different design.

AS for sound sound side by side, to me comparing every modern S (2008 and up) to older (97 and prior) the sound is just fuller, thicker, with more sustain. After building many custom guitars including many high end LP replicas to me it appears to be mostly in the quality of wood used. I search for my wood when building replicas and I pay quite a bit more. Why? Because I have built several replicas with customer supplied wood and hardware store wood and the tone is just lacks that special something. When you are building a 59' LP and spend countless mitculous hours making it perfect, the extra time and money spent on the wood is well worth it.
fly_with_v is offline  
post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 450
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

Yeah I asked Adam over at FU Tone and he is working on a ZR block but said it'd be a while Said the saddles didn't come completely apart or something which makes it difficult.

It also could be the wood aging...A guitar built in 1988 has had a lot of time to "cure" vs. one made in 2010. I'm sure a '59LP sounds better now than it did the day it was made!
MichelIV is offline  
post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 12:54 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Coast California
Posts: 217
Reviews: 9
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

Of course and finish aging, especially with Lacquer. But the base need to be there. I think quality wood is just harder and harder to obtain and luthier supplier know this, so they hold on to stuff until the price is right. When you are mass p[roducing instruments you have to weigh the cost vs. benefits and also produce the right numbers for production demands so sometime things get cut.

This is very evident is the difference between a $2500 LP standard and a $5000 Custom Shop LP, both are made by Gibson but one every piece is hand selected, the other is put another board in the mill.

Ibanez has the same issues, but I kind of feel that it is mostly in the maple quality (neck) which is probably one of the reasons for using the 5 piece design.
fly_with_v is offline  
post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 12:54 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Coast California
Posts: 217
Reviews: 9
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

And don't worry you will love the S5470.
fly_with_v is offline  
post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 450
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

I've read some bad reviews and some great reviews. I'm sure I'll like it. I've decided, for the time being to leave it alone and NOT mod it. Which is a really tough thing for me to do, LOL. Thank god they don't make any titanium parts for the ZR.

I've really got to read up on setting the ZR tremolo up. Floyd's, no problem. But I've not worked with the ZR yet so it'll be interesting.
MichelIV is offline  
post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 450
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

Well, I did it. Just bought an S540FMTT. Found one used at GC. Called tonight and except for some buckle rash, it's in great shape. Hate the gold, meh on the green but I'm planning to refinish anyway and I wanted the flame maple top. Who knows, maybe I'll like it. Has all the covers, no missing switch tips, all the electronics work. They've had it there since 2010! Decent price too.

Here's their pic, I'll shoot more detailed stuff when I receive it next week.
MichelIV is offline  
post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-03-2012, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 450
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

Effing guitar center....Call the store up, ask detailed questions about the condition, pay for the guitar. Get an email two hours later with updated pics and damage the sales agent didn't disclose (or see) at the time. It sounded like he was looking at the guitar when I was talking to him. As long as the big chip on the right side isn't into the wood, I'll keep her and refinish in a different color.

Anyone know which tremolo models are swappable with the lo pro? Just in case I'm just SOL in finding a replacement in black?
MichelIV is offline  
post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-03-2012, 03:11 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Coast California
Posts: 217
Reviews: 9
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

Original Edge or Original Floyd Rose.
fly_with_v is offline  
post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 10-03-2012, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 450
Re: Looking at vintage "S" series, which years are best?

Thanks!
MichelIV is offline  
Reply

Tags
540s , japan , prestige , quality , s540

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Jemsite forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address

IMPORTANT: You will be required to activate your account so please ensure that your email address is correct.

If you do not receive your activation check your spam folder before using the CONTACT US form (at the bottom right of each page).



Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question about "Music Man Albert Lee Guitar Vintage Sunburst" ILUVMYJP7 All Other Guitars (including Prestige) 3 02-25-2011 10:52 PM
ever see a "JS1000" with black gloss, no "satch" inlay and a "J" ser. # IKE560 Ibanez JEM, UV, JS & Other Signature Models 2 04-11-2009 03:05 PM
Ibanez specific "better" production years? trippled All Other Guitars (including Prestige) 5 01-20-2009 11:07 AM
Vintage Guitar "Blue Book" values online? kennydoe Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 5 11-02-2004 08:16 AM
Vintage guitars? "west" n "kay" OME Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 0 01-21-2003 12:35 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome