S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review) - Jemsite
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-03-2009, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

So I go up to my local Sam Ash to pickup some strings n springs n things and I start BS'n with a couple of the guys up there, one of which was doing setups on new arrivals. Behind the counter on a rack of about 5 guitars something catches my eyes and I flipped out.
Is that a Used S540LTD? being the old school S freak that I am, I immediately got excited.. I ask and he says no it's not while handing it to me. I first notice the lack of a middle pickup as it was an HH config. So I check out the back of the headstock and its a Black S320DX made in Indonesia. (ehharggmm.. excuse me I just threw up in my mouth a little)
First thoughts Im like huh? having not seen this on any site let alone Ibanez's site Im shocked for a moment. So while Im checking out the Black one he pulls a white one off the rack and begins to set it up, starting with what in his opinion was a much needed truss rod adjustment, lol. (and this guys knows guitars and is an awesome player)

SO getting over the initial shock and excitement the first thing I do is take a pic with the camera phone haha.. so I could show all you guys. Then I begin to inspect it. Black finish, same thin S body, Bound 3PC maple WizII neck with Sharktooth Inlays (which is what caught my eye to start), ZR Trem, HH config with INF1&2 and a 5way switch.

That said, there were some major issues IMO. The Binding looks cheap, and had a couple small dings in it, shipping maybe? The Inlays looked okay, although the frets were horrid, with scratches all over and the fret wire looked and felt "cheap". The trem was a bit crooked, and the routed cavity for the trem was awful. Choppy is the best word to describe it, with little jagged edges that seemed to have been "missed" or skipped" by a dull bit(one was almost an 1/8th of an inch and inexcusable), which made the front line of the trem cavity far from a straight line and unlike any I have seen thus far. Even the pickup rings had worn finish around the screw holes. Then I just happen to touch the painted area inside the recessed area at the output jack. WOW, completely unsanded, rough and gritty, worse than I have ever seen. Usually they are at least somewhat smooth and finished until you get deeper in towards the actual jack. Not this one, it was really bad. Even the white one wasn't that bad when I checked it after.
So I start to play it. It played and sounded completely reflective of its build quality.
Every S I have ever touched and played since 1989 has had that "S" tone to it. Deep, smooth and rich as a result of its mahogany body. Again, Not this one. At best it sounded and played like a recent/cheap RG, thin and buzzy on almost every fret, and sounded worse than what you expect a beginner guitars to sound and play like. And with a not so beginner price of 599.99. Very disappointing to say the least, and a direct result of where it was built IMO. while I have every intention on going back to play the white one after having been setup, I don't have much hope.

Since Ibanez stopped making the S540LTD and even before, I have wanted an S Series guitar with a bound sharktooth Inlay neck. this is NOT the one. As I looked this guitar over and made my findings and presented them to the guy at the counter, he looked and surprisingly agreed! awful...

Anyway, as a side note, I had typed up a much better worded and detailed description that was more concise and to the point, but I accidentally hit the back button on my mouse and lost it all. SO this elongated novel version will have to do.

so anyway, Thoughts? Comments?
below is the pic I took at the store. I did a search for S320DX when I got home and found only a page on the Sam Ash site for it, but I cant link it here cause of the name in the link.
So just search S320DX and its the first return in google presently.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 06:25 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

Sounds like par for the course.

The move from Korea to Indonesia for all but the Prestige models can't help.

I thought Korea was bad enough. Then it just goes from bad to worse.

Thanks for the review.
S-man is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 103
Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

yeah that was painfully evident. Although I was at first reluctant to buy my Korean made S520EX and wanting an S for so long played a part, I would have NEVER done so had it not played well. And what convinced me to buy it was actually just how well it played. It completely reminded me of my experiences in the late 80's and early 90's with the cream of the crop S series axes of Old...thick tone, smooth sustain, low action and no buzzing, even the neck felt like a reminder of the original wizard, but with a little weight gain, but I guess that's what 20 years will do. Looking at these new guitars tho? how sad where we stand today.

at any rate, I am very pleased with the way the guitar sounds and plays despite the garbage pickups. but those are in for a change. actually leaning towards SD JB and a Jazz.

none the less, these indo made guitars need a hell of a lot more than just pickups.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

A pup change would definitely be in order with the guitar in this post and for your 520.

There was the occasional good Korean S.... I guess you got one of them.

The Korean S320 was a model, that for some reason, turned out a lot better than the other Korean models.

Since the move to to Indonesia, they are now plagued by misaligned strings, trems, etc.

That being said, those problems existed with the Korean models as well. They just weren't as frequent.

What is infuriating, to a degree, is that the same exact models that were produced in Korea are now available from Indonesia. That makes it harder to distinguish the decent ones from the crappier ones.

You have to look at the serial numbers.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 103
Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

speaking of serial numbers.. obviously we know how to read them, but have you seen this?

http://www.guitardaterproject.org/ibanez.aspx
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 04:00 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Romania, Bucharest
Posts: 23
Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

4 months later from the last post here

I have to say that i bought here in Romania a s320 indonezia made. I changed the pickups with SD JB and Jazz. I don't use the trem too much because of the arm socket hearing it brakes often. A great guitar for the money overall, but now I'm sad because after only 8-9 months of playing (beginner like) 20 minutes a day, the frets are worn (it's like they're made from solder metal or aluminium). Quite sad considering the price for a refretting in the future.

This is the best guitar I played so far, though.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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Posts: 23
Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

double post, sry

Last edited by Treishtrei; 09-30-2009 at 04:06 PM. Reason: double post because of stupid firefox
Treishtrei is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 04:29 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

I had a blue one. The stock pups are awful. Swapped them out for an EMG 81/60 combo and dumped the LoTRSII for a Gotoh Floyd. Not a bad guitar but for a couple hundred bucks more you could find a nice used 550.
finstah is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-11-2009, 09:08 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

Cool review.
Lumi3erjack is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 10:51 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Posts: 653
Re: S320DX w/ Sharktooth Inlays (review)

Well, I guess that any guitar that isn't top of the line needs to be played before buying as you are bound to find a lot of variations between guitars of the same model. I bought the S670 because it really played well out of the box. I only had to make a minimal setup for it to be 100%. My only gripe with the guitar is the single coil and the bridge pickup. Definitely very average pickups. The neck pickup actually has a cool tubular sound, and the cleans are really strat like. But anyway, those will be changed to a Fred/HS-2/PAF Joe combo in the future.

I do think Ibanez needs to give some love to the S line. The choices are really bland compared to a few years back.

@Treishtrei, I'll pay attention to the fret situation on mine and report back on the future.
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