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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone own one of these or have played one and can comment? I'm most interested in people's views on tone, quality and durability. Also, thoughts on the tremolo? Thanks.
 

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Have seen, never played. They are supposed to be what the kids of an RG and S series would be like if they had sex and had children :p
 

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I don't think that weird statement can really apply because both the RGs and the S series guitars have wizard necks and the SA guitars have that thick strat-like sangria neck. I didn't see any of the higher end models at Guitar Center, but I did check out one of the lower models (a SA160WBR). Aside from the shape of the body, I can't say that I liked the guitar at all. The bridge wasn't very good and the neck wasn't nearly as comfortable to play as a Wizard neck. Also, those stock pickups are HORRIBLE!! I mean, they sound even worse than powersound pickups (if such a thing is even possible). If it was just the pickups, then I might think about checking out one of the guitars but it doesn't even play very well. I'd take an S or an SA anyday of the week.
 

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Hey,
I'm actually a big advocate of the SA series. I have a lot of Ibanez guitars including a number of high end ones (Prestige and other), plus I have an SA160 and an SA1260. Oddly, the SA's get about as much play time as any of them. You didn't mention which SA you were considering (used or new?), but here are my observations:

Neck: I think the SA neck profile is great. No, it's nothing like a Wizard or even a Wizard II ... it wasn't intended to be. As noted, it's much more like a traditional strat neck (or a JS neck). Frankly, the Wizards don't appeal to me much anymore: simply too thin and "edgy" -- hard to explain, but my taste has just sort of evolved away from them. That super-thin, super flat Wizard profile seems like overkill now.

Bridge: I like the SAT bridges. I replaced the tuners on both mine with locking tuners (not really essential as the tuners are pretty good-- I just had some around and put them on), and use Big Bend nut sauce on the nut and saddles. With normal use (no huge dive bombs), it stays in tune fine. While I have a number of locking nut guitars, the non-locking SAT bridges are a big relief.

Pickups: The only major negatives on the SA's are the electronics. Yes, the pickups are harsh and lacking in character. I also had to replace the input jack.

I use the SA160 as my "travel guitar" since if it were lost or trashed, it wouldn't be an irreplaceable loss. I've played it live lots of times, and been very pleased.

So in summary, I think the SA160 is a great value in its price point. Used ones can sometimes be picked up for less than $200. The finishes are very attractive: Ibanez has been getting better and better at putting nice quilted tops on their lower line guitars. For a mahogany body, strat-style guitar, I haven't run across anything else that seems comparable. I don't know anything about the new Prestige SA, so I can't comment on that one. Also, it's probably true (as discussed in other threads), that the Korean products may still be lacking in consistency as compared with the Japanese models. I haven't been through enough of them to render judgement on that point, but so far I've had four SAs and haven't run across a lemon yet.
Bert
 

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I have always loved the SAS-32FM. For the money they look brilliant. They have a nice H-H setup, with nice hardware and cracking price and aesthetics! Flamed maple top, mahogany body.

I much prefer the H-H setup personally, but thats all personal choice obviously. I have been very tempted by them.

They look like the perfect kinda guitar to mod as well. Whack some DiMarzios in there, and you'll have a cracking little guitar.
 

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That's one I wasn't aware of (SAS-32FM), so I searched on it and see that the extra "S" stands for set-neck ,eh? We haven't gotten a set neck SA in the states yet.

I forgot about my SA420X: two hummers and a piezo bridge. That guitar is a real winner that was almost completely overlooked by the Ibanez junkies. Japanese made with an Ultra neck. A terrific guitar. Incidentally, my SA1260 is also Japanese made. I believe both of those (SA1260 and SA420) are now out of production, though there still seem to be a lot of 420's around.

Bert
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I played an SA160 on Saturday. I really enjoyed the unfinished maple neck. I also liked that it was a thicker neck. If I never have to deal with a locking nut again, I'll be ok. I've gotten spoiled by PRS, but I've been looking to get back into another Ibanez. I like the body shape of the SA. The 160 has the mahog body, maple neck and rosewood board. I would really prefer two humbuckers, but it seems to get that, you have to get a flame/quilt maple top, which I don't want. Thinking about picking one up with the understanding that I may have to change out some parts, but I wanted people's experiences with the quality to know if it is so questionable that it's just not worth it.

Stratoskier - I haven't seen the 420 or 1260. Do you have pics you can post?

Thanks for the comments so far. More?
 

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I don't have any pics of those two guitars on hand. A quick Google search will pop up both of them. I see at least one new SA1260 still available at a closeout price of $429 (original list price was like $799). But they're hum-single-single, so that might not be what you want. The main advantages are the Prestige neck, the bridge upgrade (SAT-Pro instead of SAT30), and the Japanese quality. I believe there are a few SA420X around also ("X" denotes piezo bridge), and they go new for around $499. On auction, I've seem them sell for around $400. As I mentioned, there are loads of used SA160s around, including lots for less than $200. The solid red and black ones tend to go for less than the orange and grey quilt tops.
Bert
 

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lyconxero said:
I don't think that weird statement can really apply because both the RGs and the S series guitars have wizard necks and the SA guitars have that thick strat-like sangria neck.
Ah I read that on ibanez.com, not my fault they lie :p
 

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stratoskier said:
That's one I wasn't aware of (SAS-32FM), so I searched on it and see that the extra "S" stands for set-neck ,eh? We haven't gotten a set neck SA in the states yet.
Ah right, I never knew that. I did wonder why I couldnt get many pics of one though on Google. I have posted a good one below though from MachineHead Music. I have always really liked it, thought it looked sweet.

http://www.machinehead.co.uk/images/ibanez-jpg/sas32fm-lg.jpg
 

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I wish the SA guitars had a fixed bridge. I love the body shape and I could rip out the electronics and sometimes you just don't feel like messing with any sort of trem.
 

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lyconxero said:
I wish the SA guitars had a fixed bridge. I love the body shape and I could rip out the electronics and sometimes you just don't feel like messing with any sort of trem.
I am with you dude. I only play fixed bridges now. Not only because I change tunings regularly, but because I never used the whammy bar anyway, and I just prefer the tone and sustain of the fixed bridge.
 

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i had great results with the SA 160/ 260. for a rounder/ thicker neck, check out Andy Timmons signature series which were based on the SA models.
 

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I have an SA160, lovely and very light, great playablility, though I often feel pickups could be better (but I guess I should be more than happy considering the price).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
germX said:
for a rounder/ thicker neck, check out Andy Timmons signature series which were based on the SA models.
Good to know that the AT sports a thicker neck. Thanks.

Stratoskier or anyone else with an SA 1260:

Is there a finish on the maple neck, or is it unfinished? One of the things I liked about the SA160 was the unfinished maple neck. The 1260 looks like a nice axe.
 

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Hi Jason,
Yes, the SA1260 has an unfinished maple neck. It's the standard SA profile, but since it is a Japanese Prestige neck, the fretwork, inlays, etc are a bit nicer. I don't think you can go wrong with a 1260, especially if you can still pick one up at the ultra-low closeout price of ~$429
Cheers,
Bert
 
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