Ibanez S-470 Guitar Review

Guitar Review - Ibanez S470, 1993 model

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Ibanez S5470 Prestige Electric Guitar image

FEATURES:

Ibanez S470, 1993 model Japan
Mahogany solid body
Wizard II neck with jumbo frets
1 volume, 1 tone, 5-way selector switch.
H/S/H- Passive Pickups.
Bridge: Ibanez INF2
Middle: Ibanez INFS1
Neck: Ibanez INF1
Ibanez ZR floating tremolo system.
Locking-post tuners
Gold-plated hardware.

The solid Mahogany body is a ‘standard’ thickness, but is carved away toward the edges, leaving the edges only about 1/2“ thick, for a rather unique look and feel. The picture at right is a currently available similar model -
Ibanez S5470 Prestige Electric Guitar with Stained Oil finish

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ACTION, FIT, & FINISH:

The body on this thing is, as I mentioned, solid Mahogany, unstained, with a simple oil finish. In a word: gorgeous! The neck pocket is a very close fit, and when I had the trem cover off the back, I was amazed to see what looked like very precise machining in the trem cutout & spring cavity; most likely CNC-machined. Really a tightly-built instrument, all in all.

It seems strange to me to rate an instrument on its ‘action’, since action is a player-preference issue anyway, and thus very subjective. This is one of the collection of guitars that I’m doing setups on for a friend/bandmate, and I was able to get this one set up just the way I like it without much trouble at all. Very easy to work with in that respect. Being an older guitar, this one has a little fret wear that made setting it up a little bit of a compromise, however. With a good fret-leveling/recrowning, I have no doubt that it could be set up any way you’d want it with no trouble at all.

SOUND:

I find that the middle-position single-coil pickup has far less output than the bridge & neck humbuckers. I tried adjusting the pickup heights to get some balance between them, but I’d have to almost contact the strings with the single-coil, and lower the ‘buckers well below what I consider normal to even approach a volume balance. If I had designed this guitar, I’d have used either an overwound single-coil, or a stacked or hot-rail type pickup there to achieve the same output levels as the ‘buckers....or I’d have simply left the single-coil out altogether.

The pros:

This guitar has that thick, chunky Mahogany tone, and in my book, there’s nothing better. This doesn’t detract in any way from the ability to cut thru with a searing lead tone on the bridge pickup when desired, though. Still plenty of ‘sting’ there. I wouldn’t really call it ‘shredder tone’ such you’d probably get with a different body wood, but overall, this guitar can produce a very wide range of tones, from dark & thick to bright & brassy. That tonal range would be augmented a great deal by having a middle position single-coil that matched the humbuckers in output.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

This guitar is super-comfortable to play, with its thin-edged body (which also reduces its weight considerably). It just snuggles right up to you. It kinda reminds me of an SG in that respect.

I’m no fan of trems/vibratos/wank-bars/whatever you call ‘em (vibrato is actually the correct term), but this floating ‘trem’ along with the locking tuner posts seems to keep it pretty well in tune with ‘normal’ vibrato usage. I don’t know about heavy-metal ‘hell-diving’ with it, but at least it’s a good deal better than the old ‘traditional’ style vibrato unit. The neck is medium-thin, very fast, and comfortable to play on. I miss the string-trees, though, on a neck with no headstock back-angle to it. The little E string doesn’t feel like it’s seated in the nut quite as solidly as it perhaps should be. The B is only marginally better. I’d probably add string trees, if it were my guitar.

I wouldn’t try to use this guitar as a metal shredder, due to its slightly darkish tone from the Mahogany body, but for ‘general rock’, it will definitely do. Keeper!

Note:

The two photos are not of the specific guitar itself, but one illustrates the Mahogany body (though with black hardware instead of gold), and the other is an edge view depicting the thin-carve edges on the body.