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heads on fire 11/28/2011

Ibanez S540FM : heads on fire's user review

« Great playing axe. »

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Made in Japan
Mahogany double cutaway body with Flame maple veneer
Bolt on Wizard maple neck with rosewood fretboard
22 Jumbo frets
Ibanez high quality Gotoh style modern tuning machines
Locking nut
Ibanez Lo-Pro Edge double locking tremolo bridge system
Ibanez V series pickups - 2 humbuckers, 1 single coil - HSH configuration
1 volume, 1 tone, 5 way switch
1/4" output jack
Gold hardware
Very light - around 6 pounds


I'll give this area a 10. It's hard to top the playability of a late 80s, early 90s Ibanez guitar made in the Fujigen plant in Japan. This model is no exception - the Wizard neck is thin, sleek, and very fast, and the fretwork is impeccable. The level of action one can achieve on this guitar is so low, the strings are nearly right on top of the frets, so it takes just a modicum of effort (with a light touch) in order to activate the string. Fret access is great. The body is ergonomic enough, and light to boot, and the S540 balances very well. As an added bonus, the Lo-Pro Edge tremolo system stays in tune very well, even on the wildest whammy tricks!


The stock Ibanez pickups are very good. Good enough that many people leave them in - they are richly defined, with a nice presence and aggressive attack, smooth singing sustain, and great "in-between" Strat funk tones. The 5 different selections on the switch provide ample tonal variety, allowing this guitar to be used in nearly any style. It excels in shred/fusion/metal types, but it's a great guitar for jazz, reggae, and I could even see someone using it in a country band.


This is a marvelous instrument. Ibanez has been known for making great guitars for a long time, but I feel that the 80s and 90s were their golden era for extremely playable axes. There are still a lot of these guitars out there, so finding one shouldn't be too difficult, and it would be well worth the effort to do so just for the neck alone.