Ibanez S521 Review: Is It Worth It?

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As a pretty hardcore guitar geek, I’m always scouring for killer guitars that aren’t gonna demand me to rob a bank. That’s how I bumped into the Ibanez S521 – a real stunner in the musical instrument world.

In this review, we’ll scope out its main features, give it a sound quality check, and evaluate its overall user-friendliness. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the dope Stratocaster-esque body shape – honestly, it’s aesthetics and comfort rolled into one.

But this baby isn’t just a pretty face; its durable build offers your fingers a buttery smooth ride on the frets. So, if you’re a guitarist hunting for high-end chops without dropping a ton of dough, this mid-range priced axe could just be the answer to your prayers.

Design and Build Quality

Looking at all the Ibanez guitars out there, seeing their design and quality, I bet you are sometimes wondering, where are these Ibanez guitars manufactured?

I’m seriously vibing with the stellar level of detail and craftsmanship that went into the Ibanez S521. When you’re talking aesthetics and play comfort, this guitar is a game changer.

It rocks a slim Stratocaster body that doesn’t just turn heads but also fits you like a glove when you’re jamming.

You can bank on this baby’s durability and construction – I’m talking solid mahogany body and a maple neck. These premium materials keep it in shipshape, come hell or high water, intensifying your jam sessions along the way.

It’s artistry is on-fleek – seamless assembly, no fret edges sticking out and playing havoc with your fingers.

From its eye-catching finishes to its design that just doesn’t falter, the Ibanez S521 is a sweet testament to the brand’s commitment to pushing their boundaries in terms of the quality of instruments they bring to the table.

Neck and Fretboard

The neck of the Ibanez S521 rocks a slim-fit Wizard III profile, serving up the kind of comfort and speedy action that makes you feel like you’re flying over those frets. The slim design means you can navigate this guitar as easy as ABC and get to every nook and cranny of the fretboard with zero hassle.

And oh, the finish! Smooth as silk, it’s all about keeping your hand comfy, ensuring you can jam on this bad boy all day, every day. Let’s talk fretboard playability for a sec because the S521 completely nails it. It’s all down to the magic combo of the slim neck profile and silky rosewood fretboard. This is a huge plus due to the fact that Rosewood fingerboards are easy to clean, well, if you follow a proper procedure.

The frets are super neat and level, making for that gliding smooth note bending and effortless chord playability. Shredding out some high-key solos or weaving through intricate chord magic, the neck and fretboard of the Ibanez S521 got you covered. It’s all about a premium playing ride that’s a cut above the rest with comfort and playability that’s off the charts.

Hardware and Tuning Stability

The hardware details complementing the S521, like its fixed bridge and die-cast tuners, totally champion that rock-solid tuning stability you need.

Let me break down why the hardware of this beast deserves applause:

  • The fixed bridge serves up six adjustable saddles that let you fine-tune your string action. This FFT (Fret Fuss-free Technology, mind you) lets you nip buzzing or fretting problems in the bud, thereby fine-tuning your playability.
  • Those die-cast tuners aren’t messing around. They roll out smooth tuning precision and hold on to it like a boss. A super smooth turning action ensures you’ve got your desired pitch on lock.
  • The perks of the fixed bridge also extend to enhanced sustain and stability. The result? Your notes get all the love, singing out loud and clear with all the sustain you could ask for.
  • And let’s not forget, the S521’s hardware isn’t about flash; it’s tried-and-true, designed to do the job and do it well. It doesn’t matter if you’re a noob or a seasoned vet, you can rely on this to keep your tuning game consistently on point.

        In a nutshell, the S521’s superior hardware assures that your performances will be pitch-perfect. It’s a versatile and trustworthy tool for anyone knee-deep in guitar love, ensuring your strumming sessions are always smooth and in sync.

        Electronics and Sound Performance

        The Quantum humbuckers on the S521 have seriously wowed me with their extensive expressive range and crystal-clear sound. These pickups are all about tonal diversity, which means I can conveniently switch up my sound and style on the fly. Whether I’m jamming on a clean tone, crunching it up, or pumping some hardcore distortion, these humbuckers stick to their guns, spitting out defined and crisp notes every single time.

        The ceramic magnets tucked inside these pickups play a major role in shaping their trademark tone; we’re talking robust mids, bass notes that resonate, and highs that sparkle. Plus, the S521 comes with a handy 5-way pickup selector switch, upping your tonal possibilities a few more notches.

        All things considered, the Quantum humbuckers, combined with the varied pickup options, turn the S521 into a serious all-rounder. Whatever your jam – genre or playing style – this guitar has got your back.

        Final Verdict and Recommendation

        Looking at its superb build quality, the meticulous attention to detail, and its versatile tonal playbook, the Ibanez S521 is a total steal for those on the lookout for a stellar guitar that won’t leave their wallet empty. Let’s dissect the pros and cons, so you can see what’s up at a glance:


        • Stellar construction and on-point, smooth frets.
        • Eye-popping finishes giving it a dazzling look.
        • Wicked fast and comfy playing experience, thanks to the Wizard III neck profile.
        • Wide-ranging sound that flexes powerful mids, booming lows, and shiny highs.


        • The stock humbuckers might not hit the sweet spot for some players.
        • A bit of a neck-heavy beast – you might notice this if you’re not using a strap or guitar is perched on your left knee.
        • There might be a couple of minor blemishes in the finish.
        • Not a whole lot of leeway for upgrading the pickups.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        What Are the Available Finishes for the Ibanez S521?

        The Ibanez S521 comes in two eye-catching, vibrant colors: Blackberry Sunburst and Ocean Fade Metallic. Pick your poison based on what best matches your aesthetic — make a bold statement every time you hit the stage.

        How Does the Ibanez S521 Compare to Other Guitars in Its Price Range?

        When it comes to sound quality, there’s no competition — the Ibanez S521 is leagues ahead of any guitar within its price bracket. It boasts an impressively bright and clear tone complemented by versatile pickups and solid mids and lows. Plus, there’s no compromise on build quality; this guitar shines with durable construction that leaves nothing to desire.

        Can the Stock Humbuckers on the Ibanez S521 Be Replaced With Different Pickups?

        Absolutely! The original humbuckers present in your shiny new Ibanez S521 are totally replaceable if customization or upgrading tickles your fancy. This change opens up a world of possibilities for enhancing not only how classy it looks but also expanding upon how heavenly it sounds!

        What Are the Advantages of the Wizard III Neck Profile?

        Wizard III’s neck profile has got everyone buzzing because playing has never been more comfortable or faster! Its thin design offers unparalleled ease while moving across frets like lightning – experience pure joy while mastering those complex tunes.

        What Genres of Music Is the Ibanez S521 Suitable For?

        Rock out with heavy metal rhythms or dive deep into alternative indie tones- either way, the aggressive yet flexible sound from our very own Ibenez s251 will take center stage. With such versatility, this beauty transcends genre boundaries making itself an excellent pick for anyone seeking variety!


        Wrapping things up, the Ibanez S521 proves itself as both a cost-effective and dependable electric guitar that excels in quality and playability.

        Its slim, ergonomic design coupled with its sturdy build and speed-friendly neck makes it an ideal match for rock enthusiasts.

        The ceramic humbuckers serve up a robust yet adaptable sound, catering to diverse musical tastes.

        An intriguing fact is that over 500 happy customers have bestowed upon the S521 an impressive 4.5-star rating out of 5, cementing its position as a preferred choice among guitar players.

        Whether you want to learn about guitars, guitar equipment or other instruments, Guitarsquid has all the answers.