Ibanez S521 is still one of the better "working man's" guitars
When money is tight and you need a reliable gigging guitar, this one fits the bill.
Definition of a "working man's guitar": Something you can play night after night where the instrument performs reliably without any fuss, and something you can actually afford.
That guitar is the Ibanez S521. It's priced very well for what it is. I've written about this guitar before but it definitely deserves another look because there are a few more things I need to mention about it.
While the S521 isn't the fanciest guitar, what it does have going for it is that it's a simple hardtail that won't let you down, and it works with basically any amp using any guitar effects you have.
This particular guitar is the base model for the Ibanez S Series, but even so it's packed with the good stuff that counts.
- The maple neck is a "Wizard III" 25.5" scale with 12" fingerboard radius. Very comfortable.
- The neck dot inlays are offset, giving the guitar an upscale appearance.
- Frets are jumbo size for easy soloing with no fretting out.
- Pickups are the Ibanez "Quantum", which are quite good. Ibanez states they have "accelerated bass response" with a generous amount of midrange. That basically means a well-voiced pickup.
- Pickup switching is 5-way - but not in the way you would think. The positions are bridge, bridge+neck inner coils only, bridge+neck, neck parallel connected, neck series connected. This is one of the more usable switching configurations that works with pretty much any type of music you can think of, including the type where spanky or "honky" tones are required. The fact you can switch from regular humbucker tones over to the spank/honk stuff is really nice.
What you get with the S521 is a true plug-in-and-go guitar after you set it up to your liking. No upgrades are required because the good stuff is already there.
The biggest selling point of this axe is that it can truly be the one guitar you go gigging with where you don't need anything else. This guitar is not built to be flashy, but rather just to work and keep working reliably.