Ibanez SA08 Mini Review

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Ibanez SA 08 LTD2 BAR
Ibanez SA 08 LTD2 BAR

Kaz' Mini Review

Hey guitar players!

Today my first mini review on my very own Ibanez SA08. This was a limited edition series produced as a Messe show model, for the Musik Messe in Germany. There are two models, the SA08 LTD1 and the LTD2, and they are available in a few colors, but all very special. The colors are Silver Arctic Frost (SAR), Red Arctic Frost (RAR) and Blue Arctic Frost (BAR). The red version is available as LTD1 and as LTD2, but the blue one is LTD2 only, and the silver one LTD1.

I personally have a LTD2 (BAR), so the review is based on that, but remember, they probably feel the same as the LTD 1 series, the difference is that the LTD1 has two humbuckers, whereas the LTD2 has an HSH configuration.

Here are the specs:

  • Name: SA08LTD2
  • Years: 2008
  • Areas: EU
  • Made in: China
  • Finishes: BAR (Blue Arctic Frost) , RAR (Red Arctic Frost)
  • Body
  • Body material: Mahogany
  • Neck joint: Bolt-on
  • Bridge: SAT Pro tremolo
  • Hardware color: Chrome
  • Neck
  • Neck type: SA
  • Neck material: 3-Piece Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Inlays: Dots
  • Frets: 22 Medium
  • Electronics
  • PU Config: SSH
  • Neck PU: AHS1 (Axis Single 1)
  • Mid PU: AHS2 (Axis Single 2)
  • Bridge PU: True Duo Bucker
  • Controls: 1 Volume, 1 Tone, 5 Way lever with Coil Tap on Volume

The guitar I bought was a show model in the guitar store, and it was already set up properly, or at least, I didn't feel like changing anything about it. First of all, the guitar plays pretty nice. There are no little flaws on the guitar, like frets sticking out, catching the high E string or things like that. The action is quite all right and I really like the thin neck. It's good for some technical play because of the fast neck. The neck is also unfinished, or at least, it isn't finished with a layer of paint, which I really like because it just feels more natural to me and your hands can slide around much more easily then on a painted neck.

The wiring, done by Ibanez
The wiring, done by Ibanez

The pickups are OK, but nothing special. In the bridge there is the inventive True Duo Bucker, which can be coil split and then give true single coil tones. I've replaced it because I didn't really use the split option a lot, and I thought replacing the bridge PU would make the most sense, as it is the PU I use most. When I got the true duo out, I found out why it is special. It isn't a normal humbucker that you can split, but it's actually a stacked humbucker (two humbuckers on top of each other) which produces the true single coil sound. But I switched it for a Seymour Duncan TB-4, which has just a bit more bite and power. The bad thing about the true duo system, is that when you wish to replace the humbucker, the pot with the split function has six connections, aligned in pairs of two, three levels high. Now if there is one thing you do not want when soldering a cable into your guitar, it is having to solder on the deepest part of the cavity in between a bunch of wires. I chose not to give my new pickup the split function, just because I didn't want to solder the split cables back in there, afraid to damage anything. But the sound is pretty decent, you can get a nice sound out of it, although it will always sound just a little thin, and not as convincing as the thick Les Paul sound or Joe Satriani's screaming tone.

A last little point is the tuning. The tuners work fine, but they don't always stay in tune, and the tremolo doesn't really stay in tune either. If you need to record a track with just a few minor tremolo touches, you'd better tune every three takes to be sure of your tuning! It detunes pretty fast.

Overall I think a very nice guitar, especially for the price which was new €270,-. The finish looks awesome IMO, the playability is quite nice and the sound suffices.

To give you an example of the sound, using the TB-4a :

Have you got one? Write your review here!