I'm a newbie here, and not really a bass player at all (guitar is my weapon of choice, but I play around with bass and drums!), and have been entrusted by my best friend's widow to inventory (and clean up/check setup/replace strings as needed, etc.), his entire musical instrument collection (HE was the bassist!
) in preparation for sale… (I would keep them all, alas, she needs the money, and I can't afford to give it to her: There is a mint condition Chapman Grand Stick, fitted with MIDI and the Roland synth option in this collection!)
Anyway, among all of these fine instruments is the 5-string Ibanez referenced in the title of this thread. I have done some Google researching, and there seems to be a lot of differing opinions on the Ergodyne series, but, generally, I've found that this particular model (fretted version) is among the best of that series, and is quite well-liked. From the serial #, I have ascertained that this was built at the Cort factory in Korea for Ibanez, in May of 2002, 9,015th produced that month…
I have a few questions that I can't seem to find answers to, though, and I'm hoping some of you folks may be able to help:
First, I know that the body is Luthite, but have read that the neck is three piece maple, with a rosewood Fingerboard (on the fretted version, at least). The neck on this may very well be maple (it is finished in the same matte black as the body) but the FB is MOST DEFINITELY NOT Rosewood! I don't even think it's Ebony. It seems to be some sort of synthetic material, as the body is.
This bass is currently fitted with round-wound strings, and the majority opinion seems to be that rounds are fine on a fretless, but will increase wear (naturally!), requiring a redressing of the FB every few years (of course!). I was always under the impression that you chose Round, Half, or Flat wound strings, based on the sound you were looking for… For an 11 year old instrument, this FB only has some minor makings, that don't affect playability at all. I could probably run over it with a radial sanding block, using 400 or 600 grit SP, and it'd look like new…
So, anyone know for certain what material the fingerboard on this baby is fabricated from? As long as I'm going over the entire thing (polishing metal, buffing plastic, etc.…) I might as well do a proper redressing, too. (it would also be good to include in the description when I list it for sale)…
Second question is about the action: it seems to be quite high, even with all of the saddles at their lowest point. Approx. 5/16" at top, 1/4" at octave position. Since it is a bolt-on (5) neck type, can I just shim it, like I have on bolt-on neck guitars that can't be lowered enough? I really don't see why not, I'm just looking for opinions here. I would think having the greater range of being able to set the action too low would be preferable to being stuck with an action that, IMO, is WAY too high… What is considered the "average" action on a bass at the 12th fret?
Third question (and please forgive me if this sounds really ignorant… I'm new to fretless instruments, and just need to confirm what I think is fairly obvious), I should be fingering ON the position markers along the top edge of the FB, for checking intonation, particularly the SECOND dot at the 12th position, correct?
Fourth, what tuning should I use to put this up for sale, and have players check out? Low B or High C? I know, it depends on the player's style and main genre of music, but what is more common amongst all of you guys? (If I could afford to have a bass, to pick up and noodle around with, as the feeling hit me, I'd have a six-string! :-) )
Finally, anyone have a suggestion for an asking price/starting bid? This is in near mint condition (well, it WILL be, when I'm done with it), and I have seen prices ranging from $350-$400 up to $900 (list price?)
Any and all info you could provide, both positive and negative, would be most welcome! It's been kinda fun to play around with, WITHOUT it being setup to be at its best! :-)