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Are the Ibanez ATKs lost on me?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TC2112, May 19, 2011.

  1. I have a 95 ATK 300 (MIK) and it is a spectacular bass. It plays nice, it sounds great, I always get complements from other musicians on it's tone and playability, so this is in no way a slam on the instrument -

    Here's my issue. I have always played P basses. They are comfortable for me to play and I am comfortable playing them. I use Labella strings and the two are simply a match made in heaven.

    I strung up my ATK with a set, rolled the highs off, popped the selector up to the neck (vintage single coil) position and loved it, but with these settings the pickup selector kind of sounds the same everywhere. Everything set flat with the Labellas, still really no change in the pickup selection.

    So I pop out a set of nickle rounds, string it up, and boom, the thing comes to life. Very active EQ, pup selector makes a difference, it goes from bright to boomy, funky to full and warm. One major issue - I don't like rounds, i don't slap a lot, and I like my P bass and flats. Thats the tone I like and that's what works for my current gig (or maybe this is my current gig, because it's what works for me). It seems a shame to make this very nice bass be something that it doesn't want to be and even then, still sit behind two P basses that get more action.

    Any style of music can be played with any bass, i get that, but should a bass be limited by it's player. Maybe it's time to move it along.
  2. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I'd still have my ATK305 if it wasn't pushing 11lbs. Just to damn heavy.
  3. sidez81


    Mar 16, 2011
    QLD, Australia
    Personally if i aint usin it, it aint stayin. always a shame to see a nice slab of wood sit there even if it is somethin good.
  4. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    It is what it is.

    ATK's are generally considered to get very close to the StingRay sound, which of course implies all that goes with the StingRay sound: active electronics with lots of EQ range, bright, slap-friendly when using roundwounds, etc.

    Very similar to the OP, I have also come to the realization that the sound I usually want is a P bass with flats (TI flats, in my case). Because of this, my StingRay strung with DR Sunbeams (nickel roundwounds) is getting very little use these days.

    I probably need to change my avatar..........
  5. Wild_Cat


    Feb 14, 2009
    Montréal, QC
    Well, it does seem to me that you like the ergonomics of the ATK, and that with your favored configuration, you're able to get at least one tone you like out of it.

    I'd say that's pretty good already, don't you think? ;)

    However, while I haven't played an ATK myself, most of what I read and hear about it point to it being Ibanez's take on a Stingray-type bass. The "Precision with flats" tone isn't really its forte, and it'll shine more in the aggressive, funky-with-rounds context you mentioned. Maybe you should experiment in that direction a little bit. Maybe you'll come across a tone that makes you reconsider rounds, treble and slapping. Maybe.

    But in the meantime, if the tone you get with the flats and the treble rolled off, is the tone you want? More power to you!
  6. Nikoubis


    May 3, 2007
    Athens, Greece
    No shame in selling an instrument you do not play all that much. That ATK of yours may not be what you are looking for, but it may be just right for someone else.
  7. JoshuaTSP


    Sep 26, 2008
    So wait....you don't like the bass because it has options that you don't use and that don't seem to make a difference?

    Just think of the ATK as a P bass.....one good setting......you said yourself you liked it.......go with it. :)

    The 3-way pickup switch on the ATK goes like this: single with treble roll off/single mode/and humbucking mode.

    The two single modes are only different in high end content (IMO).....even then I think it's the really high treble frequencies. If you don't use a full range amplification system, you probably won't hear much difference.

    The humbucking mode sounds fairly different to me. Same ATK character, but slightly scooped and a high end active ZING added.

    Again, if you're running the treble control at zero.....you'll probably just noticed that it just isn't as aggressive or punchy sounding as the single coil modes.

    If you like P basses, you like P basses......but don't get yourself caught in a mentality that a bass with options....needs to have a myriad of tones.
    Find your tone and go with them.
    Tone controls and features can come in handy when fitting a room or mix.....or the studio.
  8. Lazarus.Bird

    Lazarus.Bird Mr. Personality

    Aug 16, 2010
    I use an ATK700 with flats and roll my treble off and also don't hear any difference in the selector switch but still love the way it sounds, so I just don't concern myself with the switch :)
  9. I understand how it works, I think you guys are missing my point -
    I have 2 other basses that do what I want them to do, I'm simply stating that I am plugging a great bass into a limited hole when I already have basses that fill that need. Seems like a waste of a good bass to me.

    I'm not going to use rounds much at all, and you really need rounds on this thing to utilize it to it's greatest potential. Should I, as a player, limit a very useful bass when there are others that do what I want just as well if not better. I'm not really looking for advice, I guess I'm more discussing this metaphorically.
  10. JoshuaTSP


    Sep 26, 2008
    Oh, sorry.....well, it is what it is. :)

    If you don't play it, and won't foresee yourself using it in the future......ditch it and get another P bass. :p
  11. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    It sounds like you like the tone when it's strung with rounds, but it's not the "bass sound in your head" right now. I'd keep it - you never know when the tone you get from that ATK w/rounds will be the new "bass sound in your head".
  12. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I can barely hear any difference with rounds, much less flats.
  13. Lazarus.Bird

    Lazarus.Bird Mr. Personality

    Aug 16, 2010
    I think when I play through my tiny Rumble amp with no pedals I hear a difference, but when I crank it through my SVT and 412s I don't hear difference. It's not a concern to me, as I think the sound is still killer! The bass sits in that mid frequency very well and cuts through the band mix like butter.
  14. Abner


    Jan 2, 2011
    Am I correct in assuming you have only tried the one brand of flats on it? Don't give up so soon, there are plenty more flats to try — Chromes, GHS, Rotosound, TI, Pyramids, etc. I'm sure they will all have different qualities.
  15. AmadeusXeno


    Mar 8, 2011
    Ever consider trying a different set of flats on it? I have a ATK750KA that I used to have roto flats on. Sounded great and there was a noticable difference from the selector switch, even with the eq on the bass set flat.
  16. I think you already know it is lost on you from what I read here - why fight it?

    Accept the P-Bass is your thing and the ATK isn't. Done. Move it along.

    FWIW - I'm the opposite - dig the ATK tone, can't do P-Basses. But that's why they don't just make one bass. And why I don't have a P-Bass.

  17. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I think I get what you're saying. It's a great bass but not your first choice or second choice, so the question is: do you keep a bass you'll seldom play or do you let something go that you know is quality?
    First, if you gig a lot, I'd suggest that you consider having at least one bass with a different voice than a P bass. It doesn't have to be this one, but the possibility of being in a different situation - either live or recording - where you need another sound and don't have something else to reach for can be a bad deal. Especially in the studio. Pbasses record great, I'm just a believer that no one sound can fill all musical possibilities.
    But if you always play with the same band and there's little chance of variation, then yeah, it doesn't make sense to keep a bass you won't use - unless you think things might change later.
    Personally, I'm a fan of the Pbass/Ibanez combination. They are opposites and that's why I like them.
  18. Yes - That's exactly what I am saying -

    I do gig a lot, and it's with 2 different bands. One classic rock / country thing (usually a every Saturday night honky tonk type gig) and then a trio that does everything from dinner music (jazz, showtunes), to acoustic to blues and zeppelin. I play a P with flats in both gigs. As far as having something different to grab for a change, I still have my Spector with T.I.s that can give me a great active jazz sound to a really modern sizzle - it sits a lot too.
  19. +1 on all the above....I'm partial to my ATK's...don't care for anything else....
    and I can hear that 6.5k boost in the center position ;)
  20. Reaper Man

    Reaper Man

    Jan 15, 2010
    Love my ATK, but I can see how it "needs" rounds. The weight doesn't bother me @ all- it just sits very balanced with me

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