1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Conklin GT-7 or Ibanez SR506/1206 for first extended range bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sgroh87, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I'm looking at getting an extended range bass soon, and I'm trying to decide which one is the best choice. I was originally looking at the Ibanez 1206 line, but then I was told that the difference between the 1206 and the 506 was slight and the 506 had a better price:value ratio. But then I was messing around on Musician's Friend and saw that the Conklin Groove Tools 7 was shown as available. I thought that these instruments had been discontinued, but the GT-7 and the GTBD-7 were both up for purchase (though the BD model won't ship until the end of January).

    The concept of a 7 string intrigues me a lot, especially because I plan on using it mainly for solo sessions and the extended range seems like it would be quite useful. That being said, I don't think I would feel like I was missing out if I were to get a 6er instead.

    Conklin doesn't produce the GT line itself, if I understand correctly. They spec it out and make sure it's up to their standards, but there's a reason these instruments run in the $1000-2000 range rather than the $7000-8000 range; i.e. it's mass produced rather than hand-crafted. My question is, do you prefer 6 or 7 strings, and how does the Conklin GT line compare to the Ibanez instruments? Is the BD model worth an extra $600 over the regular GT-7? As far as I can tell, the main difference is neck-through design and improved electronics. And is the GT-7 itself worth the ~$500 more than the Ibanez SR506? Unfortunately I won't have an opportunity to try a Conklin before I place the order, which is why I'm asking you folks what your thoughts are.
  2. I have a GTBD-7 and love it! There are so many EQ options, I really haven't begun to maximize their usefulness. I've heard many complimentary things about the GT-7. A word advise on these... The necks are narrow but very wide, but you can counter that issue by re-positioning your thumb on the back of the neck.

    If you're ok with used, you can often pick a GTBD-7 between $700-$800. The GT-7, a little less.

    I haven't played a 6-string Ibanez yet, but can advise you that I've owned a SR885 for 19 years. It still sounds great.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I haven't played a 1206 but one of my students uses a 1204 so I am fairly comfortable with the bass, I also owned an SR-506. I wouldn't say they were that close in quality, I imagine the B string is better than the 506, the 506 B was meh, the BTB line has a far better open B. Prestige Ibanez also use real Bartolini's instead of the cheap MK-1(2?) that the lesser Ibby's use. I don't have much nice to say about the 506 except for the weight is a major plus. There are plenty of folks who love theirs though, so to each their own.

    I haven't played a Conklin GT, and the one Conklin 6 I have spent time on is in a whole other class from these basses and far more expensive. I cannot really give a fair review on those basses. I would advise against a 7 though if you haven't owned/heavily played a 6er, the 6 in itself can be a big adjustment for some. You might also find you don't enjoy it, and you will have a much easier time selling a 6 than a 7.
  4. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Well, as it turns out I happen to own BOTH a Conklin GTBD-7 and an Ibanez SR506! I really can't decide this for you. They are as different as night and day. The SR506 is a 6er with all that goes with that. VERY nice. Big fat tone to burn. 24 frets. A solo killer, a groover, a thin-neck Ibby wonder. Mine is older and just black paint, but I hate that brown look they all have now MUCH worse.

    The GTBD-7 is, well, it's a 7 string. Neck is W I D E and takes some getting used to. Look is AMAZING. Tone is to die for, especially on upper strings. Mine was used and had a couple high frets so I had to have it Pleked. Needless to say it now plays like I payed $200 to have it pleked! :) The Conklin is big and heavy and hi fi bright and has knobosity to spare. It's a whole different world unto itself. Guys on TB have said that the GTBD-7 is much better to get than the GT-7. I know I really love mine!

    Personally I pity da Foo that tries to decide between these two basses! The solution is obvious. Do what I did. Get them BOTH! You WILL NOT be sorry for doing that! :bag:

    PS. Just to mention, my other 7 is a Bass Mods which is very much like a middle road between the above two basses. It plays and sounds much more like a 6 string and still has the extended range. Personally I recommend the above two basses over a "compromise" bass.
  5. hgiles


    Nov 8, 2012
    I have a 2010 706 and a 2002 Prestige. I really cant tell a ton of difference in build quality. And only minor differences in engineering. And a small difference in performance. Ive only been playing bass a few months, so take that for what it's worth -- I am happy with both my SR basses.

    I think a 506 would be a great instrument if my basses are any prediction. Personally I like the tone of my basses -- clean, clear, distinct, yet resonant and warm. I also like mid rangy sounding chords. Even when I play piano I prefer the midrange, so 6 strings hits that sweet spot for me. I have no inclinations to more strings as I feel the added bulk would be for me a detriment to the playability/enjoyability of the instrument.
  6. neddihem


    Jul 27, 2012
    Whoever told you the 506 is not much different than the 1206 Premium, lives on another planet. I owned the 506 and replaced it with a 1206 Premium. They are night & day apart.
    The SR500 series is a great, proven mid level bass. Ibanez's Premium and Prestige models are clearlysuperior to thier mid level basses AND on par with other manufacture's high level basses as well.
  7. I've the exact quandary as the OP. I just this morning bought an SR756. I didn't go with the SR506 because of the finish not being very durable. The 1206 was bit too much (price wise). We'll see.
  8. I have a GT7 and LOVE it. I recently upgraded the preamp and it was well worth it. I put an Audere classic 4 band, which is a lot less than the $600 premium for the GTBD7. The 506 is very much an entry level 6. The 1206 is a lot better instrument.
  9. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    So the GT-7 and the 1206 are about the same price online. What so you think about these two instruments in comparison?
  10. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I had a chance to try out an SR506 and a BTB675 Ibby today, and I have to say that the SR felt a lot better than the BTB. I preferred the string spacing and scale length over that of the BTB, though I didn't like the uncoated wood and the low B still felt very floppy (though I suppose I could get used to it). I think I'm down to the GT-7 and the 1206. It's so hard to decide without trying either one! :(
  11. toddoutloud


    Jul 19, 2010
    A friend of mine from Buffalo had an endorsement from Conklin and played a fretless 7-string. After seeing him play it live, I knew I had to have one, so I purchased a GT-7. The bass sounds great and you can do a lot with it. But before you shell out the cash for it, I highly recommend you play it standing up with a strap for a good 45 minutes and feel how comfortable it is to play for a set's worth of time. I returned mine the next day. I took it straight to a gig and after the first set, my left arm went numb and I had some serious pain in my shoulder for the next several days. Luckily, a bassist friend in the crowd had his Hofner bass in his car for me to borrow for the rest of the show.
    They are very cool instruments, but take into consideration the instrument's weight and how it balances on a strap before you use it on a gig. The one I had weighed nearly 13 lbs. I'm 5'6" and back then, I weighed 135lbs. I can only imagine the damage I could have done to myself if I had played that bass for the entire 4 sets.

    Enjoy your new bass!!!
  12. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    Haha, I can understand the concern. I'm a Bari sax player, and it's a very heavy instrument (we're talking 18-25 pounds, depending on the model). I'm sure it balances differently than the bass does, but I think it's something I could get used to.
  13. hgiles


    Nov 8, 2012
    I think you'll be happy! The 7xx series does have more attention paid to the finish and I've seen some beat down 506s. If you plan on keeping it a while it'll be worth the money. They're great playing basses!
  14. Warmuth


    Aug 6, 2012
    Quite a bit of difference between a 506 and a 1206. The premium series costs more and is well worth it IMO. The 1206 has different pickups and I believe the preamp is also different. Although not everyone goes for the sound of the big singles I love them. Very very flexible tonally. There are other small differences as well that set them apart and yeah, that straight mahogany brown is fairly boring.

    Can't compare either to the Conklin but you should compare the two Ibanez basses separately as well.
  15. thanks for the vote of confidence. Not having played a 756, I purchased it on faith.
  16. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    Now that I think about it, I was probably thinking about the 1206 and the 5006. That is, the premium versus the prestige model.

    Unfortunately, I won't have an opportunity to try either one of these before I order them. However, since I will be ordering these online, I will be able to return them during the trial if its just not working out for me.
  17. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Def a GT7... I own both.

    the clarity of upper range is night and day from many guitars.
  18. bassvi


    Jul 12, 2005
    I have a GT7 and find it gives me everything I need tonally. I own a lot of basses and it's my main player. I have read some people even prefer the GT7 over the more expensive Bill Dickens model. I love mine.

    I had the Ibanez SR506 for about a week. Nice bass, comfortable to play, just something missing for me in the tone. I could not dial in a jazz type burp with it, which is a must for the gigs I do so I sent it back.
  19. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    I had a 1206 for a short while. Couldn't get into the string spacing, the weight, or the dull thump of the flats it was strung with. Sold it as soon as I could. It was built well though. YMMV.