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ESP LTD D-6 vs. Ibanez Gio GSR206

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DTIAW92, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. DTIAW92


    Dec 20, 2012
    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking into buying a 6 string bass and I am torn between these two basses.

    ESP: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass/esp-ltd-d-6-6-string-bass-guitar

    Ibanez: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass/ibanez-gio-gsr206-6-string-bass-guitar

    Musiciansfriend doesn't ship these basses to Canada.

    I am leaning more towards the ESP, but the closest dealer is across the border in the United States. Most of the music stores around me are Ibanez dealers.

    Which of these basses do you prefer, and why?
  2. The only experience I have is with the ESP LTD D-5 and I love it!
  3. Kaappari


    Nov 26, 2009
    My friend has a ltd B-206 and it is a absolute beast of a bass. Quality wise it is right up there with my Pro Series Warwick, which is miles away from the GIO.
  4. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I tried'em both out

    Both have poor pickups, and both can (need to) be upgraded, yet the ESP/LTD gives you more for your bucks.

    In terms of tonewoods, craftsmanship, overall quality control.

    My €. 0,02

  5. Before I start I wish to address the "low output" concerns from the poster above. I found the main reason were the crappy SIT Stock strings. Made the bass sound lethargic and noticeably unbalanced in volume string to string.

    The pickups are adequate to do the job. While not real high output (compared to say Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders) they aren't bad. What I have found is this:
    a. Since they are passive pickups connecting to a pre-amp with EQ when the pickup volume balance control is in center detent it does reduce the output some due to loading effects just as a Jazz bass would do but as you turn the knob toward one pickup or another that pickup volume increases somewhat. The pickups and volume controls are connected and go to the input of the Pre-amp while the tone controls are separate and each one connects to an input to the Pre-amp and only affect the pre-amp and not the pickups. Some basses have the pickups connecting direct to the Pre-amp and each volume and tone control has a separate input to the Pre-amp. While each method has it's own advantages and disadvantages I prefer the ESP LTD D series method as it can sound more like a standard passive as well as Active depending on how each control is set.

    b. Secondly the bass EQ control increases volume dramatically as you turn it clockwise (increase). The tones are big and bold but with clarity even on the lowest strings. The mids get a bit growly and as I use TI Jazz Flats on mine I wanted a nice clean tone so I put some Bartolini's (not the original dark sounding pickups) in and love this bass. Everyone says they can hear this bass (even with the stock pickups) much better than my Fender American Special Jazz with passive pickups. Lots of compliments even with the stock pickups. Most do not even notice I changed the pickups but I notice a perceptible I have long shy'd away from 5 strings because the wide fret-board on most did not feel good to my smaller hands. This bass by contrast does quite well. I have to cut back on it as it has more punch, clarity and big low tone or mids and highs if that is what you want. My long time friend and guitar player's words after looking at and playing it told me "This is a very good bass". MY ONLY I think you will grow to love this bass. I am slowly rubbing the finish to a soft luster with a microfiber towel. Also, this series comes with Grover tuners that are quite nice.
    Hope this helps you in your endeavors. I absolutely love my Fender American Jazz Bass which has beautiful feel and rich fat tone but it is more of a "one or two trick pony" as compared to the ESP LTD-5.

    IMMEDIATE recommendation is "CHANGE THE CRAPPY SIT STRINGS that come stock on the bass. Good DR's or whatever your flavor is but just do it. Play it for awhile to give it a chance after changing the strings then consider whether or not you want to change pickups. On a scale of pickup rating I put the stocks at ~7.5 and the Bart's at 8.5 which is not a vast difference. The guitar as a whole is great. The wiring in the control panel is top notch and neatly done. One small inconvenience is the battery cover must be removed to replace that battery (9v).

  6. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I have an LTD B-206SM and it absolutely KILLS. Great tone, playability... EXCELLENT guitar.
  7. awesomesawyer


    Aug 27, 2012
    get the ESP.
  8. I almost sprang for the 5 string model you have but always wanted a Walnut color finish and stumbled onto this one. To look at the back side how neck and body are seamlessly carved (and not the neck made then bolted or glued to the body) is incredible beauty and workmanship. I am sure much of it was machined as the flush mounted back plates are a tight fit. Wreaks of quality!
    Bet it does sound nice. I love Bart's in mine. It came stock with ESP pickups.
  9. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I still own an ESP/LTD Phoenix and it sports original ESP soapbars: they're good
    But it's a different body shape and it tends to enhance frequencies already like this. Plus I play thru a complex pedalboard, and it helps (together with head equalizer)

    Whenever I describe my opinion, I play the instrument
    in a completely flat manner, lows, mids, highs in center detent

    Being the bass (ESP/LTD D6) well crafted, yet counting on a simpler bridge than D4 and your D5, Gary, it lacks something in pure definition
    Being a 6er, there's no reason to swap the bridge out for a replacement, while, keepin' stock electronics, opportunity can be (I stated need be, 'cause I play thru a two active 7 string downtunin' guitar attack, so now you know) if any to replace pickups with, I think, EMGs (they're brighter, having the D6 a distinctive lowend...)

    Just that

    I confirm, but I'm not the only one over here no contest with Ibanez Gio 206.

  10. Thanks Wallace, that makes total sense now with what I have found. Everything at mid detente can sound a little lethargic to me also. This is the first 5'r I have owned and first I have enjoyed playing. They usually feel like I am trying to finger a 2x4 piece of lumber. I like this one. Being used to 4 strings I had to learn to keep my thumb on the 5th (B) string while playing the 1st 4 strings or I would find myself going for the 5th as if it were the 4th string if that makes any sense. I have gotten (speed wise) to the point where I was on my Fender Jazz 4 string and after playing the 5'r for a while when I go back to the Jazz Bass it is like a "speedboat". So effortless it seems. Also, I get a kick out of the lower B and E and the deep wall shaking low end with the Bart's. The highs are sweet too. Not as sweet as my Jazz bass but very close.

    I made 2 mod's on mine:

    1. put a true bypass mini toggle switch that switches the pickups/volume controls from input to output and kills the power to the Pre-amp at the same time. I put a Blue LED to illuminate when Battery is connected to the Pre-amp module.
    I mounted the switch and LED in the back Control cavity under the cover plate but sticks out no more than 1/8" if that much and is surrounded by a rubber grommet in an oblong hole to allow full switch travel. Neither of which mount to the back plate so it can be removed to access electronics as before.
    Link to photo below.

    2. Put a mini toggle on the front side to switch the pickups from Parallel (stock config) to series that "kicks butt" with higher pickup output. My favorite for the most part but Parallel still has its purpose too.

  11. Crazy_Climer


    Jan 15, 2012
    Central WA
    I have been noodling ideas for my D-5, much like it sounds you have done. Though, my thought was along the lines of replacing the volume pot with a pot that includes a switch. That way, when I turn the volume down, I go one 'click', and the battery is disengaged. Otherwise, I'm using some amount of battery while Buford (yes, I named my bass) is just sitting in the stand.

    Do you have any further details about the wiring changes you made? I'm quite curious. Now, if we could just do something about quicker battery changes, eh?
  12. I have a B5-E LOVE THE BASS! The woodwork on the bass is really great for what it is. I enjoy. I actually am going to be selling mine soon... But it has been a really good bass!
  13. I am pondering the quicker battery change thing also. I will PM you about further details.

    Definitely go for the Volume Pot and switch. I only went the route of mini switch because I had it laying around and was in unused (as new) condition and wanted to use a 500K Linear taper pot with switch (same as the stock pot) which is available but not as many sources as a 500K Audio taper pot with switch. Probably not a big deal but I like the linear taper's control of the volume in this bass. Of all the ones I looked at the Dimarzio's 500K audio taper pot's switch portion had the largest solder lugs.

  14. Crazy_Climer


    Jan 15, 2012
    Central WA
    Thanks for the link... I might make this more than just "something I'm thinking about". In addition to quick-change for the battery, I've even read that it seems the ESP pickups (as I haven't changed out anything from stock) should be able to handle 18V. I think that might be a nice change as well, to allow more headroom.

  15. Let me know how 18 volts works. I have been wondering myself.
    I will send you the diagram I am making for wiring for true bypass using the DPDT section of the Push/Pull switch. I would make Bypass the Pull out position and Pe-amp enabled the down (normal position). I feel like doing it at the moment but they said when the Anesthetic wears off, if ok with you. You will find it to be pretty simple for the most part if you have any soldering skills at all.
  16. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Well as luck would have it, I just happen to own an Ibanez Gio SR206 (Also a SR506) and today I just had NBD and just brought home an ESP LTD B206SM is just could NOT live without (apparently the last one stocked at Sam Ash for now.

    This one:


    My impression is you can't go wrong with either bass. To summarize:

    Looks: My Ibbies are just plain old black paint. The ESP is Spalted maple on what looks like ash with black nickel hardware It's nearly a looks match for my Bass Mods 7 string (cost a grand) which is one reason I bought it.

    Weight: Ibby is about 9 pounds 7 Oz. ESP is 12 pounds 4 oz. Weight doesn't bother me, but YMMV.

    Neck. Both have necks finished to perfection. No high frets, or sharp edges. EXP neck is very nice. Sort of flat (not Fenderish V feeling at all which in my opinion is good). But the Ibby neck is, well, an Ibby neck. Thin, fast, beautiful feeling. Nothing quite like it. The Ibby 206 is not 24 frets, but the ESP is 24 frets. (My SR506 is 24 frets)

    Pickups. The Ibby 206 pickups are VERY hot, but they tend to have output fall off on B and C strings. That is fixed easy, however with a tad EQ. The ESP pickups are quite even but lower output. No huge hum or noise noticed on either bass. (I have not changed factory strings on the ESP yet so perhaps there is more output in there.

    Tone. The Ibby 206 has this incredibly fat deep tone that just DRIVES the music. I like it even better than my 506 even though it has that uneven across the strings problem. The ESP, on the other hand seems to have a really nice CLARITY to the tone that just brings out all the melodic aspects of the instrument. For solos, ESP is the ONE.

    So there it is. If you want to groove all night, the light, fast, driving, SR206 is the one. But if you want to step up stage and solo with a coffee table bass bass that just SINGS the ESP is the ONE.

    FWIW, my SR506 is sort of half way between the two. Heavier than the 206, but 24 frets, brighter tone, but not as clear as the ESP and still just plain old black paint.

    Good luck!

  17. The ESP LTD D series pickups are passive. They produce their own small (typically less than 1 volt) signal as the string vibrations upset the pickup's magnetic field causing them to output a signal proportional to the string vibration (much like a generator does and are not tied to the battery in any way). The pickups go to drive the input of the Pre-Amp circuit module just like they do a Bass amps Pre-amp input that drives the Bass Amps Power output amp. The only thing that would be a factor is if the Pre-amp module itself can handle 18vdc, if this makes any sense.
  18. Crazy_Climer


    Jan 15, 2012
    Central WA
    When evaluating what bass to buy, this was the thing that kept me from Ibanez: at least the ones I tried. The lack of clarity in the B string was QUITE noticeable, as compared to the other four. To use a common phrase/acronym here, however, YMMV!
  19. Crazy_Climer


    Jan 15, 2012
    Central WA
    I may have some more research to do, in that case, before I start applying solder to components. I await your details (mentioned in the earlier comment-string), to see about the modifications you've made.
  20. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009