Ibanez ATK vs. EBMM Stingray

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rogerbmiller, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    Okay folks, I am once again going to be controversial and go out on a limb here.

    I've been an EBMM Stingray fan (and owner) for years. But over the past year, I developed a Japanese Bass problem and recently got to Jonesing for an Ibanez ATK. I remember playing them when they were first intropduced some 11 years ago and thinking they were dope, but dismissed them as ugly EBMM copies.

    Well anyway, I recently picked up a couple here on the TB classifieds-- an ATK100 made in Korea (passive) and a MIJ ATK300 (active) with a Koa Wood top and a clear pickguard.

    Well let me start by stating that I am never letting go of these beauties. I cannot believe how great these basses are. Did Ibanez come close to capturing the classic Stingray sound? You bet they did. But I think (and here is where the controversy begins) that in some ways they actually made a BETTER bass than the Stingray, especially for the money.

    Here real quickly is where I think Ibanez came up with a better design.

    First the bridge design is awesome. It is an oversized peice of metal securely fastened to a large surface area of the body for increased and enhanced resonation (a lot like Traben's bridge design actually). As such the bass acoustically has more guts and sustain than a lot of neck-thrus I've heard in the 4 figure price range. And Punchy!

    Additionally, the bridge allows you the option to string through the body or drop in the bridge. The former give an added tightness and punch and the latter gives you a more mello sound with real easy string changes! I personally keep mine strung through the body and the response is scary-- like an old strings through Stingray B00 bass. Yep, to me the old stingrays are better than the new ones mostly because of the string thru design, and you have that right here with the ATK. A response like no other bass. The notes just come off of the strings!

    Second, in addition to a sweet 3 band eq they put a coil tap on the bass to let you get more variation from the PU itself. In this regard, they borrowed from the Sterling too. So you get more variations on your tone and are less relegated to that pure Stingray tone.

    Add to all this, the string spacing is nice and wide, the neck is a bit flatter, the bass is light and well balanced (shorter headstock) and you've got an absolute beast of a bass. Certainly the best money I've spent in a while.

    I don't plan on letting go of my stingray anytime soon. Afterall, nothing sounds or feels exactly like a stingray, but I would certainly take my ATK's to a Stingray gig or any other gig and feel good about it.

    A shame they stopped making them in the US. Like many other great basses, you can still get them in Japan. Perhpaps a TB field trip is in order?

    ATK lovers and hataz, weigh in on this topic! :bassist:
  2. Nice review!!! I have never played a ATK but I love my MM Stingray and my Sterling... Now I gotta give the ATK a chance!!!
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Never played an ATK, but i want to, theyre just hard to come by. I have, though, played Stingrays and Sterlings, and i own a Sterling. I believe the ATK, from what ive heard of it, is a great Stingray substitute. It seems like a great value and bang for the buck. However i believe the stingray is still a better bass. Why? Quality control on it is outstanding, the satin neck finish is amazing and everything on it is high quality, hardware included. The string through-ness of the ATK may or may not even make a difference. Most people now believe that stringing through the body doesnt really offer any advantages anymore, due to the quality of construction of modern basses.
  4. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I love my ATK, but I'm pretty sure the Ray has it beat it in the build quality department. Personally, I never liked the bridge design, I thought it made the entire bass look tacky, but I put up with the ugliness for the excellent tone. :bassist:
  5. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    My ATK is the best Ibanez I´ve ever played. It feels and plays like if it cost $1000. The headstock is kinda weird, other than that, it´s a great bass with lots of growl and attitude.

    Heavy?? YES, but my Planet Waves Bass Strap is a god send
    for heavy basses.

    It´s a keeper. I hope someday I´ll find a 4 string ATK, that´ll be sweeeeeeeet!!!!!!!!

    Edit: By the way.... I tried a Stingray5 few months ago, and it was REALLY NICE, but guess what?, my ATK sounded a lot better than it (Maybe dead strings or bad setup, who knows)
  6. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Strings can have a lot to do with the tone of a bass, and i find this especially true for EB basses.
  7. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    I played an ATK at guitar center. It wasn't labled as used so I don't really know what was up with it and why it was there. I quite like it alot. Very solid instrument and it sounded great as well.
  8. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Maybe it was a NEW OLD STOCK :cool:
  9. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    Never had it there before but I guess...
  10. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    My old ATK fiver was the best Ibanez I've ever played, too.

    I don't have it anymore. I do have some Stingrays, though, so I think my opinion is obvious.
  11. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    That would be something out of a dream.... finding a NOS ATK300.... sweeeet!!! :rolleyes:
  12. Punkr702


    Mar 8, 2005
    I own Ibanez ATK basses myself,and by far I like them way better than Stingrays or Sterlings.Personally I think they sound better,they also look better.
    Hurray for the Ibanez ATK bass!!
  13. Lulu

    Lulu Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    just have bought an Ibanez ATK300 (1996) from ebay, it's a incredible bass, great sound, but better or not than a Stingray ? impossible to say for me.
    I was a big fan of the Musician serie, but now I'm the biggest fan of the ATK in Belgium.

    When I see on ebay.com that you can buy one at 300 USD it's really one of the best bargain that I see on the net.

    Now, I try to buy an ATK305.

    Have a nice day

  14. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    [​IMG] A tiny photo of my ex-ATK being played by me in my front yard in Lima, Peru.

    Good bass. Not as good as my Stingrays/Bongos.

    Why not? It was heavy. EXTREMELY heavy. Like over 12 pounds. That gets old. Build quality was not consistent. Frets had a tendency to sprout, had to get 'em fixed twice in two years. Had some fierce dead spots. The bridge was weird. Finish was good, but not EBMM good.

    For the money, these are great basses. (When I say "for the money", I mean picking 'em up used for 300-400 bucks.) You won't find me truly comparing them to EBMM basses, though.
  15. I used to own an atk300, which was later defretted and converted into a fretless. It surely was an excellent instrument, and for the money I guess it will be almost imposible to get another bass that good. My only complaint regarding the bass was that the neck was a bit huge for my taste, also, sometimes i felt it was lacking some definition on a band setting. Comparing it to a 5 string fretless stingray i bought this december, in my opinion, the stingray is a much better instrument, it has more definition and low end, also it is much more comfortable to play. The atk did sound vey similar to the stingray, but it felt like it was missing something. Both basses are heavy.

    I have some soundclips of the atk300 (atk300, atkfretless) and of the stingray(funkystingray,latinstingray) at the following link: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/8/myrecordingsmusic.htm
  16. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Played a ATK- fretless-4-string at GC.
    Was blown away by sound and playability of this bass.
    To me was as good as a Musicman.
    Went back the next day to buy bass, was gone.
    I've never seen a unlined fretless ATK since.
  17. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    And sometimes memories are better than reality.
  18. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003

    As the origintor of this thread and as possibly the biggest ATK fan in the good ole US of A, I just wanted to say how glad I am glad to see some recent chatter about these great basses and how they more than measure up to the Ray. I thought I should chime in since I have expanded my collection since posting.

    I am up to 4 ATK's. Yes, I am one of those peeps that feel the need to stockpile out of production basses. Anyway, my latest 2 additions are both Korean ATK305 5 strings. I figure I would never bang out the dollars required for a Stingray 5-banger so may as well go with my favorite comparable-- the ATK. Well good move, cause I got 2 used ATK305's for less than the price of a used EBMM SR5. As expected, money well spent. The comparison I made between the SR4 and the ATK 4 strings holds true for the 5-ers on all fronts.

    BTW, I am considering letting go of a 5-er since I am now on a quest or an unlined ATK 4 string. So if anyone is interested, PM me or email off line at rogerbmiller@hotmail.com

    n the meantime, keep the love alive. ATK's are the greatest thing since cookie dough ice cream!
  19. I've had both and to me the stingray is a couple leagues above.

    The main difference that I could not get over is that ATK simply does not have nearly as much bottom end to be dialed in as a stingray.

    I am going to probably look for one to back up my stingray in the near future as I just got a new job and can afford to get a more suitable backup.