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Ibanez GWB35 Fretless mini-report.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by n1as, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    I just bought one used from GC. It was at a price I could not pass up. Y'all can look up the specs so I won't go into details here. Suffice it to say it is a 5 string, narrow spacing, 34" scale thin neck with fret lines and a single humbucker 3/4" closer to the bridge than the Musicman sweet-spot. Active, B/T preamp. Simple bass.

    Overall weight on mine is right at 8 lbs 2 ozs. :) It balances well with no neck dive despite the 5 tuners hanging on the headstock. Speaking of tuners, they are strange.

    Each tuner has a three bladed knob on it. I find I really like it. They are easier to grab and work well.

    How's the low B? I've only played at home but so far the B seems - OK. Not great. Not like my old SB5000 or the Lakland 55-01. But for the few times I need a low D I suspect it will be just fine.

    Of course as a fretless everyone will want to know "does it mwwah"? The fingerboard is (I'm pretty sure) ebanol. The bass has roundwounds on it right now. I adjusted the action, flattening the neck curve and lowering the strings. Yes, it gives a nice mwwah. It isn't this big obvious bloom but there is a distinct fretless mwaah voice to each note. The D and G strings sing the best in that regard but even low G on the E string has a woody mwaah character to it. In fact I've tried to coax a "fretted" sound out of it and I'm having trouble. Even if I finger a note hard with the L hand and pluck closer to the bridge it still has a bit of a bloom and enough mwaah and soft attack on the note to say "yes, I AM fretless". If I go easy on the fretting pressure and pluck further up the neck I get even more of it.

    I have about 30 days to decide keep / return. I went to the store fully intending to not take the bass home with me. Once I got it home, I fully intended to play it for a few days and then return it. It has been a few days an my intentions are no longer clear.

    It is not my ideal fretless bass but it was low cost, plays and sounds quite good and has some cool features. I may have to hang on to it for a while.
  2. It sounds as if you may really like this bass so perhaps you should hang on to it.
  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Keep it. This bass was designed by one of the greatest fretless players ever, and the design is very practical.
    Your bass has more bang for the buck than any fretless five under $1K I know of.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    n1as likes this.
  4. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I love mine. (I’ve upgraded my p’up and pre to an American Bartolini.) Let me suggest you keep it strung with roundwounds.
  5. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I've played Gary's personal sig bass when he first got it (not the one in this vid, which is not the GWB35, but it's predecessor). His action was so low I could barely make any clean notes on that bass! Perhaps your action isn't low enough, yet. :laugh:

    Here's your first lesson, Grasshopper.

    Got to love that solo of Kirk's! :bassist:
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    Stevorebob and n1as like this.
  6. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    UPDATE - I ended up returning it to GC.

    But NOT because of any issue with the bass. The Bass was great. Played great, sounded great, light weight, very nice. Unfortunately the arthritis in my L hand thumb was not taking kindly to 5 strings. We just weren't meant to be. It isn't you it's me.

    GC has it back up for sale. $399. I think it is a great deal.
  7. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Mine sounds just like that — well, ‘cept for the playing.
    Jeff Scott likes this.

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