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Ibanez SR300EL: "Powertap" Why?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alaskaleftybass, Oct 6, 2017.


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  1. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Greetings TB'ers. I recently purchased an Ibanez SR300EL lefty. The bass, once set up, plays like a dream. I love the Ibanez tone and fast neck. I have an older SR500 nearly identical, and I've grown so accustomed to using V/B/B/M/T configuration. Now with this newer bass, they've thrown in a "power switch." I found the center position is default, and down is thin sounding and opposite is muddy boosted.

    Can someone explain to me what Ibanez was trying to accomplish with the switch and if I can remove it completely? I've lived 7 years without the switch and probably can do without it on the new bass. I'm hoping to hear from some of you SR300E owners out there.

    By the way, the Powerspan pickups sound awesome. They are more modern, crisp, and powerful sounding compared to the Bartolini's on my SR500.

    Thanks in advance.

    ~Will

    sr300 power tap.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    PawleeP likes this.
  2. It is a drawback of having that particular model. It turned me off to the SR370E, especially after I got a look at the wiring of a SR400EQM.

    To find out if you can just remove the switch, find where the leads go to. They should connect to a PCB (printed circuit board).

    That connection should be easily removed, they're attached in slots.
    If it works fine w/o being connected, then you're golden to just remove the switch.

    If you're up for modding it, you can put in a passive/active switch or get a different preamp & install a mid frequency selector switch in that spot.

    BTW, I've seen no explanation by Ibanez as to what the Power Tap position does, but maybe you can figure it out by tapping the poles of the pickups (with a screwdriver) & see which ones are active in Power Tap mode.
    I suspect they're just switching the coils to be in parallel with one another.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  3. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    @Killed_by_Death ! Good to see you! Missed your knowledgable and humorous responses lately. Thanks for the input!

    Will
     
  4. Bobster

    Bobster

    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    alaskaleftybass,

    The purpose of the Powertap switch is to give the bass more useful tones. The tap position is single coil, the center is humbucking and the power tap position is single coil with boosted lows. The tones are each very different and useful for different genres of music. Combined with Powerspan pickups and preamp previously used in the SR50X series, the 3XX and 4XX E series basses are very versatile, and very reasonably priced.

    Enjoy it!

    All the best, Bob.
     
  5. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thanks @Bobster ! As I mentioned earlier, the sound compared to my more expensive SR500L/Bartolini's is much better with the SR300EL/Powerspans. And using the center switch it sounds perfectly fine. Must be the OCD in me, wanting to remove it. But I will try different tapping positions with the tone controls. Would be cool if I could get a P bass sound out of it! :thumbsup:
     
    TheBlueFalcon likes this.
  6. I've picked up a lot of SR models & even BTB models with Bartolini blackouts in them & I put them back down quickly. Those Power Span pickups are superior IMHO.
    They might not last, because Ibanez did something similar with their SRX series & PFR (Passive Full Range) pickups, which is now obsolete. It's a shame, because they're the best pickups I've found in a budget model bass.
     
  7. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    How hard would it be to switch the Barts for the Power Spans? Two wires each pickup ya think?
     
  8. OldFunBass

    OldFunBass

    Nov 5, 2016
    Florida
    I use mine mostly in the center humbucking position. Just because I like it better. But it is nice to have the other positions available in case you want to get different tones, especially the single coil position which I have used a few times. I don't think I would ever want to remove the switch, just leave it in the center position and forget about it if that is the one you like.
    Glad you are liking the bass. I really enjoy mine. I play in a cover band and find that this bass really lets me get any sound I need when switching between styles of music.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  9. OldFunBass

    OldFunBass

    Nov 5, 2016
    Florida
    Hey KBD, nice to see you back. You were missed.
     
  10. The Power Span pickups most likely have all 4 wires available, for the single coil mode & Power Tap modes, but they'd be easy to install in the SR500, assuming they fit physically.

    If you really want to upgrade, get some Nordstrand Dual Coils.
    BTW, they look almost exactly like Power Span & I'm curious:

    View attachment 2775221
    DOH!
    Nevermind, those are over $250/set.
     
  11. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Hmmmmmm... they look suspiciously like the Power Spans don't they....? And probably 1/2 the price... hmmmmm....
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  12. Thanks for the welcoming back!
     
    comatosedragon and OldFunBass like this.
  13. Bobster

    Bobster

    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Killed by Death,

    I'd be very surprised if Ibanez didn't name drop Nordy all over the place if these were. They have contracts with them for US and offshore (CND) model Nordstrands in their other basses.

    Bob
     
  14. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thanks @OldFunBass . I already did a show with the SR300EL and it was really enjoyable. Not only the sounds but the neck is rock solid and I was able to get the action very low. Plus I put on a brass nut from Nutmasters on eBay and the strings ring like a bell... yes. loving the new bass a lot...
     
  15. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Welcome back. I wasn't sure what I should say......... :thumbsup:
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  16. ReiPsaeg

    ReiPsaeg

    Dec 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Just sell it for an older model that doesn't have the switch.
     
  17. Older models don't have the PowerSpan pickups with the exposed pole pieces, and the difference in timbre is huge.
    The E in SR300EL is key.
     
  18. biggredd

    biggredd Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2011
    Slightly of topic but does anyone know if the 5 string powerspan pickups would be a drop in replacement for the Bart MK1's? Wondering if the size is the same.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  19. scuzzy

    scuzzy

    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    I recommend not removing the option of the switch. Play with it a lot first. It doesn't hurt anything at all to have there. Experiment with HB in the neck, and single in the bridge, makes for a great growly tone I found you can't get from a dual HB setup.

    Vice versa is also a cool setup. Just a different flavor. One beautiful aspect of this pickup is its ability to be tapped. Truly adds a boat load of tonal options.

    Edit: didn't realize the single switch controlled both pickups. Forget my recommendations.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
    Nashrakh likes this.
  20. Sid s

    Sid s

    Dec 22, 2016
    Western NC, USA
    Hey, you're alive! Welcome back!
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.

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