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Ibanez SR400QM

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sundogue, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    A non-musician friend of mine who has acquired all kinds of musical instruments just so his kids can pick from any kind of instrument if they ever felt compelled to play (they are only 6 and 8 years old and he has keyboards, guitars, drums, bass, etc. just so his kids have access to them just in case they may ever want to learn a musical instrument). How cool is that?

    Anyway, I've played bass for over 35 years and recently switched my Yamaha 5 string over to fretless and while I'm loving the hell out of it, there are times I really would still like a fretted bass. We were talking last night and he just up and gave me his Ibanez SR400QM 4 string.

    Honestly I never even played one...ever, not even in a music store. For whatever reason I never cared for the body shape and I haven't even touched a 4 string in well over 10 years.

    The first time I picked it up and played it, it was like there was nothing there. Super skinny neck, very lightweight and I was just blazing all over the place on that thing. It was kind of liberating going back on a 4stringer, especially one so light and with such a skinny little neck.

    It plays beautifully and the action as relatively low, but I lowered it more. There are no issues with it, except it could use a slight fret levelling and a bit of a taper of the frets from the 12th fret on up.

    Nice, heavy, easily adjustable bridge on it. It has the quilted maple top that is stained purple (wouldn't be my first choice of colors, but hey it was free). Actually the more I play it the more I'm falling in love with it. The looks are starting to grow on me. And I haven't even plugged it into my amp (just brought it home late last night and have only been playing it unplugged).

    Anyway, it is an active bass with a 3 band EQ on it. I've noticed the pup covers are extremely curved (far more than the neck radius). Can't understand why they did that...they look like the curve would be more fitting to an upright.

    Anyway, sorry for all the babbling. Anyone else have or played these and what are your toughts on it overall? Been trying to find a review on them but not much out there specifically about this particular model. The preamp has Vol/Blend controls and a Treble control with a stacked Mid/Bass control. All the pictures I've seen and any information I've found on this model bass show 3 seperate EQ control knobs...not stacked.

    I have no idea how old the bass is, but it's in mint shape and even the control cavity cover still has the plastic film over it, yet he got it used in a trade, bartering for a tattoo (that's how he's acquired all his other instruments).

    Anyone want to chime in on the Ibanez SR400QM 4 string? Any thoughts at all would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Hammersmith Music
    I had one for a short time - bought it cheap and flipped it after my nephew chose a different one I loaned him - and agree with you about the ease of play. Lightweight for sure and while mine had the more orangey flame top finish, the purple actually looks decent.

    I didn't care for the curved pickups either and you'll have to play with it through an amp to see if you like the electronics. I believe it's a 2band EQ with the 3rd knob being a slap/scoop type, rather than midrange. I found the preamp a little weak, especially in the lows, but that can be upgraded without much cost if you like the rest of the bass.
  3. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks for the info. Yes I read something somewhere about that slap/scoop control (which would make sense if it were a mid control...i.e.- cut mids for slap) and it may very well be.

    Since I haven't even plugged it in yet, I have no idea about it's sound yet, but i do have another preamp lying around so it would take nothing but a little time to replace the preamp if needed.

    I have a killer rig to play it through should the bass itself be lacking (Zoom B2 into a Kustom Groove 1200 into a fEARful 15/6). Tons of power output and tonal sculpting possibilities with the rig. I've made some othwerwise pretty horrible sounding basses sound pretty damned good.

    It's not like this bass was THE one I've been searching for, but damn...it sure does play smooth and easy and I really dig the light weight. I need to look into the serial number for proper ID, but it does say under the serial number that it's made in Indonesia. I know it's not a high end bass, but I've never been a bass snob. If a bass plays great there's a lot I can do to get it to sound good.
  4. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Didn't take pics of it yet, but it's purple flamed maple, full two octave neck, 4 string, two soapbar pups and 4 control knobs (Blend, Volume, Treble and a stacked control wihch is either Bass/Mid, or Bass and that Slap/Scoop control).

    Anyone have any more ideas or thoughts about it?

    Remember I got it for free and it is like brand spankin's new. Still has the plastic film over the cavity cover, not a single blemish on it anywhere. Even the frets and strings on it have absolutely no wear. I know it's used, but it looks like brand new. My friend isn't a musician and never played it and got it from a guy who also plays guitar as a hobby only and he probably never played it much either.
  5. Yeah man, same thing happened to me. I played 5 string ibanez's for years and then one day i picked up a SR 4 stringer and I fell in love. Never played a 5 string again after that, somehow through trying to noodle through a 5 stringer for years, i became real good at a 4 string again.... odd.... but awesome. Also I have always found ibanez SR's to be kinda my thing. Small necks, light weight, versatile sound, all in all well rounded basses. Now I play a SR600 with a Natural finish. I love it.
  6. Reddog01


    Nov 3, 2013
    Georgetown, TX
    I played an SR300 and now have an SR700. I live the feel of the Ibby necks! I think you were in the right place at the right time!
  7. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Well yeah, this bass was certainly something I didn't even think about and now I'm really loving this bass. For free? Sweet deal. I'm going to do a painting (I'm also an artist) for my friend (he has some of my work already). I feel too guilty to just take it for free.

    By the way, it must be close to brand new...here's a link to MF that is selling the exact same bass. Same color, same control layout...My bass looks just like it...

    It says on that page that it's a 3 band EQ...Treble Bass and Mid. Doesn't say anything about a Slap/Scoop control.

  8. Same for me except I started with a SR 370. I LOVE the Ibanez Soundgear basses. I have not found another bass that is so comfortable to play. I’m not crazy about the CAP pickups on the lower models which is why I got a SR700. I really dig how the Bartolinis sound. The onboard preamp/EQ is much better too.
  9. JonDark


    May 21, 2013
    Detroit MI
    The 5r's I've owned were always in the Sr405-505 series. Aside from the only dislike being cap pups they're great playing/quality basses.

    Seeing as you got yours free (i dig the purple actually) and you love the way it plays and feels, dropping a few $ to upgrade the pups and pre would def something to consider.

    Congrats man on the new bass. Such cool gesture for your friend to do that. :bassist:
  10. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks. He is a great friend (not because of that...we've known each other for a very long time). I already have another unused pre in my accessory drawer. I'd only need new pups, if I even need that, which I won't know until I play through my amp for a while.

    One can always redo the electronics on a bass that otherwise plays beautifully. Doing the opposite is far more difficult. And this bass plays so smooth and super fast. Of course I'm so used to 5 stringers this feels like a 1 string neck. ;)
  11. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    OK...came home over lunch and did a few tweaks to the bass. Tightened down all the controls (couple were loose under the knobs). Did a little more to the setup...

    I set everything flat on the bass, set the pups to balanced. Plugged her in, turned on my amp and kept everything set to where I had my Yamaha, and...

    Holy crap. This has a LOT of punch. By that I mean really bright, clean, sustaining, kick you in the chest punch ala Squire, Geddy Lee, et al.

    Change the pups and the preamp? No f'in way. I don't know what anybody else's SR400 bass is like regarding the preamp and pups, but this bass just kicks total ass. That's with it set flat. While I didn't play around a ton with the onboard EQ, it has a lot of tone shaping with very little knob movement.

    Plays like butter, sounds like a sharp knife attached to a sledgehammer. Seriously, this is on sale at MF and other places for $449. If I had actually bought it for the full price, I would have to say I'd still be all smiles over it.

    But for free?!!! I feel like I robbed the Franklin Mint and got away with it.

    EDIT: I just want to elaborate on my comments for clarity. I fully expected this bass to sound rather ordinary given it's price point and from the many comments about changing pups/preamp, etc. I also, admittedly, kind of felt this was a rocker's axe only after having seen so many hardcore players slinging it so low and felt it would really just be a nice fretted bass to have on hand. I was prejudiced...in a negative way, never having played one before. So my statements are not the "honeymoon's not over" period. I am seriously surprised by the tone. Initially it was the playability, feel and light weight I liked before plugging it in. I never expected this to sound so brilliant, full and punchy.
  12. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Here's a review online I found...


    Not sure when the review came out, or when mine was made, but it says in the review they have basswood bodies with maple tops. I've read elsewhere about the basswood bodies. I checked mine. Just as in the MF ad, mine has a mahogany body with a flamed maple top. The back is only tinted like the front (not covered) and you can clearly see the nice grain of the mahogany. I need to get pics of it. I might have time Wednesday. Hopefully it will be sunny and I can get some nice shots of it. Mine is more of a lbue than purple...depending on the light. It really is more beautiful than I thought at first. Perhaps it's just growing on me. :D
  13. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    After messing a bit with the EQ this afternoon and reading the review, I am now clear on the controls...

    Top two are Volume and Pick-up Blend. Bottom two...the single one is the Slap/Scoop knob (essentially a mid control that also boosts/cuts lows and highs, depending) and the stacked knob is Bass/Treble.

    That explains why I was a bit confounded this afternoon as to what did what. Personally I really dig everything pretty well when set flat for most of my fretted work.

    I can't recommend this bass enough for the price it goes for. I never thought I'd play a Soundgear, much less owning one and possibly using it as my main player for gigs. Go figure.
  14. RBellavance


    Apr 17, 2013
    Congratulations !

    I own a slightly more recent version of the same bass, made in february 2012. It has a 3-way EQ instead of the mid-scoop thingy. Same purple "Transparent lavender burst" color, which I find gorgeous.

    I really love mine as well. It is light, the neck feels great, and I find that the combination of the two soapbars (which I believe are different from those on your version - mine are "CAP EXF-N2") and the on-board EQ give a wide range of tones. Mine is now strung with GHS Precision Flats instead of the original Elixir nanoweb rounds.

    The only negatives I can think of are that the neck seems quite sensitive to temperature variations (i.e. requires truss-rod adjustments), and that it's not super comfortable to play sitting down when rested on my right leg. In "classical position" (i.e. resting on my left leg) however, it feels much better.
  15. I have an 07' of the same bass, and the treb/bass boost/cut are stacked controls, but it has the "style sweeper" mid control rather than a conventional mid boost/cut.

  16. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks! I have no idea what year mine was made (been trying to identify with serial number since I got it). It was used (two previous owners for sure) but obviously sparingly as the cavity cover still had the protective film over it and it looks absolutely pristine everywhere. Not a single mark or ding anywhere on it. The strings even seem brand new (which appear to be color coded D'Addario rounds). Not one single mark on the frets nor the strings even.
  17. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I know my friend had it under his bed for at least 6 months and never played it once (he's not a musician). The previous guy also had a lot of music gear for himself and his kids, but I know he wasn't a bass player. He may also only had it but never used it. I don't even know if he was the original owner.

    So in all that time (from hot summer to bitter cold, sub-zero temps, greatly varying humidity here in Central WI) when I picked it up the neck was perfect. I want to do a slight fret taper on it (which I do to all my basses).

    But so far the neck has held up well. I can yank on a neck and play with a truss rod no problem so it's not a major concern of mine. But with the neck being so skinny I could see that possibly being an issue.
  18. Ibanez didn't start using the arched pickups until 08', and they stopped using the stylesweep (I think) in 10' when they went to a standard 3-band EQ so I'd say it's an 08'-09'. That's a really nice bass, and I personally love the bluish-purple color over quilt - you scored!

    If you look on the back of the headstock your serial number should read "I" followed by 6/7 numbers. The first two are the year.

    Here's a great resource, and dater >http://www.ibanezrules.com/catalogs/reference/index.htm
  19. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thank you so much! Yes it does start with an "I" (although the "I" is in a completely different font and looks more like a symbol than the start of the serial number). But it starts with an "I" and "08" follows.

    Wow...this thing is 4-5 years old and still looks immaculate!

    Yes, the arched pup covers suck. The radius so extreme compared to the neck radius that it really is impossible to get the pups perfect under every string. Although it doesn't seem to make any difference because it does sound very even between all strings, so that's good.
  20. It's a 08' made in Indonesia (I). :cool:

    My 08' SR405 has the arched PU's too, and it really doesn't matter relative to the sound - I wouldn't change them from their stock positions ... their fine like they are. They do sound good - nearly the same as the Bart system on the upper level models; some people like the EXF's better.

    Now you can join the Soundgear Club. ;) http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/soundgear-club-part-4-a-1020843/