Ibanez SR500 VS SR1200e Premium.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Knipy, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Knipy


    Sep 21, 2010
    I have been on a quest for a new bass. Today I played an Ibanez SR500. I really liked it, the neck was fantastic. I'm looking to pick up an SR for comfort reasons. My question is about the difference between the standard and premium models. I know that there are differences in electronics. The woods and dimensions are similar if not the same. Is it worth getting a premium? It looks like I could pick up a used Premium SR1200 for close to the cost of a new SR500, then again I can find a Used SR500 for $300. Can anyone comment on their experience with both models? I feel like I could be satisfied by the 500, but better is better in some cases.
  2. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I haven't played the premium models yet, just haven't come across one, but the SR500 is a superb bass. Perfectly balanced, fast neck, great electronics, etc. The only criticism I've seen on the SR500 is the finish, which is some kind of single step tinted varnish. If you chip it, you go right to bare wood. The finish looks thicker on the premium line, nicer woods, etc., but I don't know if the differences are worth the extra $. There is a Soundgear club on TB, they can probably tell you all the differences.
  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Just played one of these:
    Against the SR500 yesterday, and honestly didn't hear much difference between the two. The SR800 seemed slightly heavier, but both are still relatively light basses and balance well seated or standing. The SR800 was a lot fancier with laminate veneers, with what looks like a very thick water-clear poly finish. I'm not really a huge fan of spalted wood aesthetically, and I think the price difference is mostly due to nicer grade materials that didn't translate into a big sound difference, at least to my ears. The SR1200 looks like a gorgeous bass from the online images. If you can afford it, I guess I'd go with a used SR1200 over a new SR500. I don't think you can go wrong with either one though.
    PawleeP likes this.
  4. dralionux


    Feb 3, 2009
    Savannah, GA
    In my experience the SR505 is nothing compared to a 2004 Gibson Tobias Signature 5 ($2000.00 used) in terms of quality and tone. The SR1405 Premium is not a pretty bass with nice wood all around like the Tobias, but I won't buy the Tobias even if it's sale price is the same as the SR1405.
  5. Knipy


    Sep 21, 2010
    Thanks for this. I have played an SR700 in the past as well. I tend to like the non glossy finishes hence why I threw out the SR500 as my option. Essentially the SR's are the same bass from 500-800. I found the 500 that I just played to sound really good and I'm still thinking about days later. Also there seem to be new models for 2015 that will have a Nordstrand P/J pickups. Tempting as well. And even still there is a used SR1200 used online for $700-650 and that comes with a bag. Too many choices for one guy!
  6. toberoo


    Mar 9, 2007
    I think the the premiums are waaaaaaaay better. I found the sr500's tone to be dark and pretty bland. Plus the 1200 looks way cooler imo. A lot of people like the 500, so to each his own.
  7. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    I own a 1997 SR800 in black with Ernie Ball rounds.

    Excellent workmanship, materials but it didn't thrill me a whole lot tonewise until I plugged into the 1st channel of my 1998 David Eden Metro (which is the tube channel)....WOW.....this channel opened up the warmth I did NOT think was there, plus the excellent EQ on the SR800 just fit the simple tube preamp of the Eden perfectly.

    My SR800 has much more of a modern sound into the 2nd channel of the Eden or thru my GK 400RBIII....not a bad tone at all, just a leaner more modern tone.

    Of course if I switch to flatwounds, this could all change!
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    I would pick a prestige SR over a non-prestige any day of the week. The 1200s have Nordys, don't they?
  9. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    I have an SR1205 and had the SR505 and in my opinion the Premium series basses are worth the extra cost. Both are great basses in their own way but the Premium has a slightly nicer neck, but more importantly it has a much better sound because of the Nordstrand Big Singles which are simply outstanding. I also like having the active/passive feature. In comparison, sound-wise, the SR505 sounded more dark or warm. I also have an SR600 and despite having the same electronics as the SR505 it sounds better than the SR505 to my ears. Still the SR1205 still sounds better. The SR600 may end up with Nordstrand pickups down the road.

    If you can play both please do so, that will tell you which one will work best for you. Hard to lose given your options.
  10. The standard SR500 is a great bass for the money. Period. But to get all the upgrades in the 1200, particularly the Nordstrand pickups, you're getting a far superior bass. Yes, as always, the extra money never equates to the total extra value, but the overall experience is far superior. The more expensive model is usually finished nicer, with better woods and that Nordstrand sound is fantastic. It's up to you which instrument you ultimately like the best. As others have mentioned, play both and see which is best for you.

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  11. Have a like new SR 1200 premium 4 string with nordstrands for $750 shipped ----interested?
    PawleeP likes this.
  12. Not at the moment, but I'll bear it in mind. Thanks :)
  13. pravus


    Feb 5, 2013
    Fort Wayne, IN
    I have an SR500 and both the SR800 and SR805. They all use Bartolini Mk. I's which sound beautiful to me. I haven't done extensive listening to them, but I haven't noticed major variances in the sound. The biggest difference is in the feel while playing. I'm guessing because the 800s use different woods I'm noticing more acoustic vibrations throughout the body and neck. I don't play any slower but there is a heavier feel while playing. Beyond that it is mostly cosmetics. The hardware on the 500 is actually superior, imo though. The 800s use plastics knobs... what?

    It sounds to me like stepping to the 1200s get you better pickups, so that might be worth it. I don't have a strong preference between the 500 or 800 at this point. I actually had to send my 800 back in due to manufacturing defects but I've been playing on the 805 and got to play an 800 in the store. They are all magnificent basses for the price as far as I'm concerned. The cheapness of the 500 makes me want an army of them, though. I want at least 3 of them just so I don't ever have to re-tune :)
  14. froghat

    froghat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Rhinebeck, NY
    Anybody know the difference between the SR1200 and SR1200e?
  15. I just saw this thready; I realize its a little dated but oh well...

    My understanding is the sr1200 was the older model. Made in Korea and I believe only available in neck-through? Mine also had different pups if I recall correctly they were marked "adx". Mine also had some really crappy (imo) stacked eq knobs.

    The 1200e is the newer model made in Indonesia with the Nordstrand pickups and it just seems like an overall better instrument.

    In summary I had an sr1200 and it was a nice bass but..... I got to play with an sr1200e at GC and I liked it a whole lot more. I felt it just all around was a decent step up in overall quality.
  16. I have seen several SR505's with finish problems. That icky brown finish is susceptible to wear especially in "gripping" areas like by the pickups. It's brown...brown. I have played several as they are tempting though. I would like to try one of the premium models. The few clips out there sound good and the specs look great. I would take a serious look at the used premium.
    Scott Shaw likes this.
  17. vmabus


    Nov 1, 2013
  18. froghat

    froghat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Rhinebeck, NY
    The SR1200 I just bought from TB user Talcoserve is only a few months old and has Nordstrand pickups. It appears identical to the SR1200e in every way. Definitely a step up from the SR500, but not in the same league as the SR4500e either.
  19. p5string


    Aug 21, 2004
    Webster, NY
    The Premium series have a different neck profile than the standard SR. It's particularly noticeable on the 1205 versus the 505. For example the 505 has a flatter curve to the neck than the 1205. Make sure you're comfortable with that before you buy.
  20. skeeler

    skeeler I am a stick.

    May 30, 2015
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Can anyone comment on how the fit and finish of the Premium SRs, like the SR1200E, compare to those of the non-Premiums, like the SR500?