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Ibanez SR506 vs. BTB676

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassEnthusiast1, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. bassEnthusiast1


    Oct 9, 2010
    Hi all,

    You've probably heard this one a million times before, but as the title suggests, I am caught up between buying two basses, namely the Ibanez SR506 (2010 model) and the Ibanez BTB676

    Now I have seen about two or three other threads about people with similar issues, but I still felt that I could extract more user information about these two basses if I created another thread, which I did.

    I play mainly progressive/alternative/hard rock even punk, jazz and funk, although I do sometimes play some technical metal and some John Myung-type stuff.

    This will be my first sixer, and I've been playing bass for about 18 months now (guitar for 4 years, piano for 10). The reason I wanna swtich to 6 is because I feel my current bass (Ibanez SR400) is limited, and I can't get the tones I want out of it. I DO NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN WITH MY NEXT BASS, SO PLEASE TAKE THIS INTO CONSIDERATION.

    Both of them are very good basses, based on user reviews and specs, but the BTB is clearly the better one, on paper. In case you're unfamiliar, here are the specs (SR506 then BTB 676):

    54mm width at nut vs. 54mm width at nut
    83mm width at last fret vs. 88mm width a last fret
    16.5mm string spacing vs. 17mm string spacing
    34" scale vs, 35" scale
    24 frets vs. 24 frets
    Bartolini MK-1 pick-ups vs. Bartolini MK-2 pick-ups
    3-band active EQ w/Mid-selector switch (9 volt) vs. 3-band active EQ (18 volt)
    Jatoba/Bubinga Neck vs. Maple/Bubinga Neck
    Bolt-on construction vs. Neck-thru construction
    Rosewood fingerboard vs. Rosewood fingerboard
    Mahogany body vs. Light Ash w/Walnut top body
    Stadard, single-plate bridge vs. Mono-Rail II Bridge
    Standard recessed input jack vs. Neutrik side input jack
    Both come with Elixir strings as standard

    Now, as you can plainly see, the BTB is clearly the winner, on paper, but here are some of the pro's and con's of each

    Wider string spacing (good for slap, which I do quite a bit of)
    35" scale (means a tighter B-string, another plus)
    Maple/Bubing neck (Fender and Music Man use maple, must be good!)
    Neck-thru construction (good for sustain, which I like!)
    Mono-Raill Bridge (again, good for sustain, which I like)
    Neutrik input jack-thingy (really cool input jack that has a release mechanism so that you don''t accidentally yank out your cable)
    Looks, I mean look at it, it's gorgeous!

    Thick neck! (uncomfartable)
    Weight (apparently very heavy, I don't mind this too much, but I will be playing standing for prolonged periods of time)


    Faster neck (for obvious reasons)
    Weight (again, rather obvious)
    The little mid-frequency selector switch, really handy!
    The little groove where the fingerboard meets the body

    Thinner string-spacing (not good for slapping)
    Looks - the same shape as every other SR, boring colour etc.

    I haven't tried any of these basses myself, so I can't judge them on tone, but surely MK-2 pick-ups would trump MK-1's?
    I found the SR506 at $630 and the BTB at around $850. Is the BTB really that much ($200-odd) better in reality, i.e. the way it sounds? If it were up to specs, I'd take the BTB in a heartbeat, but I'm also on a bit of a budget here!

    So, basically what I wanna know from you guys is which bass is the better one, in terms of tone and versatility, remembering that I will MAINLY (not ONLY) be playing prog/alternative/hard rock, punk, jazz and funk?



    PS: sorry about the length of the thread, I tend to rant:D
  2. Can't say much about the BTB but my friend has the SR 506 and i absolutely love it. It feels perfect to me, theres a little bit of neck dive but that thing is extremely light and the MK-1's are a very good pickup, lots of usable tones also. Just my insight, hope it helps.

  3. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009
    I've played a really nice BTB 6 string (I forget what model, but it's a the newest one), and a SR506. The neck was way to wide and thick for me on the BTB, but the SR neck was nice.

    Get the SR.
  4. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Can't give you a good comparison cuz I only have the SR506, and a 2007 model. But its been my main bass and blows away my Carvin 5 and Ibanez ATK 4, for any style I've used it in (currently metal, but I've used it in reggae, classic rock, and folk-rock too.) I personally love the tone of the Bartolini MK-1's, but like I said, I cant comment on the MK-2's. I will say that at first I couldnt slap on it to save my life, but you get the tighter string spacing down pretty quick, for fingerstyle I can pluck the 6 faster than any 4, due to the closeness of the strings.

    The BTB just looks goofy to me. The SR is pretty much perfect for me, and I've been trying other 6'ers in stores to find a better replacement and can't seem to find anything that fits me as well.
  5. In what way? The differences don't mean one is better than the other.
    FWIW, I personally prefer the Soundgear, it's a true modern classic. The BTB is a fine bass but it just felt a bit 'stiff' to me, I always find 35 inch scale basses suffer a little bit in the higher strings.
    All IMHO, of course.:)
  6. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    I own a BTB676, amazing bass for the money, and previously owned the BTB406. The 676 isn't that heavy, it's noticeably lighter than the previous BTB model.

    Feel free to ask any questions ;)

    Surely it's obvious which one is better. The 676 is incredible value, it's a very ergonomic and beautiful design. Absolute tone monster with 35" scale. It's widely known as the high value tone monster.
  7. tercesyrev

    tercesyrev Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    If I were you I'd buy a used BTB 1206e Prestige. These were the second to last generation of the Prestige BTBs, the last being the 1306 which just didn't seem as nice. The Prestige models have custom USA made Bartolini pups & preamp and sound much more refined than the BTBs with the MK pups. They will produce almost any tone you want, sound HUGE and smooth. Yes the necks are wider than the SRs but I think their flatter which compensates. I had no problem playing mine. Plus, if you want to slap the extra string spacing would be benificial. You'll pay a little more but it's worth it.

    If you want a more economical choice here's a really nice 676 on ebay for $655.00. Seller claims it's in mint condition:


    Good Luck!
  8. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    I like the SR's better. If you got that one the saved money should cover the cost of pup replacement if you decided to change them. But the btb looks to be the better choice for you neck and construction wise from your notes for pref.
  9. bass_lord_mutha

    bass_lord_mutha Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    Odessa, TX
    I'm out of the Ibanez game, at least for now, but I had played SR basses for most of my playing life and they are great basses for the price. I still wish they made them with the older body style, though. The thin body weirds me out, hehe.

    But I must say, I haven't played a BTB that I didn't like. According to Ibanez, BTB stands for "Boutique Bass" and I definitely get that vibe when I play one. Plus it seems that you've unconsiously decided on this bass when you first posted, given that you've stated your likes about it already. But you also stated that the neck on the BTB was uncomfortable, and for you, that should throw up a red flag.

    Can't go wrong either way, though.
  10. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Definitely the SR506. Amazing playability. The neck is perfect for my tiny hands.

    The BTBs I've tried have also felt a bit bulky.
  11. IngerAlb


    May 11, 2007
    SRs & BTBs are completely different beasts, from shape to tone and feel. So deciding between one or another is like choosing between apples and oranges.

    Both basses have a very specific (different) tone, so it depends on your preference: the SR has a very present and clear tone that cuts like a knife in the mix; it can sound very aggressive if you need it to; the BTB has a beefy and fuller tone, focused on lows. To me a BTB roars, while the SR tone bites.

    The necks are totally different too - if you like thin necks you won't like the BTB, and the other way round (especially since the BTB has 19 mm spacing, while the SR only 16.5).

    As for ergonomics...BTB's body is wide, bulky and has straight edges, while the SR has rounded edges.

    IMO the BTB has more to options on paper, but the SR is easier (more comfortable) to play (mind that my opinion is based on the 4 and 5 string basses that I've owned, though...things might be different in the 6 string models' case).

    The good thing is: both basses have a solid tone, so either way you'll end up with a very good bass ;)
    Kice likes this.
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    The neck, string spacing and size are the main differences.
    It only depends on what you prefer.
  13. Samsound


    Sep 28, 2010
    Is it the tones that you feel are limited or the number of strings? Is this a newer, curvier model or an older, slabbier model? Just curious because I find both my 400 series basses (1 older, 1 newer) to be rather versatile tonewise (but older sounds better to me).
  14. Nikoubis


    May 3, 2007
    Athens, Greece
    The SR 50X's are IMHO the standard to which other basses (modern-oriented ones, at least) are judged at that price range.

    Regarding the BTB being a clear winner spec-wise, I would like to note that some things are subjective. I personally consider 35" to be a disadvantage for example, but on the other hand find chunkier necks more comfortable than "fast" ones.

    Also, I have yet to encounter a bolt-on bass on which the notes died earlier than I wanted them to. ;)

    It seems to me that you prefer what the BTB offers over the SR, but that doesn't make one better than the other.

    Finally, are you absolutely positive that you want a 6er?
  15. I bought a BTB776 a few weeks ago (basically the next model up from the 676). I really like it so far. Its not nearly as heavy as many claim, it has great balance (no neck dive) due to the length of the upper horn, and sounds huge. The neck is thicker, but not by a massive amount. All in all, im quite happy with my BTB and id definitely recommend one.

    The SR506 isnt a bad bass at all in its own right, i just prefer the BTBs. I am thinkin about getting an SR 6 string as a backup sometime soon.
  16. IngerAlb


    May 11, 2007
    They're considerably heavier than SRs (to which ppl usually compare). But of course, compared to other brand basses, BTBs are still on the light(er) side.

    Different tools for different styles & ppl. Both awesome, just designed to address different situations.
  17. Anthbass


    Jul 24, 2006
    This, plus they sound markedly different to my ear. I have a bolt-on BTB with the MK-1 electronics. The pickups are fine, it's the preamp that throws the blanket over your tone. I replaced it with an Aguilar OBP-3 and have been much happier. That said, the MK-2 package seems to have an added transparency that was missing in the first generation. In the new BTB's (tone) favour, I've played an number of 506/706 basses that had very poorly defined B-strings. Not sure how much of a reflection this is of the MK-1 electronics but, to my ear, the BTB 676 sounds noticeably cleaner. Try 'em both, buy the one you like best, and then give us some pictures!
  18. BlackBear1971


    Nov 17, 2010
    I've tried both the SR and BTB. The BTB is not as heavy as some people have made it out to be. I like the different sounds that I was able to get out of the BTB. LOVE the wider string spacing, not a fan of the "Guitar String spacing" feel. I've been trying to get that right feel, y'know? The SR506 felt all right, but when I held that BTB for the first time, I knew that it was the one. I immediately put it on hold.

    Ultimately, It's what feels best for you, but like my title says, BTB For The Win!:bassist:
  19. bassEnthusiast1


    Oct 9, 2010
    Hey Guys!

    Thanks so much for your responses!

    I am, however, still caught up between the two basses because I have only played them once, for like 2 minutes each, and that is no time to do a proper review.

    Like I said, I play mainly alternative rock, punk, jazz and funk. My tone preferences are for a full, round bass tone; a warm, punchy mid tone; and a bright, clear treble tone.

    The bass is quite prominent in the music I play, and as a result, having a weak, hollow tone is BAD, and so is having a cluttered, muddy tone. I need to be heard in the mix (I play with two guitarists, a cymbal-happy drummer and a "turn me up, I can't hear myself" vocalist)

    Which bass can achieve the closest tone to that which I have described?

    Also, I've read countless forum posts where people mention the BT having a pathetic EQ, and consequently, changing it for an Aguilar pre-amp. Is this true? And if so, how bad is? Remember, I will be playing mainly alternative rock, punk, jazz and funk, so if the BTB doesn't have a great pop tone, I'm not too phased.

    I have also found the Soundgear to be a bit too light and thin, even flimsy, and I am crazy about quality! So I don't mind if the bass is heavy, the craftsmanship MUST NOT be shoddy.

    My hands are medium- to large-sized, so I don't really mind a thicker neck, if it means more comfortable slapping (I am also a pianist, guitarist and drummer, so dexterity shouldn't be too much of a challenge).

    Please, if you have played/own a BTB67x or SR50x, then feel free to put your two cents worth in, really, it helps!

    I do not mind spending the extra cash to get a good-quality, solid bass, as long as it has a good tone that can suit all of my playing styles.

    Thanks in advance!


    PS: apologies again for the length of the thread:D
  20. srayb


    Oct 27, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Can anyone also address what some people have said about the SR506 having an intonation defect (that it cannot be intonated properly)?

    I too, am thinking of getting one of these (the SR for its smaller size & weight), but have become paranoid now after reading a few things here and elsewhere about the "intonation problem".

    Thanks for any help in confirming or dispelling this!

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