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Ibanez stigma... is it just me?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rojo412, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Before I go into this, I just want to say: This is an observation of my own self and not a call for hatred. Please read on before reacting...

    For whatever reason, I can't even bring myself to try out, let alone buy an Ibanez bass. And for the life of me, I don't know why.

    It may have started for me as a GC employee many years ago. Ibanez was frequently referred to as "I-Been-Had" and we as employees would mock them behind their backs. Maybe it was our hatred of the dreaded onslaught of GSR200's every holiday weekend "Super massive sellathon anniversary sale of the week" and having to set 45 of them up in the middle of the sales floor...

    Or the Ergodyne that smelled like chemical residue and always had electronics problems that made me dislike them...

    Maybe it was later in my years seeing every nu-metal, flavor of the weak band with its bass player flaunting some sort of Tribal-Painted SR-Something or other...


    Somewhere, I was jaded about Ibanez and to this day, I still won't even give them the time of day. And personally, I find that sad! They are a huge name in the industry and you don't pump out that many units without doing something right.

    And as I look back at their offerings, I am reminded that there's a lot of good that they brought to the world of Bass;

    The Musician is a bass that I've never had the pleasure of trying, but looks to be exactly what I like in basses: Classy, well made, active EQ long before it was standard.

    The ATK is one that I have actually purchased for a friend. It's a koa topped, MM style bass for no money and it looks hot.

    The TR series of the mid 90s, if I recall correctly, was like a J Bass on whey protein. There was a top-end version that was played by the guy from Pennywise (one of the best punk rock bass players I've ever heard!) that was 3-band EQ and fat singles.

    So for no apparent reason, I just felt like I'd never own one. There were some SERIOUSLY hot basses that they made (Prestige, from Japan, specifically) that just made me want them, but when it all came down to it, I'd just say to myself:

    "Well, if I'm gonna spend THAT kind of money, I might as well get a ____________."

    I look at the specs and see that most of the stuff they made in their mid-upper level products had fantastic components, features that met or exceeded other makers' offerings at the same price, and weren't terrible looking.

    So someone... sell me on actually making an attempt with an Ibanez. Guide me to the ones that will change my mind...
    Or agree with me and admit that you have the same stigma and let's explore the WHY of it all.
  2. Antares


    Jul 18, 2009
    Austin, TX
    I'll agree and disagree with you.

    I agree that for the prices of the prestige's i would most likely myself say, for that price i can get a _____________. However, Ibanez are the premier mass produced bass available. The SR series are some of the best sounding, versatile, and nicest playing basses i've played, often for a heck of alot cheaper than others. Now the prestige SR's are up there with boutique stuff. I would rather though, go through the experience of having a bass built, i am a custom person at the heart. I cant talk about any of the ATK's, ive played 2, and they sounded great, but they werent for me. The BTB prestige i played was also a great bass, and i almost convinced myself to get it, but once again just didnt grab me like their SR line.

    That being said. Go get or try yourself a damn SR. Either a prestige or one of the top non Japanese made, you will really be impressed (If you dont mind 16.5mm string spacing on 5+ strings).
  3. GregDunn


    Jan 8, 2009
    I really never thought about changing from my P-bass to anything else till I picked up an Ibanez SR in a shop one day. The light weight, the neck, the comfort - all the things I struggled with on the P, suddenly all matched my preferences on one bass.

    If these things don't matter to you, there's really no reason to choose an Ibanez over anything else. I've owned several and handled dozens more, and they seem to be very well-made - even the inexpensive ones (can't bring myself to write "cheap") that many people sneer at. I can get the sound I need from almost any bass, so as long as I know I can play my repertoire on it, the best bass for me is the one that is easiest to play. That happens to be an Ibanez. IMHO, YMMV, etc. etc.
  4. I've played 3 ibbys that really spoke to me. One was a BTB neckthru fiver (which is weird...because I'm a four string guy), the other was an SR300X or something like that (Black, white binding, two humbuckers), and the last I don't remember what it was, but I tried it in some shop in new york. It had a curved body. OH! And an SR800 that I played at guitarcenter.
  5. can_v


    Feb 2, 2010
    Yes, Go try one. You'll be surprised. I own 2. One is an older SR model, which I put Bassline preamp in. It works like a charm.

    The other is vintage Blazer P bass, which is my main bass. I still can't find anything that can beat this old lady.
  6. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I really like ibanez, but the old stuff... the lawsuits, I own a p, a j, and a 4001.. I've had a couple of other basses: roadstar 5 string, gsr200, ergodyne, and played around BTBs and I got to say, if you can find some of the old ibanez stuff, I'd definitely pick it up, I liked it over what they put out now... Although I must say their quality is pretty good and even better considering what they go for.
  7. I feel the same way as Rojo412

    An acquaintance had a TR 4 string 15 years ago. I didn't mind the looks but it felt cheap and for some odd reason carried its owner's characteristics.... It was loud and noisy. It was sold to my vocalist and then was offered to me for $50, case included. I passed on the offer before he finished the sentence. lol:meh:

    About 7 years ago i bought an SR506 as a backup for my Yamaha TRB-6P, but the electronics were mud, it ate batteries, and had the string spacing of a lice comb. I still own it, but in my heart I think I can find a use for it (kindling maybe).:scowl:

    The ATK series is well worth the money and this is where I'll agree with you. They are cheap, and a great beater bass, but they don't make a 6 string.:crying:

    As for the BTB, I never got a chance to play one but some people swear by them. I believe they are discontinued, but the string spacing looks adequate for my tastes.

    I'd still be hopeful though as companies that swap out designs every 5 years will eventually make something you like. :eek:
  8. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    They seem to make mostly active basses. I'm more of a passive-bass guy. Plus the SR series look boring to me.

    Though, I do own an Ibanez. An old 4001 copy from the 70's...
  9. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Endorsed by K.B. Guitars, Nordstrand Audio Pickups, Von York Strings and Gallien-Krueger Amps.
    I love the Soundgear basses but the higher end ones I don't care for. For the money, you can buy a much better higher end bass like Music Man, Carvin, Lakeland etc.
  10. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Fair enough, good to hear.

    One good point is the string spacing and furthermore, the bridges. Now personally, I don't necessarily mind the narrow spacing. I had a Warwick that was tight and a Steinberger XQ5 that was really tight. I did some of my best playing on those.
    But as a Fender guy currently, it may be a little narrow. But I'd try it!
    The bridges on older, less expensive (Japanese and Korean) models left something to be desired. I have seen a few that were flimsy and even BENT once we saw them used for a while. The later models seem to do much better and there's obviously no law against adding a better bridge, but it is something that would fuel the fire of discontent.

    Another beef as a 5 string guy is the lack of some models in a 5, as well as the ones that have 5 only in the lower end. The TR that I described, I just looked it up and the nicest one (TR600) wasn't offered in a 5, only the second down (TR505). Same with the ATK (305 was top end of the 5).

    BTW, this thread first popped in my head when I picked up a Fender Prophecy for a buddy and it sounds and plays awesome. According to what I found, these came from the Fujigen factory, same as Ibanez Japanese Models. Since the Prophecy wasn't offered as a 5, the next choices are Heartfield DR5 or Ibanez Japan. So I figured I'd just share my Ibanez thoughts.
  11. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    The BTB's look nice and they have, well, lots of strings.
  12. SD;DRR(slightly drunk; didn't really read).
    1. IME, most GC employees are rather stupid, so w/e
    2. Fieldy- good point
    3. Play w/e & do NOT listen to anyone but yourself
  13. evhest


    Jun 10, 2006
    Play an Ibanez Musician....

    ... and pick up your jaw from the floor.
  14. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    i started in the '90's with a cheap CT series and a SR506 both MIK. I played them for my HS years, then got my first Modulus ande thought I "grew up" and graduated to "real instruments". Now17 years later, The Modulus is gone, I still have some high end boutique stuff, and I find my self with a 25 yr old roadster II PJ, and a 31 yr old roadster RS900. Back in the day, when MIJ was synonymous with absolute crap. They were trying to compete heavily and really sought to make a better instrument. Culminating with the ATK and the SR's MIJ in the '90's. I honestly think Ibby had their heyday and now it is past but they still make some great stuff higher up on their production line.
  15. trowaclown


    Feb 26, 2008
    I think the beauty about Ibanez as a brand is their ability and willingness to accommodate all the points on the price spectrum, from the cheapies all the way up to expensive, boutique level prestige guitars and basses.

    In addition, I really appreciate the efforts Ibanez took to accommodate the quirks of a player when producing a signature instrument. My only bass is the older Ibanez Gary Willis signature model, the GWB1, and it really does match what Willis himself played. (Sheehan's Yamaha too, but I digress...) Things like this make it easier to passover the 'mistakes' like Fieldy. I mean, Fender did make a Steve Bailey Jazz, but something like the Steve Harris Precision is just a custom paint job with a signature slapped on it too, so these two brands' artist relations are definitely comparable.
  16. I've owned several old Ibanez's and they where all fantastic basses. IMHO, the Axstar is probably best production headless bass of all time. I just cannot stand the marketing and the logo on the new ones. They use that damn, CHEEZY SD'GR logo on the entire line of basses from the low end crap to the higher end, expensive stuff. That and like Squiers, quality varies from bass to bass and had better play the bass before you buy.
  17. Robotsatemygma


    Jan 17, 2010
    Interesting read.

    I'll admit, Fieldy... 'nuf said. But come on, Ibanez signed both him, Head and Munky and probably have sold millions. Good marketing scheme. Wonder how many noobs bought Ibanez and saved pennies for the sigs?

    As a guitarist, Ibanez always seemed too good to be true, and after owning some of their guitars they are, truely, too good to be true. I'll never rely on Ibanez the way I rely on my old ESP's.

    Now their basses seem to be a whole different story. My experience started with a pawn shop GSR200 (just like the OP slammed) I bought for chicken scratch. This thing was pretty nice for a low class starter. Frets, neck, and the action were just superb and the tone was monstrous.

    Add some years of experience playing in bands as a guitarist, many bassists, and falling back in love with bass... Ibanez still tops my list. Not any Ibanez, but the BTB. I've always always always spoke of the glory that is a BTB. I turned my old bassists on to them and I cannot wait to own one. When I think Ibanez I don't think the SR series, ATK maybe, but it's always the BTB.
  18. I haven't really found an Ibanez I like yet
    the SR is light and everything
    but the body feels too thin and wimpy to me

    I understand what you mean
    I still haven't gotten over my stigma of
    Deans and Epiphones
  19. Like the many of the model number companies... (Yamaha etc) it's tough for the average player to know if one is a low buck beginner model or a botique without touching it.

  20. gjuro


    Sep 15, 2010
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