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Ibanez vs. LTD. Please help me to decide.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Audix99, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Audix99


    Sep 18, 2009
    Hello all,

    I have an 03 Ibanez SR495 (version that became SR505) that I LOVE to play.
    I just love its neck and the way I interact with this bass while I play it.

    Now, I am thinking of getting a 4-string version of the same bass: the SR500.
    However, I notice this bass from ESP LTD B-4E (The ESP Guitar Company | 2011 USA Website)

    Price-wise, both SR500 and B-4E are close ($550 vs. $500).
    However, I am really intrigued by the features of LTD like Neck-Thru-Body Construction, Ebony Fingerboard, and overall appearance.

    Problem. I've never played an LTD and I have NO IDEA about the way it feels and sounds.

    So here are my questions.
    1) Are the LTD B-4E's neck similar to SR5 neck on SR500? ESP's website simply says, "Extra Thin U Neck" with no detailed dimension. So any input will be great.

    2) How about the tone from B-4E's pre-amp and PUPs? I am more than OK with the tone from my stock SR495. Does B-4E produce similar tone to SR500?

    3) Where is the current LTD B-4E being made? In China? Indonesia?

    4) Overall, which will be a better choice for me? Why?

    FYI. I play mostly Hard Rock like Ozzy, Sabbath, Judas Priest, GNR and some 80's hair-metal.

    Thanks for your input!!! ;)
  2. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    I have a B-4E, unfortunately I have no experience with the sr500
    so the only question I can answer for you is number 3) mine is made in Indonesia.

    I can say that I prefer the feel of my B-4E to the SR1000 I used to have. It just felt "smoother" in my hands, I don't mean the texture of the bass, but the payability. I'm sorry that I can't describe it better than that.
  3. Ok, I'm probably the exact sort of person you want to be hearing from (just to sound like such a humble guy) because my two current basses are an ESP LTD B-1005 and an Ibanez SR506.

    1.) I did have an LTD B-404 (it's still back in New Zealand in fact), so I know that the necks on 4-string LTDs are fairly thick, probably slightly thicker than a Fender Jazz (but slighly narrower string spacing). Ibanez necks (regardless of how many strings) are very thin, almost as thin as you can get, but LTD necks are surprisingly beefy actually. ESP claim that they are "extra thin" but that's bogus, BUT of no detriment to ESP because they actually strike a really nice balance between a neck with some meat to it, and one that's still thin enough to be fast.

    2.) The tone is very different, The pickups are ESP-made but they've obviously tried very hard to match the EMG tone that the higher end LTDs have. The Bartolini tone in Ibanez basses is very modern sounding and can be very bright, quite beefy, and middy only when you solo one of the pickups. The tone in the ESPs is quite middy, it has a very distinct sound when you dig in that really accentuates the "digging in" sound, think high-mids but not the growl that you get with Jazzes. I've found that Ibanez's work better in a recording environment due to their tonal flexibility, but the LTDs are good live because their low end isn't boomy at all.

    3.) The B-4E is made in Indonesia, as previously stated. HOWEVER, do not let that lead you to believe that the quality is average. I've played a B-5E, and it's quality was as good as my old B-404 which was made in Korea, and is indeed very close to the deluxe B-1005 I have (which is also made in Korea). That said, in places like Indonesia quality doesn't so much wane universally as it does in patches; some basses are as good as ones made in Korea, others as bad as stuff made in China.

    4.) Overall, they're about the same, just slightly different sounds. The Ibanez is more modern and LTD is more its own sort of sound, slightly less flexible but possibly better for playing metal because it doesn't sound so scooped (yes, that's right, basses that are scooped aren't for metal; they're for funk IMO). The quality of them is about the same, though I have noticed a slight edge that the LTDs have over Indonesian-made Ibanez's; the fretwork on my SR506 is just SLIGHTLY worse than on my ESP, but the difference is tiny. My recommendation is that you try both because it really is quite a close call, but if you can't test them then just go with the ESP because you're more likely to get a good one IMO. Just bear in mind that, for some unjustifiable reason, ESPs have very little resale value because no one except ESP owners know anything about them at all, or care to for that matter. Not enough high-profile bass endorsees I guess.
  4. Seb Peters

    Seb Peters

    Oct 21, 2011
    I swear by Ibanez and Cort. My friend has an Ltd B-4 'something' and it doesn't have as much of a wholesome sound as my Ibanez BTB or anything made by Cort. I'd go ibanez.
  5. IngerAlb


    May 11, 2007
    I don't know what you're talking about, the SR50X doesn't sound scooped at all, in fact it can put out some really nasty & aggressive mids, with a thick bottom end, and yet remain crystal clear. So maybe it's your rig that makes it sound that way.

    Plus, the K5 for ex is a bass that's well suited for metal, and guess what, it was designed to sound scooped by default. And it yet it cuts really well in the mix.
  6. I'm not saying it sounds inherently scooped, but when you have both pickups on full it sounds more scooped than the LTD (though that may be because the LTD has a dual coil and P pickups, rather than two P pickups, so there is less phase cancellation). My opinion is that the best basses for metal are Jazzes and Precisions, and that scooped tone doesn't make for good metal tone (unless you're one of the modern metallers who doesn't really like note coherence that much). But the Ibanez's can, yes, certainly have a lot of mid growl if you set them so. But that's what I love about them anyway, they're totally versatile and can do quite literally almost any sound you can think of. Great recording basses. For the record, I do love my SR506.
  7. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    so obviously the best thing to take away from this, is that you can't really go wrong with the quality of either.
    As far as sound, its going to have to be a personal decision.
  8. Audix99


    Sep 18, 2009
    Wow, tons of great information that I can take into consideration!!!
    Thanks all, for your valuable input! ;)

    So I guess it really is a coin-toss, right?

    I should try to locate the LTD B-4E locally to actually handle the neck and hear the tone.
    If I can't find one, I think I will just go with SR500 rather than getting the LTD without actually handling and hearing one.

    Hopefully, there will be at least one of the 5 local stores around here in town including a GC that has a a LTD B-4E in stock.

    Thanks again guys!!!

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