My Ibanez Mikro 5 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Steve Dallman, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    IMG_8268.JPG IMG_8269.JPG Due to arthritis in my left hand, I needed to reduce the stretching, so last week I bought a 5 string Ibanez Mikro bass with 28.6" scale length.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the bass, although it needed a setup badly. After truss rod and bridge adjustments, intonation, cutting the low B slot a little lower, touched up the fret sprout, etc, it was ready to go.

    I play in a 3 piece bar band (older blues, roots and Austin rock...) and at church. I hate single coil hum and every bass I've owned was active since I put a preamp I built in my 64 P bass in the later 70's, so the modding began. The strings were also higher off the body than I liked so a pickguard was in order.

    I had a Carvin H50 humbucking jazz pickup in a junk box. That went in the neck, and I found a newer H50S on ebay for cheap. That went in the bridge.

    I added a three band EQ I had, midrange plus concentric bass and treble, and gain adjusment inside. I switched the two volumes to volume and balance.

    I made a pickguard. My first design is working perfect. I attached it with 3M foam tape.

    I actually like the stock strings, which I am told are made by D'Addario for Ibanez and are coated rounds. They feel more like the coated Elixers Ibanez uses on other basses, but the nickel plated ball ends and black thread wrapped ends don't match either. However, they can be purchased from Ibanez for $30 and from Amazon for $18. I'll probably stick with them. I prefer rounds to flats and the brighter the better.

    This bass will work great. It now sounds as great as it plays. It's taking me a bit to get used to the short scale and looseness of the strings, which require a lighter touch, but I've played it three times at church and once at band practice. Very nice and the band loved the way it sounds.

    This will keep me playing a few more years, and if my hand pain diminishes (I'm trying a lot of different things...exercise, rest, heat, cold, tens unit, light therapy, prescription anti-inflammatory cream, etc) I'll return to my beloved Line 6 Variax 5 or other full scale bass, and use this Li'l Guy as needed for pain.
    Inara, TerribleTim68, astack and 23 others like this.
  2. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    that is super cool. like the guard.
    Trouztrouz and BassmanM like this.
  3. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    The Carvin J pickups were slightly wider than the stock pickups so i had to route the pickup routs a tiny bit. I also routed a cavity in the back, with a cover, for a pair of 9v batteries as I wanted to run the preamp at 18v. The preamp, which I have had for years and used in other basses, might be a Belcat. It is clean, quiet and does the job. I shielded the cavities and routes with copper tape and with the H50 humbuckers, this bass is silent, noisewise.
  4. Very nice job you did there.....:thumbsup:

    Curious...when did they start putting coated strings on Mikro's? Mine didn't have them (bought new but some time back) and then I ordered another new a couple years later and it didn't have coated strings either.
  5. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    ZenG likes this.
  6. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Glad to hear the modded Mikro is working out for you. Keep on playin'! :bassist:
  7. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    Right on, looks great
  8. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Glad to see you found a solution that allows you to keep playing. I have the beginnings of arthritis in my left fretting hand, may be a shortscale in my future. I didn't even know there was a Mikro 5 string.
    Michael Schreiber likes this.
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    My Dog Sam Eats Purple Flowers
    Very cool
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    My Dog Sam Eats Purple Flowers
    search natural cures for arthritis on the internet

    Also go to youtube and look are Dr Bergman videos
  11. mexicanyella


    Feb 16, 2015
    Troy, MO
    That is one cool project. Ibanez Mikros and the SR series always look slick and kind of melted to me, which is sort of cool but that pickguard you made suggests a jazz archtop, or a Les Paul, and gives the Ibanez body shape a really different vibe...I really like the effect.

    I have picked up a couple of four-string Mikros before, goofing around at Guitar Center, and while their setups were all over the map, I thought that they managed to sound pretty robust for as small as they were. Glad to hear that the scale length seems to be addressing your arthritis issues, too.
  12. TBLuthier


    Oct 10, 2013
    Derry, PA.
    That's great. I play mine exclusively these days. Super comfy. I made a replacement body. bass.jpeg
  13. Anders Barfod

    Anders Barfod

    Jan 16, 2015
    Low B on a 28.6" scale. That sounds like a recipe for major flub.
    The shortest scale 5 i have seen was a 32" scale warwick RB corvette which should indicate being the lower limit for low B. And

    Maybe strung that bass as low E to high C and use an octave pedal to get more low notes...
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  14. mexicanyella


    Feb 16, 2015
    Troy, MO
    Holy cow, lookit that! Nice wood skills, man! Love the asymmetrical top layer!
    Bigal1369 likes this.
  15. Hey_Pauly


    Sep 18, 2017
    I have carpal tunnel myself and my Mikro is a God send.
    Michael Schreiber likes this.
  16. Looks great Steve!
  17. C Squared

    C Squared

    Nov 15, 2010
    Love the pickguard man!!
  18. TBLuthier


    Oct 10, 2013
    Derry, PA.
    Thanks. It's actually a replica body that I made for an Ibanez EDC700 so, the design isn't mine but.. I like it too ;-)
    Michael Schreiber likes this.
  19. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    The low B is just fine. Clear and precise. I was most pleasantly surprised. I've been playing 5 strings exclusively since around 1990.

    I played it at church this morning. The Carvin pickups are great. We use IEM's and I can hear myself very clearly. This bass is surprising.
    Bigal1369 likes this.
  20. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    Natural cures? I've tried them all. All the recommended supplements, and so far, on my hand I've used a tens unit, heat, cold, light therapy, exercise, prescription Diclofenac cream, compression glove, stretching, etc.

    I have advanced, degenerative arthritis...spurs that have formed in my joints. One joint after another is affected. I had both knees replaced last March after a decade and a half of bone on bone, my neck fused, my shoulders and hips are starting to be affected. This has been my reality for the last 20 years. If I remember, Dr. Bergman said there is no such thing as 'bone on bone.' He is dead wrong which leads me to question his other information. My right knee took almost twice as long to replace as the left, as it was worn almost too far to use a conventional titanium replacement. The tissue cushioning my knees has been gone for a long, long time.

    My left middle finger knuckle is starting to simmer down, after a week and a half of using the diclofenac cream and compression glove. I may be back to my 34" bass in a week or two. If not, I'm getting pretty attached to the little Ibby.
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