NBD - Ibanez ANB306 Adam Nitti Signature 6-String

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jasonmatthews, May 9, 2018.

  1. jasonmatthews


    Jul 10, 2016
    Atlanta, GA
    TL;DR - Adam is an awesome guy, got a good deal, bass sounds incredible, several manufacturing issues.

    5 second history... I studied with Adam when I was a wee-young bassist, right before college and before he moved to Nashville. I actually can't believe it's been so long. But anyway, huge influence on my playing, nicest guy in the world, his improv chops are insane and I'm lucky to have ever even met him. If you are lucky enough to get an opportunity to see him play or meet him or get a lesson... take it. Five seconds with Adam and you'll be a better player.

    I always wanted one of his Warrior 6-string basses, but I was never able to find one used and didn't want to pony up the $5400 for a new one. When he switched to Ibanez his ANB1006 sounded incredible (and it's very, very close to the specs of his Warrior), but $7000 was more than I wanted to spend. When the ANB306 came out I knew I would eventually get one... I think the paint is awesome, and the wood combo and electronics are right up my alley.

    Long story long, a factory second (brand new) popped up on eBay for a couple hundred bucks below retail; the imperfection was a speck of finish that was literally too small to photograph... I couldn't even find it without asking the dealer exactly where it was. I didn't "need" a bass at that moment so I lowballed on the price... like extreme "there's absolutely no way he'll take this" lowball. But then apparently I'd bought a new bass.

    For those unfamiliar with the Ibanez lines, the top of the line are the American-built ones (endorsers), then you have the Japanese models (JCustom, Prestige line), then Indonesia (Premium line), then China and the cheap stuff. I own a Prestige RG550 guitar, and I've played JCustoms, but other than that I have no experience with Ibanez, and never with the Premium line. The ANB306 is a Premium line instrument.

    So first thing's first... looks amazing. Paint is amazing, I'm in love with the finish. Overall craftsmanship is great.

    Unfortunately there was shipping damage (or so I assume) to the bottom strap button (no fault to Ibanez). The paint is nicely chipped, which is super awesome. Fedex paid $250 on the claim, which made my already-low price even lower. This is just a drop-fill fix, and since it's on the bottom I'm not terribly concerned about the finish not matching. But to make it worse, the button was screwed in crooked from the factory, which means when I fix the paint I'll have to also fill the screwhole and re-drill a new button. I'll just do flush-mount straplocks, though.

    I noticed right away that the battery compartment was bulging. Luckily it wasn't an exploded battery, but upon closer inspection it appears the compartment wasn't fully routed out from the factory. Looks like they started it, but just forgot to finish, so the batteries sit up a couple mm too high. This is annoying, but takes about 5 minutes to fix. Probably most people wouldn't care about this.

    Setup out of the box was awful. Way too much relief, string height at the bridge was a mile high. We expect these things, of course, and a quick setup is always in order anyway. I noticed several very sharp fret edges, unfortunately, so that'll require a fret dressing. No big deal. But then I started noticing some serious buzzing on a few select frets, and I confirmed with a fret rocker that several frets are high... not uniformly high across the entire fret, but high in spots. For instance, 12th fret on the G is a buzz nightmare... you can even hear it in the clip below. I've been doing my own fretwork for years, so fixing these isn't a huge deal, but most people wouldn't be willing to do it. Buzzy frets that are this bad make it an unplayable instrument, effectively.

    The bridge is a Hipshot A-style, standard for Adam, and a really great bridge. 18mm spacing, which is comfortable for me... same spacing as my Ken Smith 6-string. I never liked the look of the Ibanez monorail bridges, so I'm happy Adam chose the Hipshot.

    But the sound... my God the sound is fantastic. The neck is great, feels great, access to the 24th fret is fantastic (they designed it with easy access just for him... it's awesome). The body shape is comfortable, pretty lightweight. I'm familiar with the pickups and electronics... I have another instrument with the Bart NTMB 5.4 preamp and M-series pickups, but Adam has custom electronics here... the NTMB+F with an internal trim pot. I mean, it really sounds killer with everything flat, and there's a nice, even range of sound when adjusting electronics. Disregard the buzzy frets here; I haven't done the fretwork yet!

    Anyway, it's a great instrument overall. The manufacturing issues are a real drag, but they are easily fixable for me (fretwork will cost me $0, paint repair is a few bucks). However, I would imagine most people aren't as willing to fix them, especially on a *new* instrument. There should not be uneven frets on an instrument in this price range, there shouldn't be a bulging battery cover, and there shouldn't be a crooked screw hole for the strap button. It should've never left the factory like this, in my opinion, but the price was too good, even with the issues. Yes, it's a Factory Second, but the declared imperfection from Ibanez was only the paint issue mentioned above (tiny, tiny speck on the rear); none of the fret issues, etc. were the reasons for it being a second. Had I paid full retail and had these issues, I would've returned it. I've read a couple reviews of people returning Premium line instruments due to QC issues, so perhaps just be careful with the Premium line. Ibanez will fix you up if you have an issue, they are great folks. For me, it's easier to fix these myself rather than deal with shipping it off, etc.

    But seriously... the sound is just fantastic. Go buy one. And if the 5-string model gets released, buy that one too!
  2. Awesome find and you have a great story to go along with this! The ANB306 is included in my wishlist, but I’m also waiting for something on the second-hand market.
    jasonmatthews likes this.
  3. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves website- ggbassplayer.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Arcadia, Ca
    A great read, and a beautiful bass! I think more players should be adept at set ups, repair, and fretwork- this is a great example of why. You finally get a bass you’ve wanted, it has issues, you fix it and enjoy a bass that was never in better shape than it is now! Good job!
    jasonmatthews likes this.
  4. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Sorry for the issues your bass came with, but your playing doesn't get impacted by this I can see/hear... ;)
    jasonmatthews likes this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member


    nice work, great playing! congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
    bass nitro and jasonmatthews like this.
  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    This is the time I have actually heard of anyone purchasing the Adam Nitti Signature Ibanez. Stuff like not carving a deep enough battery cavity is bush league. This bass must have been inspected at 4:45 PM by someone going on a hot date. Given the great fit and finish on my $600 Ibanez, the situation with this bass has to be a fluke. As others have said, I am glad the OP has the skills to repair the bass himself, and he is especially fortunate to have been a student of the great Adam Nitti.
  7. jasonmatthews


    Jul 10, 2016
    Atlanta, GA
    I've only seen two on the used market thus far, one was $1650 here, the other $2400 in Europe. Keep waiting!

    I'm surprised when people *don't* understand how to setup their instruments... like they'll just take it to guitar center for a "setup" and pay $60. What? What kind of setup are you telling them to do? Are you specifying relief? String height? Pickup height? It's not like it's difficult; I think everybody needs to know their instruments well enough at least for this purpose.

    Fretwork is... well, some people don't know where to start. For me, I have a bunch of basses, and leveling the frets on so many instruments would be super, super expensive... so I figured better just to learn! And I'm so glad I did. I try not to do it too often, but when it needs to be done it's like getting a brand new instrument! Love it.

    The buzz on the 12th fret of the G string is really, really, stupidly bad. It affects me quite a bit. But I'll fix it this weekend!


    I 100% agree that it was most likely a fluke. I spoke with Adam about it and he said every single one he had seen was perfect, and I'm sure they all are! (We chat occasionally about whatever, like if I'm stuck on a passage from one of his tunes, or when he needs advice on technique/theory.... maybe not that last one!). I'm certain the issues on mine just slipped through the cracks. Though Billy Sheehan says the first thing he does with any new bass is to level the frets, so maybe it shouldn't seem so out of the ordinary.
  8. Hey - that's a great read for us Ibby guys, and a beautiful bass it is, but how did the battery compartment not get fully routed? I thought this was done automatically by CNC programing (?)
    jasonmatthews likes this.
  9. jasonmatthews


    Jul 10, 2016
    Atlanta, GA
    Exactly. This was my thought. But you can see in that photo the cavity looks incomplete. The bare wood is about 1.5mm lower than the blue wood surrounding it. So the task now is to remove the remaining blue wood and get it all down to the height of the bare wood, then the battery cover won't bulge.
    TolerancEJ and Dr. Cheese like this.
  10. jasonmatthews


    Jul 10, 2016
    Atlanta, GA
    Just to update.

    Months later, after doing the fretwork and fixing the thing up, this bass is incredible. I am seriously considering selling my Smith bass because I prefer playing the Nitti bass.

    The ergonomics, in my opinion, are the best part. It's just such a comfortable instrument to play. I always talk to people about how important it is to not have to "fight" their instrument, and this bass is just such a pleasure to play. It's lightweight, the body is the perfect size, the balance is perfect. Adam and Ibanez really did a wonderful job.

  11. Jon Muir

    Jon Muir

    Jun 13, 2018
    Cincinnati, OH
    Still loving the bass? I got to meet Adam just two days ago and loved his playing even more in person after being a fan for a year or two.
    Kitsapbass likes this.
  12. jasonmatthews


    Jul 10, 2016
    Atlanta, GA
    Absolutely love it. Isn't Adam the nicest guy ever?
    Jon Muir likes this.
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Great bass OP, you certainly have the skills to get the most out of it!

    I did not notice that this is a near zombie thread and I had posted here a year ago. I am happy the OP got this bass in shape.
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    Kitsapbass likes this.
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