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NBD - Ibanez Soundgear

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sundogue, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I just picked up this Ibanez SR400QM 4 string bass for free from a friend (although I'm going to trade him some artwork just to be fair to him even though he just told me to keep it). I've been playing for over 35 years and have played every kind of bass made with the exception of high end boutique custom jobs.

    My original thread is posted here (which was mainly about getting more info on this model)...


    Here's a pic online...mine looks exactly like this but I'll get my own pics soon...


    Upon further review...

    There isn't anything to not like about this bass.

    Bridge is solid and easily adjustable with quick change slots. Tuners are solid and hold very well.

    Body is really beautiful. I never thought I'd like blue/purple, but because it is translucent I can see the quilted maple on front and the mahogany on the back. The color is subtle. In certain light it looks more purple or more blue, depending. Beautiful urethane finish that is super mirror smooth. Matching headstock. I also never really dug Soundgear/Spector/Schechter body styles, but it's kind of growing on me. Could be the gorgeous wood or maybe the ergonomics.

    Neck is two full octaves, very slim and fast playing. Along with the lower horn of the body all frets are easily accessed. 5 ply Maple/Rosewood with a nice rosewood fingerboard. Very nice tight neck pocket. With just a tad bit of fret tapering above the 12th fret I should be able to get the strings super low. Action is already very low with absolutely no buzz anywhere. Every note on all strings all up and down neck are very clear and full. I'll need to file the edges of the frets on the neck just a bit. They stick out very slightly but I notice it.

    Pickups and preamp. Two proprietary humbucking soapbars. IMO, very high output and balanced. I can't boost the volume full on without clipping my amp input without adjustment. I've read reviews where people have said one would probably want to replace the pups and the preamp, but after playing it through my rig I just can't understand why unless the tone just ain't your cup of tea. It has a fabulously punchy, bright tone when set flat. Tone control is greatly varied even by the slightest adjustments. I can cop a lot of different tones from this.

    Preamp and tone controls. It has a pup blend control, Master volume, Stacked Treble/Bass control and a seperate mid control which is some kind of quick change Scoop/Slap (one way) to mid boosted fingerstyle (other way). Some don't like this shifting tone control, but there are many points in between and honestly putting it all the way one way or the other really can give a you a quick change in tone when needed, yet there is subtleties to be found in between. Preamp takes a 9 volt battery. Can't attest to the longevity, but I'm sure it's like any other...unplug when not in use.

    Thus far I've found the electronics to be be dead quiet, with only the slightest amount of hiss when the treble is way up. Then again I play through a fEARful 15/6 which brings this out in almost any bass I've played through it.

    Very well balanced ergonomically. Very light weight. Super fast, skinny neck (might feel so fast to me coming from about 10 years of 5 stringers). ;) Plays smooth and easy. The tone goes from smooth and mid forward (kind of burpy Jazz) to full on scooped slap, to very agressive and punchy ala Squire. Looks, plays and sounds beautiful.

    All around a fabulous bass. Online prices are at $449 new and IMO worth every penny. Could be had used cheaper. Getting one for free? Priceless.
  2. Nothing not to like. My son has an Ibby 5 string and with the bass boost on just a touch , I think it sounds as good as my P bass. I would steal it from him for gigs except that after playing 4 strings for 40+ years , I'm a spaz on a 5 string.
  3. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, I'm the opposite. I've been a 5 string player for so long it feels weird to play a 4 string bass again. VERY weird. Easier and faster...except sometimes I go reaching for the low B...that ain't there. ;)
  4. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Here's the obligatory pic of my bass. Took the pic under artificial light. I need to take some in the sun. But it's winter...in Wisconsin. Might be a while. ;)

  5. Reddog01


    Nov 3, 2013
    Georgetown, TX
    You got a good bass to play. Kudos!
  6. vmabus


    Nov 1, 2013
    SR400. [/QUOTE]

  7. iceboxbass

    iceboxbass Living the Dream! Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2010
    Congratulations on this beautiful SR! :hyper: Like you, I have my first Ibanez back in Dec. 2012, SR-375F. Really impressive for a decent priced Bass. Though I'm used to Spectors lower end to their high end handmade in Woodstock, NY. but my Ibby gets 50% of play time. It's also my first/only fretless. You hit every description spot on! One fine friend you have to give you a fine bass like this. Incredible quilting!
    When I grab a 4 string bass I'm lost...I feel as there's not enough strings/notes. Lol I've been playing 5rs exclusively for 2 years. I've thought about buying another 4 string but I know I'd miss the B string which I play on a lot. I use it as my baseline starting point and I'd have to change my playing positions. :ninja:
  8. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI

    Yes, I still have my Yamaha 5 string fretless which I do love and it serves me well for a variety of tones and musical situations. And I've been playing 5 stringers for over 10 years almost exclusively. Going to a 4 stringer is kind of weird and I am really having to re-think things because it has come so natural to use the low B as my "baseline" as you put it, even if I don't actually play on it.

    Positions and things like that. Certain songs where I'll use the low B, especially in a drop D situation where I now must use the D on the A string...which has become unfamilar after playing the 5 stringers for so long. ;)
  9. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    After playing around yet some more through my amp I have to comment on the "EQ Sweep" control.

    Rather than it being a true Mid control, it also boosts or cuts low and highs depending on the clockwise/counter-clockwise setting of the knob. Many comments have said it's either useless, or they dislike it in favor of a true Mid control.

    Personally, I find it absolutely perfect. In fact, if I could only have one single control on this bass, the EQ Sweep would the only one I'd want. It greatly affects the tone in such a perfect and easy way to change things up for the styles and techniques I'm going for. I would say that the spectrum of tonality it affects would be going from smooth to aggressive and anywhere in between. So much so that I can easily employ fingerstyle, slap, pick use and adjust it easily on the fly to switch between in any manner I need right at the moment, without having to touch any other controls or my amp.

    I leave the Treble and Bass controls set flat and don't even need to touch them. I leave the Pup Blend balanced as well, although one can also utilize that to even further alter a great range of tonality.

    If Ibanez had me sit in on a meeting and asked my opinion on what kind of tone control I'd like on a bass, this EQ Sweep control is EXACTLY what I would have wanted. Perfect.
  10. pica


    Nov 26, 2009
    Love the color. If only that model came with Bart's I'd be all over that.
  11. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Pups are easy to swap out. They have the exact same bass (same color even) at MF for $449, although I'm sure it could be found used cheaper.

    Just picked up a sweet originals band gig where this bass will come in very handy. Hard rock, aggressive sounding bass. Timing couldn't have been more perfect.
  12. Always loved the color on that model. Congrats on the new bass.
  13. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks. I'm sure it is because of the combination of the translucent effect of the paint along with the irridescence of the quilted maple, but depending on the lighting is looks either different shades of blue, or purple, or even kind of grayish. It's a nice effect. Just a bonus to the sound and playability of it of course.
  14. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Love that top, grats!
  15. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Yes, Absolutely. Totally gorgeous bass! I drank the SR kool aid when I happened on a GSR206 (of all things) in a used bass shop. Couldn't leave without owning it! Everything you say. Light, fast, tone, output, you name it. Except mine is plain old black paint. And of course that led to my SR506 which is pretty much the same (including plain black paint) except for 24 frets and pickups that actually cover the 6 strings properly. One of these days I've got to work up a pair of SR506s, the one i've got and a fretless conversion of the same bass.

    Some people like to Pooh-pooh Ibbys but there is a reason they are considered THE classic modern bass!
  16. vxjoe


    Sep 22, 2013
    A great bass! Owned my Japanese SR-800 for about 35 years, it plays same as new, if not better. Fast like a sports car compared to my Fenders. Enjoy!
  17. iceboxbass

    iceboxbass Living the Dream! Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2010
    I have a Spector Coda 5XL DLX Jazz bass that I play for the more aggressive music, LOVE it! I'm a bass player for two Church bands every week and the 5 string fits in perfectly as that genre requires that very low B string. Most of the time I'd rather play G8 on the B as it's fuller sounding rather than G3, same with C8, D10, A10 and E7 sounds solid on the A string. That's my base pattern area, though I do use all the fingerboard. I play a 35" scale. My SR375F is my Tuesday night bass 100%! I've come to just LOVE fretless bass. :bassist: I hear Yamaha makes a great bass that's really under loved. :bassist:
  18. iceboxbass

    iceboxbass Living the Dream! Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2010
    AGREE 100%!!! :bassist::bassist::bassist::D
  19. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I've been playing this SR400 through my amp at both low and high volumes and it really has a lot of output and tonal versatility.

    I just cannot understand how anyone would think the pups or preamp are insufficient in any way. Unless of course they just don't dig the tone (regardless of how versatile it is).

    I will say that my P/J Yamaha does much better vintage Fender type, or "old school" tones, whereas the SR400 is more modern.

    Other than that, it's very versatile tonally, and for a modern tone, certainly hard to beat.