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NBD - Ibanez SR400 Active - Black

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by John_Nicholas, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. This is probably the best deal buying musical gear where I got a really good deal.

    I was inspired by @Reedt2000 and his Off with it's Head thread Off with its head! 6-string headless conversion/parts build
    which got me searching for inexpensive bodies and necks to create a fun project.

    Yesterday morning while on Craigslist I spotted this ad.
    Craigslist Bass Guitar Ad 1.png
    Craigslist Bass Guitar Ad 2.png

    While it looked in rough shape, I could tell that it wasn't a GSR200, but couldn't really tell what it was from the photos. Also my knowledge of different Ibanez bass models is very limited.

    So after a bunch of back and forth emails, taking the afternoon off work, thinking that someone bought the bass out from under me and an hours drive, finally got to see the bass, noticed it was an SR400, had a straight neck and handed off the cash. Total interaction time? Less than 2 minutes!

    When back at the house the bass was examined carefully. It was in very rough shape as it looked like the strap disengaged and the bass hit the ground pretty hard on the lower bout near the controls. It was so dirty and had tons of crud on it.

    Here's some photos...








    As you can see, it really needs a great deal of cleaning. Then something needs to be done with the body. First I'm going to try to patch the big chip, try to wet sand the deeper body scratches out, then polish up the body.

    If that doesn't work maybe I'll just sand the body down to the bare wood, then depending on what it looks like a decision will be made whether it could remain bare or need to be painted.

    Found this site on the Interwebs for looking up the serial number.

    This bass was built in Korea on February 2004

    Next I wanted to find out how much this bass was worth. Only found one on E-Bay located in Japan. Pretty sure that this one is a bit over priced, but if anyone has an idea, it would be nice to get an idea. Not that I'm planning on selling it.

    Here is the E-bay ad.
    Ibanez Sr400 Active Electric Bass -B227- | eBay

    Next up is to clean it all up to see what works and what needs to be replaced.
  2. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey

    I'd have bought it in a heartbeat :woot:

    Those tend to be REALLY solid basses, a great platform for a project :thumbsup:

    I'd guess the C that starts the serial number and the Korean origin is probably an indication it was made by Cort. That finish looks really thick, it's a tough call as to whether stripping or patching is the right move. I guess if attempts to patch it up don't go well the full strip down can be your back up option. Maybe bondo the spot to bring it level then paint?

    In good shape I'd figure this bass should sell for $200 give or take, but even at that price it's a lot of bang for the buck.

    What are you thinking about doing to it? Gonna chop the head off? If you have to mod the body for headless tuning you might just wanna strip it. I think these may have been agathis wood so no telling what the grain will look like.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
    P. Aaron, BassNugget, Bozzy and 4 others like this.
  3. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug Supporting Member

    $50?!?!? Practically a steal! When I find deals like those, I snap them up ASAP! You can clean and flip it (for $200-$300?). At the very least you can part it out, also for a profit.

    How does it sound? If it sounds and plays killer, you may wanna keep it.
    TerribleTim68 and John_Nicholas like this.
  4. Usually I never am able to snap up these deals before they are sold. I've also had people sell things after I made plans to buy them!

    Yes, this was made in the Cort factory. And that finish is surprisingly thick! As for patching up the "chip" not to sure what is possible. Take a look at this close up.

    There is also a bunch of stress cracks in that same area.

    I figured that the bass was worth at least a couple of hundred bucks. Thanks.

    As for what to do... No there is no plan to make this a headless. It's too nice the way it is. Most likely I will strip the finish off than decide what to do once it's stripped.

    In the 1990's I had a passive SR400 that was black and stripped the paint off... there was a knot right near the upper horn of the body... If this one has something like that, I may consider gluing up a veneer on the top. Or possibly remove a 1/4 inch section off the top and glue on a nice top.

    Again, just floating ideas right now... any suggestions?
    Reedt2000 and Volker Kirstein like this.
  5. Yes I agree a complete steal!

    No idea how it sounds as I didn't even plug the bass in before I started cleaning the bass. The strings were so bad I didn't even consider doing that. I am planning on keeping the SR400 and sell the GSR200 shown hanging together here.
  6. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug Supporting Member

    Ouch! Either "bondo", or clean-cut/replace. Both will require a refinish, as well.


    Go with it! Take off the hardware and beat the body (maybe the headstock, too) with a chain. Age the hardware. Matte battleship gray rattle can refin. Add crude pickup / bridge covers. A "Mad Max" bass.
    John_Nicholas likes this.
  7. Most likely the first option, the second just isn't my style.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
  8. Honestly this idea from @Jeff Siddall looks like a real front runner. Absolutely love the idea. Most likely flamed maple would be used. This bass by Jeff looks wonderful!
    Jsiddall bass.jpg
  9. Nice find John!

    Putting a figured top on that bass could solve the damage and also take it from a typical black SR to something that looks like a top end Ibanez.

    The one issue I can see is the roundover. I special ordered the body on the bass you see above with no forearm cut so I could thin it and laminate a new top without having artifacts around the edges. The issue with the SR400 may not be the forearm cut, as it looks like it may not have one, but the roundover itself which is basically half the thickness of the body! That may or may not matter to you. You will need to consider that the existing body will be visible from the face underneath the new top around the perimeter, which might look cool, even if you had to leave it a solid color due to the grade of the body wood.

    Good luck!
    Reedt2000 and John_Nicholas like this.
  10. I appreciate that Jeff,

    Yeah, the body on this SR400 is very rounded, it would be quite a challenge to get it to look really good if I did something similar to you. Most likely I would cut a slice off the body using the bandsaw. Then use the old top as a "template" to prepare the new top.

    I do need to think about this for a bit. First I want to clean it all up, get it working and play it to see if I like the bass enough to do all this work to make it look good.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    Reedt2000 and Jeff Siddall like this.
  11. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    That's great! I got one in slightly better condition for $100, from a guitar player that had never used it since buying it. It has just been in a corner for years. He didn't even know it had a battery! It cleaned up and plays great. A little black enamel hides the major damage well enough. The Ibanez SRs are terrific basses.
    John_Nicholas likes this.
  12. Did a bit of cleaning on the bridge and tuners... what do you think?

    SR400 Bridge Before.png

    SR400 Bridge After.png

    Next up the tuners...



    Still quite a bit of stuff to do before attempting to assemble the guitar.

    Did a bit of experimentation on the arm rest area.




    Used 400 grit wet paper.... the scratches and scrapes are just too deep. So it appears that the body will be stripped.
  13. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    The hardware looks good :thumbsup:

    I think, before you strip it, it's important to really take stock of what it's gonna be for you. If it's a daily driver, do you care that it's got some road wear? The sanding definitely helped, bondo the bad spot, spray on some black poly, sand the whole thing, and buff it out. Should be perfectly serviceable though not crisp and perfect.

    You are of course in it for next to nothing so if you want to chop and mod there's nothing wrong with that and not much to lose. I like your idea of slicing the top and replacing with some cool wood. I wouldn't do maple personally, cause ibanez did a bunch of QM (quilted maple) and some FM (flame maple) SR models in the past. Something like crotch walnut, or cocobolo could be cool.

    Whatever you decide, I'm looking forward to following along :D
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
    John_Nicholas likes this.
  14. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Congrats on your new Ibanez Road Worn Bass.

    Great buy.
    John_Nicholas and Reedt2000 like this.
  15. Doing a bit more work on the Ibanez....

    Check this out.

    It's actually worse that it looks. Need a new one. This pot has a small PCB board attached... found one on E-Bay, it cost half the cost of the bass!


    It's ordered, no idea when it will actually show up.

    The back of the neck had quite a few dents and nicks on the back, so it was first sanded using 400grit paper to remove the finish and smoothed the worst dents. Once the dents were mostly sanded out, I switched to 800, then 1500, and finished up with 2000.

    Once that was done I used Tru-Oil to seal the back of the neck, alternating with a piece of denim to burnish the Tru-Oil. About 6 coats of Tru-Oil was applied in total.



    The fretboard was cleaned and the frets were polished using the Dremel. Although this photo does not really show how good the frets came out, they really do sparkle!


    Next up was to begin assembling the cleaned parts and installed a set of D'Addario Bass strings, bringing the total of the cost of the bass up to $100.00 :roflmao::roflmao:



    Also ordered a set of knobs. These are on the way, hopefully they will arrive in the next few days.

    Still haven't considered what to do with the big chip on the body. Want to give it a bit more thought.

    The other issue is the battery cavity cover is missing its screws. No they are not the same as pickguard screws, they have brass inserts. Anyone know what size they are? I was at the hardware store and bought a couple of different sizes of both SAE and Metric machine screws, but it seems the thread size is off.
    Jeff Siddall, The Petro and Reedt2000 like this.
  16. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Looking good :thumbsup:

    I have no idea what thread size those machine screws are, but you could just pull the inserts and dowel the holes. Then wood screws would do the job :D
    John_Nicholas likes this.
  17. I have a green 1996ish SR400 Active that I picked up off a friend years ago for the same price. I was there when he bought the thing new. It's a solid, great sounding bass that's easy to pick up and play. Good score, even with the chip and the issues!
    John_Nicholas and Reedt2000 like this.
  18. It's a fun game to me to try and find things. It gives my brain something to think about and can be sort of like geocaching...

    If the screws can not be found, when I was digging around in the bins at the hardware store there was a box with brass inserts, I grabbed some of those for my next new build for the cavity cover and a couple extra, so if no screws are found I'll drill out the old inserts and install the new ones along with the new machine screws purchased at the same time!


    The inserts cost $.69 each and the machine screws cost $.13 each

    Now to go and hunt for the right size machine screws for the battery cover!
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  19. Hey folks...

    Look what showed up today! Just after I had been complaining about long delivery times!


    No, I didn't get the replacement pot yet, but wanted to see what the knobs looked like on the bass!
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 25, 2021

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