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NBD - Ibanez Talman TMB100 - honest, impartial first impressions :)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Maxdusty, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Okay, I got my scratch and dent Musicians Friend special Ibanez Talman TMB100 this morning. I tried to temper my expectations - it was after all a bass on the low end of the price spectrum $199.99 and $299 for the slightly beefed up TMB300 model. I got one with a custom dent on for $127, great bargain!

    I did try one previously at a local music store but on their amp and thought it sounded great, but that was on their expensive amp, so the true test was to plug it into my equipment. We know how it goes....

    Initial impressions:-

    1) the ding/dent was definitely not from the factory as the box bore a corresponding hole in it - so it was conceived during shipment or at the warehouse. No biggie, got a discount.

    2) The QC from Ibanez....okay, this is where the budget money was saved or perhaps they rushed the initial shipment of Talman basses to meet the demand. Who the heck did QC for Ibanez for this bass, James Jamerson????The string height was set at it's maximum height! I only know one person who likes to play like that.
    -The neck had a little too much relief.
    -There was a rattling sound emanating from the headstock.
    -frets were fine though, no sharp edges.
    I've bought a lot of Ibanez basses in the past and the QC slipped on this one, perhaps subsequent shipments will address this. It smells of a rushed production schedule to get this initial batch out the door.

    I did a setup, adjusted the truss rod slightly, lowered the saddles (considerably), and tried to isolate where the rattling was coming from. Found it - it was the "D" tuner, the tuner peg/clover (whatever you call it) was a little wiggly, enough to cause it to rattle when certain notes were played. Not enough of a gap to put a piece of paper in there, very small. I called Musicians Friend to see if I could get a replacement tuner, unfortunately all they could do was to accept a return and give me a good deal on a brand new one. Kudos to Musicians Friend for that offer! I asked if i could try my "fix" and would it void the return? Answer - no. Okay, so carte blanche to try my fix which involved introducing epoxy glue into the really small gap to seal it. Removed excess glue and you can't tell anything was done.
    It worked, no more rattling- the dried epoxy is acting as a buffer in the gap to keep the metal parts from hitting each other. Yay!

    Playing the bass:

    This looks similar to the Squier VM Jaguar I once had which sells for around the same price- so I was expecting to compare it to that one.
    this bass blows it away! I had my bass volume set at what I had it for my Schecter Elite I played earlier. The increase in output of this Talman was totally unexpected.
    Think of the Sterling Sub but in a P/J form and you'll have an idea how loud this thing is.
    Unlike the Squier VM Jaguar with the boost, the 9 volt battery in the Talman is put to far better use.
    It has two stacked knobs 2 band EQ,
    volume/balancer and treble boost cut/bass boost cut
    It has the ability to dial in a wide variety of tones with great clarity - this is what I was hoping out of the Jaguar and some of the other P/J basses I've had- other Ibanez basses, Yamaha, heck even a MIA JP90. This bass is incredible! This is one P/J bass I would definitely keep in the arsenal.
    The neck is not SR in girth, it's more of a Yamaha RBX type neck, a little chunkier but comfortable.

    Conclusion (well after several hours of playing it)

    As mentioned in the sub title, the true test is to play it for a much longer time frame to better assess the nuances and limitations of the bass.
    As it is right now, I would recommend this bass to anyone who's looking for a versatile bass within this price range with "Fender - like" abilities with the added punch of a preamp. Not partial towards anything or a fanboy of any one brand, I love Fender as much as I love Ibanez and Warwick but I wouldn't hesitate recommending this bass to anyone.
    This is essentially a P/J version of the Sterling Sub Ray in terms of the value per dollar factor(and volume!) , you're certainly getting a lot of bass for the money here.
    If you're opting for an inexpensive Ibanez bass, this would be a model I would consider, along with the SR300 as the minimum models to aim for, bypass the Gio series altogether.
    Anyone who remotely loves the Squier Jaguar should give this bass a try and compare, the results may surprise you. I like the Jag, but this ups the ante in my opinion.

    HOWEVER, be wary of potential QC issues if you're buying one of these early ones, it feels rushed and expect to have to do a set up. Check the bass carefully for defective parts. I've heard of some in the other Talman post that have had mis-matched saddle screws and broken tuners.

    Well worth the money, whether you want to pony up the additional $100 for the TMB300 with the block inlays, binding and additional coil on the bridge pickup, that's up to you. I have tried that and actually prefer this cheaper one, perhaps I'm a P/J purist.(that being said, I wouldn't mind the inlays and binding though).
    If you've been uncertain about this bass,this is just my opinion and suggestion, go and try it out, you may be pleasantly surprised.
    2015-04-14 10.01.54.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  2. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Specifications of the bass from the Ibanez website.

    neck type TMB4 Maple neck
    body Mahogany body
    fretboard Rosewood fretboard w/White dot inlay
    fret Medium frets
    number of frets 20
    bridge Std. bridge (19mm string spacing)
    neck pickup Dynamix P neck pickup (Passive)
    bridge pickup Dynamix J bridge pickup (Passive)
    equaliser Ibanez Custom Electronics 2-band eq
    hardware color Chrome
    Neck Dimensions
    Scale 864mm/34"
    a : Width at Nut 41mm
    b : Width at Last Fret 62mm
    c : Thickness at 1st 21.5mm
    d : Thickness at 12th 24.5mm
    Radius 240mmR
  3. fuzzychaos

    fuzzychaos Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Nice review! I've been looking at them online and am hoping that one of the local shops get one soon. I am really liking the TMB300 on looks, but I love the colors of the TMB100 (mint green :woot:)
    peter-j and Maxdusty like this.
  4. nerkoids


    Jan 3, 2014
    I like the look of them as well, and would love to have one... but... no lefties. Again. Grr :banghead:
    alaskaleftybass and Maxdusty like this.
  5. nerkoids


    Jan 3, 2014
    BTW, can you take a close-up of the tortie pickguard please? I'm a tortie junky. I need my fix...
  6. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I don't have the best camera on my phone but here it is... ha ha.. just realized I left the plastic on the pickups.
    I imagine a Leftie version will be coming later perhaps- or at least they should.

    Currently a Sherwood Green open box TMB300 for $239 on MF. Hmmm......

    2015-04-14 15.21.58.
  7. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    If anyone's interested in a green one with a $60 discount at MF. I can't buy it -my wife would likely leave me if I do. :)
    Screen shot 2015-04-14 at 3.30.18 PM.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
    xrockstrongox and Real Soon like this.
  8. Dradder


    Feb 7, 2013
    Reno, Nevada
    Part of me is "meh" about the looks of these, and part of me loves 'em, especially that Christmassy green-&-red-tort model. I suppose I'd have to see one in person to be sure.
    Resonance129 likes this.
  9. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I agree, the color of my bass (Ivory) looks nothing like the one in the stock photo. It's lighter in color-which I like.
    Haven't seen the green one in person, but looking at this photo, it looks very different from the stock photo- could be the lighting but still...
    Screen shot 2015-04-14 at 3.50.58 PM.
  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I think I prefer the -100 seafoam green, or the soda blue. Kind of in your face offensively cool looking.
  11. nerkoids


    Jan 3, 2014
    I'm not holding my breath.
    Maxdusty likes this.
  12. Thanks for such a detailed review!! I was very impressed with these when I saw them at NAMM but couldn't plug it in to hear it. I'm now very tempted whenever I have some spare $$ :bassist:
    Maxdusty likes this.
  13. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    No problem and thanks for the kinds words. I was looking for some reviews on the TMB100 or TMB300 just before I bought this. I had trepidation based on what I read about. Few reviews out there. Some helpful ones here on TB from knowledgeable people. Just want to perhaps do my part to help someone who may be on the fence about picking up one of these basses. Until more brick and mortar stores start bringing them in, a number of people may order one blindly. My local GC stores didn't have any and didn't know when they would be coming in so I bought one online and crossed my fingers. I would say, if you buy one now, the quality may not be quite there as I have the distinct feeling Ibanez is trying to churn these out asap to meet the market demand and get them shipped to stores. If you buy online, make sure there's a good return policy just in case there's quality issues with it. It seems like more colors are slated in June for the TMB100 (according to the MF site). To be shipped before or on 6/15 - Soda Blue, Candy Apple Red and White. (I think two of these colors are available for the TMB300)

    Edit: If there's one thing I'm suspect of this early on is the durability of the tuners. They don't seem quite as sturdy as I'd like them, but we'll see. I've already had to "glue" one of mine.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  14. nerkoids


    Jan 3, 2014
    Are they the same kind of tuners than on the Squier VMs?
    Maxdusty likes this.
  15. strictlybass_ic

    strictlybass_ic Mediocrity is a journey

    Jan 9, 2014
    Northern Indiana
    I've tried a number of less expensive basses and my opinion is buy a cheap-ish Ibanez (SR300 is my preferred, but def not as cheap as the gios), pay a good tech to get it all sorted out, and you'll have a surprisingly good instrument for comparatively little outlay. Glad to see someone else has stumbled upon the "Ibanez secret".
    peter-j and Maxdusty like this.
  16. Great review! This is a fun bass to GAS for, since I wouldn't have to take out a second mortgage to acquire one, unlike some of my other recent GAS targets (...must...stop...talking...to...custom...builders...). They haven't arrived yet at my local store up here in Canada, but you had better believe once the first one gets there, there will be a decent chance that it'll be leaving the store with me. :)
    peter-j and Maxdusty like this.
  17. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    That's a foxy bass! Based on the real-life photos, they made some great choices on color options, and the three-ply tort guard sets 'em off nicely. Great find!
    Maxdusty likes this.
  18. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Pretty much- the open back tuners. Very similar. I don't particularly like them due to some bad experiences with bent pegs and rattling- so when I heard the rattle on this one, I suspected the tuner or tuners being the cause. It was.
    Everything else so far is working out well, very nice bass for the money.

    Here in the States, they seem to be available online but stores don't seem to have them in. A few of the smaller stores have a few of them trickling in, but they disappear so fast. The one I tried at the store was basically bought by someone as I was trying it out...lol. Once they ramp up production (it seems like Ibanez has quite a backorder of certain colors even online like the mint green), they should be more readily available at the brick and mortar stores. My local GC hasn't even had a single one delivered to them.
    Also, I think Ibanez has found an ideal niche for those who have spent a lot of money on gear and little left in the bass fund but still have GAS. This bass certainly fits the bill.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
    blindrabbit likes this.
  19. ReneB


    Dec 6, 2014
    Ithaca, NY
    Does anyone know how the neck profile of these Talman basses compares to the SR basses?
  20. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Rene, this is from the Ibanez site-hopefully it's the info you're looking for:-
    A side by side comparison of features: Talman info on the left and SR500 to the right.
    Screen shot 2015-04-15 at 2.40.37 AM.
    wintremute, blindrabbit and ReneB like this.

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