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New Here, New To Bass, Gotta Question in Regards to Upgrading an Ibanez Roadstar II

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Josh O, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Josh O

    Josh O

    Apr 3, 2009
    Hi all, I'm new here and new to playing bass. I've been playing guitar for almost 12 years but this past week I've thrown my hat into the bass arena. The bass player in our band rarely shows up to our jam sessions so we've been relying on the pre-programmed bass grooves in a couple of different Boss drum machines. I happened across an Ibanez Roadstar II bass last week for absolute dirt so I picked it up. A couple of nights ago we got together and our bassist couldn't make it so I broke out the Ibanez and started fumbling my way around with it. I was having a blast, it feels very foreign to me and I don't know squat for songs on bass and boy did I want to grab a pick but I managed to add some intersting grooves to some of our originals that I've normally played rhythm/trading leads on. I think I've been bitten by the bass bug!

    So now here's the question, are the Ibanez Roadstar series basses a good foundation to build off of in regards to upgrades? Mine is an '83, has the 2/2 headstock, is a P-bass setup with a maple board/maple neck. I don't know what the body is made of or what model number it is but I researched the serial number to at least know it was made in 9/83 and the neck plate says Made in Japan. Now I'll say that I'm a huge fan of the EBMM Stingray basses, I love how they look, how they sound, how they feel (our bass player has one and a buddy of mine who I play with every once in a while has two) but I don't plan on dropping the big time cash on one, at least not yet, in case our bassist finally decides to start regularly showing up again. But, there are some shortcomings with this bass that I noticed the other night.

    It sounded way trebly to me, granted I'm not one with a good ear for how one bass sounds over another or know how say a $1000 Fender P-bass sounds compared to this Ibanez but when I was playing it, it tended to sound like our bassists Stingray when he has the treble EQ control jacked all the way up. I wasn't digging it. I was playing through an Axe-FX Standard using the SVT amp model and 8x10 cab models going direct to a mixer when I heard it and I was messing with the controls on the Axe and it didn't seem to fix it. I also hear it going through my Bogner Duende amp (sorry fellas, I don't have a bass amp!!!!). Also, I noticed that it seems to fart out at the higher frets (say 12 and up). Example, doing a simple slide up and down the E-string, the sound seems to fart out when I start sliding up the neck. I suppose this could be some sort of an action/setup problem? The strings are brand new but I made no adjustments.

    Here's what I'm thinking of doing:

    1. replacing the bridge with a BadAss bridge

    2. replacing the pickups with either some DiMarzio's or Seymour Duncans and maybe even upgrading the pots

    3. the nut needs to be re-glued into the fretboard. Would this be the time to upgrade it? If so, with what?

    4. Are the tuners decent enough or should those be upgraded as well?

    I love to tinker and have no problems with doing these upgrades if I know I'll get serious improvement/results out of them, specifically the pickups, bridge and pots. Is this bass a good solid foundation for this or should I leave it alone and consider getting a new bass in the future.

    Thanks everyone!!!!
  2. Just my 2 cents:

    1. If the strings are brand new, they are likely to sound very bright. Give them a week or so and they'll mellow out.

    2. I'd spend some time experimenting with tone settings on the bass and amp first, and then maybe try some different strings. You may find that getting a sound you like is as simple as that.

    3. I wouldn't spend any money upgrading that bass. The upgrades won't change the fundamental sound of the instrument, and they won't add much to the resale value if you decide to sell it. The nut is a different issue, that's a repair that may need to be done. My experience is that it takes some time playing the bass to really figure out what sound you like and how to get it, and that may require a different bass altogether than the one you have. Save your money, listen carefully to yourself and lots of other bassists, and in a year or so find the instrument that is just right for you.

  3. Welcome to the Dark side! LOL..to answer your question it really depends on if you plan to stay playing bass or not.Seems your bass player is unreliable I'd say dump him and you take up the bass.
    As for your bass?.Hmmmmmmmif you want a phatter sounding low end bass thats not expensive I'd go with a Fender Squire Precision or Jazz bass. and work your way up.Also get a decent BASS amp. (Peavey,Fender many others) and a good monster Bass cord.And practice practice practice.....remember the bass player's job is to lock in with the drummer and stay there no more rock star lead solos!!!
    hope that helps. its jusy my 2 cents worth:bassist:
    Ampeg club # 436
    PBass club #735
    Passive club #117
    Big Cab club #61
  4. Josh O

    Josh O

    Apr 3, 2009
    that's gonna sting!!! :D
  5. ++++1
    Take it to a good tech and have the nut replaced and have it setup. Lots of great bass bin played on them old Road Stars.
  6. Go ahead,throw some p-ups in it.A bridge too.Some may not agree simply because it's not a popular/expensive model.But,those are bolt-ons,you can takem' off and put them on your next bass.And yes,you are on the "Dark Side"now.

    It makes playing SO MUCH more fun.
  7. Josh O

    Josh O

    Apr 3, 2009
    Thanks for the advice everyone. I think fixing the nut and a good setup is definitely in order first and foremost. I still think I may eventually do a pickup swap but I do need to put some more time in with it to see where I should be heading soundwise and to see if playing bass is going to be more my role in the band now or not.
  8. rosanne


    Sep 30, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    I've got and '82 Roadster (not quite the same as Roadstar but still...) and the body is swamp ash. I put a BadAss bridge on it and swapped the pups for EMGs. Sounds OK for straight ahead rock. I use it (not very often) with an SWR rig. Yes, it's a bit treblie. The right amp and cable will help some.
  9. Josh O

    Josh O

    Apr 3, 2009
    This primarily would be used for rock/metal.
  10. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    That bass probably has 500K pots. If you switched those to 250K it would cut some of the trebley sound. That's a mod that can be done for cheap cheap.

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