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New SR500 vs old SR800

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hugo Alvela, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Hugo Alvela

    Hugo Alvela

    Jun 6, 2018
    Hello guys,

    I'm a guitarrist, thinking about getting into the low end of things, therefore I need a bass.
    I'm a huge Ibanez fan and I mainly play an 87 RG560 with the original wizard.
    So, the obvious choice for me is the SR series from Ibanez since they have very thin necks, which I can't live without.

    So, here is my question: a "new" SR500 with the bartolini stuff, or an old Japanese SR800? Which one would be "better" and why? Would love to read your thoughts on this.
    Also, they are both used and around same price point (250-300)
  2. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    i don't like the pickups, finish or build quality of the new SR500. the pickups sound sterile and thin (in comparison to the SR800). the matte stain finish does not wear well over time. the build quality issue is subjective, i can't really tell you why, it just doesn't feel the same to me.
    i have 3 SR800 - 1989,1990,1995
    and they will never look as bad as this
  3. Hugo Alvela

    Hugo Alvela

    Jun 6, 2018
    The sr800 I'm looking at is a 1999 model, if it makes a difference.
    The SR500 is only a few years old (post 2011, by looking at the pre-amp switch) and it looks very similar to that one (the wear on the paint, I mean).

    I'm a little worried about the pre-amp on the SR800 though as one of the stacked knobs seems to be missing the upper part. Is it a deal breaker? Very hard to replace?
    I'll try posting a picture so you can see what I mean.

    EDIT: there you go.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  4. I have no experience with the SR5xx series yet, but my 1992 Ibanez SR885 is still a solid workhorse. I always received compliments on live performances and recordings.
  5. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    I wouldn't buy that one. There are plenty more out there that don't have broken knobs. yes they are hard to replace and if you decide to upgrade with a different preamp it can be 50-100 or so at least. what country are you in? there are plenty of sr800 between $2-300 on guitar center's used site now.
  6. Hugo Alvela

    Hugo Alvela

    Jun 6, 2018
    I live in Portugal, I don't see many of them going around.
    There are a ton of the 300 series though, in all of their variations (4, 5, 6 strings).
    This SR800 is 280 with a hard case, some dings and a broken knob. Maybe I could lower it a bit because of the knob, not sure.

    There is also a SR800A but it has been modded with EMG soapbars and pre-amp and I'm not very confident on what might lie beneath those pickup rings, thought I could always go and check it as the guy lives nearby.
  7. Hugo Alvela

    Hugo Alvela

    Jun 6, 2018
    Also found an ATK200, sounds incredible but I'm not sure about the neck. How much thicker would it be? Any idea? The guys lives far away and I can't try it mysef
  8. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    neck specs are in ibanez catalogs which are archived on the ibanez website
  9. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    I love the "old" SR 800 that was made in Japan, I had a gray one for several years. The sound, feel, fit and finish were exceptional. Mine was in essentially "un-played" condition when I got it. A friend of mine needed a good bass for his daughter who was taking lessons, it was the perfect fit for them so I moved it along. I would not hesitate to pick up another if the opportunity presents itself.
  10. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Endorsed by K.B. Guitars, Nordstrand Audio Pickups, Von York Strings and Gallien-Krueger Amps.
    I have owned several Ibanez Soundgear basses. 1993 SR 400, 1994 SR 500 (still own), 1995 SR 500 (still own), 1995 SR 800, 2007 20th 5 20th Anniversary, and a 2012 or 2013 SR 500 limited edition.

    The mid 90’s SR 800’s are fantastic basses. Assuming condition is good, I would jump on it.

    With the new SR 500’s, they are good basses but the finishes suck! The pickups are either loved or hated by others. The matte blue finished one looks good and has me contemplating on buying one but I really wish Ibanez would ditch the turd brown finish on the standard SR 500’s.

    Given the OP’s choices, I would go with the SR 800, unless it had major damage or issues.
  11. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    I know you gave us two choices...but...

    If I was gonna go Ibanez today it would be this model...


    SR650 with Nordstrands...

    ash body along with a 5-piece SR4 jatoba/bubinga neck topped with a rosewood fingerboard adorned with lovely abalone oval inlays
    PawleeP and Bassist Jay like this.
  12. ItsmeSantiago


    Nov 23, 2015
    The preamps are junk in the modern Ibanez basses. From what I can see, they use the same preamp in their cheap basses as they do their basses around the $1000 range. The older Soundgear basses are respectable instruments.
    Bassist Jay likes this.
  13. Hugo Alvela

    Hugo Alvela

    Jun 6, 2018
    @Bassist Jay
    The sr800 does have a few issues, the broken knob being the worse of them. Missing truss-rod cover, few dents here and there. Maybe I can talk the price down a bit because of these issues, not sure by how much though.

    Beautiful bass. Around 2.5x more expensive than my current budget (bought new), and none used to be found around here.

    A few more deals popped up in the last days around my budget, I wouldn't mind a few opinions on these basses if any of you has anything to say about them. Here is the revised list of possible second-hand basses in my budget:

    SR800 japan, broken knob and few dents
    SR800A (ash version) japan, looks good but original pickups and pre-amp were replaced with EMG soapbars and pre, and it got pickup rings (wonder what they are trying to cover?)
    SR500 with barts (post 2011 model), scratched finish
    ATK200, mint condition with a soft-case (huge neck? might be a problem)
    Yamaha 774, the cheaper of the bunch
    Peavey Grind BXP (the original one with peavy logo and lower horn thing), with EMGs.

    The last 3 I mentioned may be a little different than the other ones, but they all go for around the same price atm

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