Thoughts on Ibanez SR Series?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mrtunes, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. mrtunes


    Jun 26, 2020
    I'm really trying out a lot of stuff lately and might have dialed into something good for me. main use is for recording so i want a smooth backing sound. I play Latin, ambient and a bit of funk. Since I come from guitar my teacher suggested I look at a medium scale bass.

    Squire Affinity Jazz Bass - too bright, couldn't get over the cheap feel of the neck
    Squire CV Mustang Bass- really liked this one but had that plunky sound. will probably get this after i take care of my first bass
    Squire CV Precision Bass - I actually have one of these on order but it might come as late as October so this is why i have the chance to shop around now. even though I know this is meant for a flat sound good with recording, i'm still not convinced it does it the best
    Epiphone EB-3 long scale - currently renting this one. I love the electronics on this one but the neck is way too long for me. It's also making a very resonant sound but that's probably just the new roundwound strings on it

    Ok so I tried an Ibanez either SR300E or SR300EB - the label in the store might be wrong because it was a cherry red instrument (and an ugly red for sure) and I haven't been able to locate that model with that colour online. but either way it's very close to these two models. even though this was long scale I could move around very nice on this. I guess because the action is low and the strings are close together. some frequencies were a little out of hand but I think a compressor can fix that. great round tone though, and if i put flat wound strings on it i think it would really do the job. as i said it was in a bad colour so I didn't spring for it right away but i'm thinking about it.

    I'm going to another store today to try the SR Mezzo medium scale. I don't love the colours it comes in, and maybe the electronics aren't as good as the 300 series, but i'm wondering if it will have this flat neutral sound i'm looking for? Just curious what Ibanez users might suggest i look at.
    zie likes this.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Pazelaya93, rollie 55, zie and 5 others like this.
  3. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i'm a big fan of the ibanez SR series. one reason is that although they're long scale, they don't hurt my damaged shoulder to play as much as other long scales. most sound good, and from the 300 series up, they have thinner body edges, which makes for a more comfortable playing experience.

    i love my mezzo, but it's neither flat nor neutral - at least not via my amps. it's bassy and punchy, although not far off from the SR300, but a little more oomph, i'd say. btw, there are very few medium scale basses around, and not much choice when it comes to medium scale bass strings.

    my husband has a CV 70s jazz, and it's quite impressive for the price - great finish, sounds great, good fret work, build quality and neck. i haven't tried the other CV basses, but hopefully they're as good.

    have you tried a MiM mustang? i played a lot of them in stores, and loved how every one sounded. to be fair, you may have totally different taste in tone than i do.
  4. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    It seems that what I dislike about the SR series is what suits your needs.
    I always had the impression that the SR basses feel 'small' in my hands. I guess that is due to the narrow string spacing, low action and skinny neck.
    I personally prefer a little room for my fingers.
    The only other thing I strongly dislike is the models where the output is located in that recessed hole in the top.
    I doubt that this will age well - and it won't take angled jacks.

    Apart from that, I think the SR is a long running (I think they started these late in the 80's) series that comes in a staggering number of flavors. Six string with a P pickup? Check. Fanned frets? Check. Nordstrand pickups and exotic woods? yupp. Plain vanilla 4 strings? of course ... The list seems endless, yet they all are SR's.
  5. mrtunes


    Jun 26, 2020
    Thanks you have a great forum here. Ok I see what you mean there is this whole world of PJ setups. Didn't really notice it until now, like that you can get a Mustang that has a PJ configuration. Very cool. Talman could be a fun bass to try and wouldn't break the bank.

    Ok very helpful info here, thank you. A MiM Mustang looks really sweet. It's a bit out of my budget though and would probably hit a different sound profile, which is what I loved about the Squire one I had been playing last month. Would cut through the mix nicely.

    Thanks this is good to know!
    rollie 55 likes this.
  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Pick your price point and go with whatever Ibanez SR model ticks the boxes and meets your budget constraints. The build quality is consistently very good / excellent even with the lower-tier offerings. Your best buy would be a used SR Premium model but this is said without knowing your local secondhand market. I have no problem with the tighter string spacing on the "pencil-necked groovers".

  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah the Mustang is a great option as well.
  8. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010
    I think this is exactly why they are a hit (for lots o' folks).
    I came from the 6 string guitar world, so the narrow spacing was perfect for the transition. I also love the low action I can get. and the body contour, especially on the newer ones. (newer than my 1990+ sr405- when the only color I cld find was black).

    These reasons also work for beginners/young beginners w/ smaller hands..

    Relayer71 likes this.
  9. mrtunes


    Jun 26, 2020
    i just heard some samples of the Thunderbird bass which is very much the tone profile i want, so it looks like i will shoot out the SR300 + Mezzo against the Epiphone Thunderbird and then make a call.
  10. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I owned an SR300E recently...for some reason, other than the iron pewter (dark grey almost black), they do come in some strange finishes. Mine was the seashore metallic blue. Ibanez basses are very easy to play on as the necks are slimmer and the bass is light in weight.
    Actually, I might be picking up a Squier CV Mustang today, I've tried the Ibanez Mezzo and found it a little lacking in the low frequency dept- a little too mid/treble for me - I really wanted to like it (the finish and look were great) and wanted to buy it, but it didn't sound as good as even the Squier Bronco I played alongside it at the store. I've read here it has much to do with the stock strings that are on it, but I'm not sure. I didn't buy it. If you want a short scale Ibanez with some umph to it, maybe the TMB30 might be a better option.

    From my experience and with basses that are roughly within the price range your listed basses fall under, I found the P bass and a Yamaha TRBX304 as the best in terms of that clear flat bass sound that records very well with minimal to no EQ adjusting.
    These videos were recorded from a phone so overall quality is terrible but purposely so (my logic - if it sounds decent in a bad recording, it's my kind of bass lol)-both these basses really cut through pretty easily. The Yamaha does it very well. They also make the BB basses which are PJ.

    First the Peavey Fury (which is my P bass alternative -slimmer neck, lighter weight)

    This is my Yamaha TRBX304
  11. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    interesting that you find the mezzo lacking in bottom end. mine's got plenty - maybe it's what you played it through? when i tried one at sam ash, i thought "meh", but i really wanted a medium scale, and through my rumble 40 or my TC head and little ampeg 2x10 cab, it's probably got the most bass of any i have.
    sonojono likes this.
  12. mrtunes


    Jun 26, 2020
    Yeah that squier cv mustang was a lot of fun - i was curious what it would sound like with flatwounds and the pickup upgrade that other people had talked about on this forum (they made it sound more like a P bass so we can try to dig that up for you).

    Thanks I hadn't considered the Yamaha but was curious. Unfortunately they seem to be on back order in all colours at the store I buy from, and have to buy from because I have credit on file from when I returned my Affinity J Bass.
  13. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    The GC store I went to had two of them, I tried both along with a Squier Bronco that was there, and for the life of me, I couldn't get the level of bass I wanted on either which seemed a little easier on the Bronco. It could very well be the amp, I hadn't thought of that- could be the strings but gosh darn it, I really wanted the Mezzo as it was medium scale and I loved the feel and look of them (orange and the other was that pale blue color). I probably should give it another shot.
    Wearing a mask while playing, who knows...maybe I was turning the tone knob the other way. lol
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  14. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I've been reading the posts about Squier CV Mustang here, all very helpful tips and advice so I've got it narrowed down to either a Squier CV Jazz bass or the Mustang for today. Leaning more towards the Mustang. I'm in a retro kind of mode these days.
    The Yamaha has a deeper voice if you will than most of the basses I've tried, and it's clear and crisp rather than diffused for lack of a better word, my TRBX304 has that five blade switch of which "flat" is one of the options. Flick the switch and it's "slap", perfect for funk.
  15. equill


    Nov 25, 2010
    I came from guitar, and went to a 35" scale bass (I still have it, too). Your teacher's advice is well-intentioned, but misguided.

    I love the Ibanez SR series. They're pretty versatile in tone, thanks to the active EQ. Don't rule these (or anything else) out until you've tried a few different types - the more, the better.

    Go for what works best for you, between the sound, the feel and the ergonomics.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  16. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    the bronco has a single strat guitar pickup - the cheapest squier makes - to get more bass out of it, change the pickup. lots of people here do, although mine still has its original pickup. i love my bronco, actually - it feels good to play and it's a good size.
    Maxdusty likes this.
  17. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    I’ve always read hat the SR500s and up are better then the lower numbered ones?
  18. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    I'm a fan of the Mezzos. The 300s are nice, for a cheap bass. Last one I had, there were neck issues.

    I prefer the Mezzo for the shorter scale while retaining the clarity of long scale. And the P pickup. The P sits great in a mix and doesn't get lost, but gets lost at the same time, if you know what I mean... It's there when you want to listen for it, but doesn't stick out.
  19. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    I really like my SR500BB, it has a"spalted something or nother" top. The finish wears kinda fast. Probably last bass as I am getting on in years, oh.. and my wife bought it for me. Getting another bass would not go over well, nor is it necessary it is a variable machine.

    At a practice I tried the BL's Fender Jazz, way to heavy for me.

    The keys lady loved my bass over the jazz . She played better than I.
  20. Inara

    Inara Fierce Fun Fretless Female Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2017
    Seattle, WA USA
    That used to definitely be the case. They've really improved the 300 and 400 series over the last few years, though, and they're much closer to the 500 series. I personally prefer the Powerspan pickups and electronics in the 3-400 to the Bartolini MK1 setup in the 500s now. I personally sold a 700 series after deciding I like my SR375EF fretless (bought as a backup) better.

    I don't think I'd argue that the lower series are truly "better" than 500 and up now, but they do seem much closer than they used to. In my case, that 375 just really clicked with me.
    Alivefor5 and Kukulkan61 like this.

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