What actually is the "Ibanez sound"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Admiral Akbar, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Admiral Akbar

    Admiral Akbar

    Mar 12, 2013
    New York
    I've been playing a fair amount of time - about 25 years. In my 25 years of playing and listening, Ive come across, and appreciate that certain basses, even brands, have their own identifiable SOUND... The Fender Jazz sound, The Precision sound, The Stingray sound, The "70's" Fender Jazz sound, The Rickenbacker sound, The fender Mustang sound, The Yamaha sound, The Sadowsky sound, Smith, Fodera, Hofner, Gibson, Starfire.... Etc., etc.

    That said - I cannot identify the "Ibanez sound." Im mostly talking about those very nice looking, light weight feeling, skinny necked, active electronics with soapbar pickups, Japanese made Ibanez Soundgear family of basses. I can't hear their sonic "signature."

    I went to see a band play, bassist used a nice old Ibanez. I could hear the bass, through a Fender Rumble and through the house PA, but couldn't make out any discernible tones or timbre that made me say: "Ibanez!"....

    So what Im asking is : Do any of you feel the same as I regarding Ibanez? And of those that love Ibanez, would you kindly post some example(s) of players really showing the IBANEZ sound?
    jd56hawk likes this.
  2. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    Fieldy :D
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Well, I've never heard anyone here say "I'm looking for that Ibanez sound but don't like the way they look...can any other bass give me that unmistakable Ibby tone?" but I don't usually read the Ibanez threads, so...
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
  4. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    Maybe that means they're not a one trick pony
  5. They come in so many different pickup configurations, I don’t think there is one true Ibby sound. The biggest exception I can think of is the ATK series, but that’s just one of many different offerings.
  6. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Not every brand has a unique sound, especially if they don't have a unique design of some kind. The old Road Star series basses sound pretty much like Fenders, as do the newer Talman series.
    For me, the Sound Gear series might have a particular tone. They usually have a lot of bite and focus in the upper mids. I would never describe them as mellow or warm. For better or worse, they were very popular with metal players in the 90s. Korn and early Cannibal Corpse had pretty typical SR tones. The tech death metal band Inferi has a bass player that plays a fan fretted SR 6 string.
    GreaserMatt and Admiral Akbar like this.
  7. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Most of them do have a pretty neutral sound. But sometimes that's what a song or genre calls for.

    In the right circumstances an uncolored bass lets other parts of the signal chain define the tone without getting in the way. That could be your strings, technique, effects, amp, cab, anything.
  8. Admiral Akbar

    Admiral Akbar

    Mar 12, 2013
    New York
    Sure - nearly any good bass can be set up and EQ'ed to sound "uncolored" or neutral...

    But how many of you guys agree there isn't a definable Ibanez tone - I suppose outside of Fieldy and other NuMetal artists (whom are probably also using other effects like chorus, drive, etc)?

    And if the instruments do tend to possess a very neutral tone, why do so many bassists flock to them?
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I don't think they have a signature tone and I don't think they need any.
    I'd prefer people to notice my tone signature than my instrument's.
  10. I bought my first Ibanez, a Musician in 1981 for two reasons: sound and looks.

    Nothing Fender or anyone else was putting out at the time looked or sounded like a Musician for the price.

    I'm not saying it was the best-sounding bass ever, but it sounded noticeably different enough from everything else that was out there to make it stand out. Then, there were its looks. You decide if you like it.

    Sound-wise, it's sounds something like a P-bass, something like a Jazz, and maybe even a little like a Ric, but not quite. It does have a unique sound.

    Then, in 2006, I bought my Ibanez BTB, which has Bartolinis in it, and has a very warm P-bass tone to it, but again, not exactly.

    This past January, I bought a fretless Portamento, and this thing is beyond versatile. Look for the Portamento thread to read about it.

    So, what it the Ibanez sound?

    To me, it's just different, but familiar enough to established basses so that most people feel comfortable with their sound.

    Mike ;)
  11. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California

    IMO, anyway. Mostly talking about the SoundGear line. Any one of them I've ever tried, from the budget models to the $2000 flagship ones was just... meh. Not very exciting.
    marmadaddy, trothwell, Luka and 6 others like this.
  12. vonbladet


    Nov 30, 2017
    East Belgium
    Based on videos only the midrange SR series with Bartolinis sound, um, flexible.

    The affordable 300 series with Ibanez pickups sound, um, affordable to my ears, although I know some love the sound.

    The high-end ones I mostly can’t hear over their quilted spalts tops, which is probably not to my credit as a bassist or a listener.
    film at 11
  14. Well the first five you mention have a specific sound. The rest...meh.
  15. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I would have thought the same, until I got my hands on an SR 306. I cannot for the life of me get the thing to bark and bite like I imagine an Ibanez SR would. Band mates even commented on the "nice, warm tone". And I was like, "am I living in an alternate dimension"? Sounds great, mind you, but not the sound I stereotypically associate Ibanez with either.

    I can only assume that the rest of your rig and your playing style have a huge impact on how the Ibbies sound.
  16. Papazita


    Jun 27, 2008
    With a stock preamp, I would describe the Ibanez sound as relatively thin and "HiFi on a budget" neutral, with harsh hissy highs with treble boosted, muddy boomy lows with bass boosted, and a rather annoying dark boxy blurry mid-range honk that can't be dialed out.
    Don't get me wrong, I like the Ibanez basses themselves and I own four of them, 3 SR's & a Lakland-ish RD, but their preamp designs are always pretty weak.
  17. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    My personal theory is that the thin bodies and necks mean it is making heavy use of the active preamp. Their isn't a ton of natural tone there.
  18. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    There’s a Yamaha sound? I guess maybe the BB series? I kinda think of those as Fender-toned, though. Otherwise I tend to put Yamaha in the Ibanez category: sculptable but non-descript modern tone.
    RaggaDruida, BassBuzzRS and JeffC23 like this.
  19. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I assume because those players want that tone. It helps that most Ibanez basses feel good and are above average quality for the price.

    Saying you can get any bass to sound neutral is like saying you can stick an EQ on any amp/cab rig and get it to have a flat frequency response. It's theoretically sort of true, but you're going to be fighting against a baked in sound. If you want neutral you should start with neutral. If you want color, start with color.

    Another way of looking at it is that if the bass isn't coloring the sound, it's not going to mask the technique of the player, for better or worse. There's nothing to get in your way, and nothing to hide behind either.
    Dan_reeves likes this.
  20. Raw N Low

    Raw N Low If I can't hear it, hopefully I'll feel it Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Denver, Colorado
    I'd say that they are best in (natural form factor) Jazz. They have a very defined EQ that works good in Neo Soul, Jazz, and Funk. Of course I'm talking about the majority of their current lineup.