Would an Ibanez SRMS805 Fanned Fret Bass Change My Life?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Christcr, May 29, 2018.

  1. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Okay, sorry, sensationalist thread title. Here's the skinny:

    I'm considering a new 5-string. I've played them off and on over the years and played a 6-string fretted and fretless exclusively for a couple of years back in the early 90s (the old Carvin LB76s). I just prefer 4-strings for the most part, but for some of the things I've been working on lately, a 5-string would be very handy.

    So... after deciding that I would probably go for an Ibanez (initially, I'd considered either an SR655 or SRSC805 -- might still buy one of those, depending), I've become interested in possibly getting the fanned fret SRMS805. However, I've never touched a fan fret bass or guitar. But I can certainly see where the 35.5 inch scale on the low B would be helpful for note articulation. YET at the same time, it's 34 inch scale on the G string, which appeals to my tiny hands. Plus, they look pretty cool as well. Something different. So...

    1) Am I going to be able to adjust to it without months of annoyance. I know we are all different, but what is the typical learning curve?

    2) I will still be playing my 4-strings most of the time, I'd presume. Will switching back and forth between the two be tough?

    3) If you've played one of these... how do they sound? I've watched a few videos of the Ibanez and they do seem to sound pretty good with the low B nice and defined.

  2. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    Lots of testimonies of using a fanned fret / multi-scale bass saying that it didn't require lots of learning curve. More so in case of that 5 string Ibanez multi-scale bass which frets weren't fan drastically, of which the different between the lowest string and the highest scale is only 1.5".

    I own Ibanez previous model of their fanned fret basses, the SRFF806. I can switch back and forth between the SRFF806 and my non-fanned fret basses without needing to adapt.
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  3. Whippet


    Aug 30, 2014
    You'll get used to it. The neck is comfortable in my opinion.
    I got the Prestige version so the sound is a little different. My only gripe with all the Ibanez I have is the fret job.

    I don't know your limits on your string height , but personally I can't tolerate anything more than 2.3-2.4mm at 12th fret B string. They come pretty close to my tolerance. Some of them, I had to shave the frets.

    All the Ibanez I have bought (all of them Prestige) had very mediocre fret jobs. If you can live with that, I think they sound fine. (even the non prestige models). Once you get it set up, the necks are usually stupidly stable. Especially the Atlas neck. It just won't move, twist, or shift. I swear, their stability is better than guitars costing 5 times more.
    matthewbrown likes this.
  4. Waltsdog

    Waltsdog Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Ottawa, ON
    1 - Fanned frets take no time to get used to.
    2 - YMMV, i can switch back and forth between fanned 5s and regular 4 strings with no trouble at all. But you wont know until you try.
    3 - I've not played the Ibanez for long but it's just okay from what i remember. If you're looking for fanned frets throw another $5-600 at it and get a Dingwall combustion as it's a better design and you'll be able to flip it without taking a big loss if you decide it's not for you.
    hbabels and Bassgeer like this.
  5. Bassworship1

    Bassworship1 Inactive

    Jun 20, 2013

    I've had just the opposite on all my Ibanez basses. I've had roughly 10-11 Premium basses and 4 Prestige basses and all have been fantastic fret jobs and builds. All would get extremely low action. The problem I've had with all but 3-4 have been very average to bad B strings. I won't keep a bass unless they have a very good B string that's clear.
  6. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    That's not good. I am pretty picky about string height, and I keep it lower than most players (meaning the frets really need to be well-dressed and seated properly). I've had a few Ibanez basses and the fretwork was decent, but it's been quite awhile back and they were on the upper end of the Ibanez line.
  7. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    And that's not encouraging either. Perhaps that extra inch and a half on the scale length would tighten the sound up a bit on the B?

    The four Ibanez's that I've been considering are:

    1) The fanned fret SRMS 805
    2) The Nordstrand (design) equipped SR655
    3) The SRSC 805 single cut design.
    4) The as yet unreleased BTB 846V (this one is a six string with a 33 inch scale length)

    Also on the maybe list would be a Zon Sonus 5 and Warwick Streamer 5. Obviously the Zon and Warwick are going to be higher build quality... but they are 3000 plus dollars more as well.

    Decisions, decisions...
  8. Resonance129


    Feb 15, 2011
    I was really interested in this model for a while before I ended up buying a used G&L L2500 Trib. Still interested in it, but can never find one in a store to try out.
    From what I read/can tell, they're good basses.
    twinfallsbass likes this.
  9. fcleff

    fcleff Inactive

    Apr 22, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I recently picked up and SRFF806. There is no learning/adjustment curve (I played a gig with mine a few days after I purchased it). I found there to be a slightly uncomfortable stretch between frets 1&4 on fingers 1&4 (Db down to F, for instance). But these stretches aren’t common enough to bother me and I can shift if need be.
    There hasn’t been any problem switching from this to my lined or unlined fretless, or any one of my parallel fret basses.
    I can dial in a number of sounds, some of which I can use occasionally, others frequently.
    Overall it feels good to play, I’m happy with it, and will probably upgrade to a Dingwall at some point. But this bass is a good place to try a multi scale if they interest you.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If you are considering a $3,000 bass, and multiscale, I'll second the suggestion above that you check out the Dingwall Combustion.

    I have never read a negative comment about them... ever.

    Somewhere around $1800-$1900 depending on options and location.
  11. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Hmmm, that uncomfortable stretch comment is a bit worrisome. If it's uncomfortable in general, I know it will be uncomfortable for me because my hands are microscopic (okay, not microscopic, but pretty small). I had a killer sounding neck through Warwick Thumb bass, but something about it just killed my hand (even though it was only 34 inch scale). On the other hand, I've (briefly) played a custom 36 inch scale bass that felt great, so I guess it's all in the way the bass is designed around that extra length. I guess I really need to hunt one down that I can try.
  12. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Very nice looking bass! What is the scale on the B string? It looks pretty extreme on the fanning.
  13. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Ah, nevermind. Found it. 37 inch on the B string. Wow! That's why it looks pretty extreme.
    two fingers likes this.
  14. fcleff

    fcleff Inactive

    Apr 22, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I play double bass as well. I tend to apply pivot and shift techniques when I encounter those stretches repeatedly so it really doesn’t bother me. And consider that the scale length on the Ibanez B is only 35.5, not an extreme length. And the fanning is not too extreme.
    But yes, hunt one down and try it. See if it’s for you.

  15. BruceWane

    BruceWane Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    The hardest adjustment for me is playing up high on the neck. The area where you you likely spend most of your time, below the 12th fret, needs practically no adjustment at all, in fact you'll have an easier time at first if you just don't look at the frets, just look at the side markers. Up above the 12th fret will take a little more attentiveness, but still not that big a deal.

    The biggest factor affecting the reach/stretch in frets 0-5 is how the bass is designed overall, much more than just the scale length. Basses like Warwick Thumbs and Spectors tend to push the neck out further than most, making that reach uncomfortable for some. Dingwall started putting a second strap lock receiver a few inches into the middle of the back of the bass so that you can reposition the strap if you choose, making the reach to the lowest frets really easy. My Afterburner's an early one, doesn't have that, but I never felt a need and I'm not particularly large, 6' 0".
  16. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Yes, that was definitely the problem with my Thumb NT 5. My left arm would be practically fully extended when I was in the first or third position. By the end of gigs my left arm and hand would just be killing me. I wear my basses fairly high and tried slinging it lower, but I really hate playing that way and it didn't help much anyway, so sadly I ended up using it for recording only (sitting position) for a time and sold it eventually.
  17. BruceWane

    BruceWane Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    BTW - I've never played the Ibanez, but I will definitely recommend Dingwall. The 37" B is unsurpassed. If you're going to go fanned frets, may as well go all the way. The only downside is that Dingwalls can be hard to come by 'cause they sell pretty quick, new or used.

    LTD makes a 37"-34" FF model which has good reviews as well, although often reported to be on the heavy side.
  18. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    I agree that playing higher up on the neck takes more adjustment, but it is still pretty seamless. I played that same Ibanez model and was disappointed with the scale length; I bought something that is 37" on the low B instead of 35.5".
  19. I haven’t played Ibanez fan frets yet but I’ve considered the 6 string because I don’t now know if I could handle a super long scale 6 and I never seen Dingwall make a 6 string with their shorter fanned scale that they use for the super series. My main bass is a fanned fret Dingwall ng2. I cant recommend that bass enough. 20572155-3E0E-4C10-97BA-DC77A108999D.jpeg It is a 34”-37” fan. On the dingwall I literally got the bass on like a Tuesday and played a gig with it that weekend and had never played any fan fret basses before. It took me less than 30 minutes of playing scales and walking lines to get used to the fans at the first few frets. It actually feels pretty natural. In the middle of the neck the frets straighten out and is pretty much the same as any other bass. Above the 12th fret where the fan switches directions is where it took some getting used to because it forced me to have to use some different fingerings for chords but most bass players don’t don’t do much if anything above the 12th fret so that may not even be an issue if that’s your case. Also it’s worth mentioning not all fanned frets are the same. Not only are there different scales but there are some differences as far a where the straighter frets fall. On the dingwall it seems like they’ve tried to have more of the fan at the bridge end which makes playing super high frets more challenging but also makes playing Lower notes easier along with making the bass feel like it’s a smaller scale in that the low c on the b string doesn’t feel any farther out than any 35” scale I’ve played.
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
    craigie likes this.
  20. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    I have a SRMS805 And I despise B-strings that don't ring clean and clear and this one most definitely does. Also the changed pickups from the SRFF 805 makes this a totally different beast. I am planning on getting a Dingwall someday but this had just about no learning curve and is much more comfortable feeling than a normal 34 scale bass. Also I don't find any issues getting nice low action and any fret Issues