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the bass!!

August 21, 2014

Photo on 2014-08-21 at 21.07

Photo on 2014-08-21 at 21.04

Photo on 2014-08-21 at 21.07 #2

Alright.. so.. this is the 11th bass I have owned. Bought it two days ago. This is the only one I currently own. I’ve been messing about with bass guitars since 2000, when I was given one. I’ve either sold or donated all previous basses. For more.. LOTS more on bass guitars, I invite you to read my post entitled, “a bass guitar buyer’s guide for beginners.” It will likely show up in red print to the right.

I’ve never actually really learned how to play bass. Mostly, for me, it’s been more about doing tons of research about basses, loads of shopping online, and trying out a multitude of basses in stores. Once I got them home, I’d not play them much, for various reasons. Sometimes, I just would not like the bass I’d bought.

This one is great. I’m planning on keeping it. In my last post, I wrote that I was struggling mightily between getting a Yamaha 4 string bass and an Ibanez 5 string. I went with the 5 string.

The notes that go with the 4 strings on the bass are the same as the lowest 4 strings on guitars.. EADG. The lowest string on the 5 string is B, which is lower than the E.

The Yamaha was fairly heavy for a 4 string. Also, and this was a big determining factor.. the fret wires.. the metal pieces that mark where the frets are on the fretboard, were thick and more raised than the ones on the Ibanez. I noticed this especially when I’d slide down or up a string to play notes. Very uncomfortable. Don’t have that problem with the Ibanez.

Price difference? Oh yeah. The Yamaha was a bargain (or would have been a bargain if it had better fret wires) at $179. Very solidly built, excellent tone, nice appearance too.

This Ibanez cost $299.99. Why more? Five strings, more complicated electronics, a nicer finish, the body is made of better quality wood, the neck feels better…

I didn’t go for an Ibanez 4 string because the necks on those basses are so narrow. The neck on the Yamaha 4 string was just wide enough for me to play comfortably, even though I have unusually long fingers. The Ibanez 4 string necks.. too narrow. Good for most people, likely, but not for me, so I went for a 5 string. The neck width feels great.

Other attributes.. well, before I go into that, I’ll mention the model. It’s an Ibanez Gio GSR205SM. Gio is Ibanez’s cheap line. This bass is at the top of their cheap line as far as I can tell. The G stands for “Gio,” SR stands for “Sound Gear” (Ibanez didn’t want to use “SG,” because there is a guitar made by the Gibson company called SG).. Sound Gear is the type of bass.. I don’t know what the 20 is for. The 5 is for 5 string. The SM is for “spalted maple.” I don’t know what spalted maple is exactly, except that it’s a type of wood from a maple tree that has naturally occurring, unique black designs.

The bass has a spalted maple top (very thin layer of spalted maple put on the bass for the sake of appearance) and mahogany body (mahogany is a great wood used for instruments, except it isn’t light). Maple neck, rosewood fretboard. I don’t know what the finish (the tint the wood was treated with.. the color) is called.. some sort of sunburst, maybe brown sunburst.. I don’t know.

The bass was made in Indonesia. For a long time now, cheap instruments have mostly been made in Indonesia. Almost all the basses and electric guitars I’ve owned have been made in that country. I don’t have the money for or the need of a bass made in USA or Japan. Those go for a LOT more.

For a 5 string bass.. this one is rather light. There are some 4 string basses that are heavier than this one. I think the 4 string Yamaha I was trying out might even been heavier. One good thing about Ibanez Sound Gear basses.. rather light.

This 5 string is definitely heavier than 4 string Sound Gear basses though. I bought a rather pricey 3″ wide strap to go with it (most guitar straps are 2″ wide), made by the Franklin company. The extra inch helps distribute the weight on my shoulder lots better than a 2″ wide strap. Also, the strap I bought is made of leather, which is a good material for handling a weighty instrument. It sure smells like leather.. something to get used to. I’m no vegan, but I’m not much into leather goods either.

The electronics on the bass.. passive humbuckers as far as I can tell (I get into all that in my buyer’s guide post), with a battery powered function (9V battery mounted in back) that boosts the signal.. basically making the bass louder through the amp. The place for the battery is the narrow one with the white writing on it.

Photo on 2014-08-21 at 21.35

The four knobs in the previous picture.. a volume control for each pickup, one tone control, and the other knob is the boost function I just mentioned.

Stock stings are rather good. Strings make a major difference in sound, in case you’re wondering. Some instruments come with really bad strings, but not this one.

With some experimenting, I can get excellent tones out of this bass, especially if I dial in the equalizers on my amp. I’m using an old Epiphone Slingshot electric guitar amp (not a bass amp). It’s got a 10″ speaker. Although not designed to handle low frequencies produced by bass guitars, it does well as long as I don’t turn the volume up too high, put the low frequency amp eq up all the way, or turn the boost knob up all the way on the bass.

A word about basses with active electronics.. it’s important to unplug the cable that goes to the amp when finished using the bass.. otherwise, the bass will use up the battery power, even if it is not played. The bass, having a cable in, will think it is “on.”

Alright then..

VERY glad I got this bass!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. snickersfan15 permalink
    February 11, 2015 2:55 AM

    Thank you for posting this! I’m also interested in buying this bass and hoping to make a purchase, in a short while. This has been helpful – it has confirmed the research I have done so far on beginner basses. Glad I made up my mind to buy this one & glad that you are happy with your purchase! May you play your bass merrily for a very long time to come, sir! 🙂

    All the best!


    • tomschronicles permalink*
      February 11, 2015 3:01 AM

      Thank you! Glad I can help. I also have a very long and thorough bass and bass gear buyer’s guide here on this site, which you might like to read.

      • snickersfan15 permalink
        February 12, 2015 12:38 AM

        Thank you, I will definitely check it out! 🙂

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