Reliability has to be the area where this instrument does the best. It’s a bass guitar that you can use anywhere, anyhow, and it will still do the same job. Although not a stellar job, because it’s made for beginners, it will still perform at the expected level no matter the environment.
Beginner bass guitars, more than electric guitars, tend to be poorly made, with certain strings buzzing or with the long neck being bent a bit, but not this one. You can see the attention that has been put into it, from the beautiful glossy color to the quality hardware. All of these show that Ibanez doesn’t fool its customers, especially when producing bass guitars like this one.
You know that complicated things break faster, and that is certainly the case with fancy instruments. Fortunately, this is like the Russian machine guns in the second world war – indestructible. It’s a simple device that you can use and abuse how you wish. Of course, some things may break now and then, but you can change them really fast as they are simple to find.
Being an entry-level bass you always have the possibility to modify it here and there.Click to see the price on Amazon!
It’s a strange thing to see, but one of the things that makes this bass a good one is also the main downside of it. We are talking here about the fact that this bass is very simple. The design is a plain one, and you can only get it in plain colors, although glossy.
Of course, you can always modify it and change it, but for a beginner, you will look dull with it. The knobs are basic and don’t stand out too much, the fretboard isn’t special at all, and probably the best looking feature is the headstock.
Main features explained
Body and shape
Because this is intended to be a bass guitar for entry-level players, it needs to be as cheap as possible. For that purpose, the manufacturers use a simple trick known in the industry. One way to reduce the costs of the instrument is to use wood that isn’t as great and expensive as it would be if you made a professional model.
The type of wood utilized for such a product should be plentiful. Mahogany is one of these types of woods and it is a great choice for such an instrument. However, its price has started to rise recently and a substitute for it needed to be found. This is where Agathis comes in. This is the even cheaper variant of the mahogany, and it’s the wood used for this bass from Ibanez.
You will find out that Agathis is not as hard as mahogany, but it is still capable of offering some great warm tones. Furthermore, it does well in terms of strength and sustain as well. Another advantage over mahogany is that it’s much lighter. Of course, weight isn’t an issue for a professional, but for a beginner or a child, it matters a lot.
Holding an instrument made of Agathis reduces fatigue while playing and makes the bass easier to play. Let’s not forget that the design of this instrument has been created to remind one of the best-looking basses Ibanez produced, the top-end models. It has a body shape that resembles expensive basses.
Furthermore, the instrument utilizes this shape to be as comfortable as possible. The contour ensures that you are as comfortable as possible when holding and playing it. The top cutaway starts with the 16th fret, while the bottom one starts with the 20th fret, allowing for some freedom when playing.
Neck and fretboard
As a result of the general shape, this bass is a far-reaching one. With the bottom cutaway at the 20th fret, this basically extends the neck, and it means you will be able to reach those frets high up there with more ease. You won’t have to stretch or reach in an awkward position.
One thing that should be noted about bass guitars is that the neck is a lot more important, compared to instruments like the electric guitar, for example. This is because the bass strings are a lot heavier and also thicker than other strings. As a result of these characteristics, there is a lot more tension put between the bridge and the nut, and the strings pull on them harder, adding pressure to the neck.
Because Aghatis won’t stand such conditions, the wood of choice for the neck was Maple in this case. This is a type of wood known for how strong and durable it can be. It is also one of the most commonly used types of woods, thanks to the same reasons and the stiffness it can provide.
Necks also need to be playable and comfortable to handle. For that purpose, the neck of this bass guitar is sleek and fast, and it also has a satin finish which helps with playability. The fretboard is made using rosewood and it has a total of 22 frets. This is more than the standard bass guitar has.
Taking into account all the information presented up to this point, it’s clear that this bass can give you more freedom of expression thanks to the added number of frets and the cutaway shape that makes them more accessible.
Even more than that, the frets are actually medium-sized, meaning that they are shorter than regular bass frets. They are more compressed and will benefit those with smaller fingers.
Because there is a lot of tension on the neck of the instrument and between the nut and the bridge, these pieces need to be strong as well. Part of the hardware of a bass, the bridge has to be as strong as possible. If it’s too flimsy, the sound of the instrument can be ruined.
What’s important, however, is the fact that Ibanez doesn’t compromise on things like these, and the bridge is a quality one for this instrument. It is dependable, and no chances were taken with it, allowing the bass to be as performant as possible.
It is the brand’s B10 Bridge, and it is constructed using heavy-duty metal. The 4 separate saddles are fully adjustable individually so that you can set up the bass as you wish. That is why this bridge gives the instrument great intonation and allows the strings to be precise. When it comes to the nut, this is a standard one.
Although not made of plastic, it isn’t much better. It’s also not made of bone, but of synthetic material. The tuners are also important for such a big instrument with powerful strings, and these ones are standard die-cast machine head tuners. They hold well unless you really abuse the instrument, in which case they lose the tension a bit and you have to retune the bass.
For beginners, however, the tuners are more than stable and they should do a good job in the long run. They stick out a bit, so be careful not to smash the headstock against something or the tuners might get lost (or you might get hurt).
All in all, the hardware bits are standard for an instrument in this category, and they do a good job. If you wish to change them you can do that, but that is not necessary at first.
Pickups and electronics
There is one thing that doesn’t usually appear in beginner bass guitars or electric guitars, and that is the presence of an active pickup. However, this bass from Ibanez has those, and this is something quite extraordinary. A set of active pickups is capable of giving a bass more responsiveness and dynamics.
Other brands don’t use something like this, but Ibanez puts in the effort for that. Passive pickups are usually the norm but they don’t offer that much. Thanks to the responsiveness provided by active pickups you can achieve more. For example, when moving your fingers across the strings, there is a difference between moving them closer or further away from the neck, a difference which is expressed in a variety of tones.
What’s more impressive about these particular pickups is the fact that they come with noise reduction. At the end of the line, you will have no hissing or buzzing. The sound will be clear as ice on a cold winter day.
There are two pickups making this bass the instrument it is, and the first of them, the neck pickup is a Dynamic P split coil, otherwise known at Ibanez as a Precision bass pickup. The bridge pickup is a single-coil Jazz bass pickup. As you can see, each of these serves a precise role.
Each of them has a volume control and tone control knob separately. This allows you to have a wide range of frequency and colors in your tone. What’s best is that thanks to the separation of controls, you can alter each of them individually for a more controlled effect. Taking this into account, it’s clear why this bass can be useful for every beginner.
It is an instrument that can serve a purpose in all genres, as you can modify the settings as you wish.Click to see the price on Amazon!