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    Metal Bass Gee Tahs

    I had an Ibanez GSR200 bass for something like 15 years. Paid $100 for it brand new, with a HSC at a GC in Phoenix in the early 00s. Loved it, was always floored at how nice it played and sounded for a cheap, entry-level bass. Had pro bass player friends play it and they said the same thing.



    Then I decided I wanted a 5 string bass and GC took the GSR200 in trade (gave me more than I paid for it) and I got a Fender 5-string... (big mistake!) one of those "metal" ones they put out in the 90s - I don't remember the model number. I have a buddy who has one and it's amazing. The one I got, however, was a total pile of junk - warped neck, among other issues - just a poorly cared for bass. So, I sold it.



    Then I got my Ibanez SR305 a few years ago for Christmas from my awesome bride. Loved it too, and it had a huge sound to it.



    Then, I inherited Moose's EXB445 last fall, which I also love and will never sell - it is, however, a 27-year old bass with 27-years of fret wear and such.



    Not long after that, I sold the SR305 to help fund my Jackson Pro H7, but now I'm thinking I want another 4-string. Preferably one with a different pickup configuration. The EXB has 2 Js in it and I don't quite get the fat tone I was getting with the 305 or even the GSR200.

    Wanting a 4-string doesn't so much have to do with the tone, but more a desire for variety. But, in the end, I want a fatter tone I'm not quite getting with the EXB. And, having something brand new has the appeal of being able to take better care of it than whomever owned that Fender HM and whomever had Moose's bass when it was stolen.

    That got me looking at grabbing another GSR200, but reviews of newer ones are hit and miss. Maybe I get one as nice as I had, maybe I get one that's typical current Ibanez entry level quality (i.e. teh suck) ? None of the fiddle stores around here have them in stock, either, so it's not like I can go play one and choose the best of the bunch.

    Spent the last few days pouring through all sorts of list articles and YT vids on best cheap basses and have landed on either another GSR200, a Jackson JS Spectra or a Yamaha TRBX...



    Before I go that route, would simply buying better pickups for the EXB445 make a big difference in tone? Or, do I really need something with either a P pup or humbuckers to fatten up the bottom end? Always loved the sound of 1/4 pounders, but not sure they're a huge improvement over what's in the Ibby stock... And, honestly, for the price of those, I could buy another GSR200...

    One of the common denominators in the two Ibbys I loved tonally was the active bass boost they had. Since I no longer have them to make a clinical comparison, I don't know for sure that was it, but I do remember using it a lot.

    #AnalysisParalysis...






    Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

    #2
    Does that EXB bass have a preamp in it? If not, or if it has the 27 year old stock one, then I would decide if better and more flexible sound output would fix all your current issues with the bass. If there are other important issues, like fretwork or whatever, than another different bass may be the way to go. But if the sound is THE issue, then slap an Audere Z into it and that should make it a ton more flexible tone wise. You usually get high, mid, and low, and then a knob to configure where the mid actually is, so you can really shape the tone a lot, and the Auderes are high quality and fairly inexpensive (and pretty easy to install).

    Anyway, given you have a sentimental attachment to the EXB that would be my first choice. A new, better pre will do a lot more for your sound than swapping out the pickups, and singles can be super versatile. I have singles in my STR and believe me I tried damn near every bass on the planet (and there are pics in here somewhere to prove it ) before I settled on that one.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by jim777 View Post
      Does that EXB bass have a preamp in it? If not, or if it has the 27 year old stock one, then I would decide if better and more flexible sound output would fix all your current issues with the bass. If there are other important issues, like fretwork or whatever, than another different bass may be the way to go. But if the sound is THE issue, then slap an Audere Z into it and that should make it a ton more flexible tone wise. You usually get high, mid, and low, and then a knob to configure where the mid actually is, so you can really shape the tone a lot, and the Auderes are high quality and fairly inexpensive (and pretty easy to install).

      Anyway, given you have a sentimental attachment to the EXB that would be my first choice. A new, better pre will do a lot more for your sound than swapping out the pickups, and singles can be super versatile. I have singles in my STR and believe me I tried damn near every bass on the planet (and there are pics in here somewhere to prove it ) before I settled on that one.
      Alas, it has no preamp in it. 2 separate volume knobs and a mix knob are my options for tone mixing. The frets aren't terrible, but they're not new either. It's certainly still very playable, but if I had oodles of cash, I'd get it refretted.

      Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

      Comment


        #4
        As long as there is room to stick a 9v in there somehow I'd still put a pre in it, you'd very likely be done at that point.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jim777 View Post
          As long as there is room to stick a 9v in there somehow I'd still put a pre in it, you'd very likely be done at that point.
          What about just skipping all that and getting n MXR M81 Bass Preamp pedal?
          Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

          Comment


            #6
            I think having the knobs at your fingertips is better, as they are instantly adjustable, but something on the floor would give you options as well. Check the db ranges and frequencies of both, see which gives you more versatility. The Audere 3 knob (vol/balance, Hi/low mids, treble and bass) 4 band onboard preamp is $129, so cheaper than a new M81 pedal but a bit more than a used one.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Iron1 View Post


              Man, there is just something about an Ibanez bass with that headstock that is just so fucking killer.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jim777 View Post
                I think having the knobs at your fingertips is better, as they are instantly adjustable, but something on the floor would give you options as well. Check the db ranges and frequencies of both, see which gives you more versatility. The Audere 3 knob (vol/balance, Hi/low mids, treble and bass) 4 band onboard preamp is $129, so cheaper than a new M81 pedal but a bit more than a used one.
                Well, the pedal would be more like, on my desk next to my Axe FX, since I don't play live anymore - and if I did play live it would be guitar, not bass. The more research I do, however, the more it seems the preamp is way I'm missing. Not that the 445 can't get a good "natural" tone, it just doesn't quite get where I'm used to getting with the other basses. There's an MXR on the 'Verb for under $100. Might order it, play with it for a bit and if it doesn't get me there, just re-sell it.

                Originally posted by DonBot View Post

                Man, there is just something about an Ibanez bass with that headstock that is just so fucking killer.
                Totally agree.

                Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

                Comment


                  #9
                  Went to GC yesterday as one of the nearby-isn ones had 3 of the 5 or so basses I'm considering (if I go that route versus buying an MXR M81).

                  Tried out:

                  Ibanez GSR200 - was very disappointed. The neck was bowed so the action around the 12th fret was 3-4x higher than the 1st and 22nd frets. Could be a simple set-up, but don't want to have to do all that just to find out it's a junker. Definitely wasn't anywhere near as nice as my old one, either.

                  Ibanez SR405 - really not considering one of these, but wanted to see if it conjured memories of my SR305. Welllll... in typical fashion of what I've come to expect from GC and Ibanez recently, it was essentially unplayable. The bridge saddles for the B & E strings were so low the strings were literally resting on the frets the entire length of the board. Again, possibly a simple fix, but shame on them for hanging something on the wall like that - or worse if Ibanez shipped it that way from the factory. Whacked out tunings I get, as any fool can come in and jack the tuning up, but without a set of Allen wrenches, no one was lowering the action onto the fretboard. I do recall an issue I read about the 305 & 405 bridge saddles dropping over time, so maybe that's what happened to this one, which also makes this a non-starter.

                  Jackson JS3 - not bad, but it felt cheap. Action was set decently, but there was just something about it that didn't feel like a quality instrument. 2x4-Ville.

                  Jackson JS23q - they had these on sale last weekend for $179, so I was actually expecting the least out of this one. Not only did it feel the best, it played better than any of the others. So much so I'm wrestling with going back on my lunch break today and buying it. Not a huge fan of the red finish, but I could always Frankenstein it to match my JS22-7, which might turn out really cool.

                  But, I could still get an MXR M81 for less money and effort... decisions, decisions.

                  And, I'd still like to check out a Yamaha TRBX but no one around here seems to stock them...
                  Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

                  Comment

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