I have always been a not so closeted fan of bass and bass players. When done well, bass playing makes a great sound so much more lively. With that in mind, a few months ago, I decided it was about time to get a bass. I've been noodling with recording but what fun is it when the track would have no bottom end. It was time for a bass.
I did quite a lot of research. While I wanted a bass, I did not want to spend a fortune and put a budget of $400 in place. If it's my first real go at a bass, I wasn't sure a high end starter would be the best choice. In much research, this bass came up quite often in so many reviews:
Listed Cost: $299.99
Upon receiving the new instrument from Sweetwater, I promptly opened the box and retrieved my new toy. I had ordered it in Hot Rod Orange. I was hesitant to order that color but it was on sale at $50 off of the listed $299.99. Glad I did. The orange color is a very cool color. It that same cool orange you found on a '68 Corvette Stingray. That said, the finish is very good. The color is excellent and the finish has a nice shine without looking like a plastic coat.
[U]So it looks neat...How does it play?[/U]
Key to the reviews was how it played and most all reviews said it played well. It does play well. Being a guitar player, the transition to a bass neck can seem weird. Because of the slim taper on the neck, it was a very comfortable switch. Except that those bass frets are so darn far apart but that my problem! The neck did not feel like a two by four in my hand and that was key. The action was low and fast and the set up as received from Sweetwater was perfect and out of box playable.
The SR300 was very well balanced too. It was comfortable to strap and and start playing. Must be that really long upper horn keeping that long neck from falling forward. I could place it in my ideal playing position and not have to hold it there. I've tried other basses in the past and feel I had to 'hold' the neck to play in a position I like. No problem here.
It was pretty easy to just start popping and thumping right away. It's a bass that wants you to play bass.
[U]How does it sound?[/U]
The pick ups are shockingly powerful. It's loaded with the Ibanez EXF humbucking pickups which are high output. This is good for me because I didn't get this for subtlety. While you can coax some nice melody from this bass, it's at it's best mushing your brain in massive, skull rattling bottom end.
It's even better if you want to put a little pop and slap in to your groove. I've always been a 70's R&B junky and sometimes wished I was Bootsy Collins (minus the freaky duds). With adjustments to the active onboard Style Sweeper EQ, you can get all your 'Give Up the Funk' glory you want.
The EQ takes a little messing with to get what it does. The EQ is built in to the rear tone knob as a multi-use knob (it's really two knobs built/sleeved in to one). However, once you get what setting gets you what sound, it's pretty easy to jump from one style to another.
In my initial tryout, I played it through my (then) recently acquired IK Multimedia Amplitube Ampeg amp sim. Note: I started to review that here. What a pair. The Ampeg sim is every bass sound I'm looking for. Very robust. Granted, this is not a review of the software but it was my first time taking it out for a spin and it did not let me down.
The point is that this bass can handle a very wide variety of sounds when matched with equipment or amp sims that allow it do do so. The bass' real strength is funk and rock but it handles most things my limited playing ability has thrown at it.
[U]There is a 'con'.[/U]
It does not come with a case or a gig bag.
To this, I ask Ibanez: 'Dudes? Seriously? Nothing?'
So, if you look at this bass, know that you need a bag or case of some sort. Might be some of the reason it's so cheap. No extras.
I'm sure you can tell by now that I recommend it. It really is a great bass and very, very affordable. Possibly the best playing bass in the price category.