|Body And Neck:|
You can always rely on Ibanez’s affordable Gio series to throw up something which combines great style, sound and value – and that’s exactly what the 5-string GSR205 does. It’s a popular budget model and very worthy of its place in our chart on the best 5-string basses – let’s take a closer look!
The overall design of the GSR205 is a basic one – pretty solid but nothing extroverted, with a smooth curvaceous double-cutaway body made of solid poplar and finished in a range of colors. There’s a considerable choice of finishes available to suit any style of player, from the moody Weathered Black to the sophisticated Walnut.
There’s a relatively slim maple neck with a 34” scale length that’s securely bolted onto the body, featuring a jatoba fretboard (an exotic hardwood also known as Brazilian cherry wood) and 22 medium frets. Playability should be no issue for beginners or experienced bassists, as the GSR205 is a fun one to get around. In general, the models we have seen are great – sturdy, medium weight, with a good finish – although we’ve heard reports of fret buzz and other setup issues, as is common on many budget basses.
There’s nothing particularly fancy about the hardware on the GSR205 either, but it once again impresses in this price range by offering reliable electronics and decent components. This includes the duo of Ibanez-designed Dynamix passive humbuckers at the bridge and neck. There are four controls for these – an individual volume for each of the pickups and a master tone control, along with something called Phat II EQ, which is an active bass boost for adding a little extra beef in the low end.
Elsewhere, you get a set of large chrome tuners on the headstock in a 3+2 configuration as well as a B15 bridge which is chrome and feels pretty sturdy, offering good tuning stability.
The GSR205 has performed pretty solidly in every section so far and it’s no different in the sound category – it has a clear tone with good power for stock pickups. Versatile for everything from heavy rock to jazz, while the Phat II EQ is a handy addition for boosting the low-end frequencies, although in practice the controls aren’t as responsive as those you’d find on higher-end models. Still, for practice sessions and smaller performances, the overall tone is a very good one.
The GSR205 is a case of Ibanez doing the important things very well. It doesn’t make a huge song or dance, it just gets out of the way and lets you play. This is great for those just starting out on the 5-string bass, whether a complete beginner or a player moving from four to five strings. For under $300, it shows great value.