|Body And Neck:|
Choosing a bass guitar under $500 is a tough decision. You are just starting to climb out of that beginner budget range and spend a bit more cash, so you have to be sure you are making the right decision. Luckily, buying an Ibanez bass does come with a certain peace of mind given their long history. In this review we are checking out the SR300E SR Standard bass. Let’s see what it has to offer.
The SR body shape is pretty standard for a bass in this price range, but you don’t hear many complaints as it sports that timeless double-cutaway Ibanez style, with a super comfortable feel against your body. It’s certainly a step up from entry level and you can feel it immediately. It’s a little heavier than many cheaper basses and the finish is top class, regardless of the color you choose. Honestly, the build quality here will appeal to even professional bassists.
The body itself is crafted from nyatoh – often called nato or eastern mahogany. This tonewood has been used to build high-quality classical instruments in China for thousands of years. If you haven’t heard of it before, you can rest assured it has a track record that can’t be denied.
This model sports a bolt-on neck with a 5-piece maple/walnut construction and a 34” scale length, with an incredibly smooth action. The fretboard is made from Jatoba with a full 24 frets and simple white dot inlays. Jatoba shares some qualities with rosewood but costs less, which keeps the overall price of this beauty low.
Ibanez has gone with a pair of PowerSpan duel-coil passive pickups for both the neck and bridge positions. These Ibanez pickups have a very smart design, featuring exposed pole pieces to produce a stronger signal, helping to increase the high-frequency response.
This bass has a variety of controls that go beyond expectations. A boost/cut control is available for all ranges – treble, mid, and bass. The 3-band EQ with a three-way power tap switch offers tons of versatility. The three-way switch allows you to split the humbucking pickups or even combine a humbucker with a single-coil. Finishing off the controls are a master volume knob and a balance knob for fine tweaking the tone.
The Accu-Cast B120 bridge has wider than average string spacing. This allows you to use higher gauge strings and still maintain excellent tuning stability. Overall, excellent in the hardware department.
We could talk about the sound of this bass all day. The strong pickups deliver a full and powerful tone. The resulting increased high-frequency response means it’s highly articulate, but doesn’t come at the expense of the bottom end. The clarity really is something to admire, especially on a bass guitar of this price. A bass that is good in many areas often isn’t great in any, but we have to say this SR300E is an exception. The quality of tone in all ranges is higher than you’d expect without paying closer to $1,000. It can be crisp and clean, or it can be a growling beast.
Much of this versatility is owed to the 3-band EQ allowing you to switch between tonal modes. The humbucking, single-coil and low-end enhanced single-coil modes offer seemingly infinite possibilities. The abundance of control you get with this bass means you can be very specific with your tone and that makes it extremely expressive.
This bass is a steal at under $500 – that’s the bottom line. It’s a bass that could easily sell for more, but we are very happy it doesn’t! From the build quality and crisp tone to the wealth of control, this bass surpasses any reasonable expectation. Ibanez have created a real winner with the SR300E SR Standard bass guitar. Well worth checking out.