Ibanez makes some really gorgeous bass guitars, both in how they sound and look. In this review, we are looking at the SR500, which is a 4-string bass despite the name suggesting 5-strings. We want to find out if it's one of the best bass guitar you can buy under $1000, let's get started.
Before getting into any real specifications, we can tell you the SR500 is beautifully crafted, like most Ibanez instruments. The body is made of mahogany with a brown mahogany finish that looks and feels lovely. It's actually very light considering the wood used, which can largely be attributed to the sleek contour of the body shape.
The neck is a 5-piece jatoba/Bubinga bolt-on with a rosewood fretboard, and it looks great in contrast to the brown mahogany body. The SR500 has 24 medium-sized frets with a 34″ scale and 12″ neck radius, overall it's a comfortable bass guitar for players of all levels.
This kind of wood combination is usually found on more expensive bass guitars, so it's a treat on an instrument of this price.
The SR500 utilizes a pair of Bartolini pickups, MK-1-4F (Neck) and MK-1-4R (Bridge). It's not uncommon for Ibanez to go for dual humbuckers on their bass guitars. The two pickups are blended using a balance knob rather than a switch to offer a more subtle blend when needed.
There is a 3-band active pre-amp EQ, bass, mid, and treble with a mid-peak switch offering plenty of fine-tuning for the tone. The mid-peak switch changes the midrange peak between 250 Hz, 450 Hz, and 750 Hz, offering plenty of tonal versatility. The bridge is the Ibanez made Accu-cast B300 top-loaded bridge, known to be reliable and sturdy.
Usually, you would expect a bass with dual humbuckers to be great when you want to play dirty but lacking when you want to keep it clean. Surprisingly, the SR500 has a remarkably clean tone when you need it, thanks mostly to the 3-band active EQ.
Most notable the mid-peak switch which controls where the growl comes in and with how much attack. With no surprise, the 450 Hz peak sits in a really nice versatile zone allowing you to play cleanly with just enough growls when you dig in.
As far as what style is most fitting for this bass, of course, you have rock and metal due to the humbucking pickups. However, it's not crazy to suggest it sits even nicer in jazz, funk, or soul music because the clean tones are so nice.
There aren't many bad things to say about the Ibanez SR500 at all. If we had to complain, we could say that a bolt-on neck isn't as desirable as a set neck or thru-body neck. However, at this price range, it's a fair trade when you consider the materials used are usually found on a much more expensive bass.
One other slight complaint could be that some people may prefer a switch to blend pickups rather than a knob, but equally many people prefer using a knob. The point is that we have to be overly fussy to find fault here, it's a fantastic bass guitar and even better for the price.
It's aesthetically very good looking, it sounds great, it can play clean, it can growl, and it suits anyone from beginner to pro — a very nice bass guitar indeed.
For more info about the Ibanez SR500 bass guitar, click here.
For more Bass Guitars under $1000, click here.