|Body And Neck:|
When looking for a cheap bass guitar you may expect something which compromises somewhere – it may look great but sound poor, or be tonally strong with a boring design. The Ibanez Talman TMB100 has none of these problems, with a gorgeous retro look and a big tone. Best of all? It comes in at under $200. Now that’s worth a closer look…
While the Talman may not be as familiar a body shape as Ibanez’s RG Series, it certainly has its fans – and we’re one of them! It sports a distinctively curvy double-cutaway body made of mahogany, with a serious vintage vibe going on. This comes in the form of the myriad color choices, including Coral Red, Soda Blue and Mint Green, all with a cool tortoiseshell pickguard.
The neck is typical Ibanez in its build and playability – bolt-on, full-size 34” scale length and made of maple with a comfortable profile and fast feel. This is capped with a rosewood fretboard along with 22 medium frets. For such an inexpensive guitar, the fit and finish is very commendable. However, one thing where compromises are made a little – which is quite common in the entry-level market – is the setup. This mass-produced model definitely feels in need of some TLC to eliminate any fret buzz and get it performing up to its potential. Otherwise, it’s great.
The build is impressive and this feeling of satisfaction is carried into the hardware and electronics, where you are presented with two solid pickups: a Dynamix P at the neck and a Dynamix J at the bridge. There are two control knobs for master tone and master volume, conveniently placed at the lower bout.
Elsewhere the Talman TMB100 doesn’t have much to report in terms of hardware – it sports a set of decent chrome tuners in a 2+2 configuration at one end, with a fixed chrome bridge at the other end. This all feels solid enough and are good additions at this price.
The sound of the TMB100 is fantastic – it’s fat, strong and incredibly versatile. The Talman can be pumping out heavy-hitting punchy tones that are perfect for metal and punk rock one minute, to a soft rich sound for jazz and blues the next. The simple controls allow for enhanced versatility. Overall, it puts many other sub-$200 basses to shame and, considering the high-quality in the rest of the market, that’s saying something!
For some sound samples, check out the following video:
Aside from a few setup issues, the Talman TMB100 deserves a hearty round of applause. The retro design, the comfort in play, and the superb tone make it feel like $200 is a steal. For a backup bass or even as your main performer, it’s an incredible purchase for the price.