Features: This bass wwas introduced as the top end of the sucessful Roadgear line in 2004. I don't know what year mine is (serial number is w550547 if you can work it out). it's a top line Ibanez so I would assume it was made in japan, though country of origin doesn't bother me too much. It has 24 medium frets, which feel very low giving and almost fretless feel sometimes, also makes for low action making it very easy to play.
body is mahogany with a beautiful looking flamed maple top. Neck is maple with a rosewood fretboard. profile is C-shape and the neck is very wide. Some people might dislike that but it gives me more room to get my fingers in when slapping and I have pretty large hands so have no issue there. The body is very large, based on the Stingray design which gives a very good sustain and tone. The bridge is a specially made b400 milled brass bridge and it's absolutly massive, biggets I've ever seen. it's the size a Floyd Rose! Gives a huge sustain.
Pickups: Specially designed for these base by some americans over at Seymour Duncan, the sound of these blew me away. WOW. one jazz at neck and split humbucker at the bridge which is split by the push pull volume pot. active electronics on board mean you have an on board bass and treble cut boost, with an eq bypass. // 9
Sound: The sustain on this monster is overwhelming (and does need to be kept in check sometimes:S) an open string can be heard to ring for well over 60 seconds with no volume adjustment. and by fiddling with the volume on the guitar I managed a sustain of over 2 minutes, though when you'd need this I'm not sure. The pickups are perfectly balanced for the bass giving a very rich full tone without sounding massively bright. the jazz-ray coniguraiton with the split humbucker gives a very wide range of sounds, from a traditional jaco j-bass sound with the eq off right through to a overdriven flea sound with the bass up on humbucker biting. I play a wide range of stuff, I'm in a funk band but have also played gigs with heavy metal bands and also in my church. I've always found I've been able to dial up the tone I need for each situation because of the versatility of the pickups, but my mate says he cna't get enough fundamental and finds it clouded by overtones. but I love the rich sound so meh to HIM. Picks out harmonics nicely as well if your playing some harmonic/chordal stuff like wooten/pastorius.
Use a range of amps depending on where I play, my main is a cub custom 60 (went out of business in the 80's) and a HH 100w which is about 20 yrs old with almost no original parts. works beautifully through both of these but you have to watch the volume, the on board eq does change the output rather a lot, so a quick bass boost can deafen even the deaf grannies at my church. Overall though a beautiful rich sound which is remarkably versatile. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: Came set up perfectly. the action is so low I can't believe it doesn't buzz (though it does occasionally when slapping hard). I had to marginally raise the action when I put on some new strings (these were a bit thinner and looser though) came with a nice set of elixir strings which are pretty smooth to play. The pickups are custom made for this by Seymour Duncan so naturally they were perfectly balanced and adjusted. I actually had to check that the flame top was 2 separate pieces and I've had it 2 years now. it was that well bookmatched. // 9
Reliability & Durability: It does withstand Live playing regularly. never normally bother with a back up seeing as I don't Drive it'd be a pain to get 2 basses to a gig on a bus or worse on foot.
this guitar is built to last, plan to still be using it in 20 years, the other bassist at my church has one of the old models of these and it's going strong after 20 years so they do last. I have one slight chip in the paintwork but it did fall off a stage onto a concrete floor so that's understandable. resists buckle rash incredibly well and considering how many bashes it's had it just won't take any damage. Strap buttons are solid as rock, the strap would probably break first and it won't work loose cos the buttons a pretty big. // 9
Overall Impression: This bass will suit most styles except metal really (even then it has a damn good go) I play mainly rock, prog and funk. I can easily dial up any of those tones on it. this was the first bass I brought, I'd been learning on a friends old homemade j copy for about 18 months and play guitar. This is an ideal bass for anyone intermediate moving onto advanced stuff like pastorius and wooten. There were no suprises when I brought this, it was exactly as I expected a beautiful sounding easily playable top quality instrument.
If it were stolen I would have to hunt down the person and find it. there's too much of my soul in it to let it go. but I'd probably then try and sell them one the same cos I seem to try and sell these to everyone. I love the sound, the sustain and the feel of the neck. I've never played an instrument before where I have felt so much that nothing is holding me back from making them music I want to make. compared it to Fender j and p basses and they were found severely wanting. I actually ended up going UNDER budget to buy this:D I can safely say it's the best bass I have ever played (bar one 5000 alembic). my only complaint is the change in volume you can get from the bass boost, if you turn it up before a song you can accidently blow our audience out the back doors but I wouldn't do anything to it that would touch it's wonderful sound. // 10