#1
Hello bassists.

I may get some sound clips up if you guys think it would help, but anyway here's the issue.

I have two basses. The first is an Ibanez GSR-100. I have had it for nearly ten years and played it occasionally. The second is an Ibanez SR305. I bought this one a couple of years ago and play it frequently.

The 305 is clearly a better instrument. It plays much, much nicer, and the tone I get from it is great. On the other hand, the GSR sounds like a turd, plays like garbage and as a result I haven't used it since I bought the 305.

It is surprising that the 305 was only £100 more expensive than the GSR, and isn't exactly a high end bass in it's own right. But compared to the GSR the difference is huge. I don't know why the GSR sounds and plays as poorly as it does but I wouldn't have thought it would be absolutely eclipsed by the 305.

I am thinking the GSR needs a setup, which I have attempted as I am competent when setting up electric guitars. However I haven't been able to make any noticeable difference, and even if I were to get it to play nicely I wouldn't expect it to affect the tone. I don't want to go out and drop £30 on a set of strings for a bass I am not going to play.

Any ideas?

EDIT: To give context to what I use these basses for, it is for home recording through a DI. I don't play live, and I don't use a physical bass amp.
Last edited by Random3 at Aug 15, 2015,
#2
It's a low end bass marketed for beginners using the least expensive parts possible. It's going to sound bad.
...it was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat
#3
When did you last change strings on the GSR? I have 3 basses: a Squier VM PJ, a SBMM Ray4 and an SBMM Ray5.
For some reason, the Ray 4 just sounds completely dead after about 2 weeks following new strings. On the other hand, the Ray 5 just sounds great whenever. I tend to get about 4-5 months of life out of Elixers on the Ray5, but no more than a month on the 4.

Some basses just need fresh sounding strings more than others.
#4
Bear in mind that I barely played the GSR at all.

The 305 I restrung after about a year, which was maybe 6 months ago. I then put the "old" strings from the 305 onto the GSR. This was the first time the GSR had been restrung.

I also cleaned it quite thoroughly, but even after this it still sounded like garbage. I get that it is a complete beginner's instrument, in the same sense as like a Squier, but I wouldn't have thought there would be such a huge difference between the two basses.
#5
Restring it with new strings! It probably still sounds like crap if the pickups are crap (which they probably are) but year-old strings aren't going to make the best noise.
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#6
Quote by Random3
I get that it is a complete beginner's instrument, in the same sense as like a Squier...


Nice blanket statement.

Not all Squiers are total garbage, nor "meant" for beginners. Quit buying into the name game.
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#7
Quote by Sleaze Disease
Not all Squiers are total garbage, nor "meant" for beginners. Quit buying into the name game.


I'll rephrase.

I get that my bass is cheap, low end and not a particularly high quality instrument, in the same sense as most Squiers. Happy?

I can get a fresh set of strings for the GSR but as I said I don't want to drop £30 on an instrument that is going to sound like a turd regardless.

The bit I don't quite get is that both of my basses are relatively cheap, low end instruments from the same manufacturer. One was £199 the other was £299. I would not expect either of them to be incredible, but the 305 plays very well and sounds great. I would not expect the GSR to be practically unuseable when compared to the 305.
#8
How old are the strings?

How high is the action?

When did you last change the battery?

Does the tone/eq control work?

Did the bass ever sound good or was it shite when you got it?

GSRs sound pretty damn good so chances are it's either a setup problem or you got a lemon due to dodgy Chinese factory QC.

I know it'd be a faff but if you've got and soundclips of it then we can more easily troubleshoot.
Last edited by Spaz91 at Aug 16, 2015,
#9
Quote by Spaz91
How old are the strings?


The GSR has been restrung once, which was maybe 6 months ago. It wasn't played for long periods of time since I have had it which is why I didn't bother changing them sooner. The strings I put on it were the "old" strings from the 305, which were maybe a year old.

Quote by Spaz91
How high is the action?

Irritatingly low, there is a lot of buzz. I can measure it when I get home though if that would help. I did try to set it up properly to correct this but the truss rod is incredibly stiff so I can't actually move it.

Quote by Spaz91
When did you last change the battery?

I was about to say there is no battery, but thinking about it I think there is. If that is the case then I have never actually changed it, and if that is the issue then I feel kinda like a doofy. I'll check that when I get home and post back either way.

Quote by Spaz91
Does the tone/eq control work?

Yeah the controls all work fine.

Quote by Spaz91
Did the bass ever sound good or was it shite when you got it?

I can't really say because it did belong to my Dad for the first couple of years, then he gave it to me. It wasn't until I bought the 305 that I thought the GSR sounded bad comparatively.

Quote by Spaz91
I know it'd be a faff but if you've got and soundclips of it then we can more easily troubleshoot.

If the battery is not the problem I will get some sound clips up asap.
#10
The battery thing happens to the best of us, more with age. Unless they're already maxed out, you should be using the bridge saddles to raise and lower the action.
#12
Spaz did great here.

The OP has revealed the most important thing in a reply, and that was the fact that it was not until his acquisition of the 305 did he have a problem with the tone of the bass.

One thing that may be an issue is what kind of wood the body is made of, as opposed to the wood of the 305. Chinese rubberwood is dead. Mahogany is deep. Walnut is dead to me. Basswood is clear, Indian Cerro is fair on tone.

His question is how did 100 bucks make such a difference?

I call it price point threshold. Things are generally within a a Entry, Mid, and Professional price point based upon Manufacture.

Manufacturing is actually dictated by the particular demands/expectations of the consumers of the particular price point,

So, answering the question is found in the point dictated by the Retailers of the instruments in that, What is the price that a parent will pay to get their child into an instrument and will give them the appearance of reasonable quality in a practically disposable instrument?

The appearance of quality is the means by which the retailer can get some profit.

The Mid range is all about upgrades that a serious student is going to be yearning for.

The 100 buck difference gives you a clue as to the actual cost of finer materials, hotter pups, a little better metal in the hardware. no greater details or hi fi pre amps, just a few improvements.

POS is answered only by the following:

Can it be tuned and remain in tune during play?
Dead Spots.
Is the Neck able to be adjusted and hold an adjustment?
Are the frets reasonably dressed or can it be re-fretted if necessary?

Save good answers on the above, a stable and serviceable frame can yield surprising performances with another $100 or so sunk into it. Just look at the collectors playing Silvertones.

The moment I say that a Pro will not play a GSR is the moment some guy will hotrod one.

A lot of money is made moving the lower price point instruments. Factory operation and set up costs are spread over the numbers of the units produced. Mass production lowers unit costs.

As always, it is a general rule that the difference in cost between acceptable work and great work is about 25% more.

If the Retailer made 75% (2-300% markup) on the GSR, and about 50% (100% markup) on the SR, well there is your price point spread.

While the numbers here might not be accurate, the concepts are.

Material upgrades vs. Mass Production vs. Retail Markup

Inflate the price of the Entry Instruments, Produce more of them than anything, and keep the few return customers when they are ready to upgrade,
Ibanez BTB 1006 Fretless and 405 (no Barts)
456 & 455(w/Barts)
Genz Benz NeoX400 112T & NeoX 112T cab.
Digitech BP-8 (x2)
Yamaha PB-1
Boss: SYB-5, PS-2, OD-20, EQ-20, PH-3,BF-3, CE-20, DD-20
Morely A/B
#14
Nah, I've heard good sounding GSRs before. Tone wood is largely unimportant.
...it was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat
#16
C3 - I cannot concur.

The 1006 BTB has a Mahogany core. It clearly leans to the lower register of tone.

The 400 Series of the BTBs have Basswood Bodies. Very uncolored, clear, actually quite shimmering that I, for the first time ever, am cutting the highs down by at least 6db.

If price were the controlling factor, these I play would be mediocre basses in everyway.

Yes, the price of someone else's product does not change the substance and performance of what is in your hands. Occasionally, assembly lines will produce a usable instrument, from time to time. Computerization makes this prospect even more frequent.
Ibanez BTB 1006 Fretless and 405 (no Barts)
456 & 455(w/Barts)
Genz Benz NeoX400 112T & NeoX 112T cab.
Digitech BP-8 (x2)
Yamaha PB-1
Boss: SYB-5, PS-2, OD-20, EQ-20, PH-3,BF-3, CE-20, DD-20
Morely A/B
#17
Those are assumptions about the wood. Considering I own several bright all mahogany guitars, and several warm sounding ash guitars, basing what something will sound like on wood type alone is foolish. It's the quality of wood that matters more, and cheaper brands aren't picky about what they use. Even if the cuts of wood are nice, pickups and electronics will 100% be skimped on.

The only thing OP experienced is that quality varies drastically on cheaper stuff. If you play 50 cheap guitars, some will be good, a few will be great, and lots will be iffy to bad. This is why its always best to try the exact instrument you're buying and not just one of the same make/model.

Most importantly you want it to sound good acoustically. If it sounds good unplugged, pretty much everything else can be changed, but this is a bit off topic. Again, all OP discovered is that quality is less consistent on budget stuff. Luck of the draw.