#1
It's not German. That'll be the next one.

After selling my instruments to fund my move to Hong Kong from the UK for a new job, I have finally partially filled the void with an Ibanez Portamento 5 string fretless.



With gig bag for the equivalent of £500, brand new, first person to play it, shipping box opened before my very eyes. I think they're closer to £800 at the moment in the UK (yay for CITES I guess.). So not a bad deal.

And it plays pretty well. Better than £500, that's for sure. Fit and finish is good for the price, well set up straight out of the box. Feels like a toy weight wise, but then most things do when your main bass for the past, what, 8 years had been a heavy bubinga based Warwick (which is incidentally going to be immortalised in pain and ink when I get my sleeve started).

Neck profile is nice. Slim without being obviously so, if you get my meaning. It still feels pretty substantial. The neck carve into the body is shaped very nicely as well, access to the 24th position is good. A reworked treble side horn would have been nicer to get easier access up to the 30th position, but I doubt I'll be up there much, the sustain on notes up there isn't fantastic.

The EQ is pretty powerful, utilising two magnetic and a piezo pickup for each string, seated in the bridge saddles. Active boost/cut for bass and treble frequencies from the passive Bartolinis, with balance and master volume, and an active tone control and master volume for the Aerosilk piezos. For me, I'm happy with about 75% on the neck with a little bit of piezo thrown in, roll off on the bass and treble for an implied mid boost. No recording facility at the moment unfortunately.

My only gripe is the positioning of the lower three control knobs. I'd prefer all of the knobs be smaller (like the lower three) and have them on the flat of the body, rather than them being stuck along the carved edge sticking at a different angle to the top three.

As a stand in bass until I save up enough for the next German acquisition, I think I'll be happy with this. At £800, it'd be a 7/10. For £500, a solid 8.

EDIT: A different wood to bubinga would have been a better choice in the neck. Using a very porous wood like that next to maple with an oil finish makes for the odd weird spot on the neck.
Last edited by Deliriumbassist at May 13, 2017,
#2
As a fretless player, this is the best fretless I have ever played. I never owned one but I used to linger in a certain guitar shop so I could just noodle about on it for ages. If I had to gripe then it would be the fingerboard wood, in that price range they could have either finished it or used ebony, etc. Especially seeing as it ships with rouds (iirc).

This is a contender for my next new bass, I've never actually had a stock fretless.

#4
Huh. Must have been either a store decision or a recent change. Then again, brand new groundwound strings feel rougher than anything before they break it.
#5
That's a beautiful bass, congratulations! The SR range of basses are serious workhorses, don't think you'll be having any difficulty using it live or in the studio. 
Strandberg Boden 8-String Ibanez RG2228
Fender HM Strat ESP Horizon-II Five-String Bass
Roland TD-30K Mesa Boogie Mark V:25
EVH5150III 50-Watt Yamaha Motif Rack XS
Access Virus TI Snow Polyend Perc Pro
#7
 To Hong Kong for the UK for a new job?
Gear:
EBMM Bongo HS 4
EBMM Sting Ray 5
Eden D410T
Tech 21 Sansamp RBI
Tech 21 Sansamp RPM
Art 341 Dual Channel EQ
QSC GX5 Power Amp
#9
That looks great. HNGD! 
Guitar/Bass:
Schecter: Damien 6/Stilletto Extreme 5, Squier: Bullet HSS*, Washburn RX10*/WG-587, Agile Septor 727
*mods

Amps/FX
Peavey: Vypyr 30/Max 112 (200W), ISP: Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.

justinguitar.com is the answer
#10
HNBD!  I'm curious, how are the piezos on their own?
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
#11
I'm not the biggest fan of the piezos on their lonesome. They aren't as quacky as others I've tried, but on their own they just zing too much. It was worth taking the time to use the trim pots accessible from the rear to adjust the individual string gain, though, just helped even the tone out across the board.