ATK300 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (69 votes)
Ibanez: ATK300

Price paid: £ 400

Purchased from: Local Music Shop

Sound — 8
I would describe the sound as modern. Quite easy to overdo the tone with the active electronics. I find my amp (Peavy Powermax) eq to be more versatile, extreme, subtle and quality as required. Having said that I usually leave the mid at neutral and the bass & treble up slightly. The 3 position selector can be subtle (or useless depending on your point of view)depending on the amp and/or guitar tone settings. A neutral tone there isn't much difference, at extremes the pickup selection is more effective. Although extreme tones can be obtained easily different timbres can't. Explain please - My jazz sounds very different on one PU or 2 PUs and with a blends. The ATK seems to just be more or less of the same. Not really a criticism but an observation. I now play in a blues band so the active PUs are not so suitable as the passives on my Jazz. The ATK is great for rock & metal and I love the instrument for this. I wish it had a passive / active switch.

Overall Impression — 9
I currently play mainly blues, blues/rock. The actives are probably not perfect for that. I like the heavy neck. It feels right for this bass. The black looks like a Fender / Rickenbacker cross with a cool modern twist to a Vintage look. (I don't like the natural finish model because to me it looks like it has been hewn out of a cheap lump of lumber).If I was to replace it I may just get a Squier P bass. I think there are are slightly better active basses in the Ibanez range and elsewhere and a P-bass would be cheaper & no battery to worry about. I won't be selling anytime soon because I still think it is awesome to play & look at.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Played live loads with this bass and it hasn't let me down. I have a good wide strap so the weight isn't too bad at least not until midnight and the encore. The strap buttons & tuners are solid. It hold its tuning well. The position of the jack socket clashes with my stand. I do worry about the battery going flat and there isn't a warning LED. The batteries last for months so you tend to forget to change them. I haven't been caught out yet. The battery change needs a screwdriver so could be a pain in a rush in the dark and after a pint or two.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Excellent action which has only needed altering when I change the string gauge. The original strings were Elixirs which sounded fab but went a bit fuzzy (looking not sounding) when the coating started to shred. I play with fingersa & thumb mainly. I have stainless strings that sound fab. I also find the output to be similar in level to my passive jazz and that the amp is best with the passive selected to get the best tone. The tone / vol controls don't feel as smooth or quality as I would like and if I remember right they are mounted on a fairly naff (for the money) looking circuit board.

Features — 9
Bought new 2009. Black body maple neck. No case or bag. Looks like the pic above. Slightly annoying that the string gauges aren't stated for replacement. Rest from Ibanez (My comments in brackets) Neck Type 3pc ATK4 neck (fairly chunky) Body Light Ash body (Black paint. Chamfered at the back for comfort) Fret Jumbo frets (but not too much so) Fingerboard Maple fingerboard (nice I like maple fingerboards!) Bridge ATK4 bridge 19mm string spacing (Through body or not as you like) Bridge pu ATK Triple coil pu (3 position switch traditional, bright, modern sort-of) Equaliser ATK 3-band eq (very powerful maybe too much so) String Elixir string (What gauge? prob 50-105s)

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    hi i have got one of this bass i had several kind of basses but this is the kind of guitar that given me the best sound.but now i have facing to a trouble. now the time to replace the strings. but i don't know what kind of strings,and what kind of gauge is possible for this.if anyone knows about pls let me know. thank you. shaluka
    I just bought the ATK300FL on Maui for $250 from a pro jazz/Hawaiian guitarist, and all I can think is that he must have obtained one hell of an awesome bass to give this thing up. Yes, it's heavy, but I think Ibanez's idea in the design was to make a rock hard platform for the strings to vibrate on. Strings are slipped in from the rear of the bass. The non-existing frets are actually metal indentations in the fretboard. You have to look more at the fretboard while playing, so not good for one singing to an audience, but in time you could learn to feel the instrument like a violinist does. It has a wonderful feeling holding it, like a string bass without the bulky body. And the sound is well balanced and bright, if you want it. I think it plays wonderfully. Easily worth $900. I hear they sell for $3-500, but even if you got ripped off, you would have a guitar that sounds like a $1500+ instrument.