Price paid: £ 185
Purchased from: PMT
Features — 7
The Ibanez GSRM20 is a Short Scale bass made in Indonesia for a budget price (Any Bass under £200 is budget these days).
There are several colours available but I liked the black because the headstock matches the body (The white is a bit strange in my opinion since the fretboard and headstock are dark. There is also a dark red which is nice but has a black headstock or a cheaper sort of stained wood colour but as I was buying new I thought I would treat myself.
It comes with two good pickups and separate volume controls in the common PJ format (a P Bass & Jazz Bass style pickup with separate volume controls). Remarkably, considering how cheap it is, it comes with a Rosewood fingerboard (you can tell by looking since there is a bit of variation in the colour).
It doesn't come with a Gig Bag but fortunately as its no longer than a Les Paul it will fit in many normal Guitar Bags (The bridge is mounted right on the back of the Bass so the 28 inches is crammed in)
Sound — 8
It comes with two pickups and separate volume controls in the common PJ format that allows quite a lot of variety. The pickups have a reasonable punch and appear noiseless. I'm more of a guitarist so as long as its loud and punchy I wouldn't care... More important to me since I play mine through Rocksmith is that the pickups have a good amount of oomph (they are loud enough to pickup well). Compared to its major competition - a Squier Bronco (which otherwise I used to like the sound is fat and loud - but can be tamed if necessary)
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action and setup was fine. This was one of my concerns buying a cheap Bass as strings are sufficiently expensive that a full setup would add a lot of extra cost to the Bass but it is playable up the neck and there is no fret buzz.
The neck is reasonably chunky (as are most Bass) and I instantly found myself at home on it - its very comfortable anchoring your thumb on the pickup and plucking away.
One minor thing that I struggle with is the 2 each side headstock design. Its an Ibanez thing but I prefer the in line Squier/ fender system as I am very easily confused.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar seems well built and seems at least as good as some of the Squier's I have seen. I suspect it has a very thick finish that won't wear. The tuners are chrome and seem to move ok. It balances well on the knee and on the strap (despite being very light) it has a small body and is significantly lighter than a solid Les Paul).
It has normal strap buttons so I would either use it with a locking strap or change the buttons to locking ones if I was using regularly.
I wouldn't expect that this would be used for a Gig of three sessions lasting an hour each (although being so light it would be a pleasure) but for what I want it is sufficient. If I want to use a bass for a couple of songs I would take it and it neither looks ridiculously pretentiously expensive or basic. Equally I would expect that a teenager would be able to play one of these and feel that they had a good tool for the job.
Overall Impression — 8
Short scale budget bass are very commonly used by teens and so its quite difficult to get one second hand. There aren't that many Squier Bronco, Squier Mustang and the Gear4Music 3/4 Bass were the main contenders:
The Gear4Music 3/4 Bass seems incredible value (Its a mini Jazz style bass with Gig Big and lead for about £90) but as they are a distance from me I was nervous about trying it. Some of their guitars are okay so its probably just a bit brand snobbery on my part.
I used to own a Squier Bronco and I'm quite fond of the shape and size but the pickup is uselessly weak and so I would have had to upgrade it later. (It really needs a floor pre-amp to get a good tone out of a Bass Amp and doesn't even work well with Rocksmith)
The Squier Mustang has a similar pickup configuration to the Ibanez but I don't like the shape of the body (sorry personal I know). Also they are a little bit more money.
Finally the expensive option was a Gresch Junior jet Bass. These are about £300 so much more expensive but have a cool vibe (I happen to like the Single Cut Vibe).
Overall I still think I have bought the right one. It was a good price and sufficient for me.