GSRM20 Mikro Bass Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 06/28/2013 category: Bass Guitars
Ibanez: GSRM20 Mikro Bass
This is very good value and ideal for younger people but is a serious instrument too, for anyone. Overall is much better than expected and it is a perfectly valid, viable and fun bass, not a toy.
 Sound: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 7.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7
 Features: 7.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (2) pictures (5) 3 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.4
GSRM20 Mikro Bass Reviewed by: MaxMix, on november 09, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 160

Purchased from: DV247

Features: Picked this Mikro Bass up a few weeks ago and appears to be made in September 2011. This is a short scale bass, a mere 29" from nut to bridge and made in China. The quality of stuff from China these days is excellent and this bass is no exception considering the price. Has 22 medium frets and one P and one J style pickup, the J at bridge and P at neck end. One volume control for each pickup plus a tone control. The neck is rosewood with usual dot markings. The finish on my example is Candy Apple Red and is flawless. The bridge is a P Bass style but is more substantial with better saddles. The Gotoh style tuners are a bit cheep and sticky so I might replace these. The knobs are cheep and nasty and pushed on too far rubbing on the paintwork. Mine came with the gig bag included and the bass was already inside it in the box, I wasn't expecting that so a bonus, the bag is good quality too. // 7

Sound: I bought this bass as a curiosity thinking it was possible a toy and thought the small size could be fun. Actually this bass IS NOT A TOY and has it place for anyone and can produce some excellent tone. As you might expect the P style pickup has some grunt and a J style single coil is what you would expect. Mixing the two can produce a wide range on funk, snap or bluesy tone, it's really quite remarkable. The blues and funk style I play really does work well, it pretty amazing considering the small size of this thing. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Setup was not "too bad" out the box. The neck needed slight adjustment and intonation was way out. NOTE: I was not able to adjust intonation correctly on the A D & G string as the saddles would not screw in far enough, I replaced the adjuster screws for shorter ones and problem solved NOTE IBANEZ! Nut action was slightly high but nothing to worry about and after a few adjustments became a perfectly playable instrument. Fretboard finish was good and frets well finished with no sharp edges. // 6

Reliability & Durability: Seems solid enough and extremely light weight, perfect for very young players or anyone. The finish looks as good as anything regardless of price and I don't expect anything to wrong anytime soon. I would certainly gig this bass and generally seems to be up to the usual Ibanez high standard, considering its low price. // 7

Overall Impression: Overall impression is that this is very good value and ideal for younger people but is a serious instrument too, for anyone, I love mine and has been out to rehearsal a couple of times. Its small size and included gig-bag make it a truly portable bass, there's nothing to dislike about it. Overall is much better than expected and it is a perfectly valid, viable and fun bass, not a toy. Well done Ibanez for the concept, I know of no other bass like it. // 8

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overall: 8
GSRM20 Mikro Bass Reviewed by: AuraFX, on june 28, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This is a very short scale Ibanez bass at 28.6" scale, so it's closer to a Baritone guitar than a typical bass, even a 30" short scale bass. This is a relatively cheap, lower-end model but it is a serious instrument. There is some confusion as Ibanez used to do a beginners bass pack with something called a GSR Mikro bass but that is a different instrument. This is a polar body, with a very clean and comfortable maple neck and rosewood 22 fretboard. It comes in black or cherry red at the moment. I've seen older models in other colours but I guess these aren't made any more. The pickup is a pretty standard P-style neck and J-style bridge with a master tone control and individual volumes. This came with a padded gigbag which looks hilariously tiny, more like a ukelele or something at first glance but fits the bass well and isn't bad for a lower-end purchase. The tuners are fairly solid, there is obviously far better out there, but they are not like some budget models that feel plastic-like and ready to break. The control knobs are a bit of a let-down, as they are very cheap plastic made to look like chrome. I changed these pretty much straight away as they did feel ready to break. All the other hardware is surprisingly decent though. // 8

Sound: I bought this for my bass player as she's quite petite and has always struggled with full size basses. Normally she plays 30" short scale basses from Fender or Epiphone but I saw this and thought it might be a good thing to upgrade and modify to get a faster more "riff" bass with faster runs given her smaller frame and fingers. Although I'm a guitarist I had a play with this bass and it was incredibly good fun. You could leap around and manage hammer-ons and pull offs and lots of high fret work with ease and the overall size made it more like playing a small guitar, so no stretching or trouble with extended reaches. Our bass player loved it too. It's not intended to be the be-all and end-all for every song, but for songs where more intricate bass playing might be needed, it has a great feel. This is going into a Laney NEXUS FET head and fed into 1 or 2 cabs (4x10s) depending on the gig size. It is going through a range of pedals and rackmounts for noise control, compression and eq. The P pickups are quite punchy and dark as you'd expect. But they handle some growl without farting out like some budget basses. The J pickup is pretty lame and is crying out for an upgrade. Overall the guitar is quite noisy, I'm guessing from poor shielding and cheaper electronics/wiring. Still it offers a range of sound options and the overall output is surprisingly musical and easily equal to anything in it's price range or just above. With a few mods it will be a major improvement on the score below. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: This was a B-Stock from Thomann in Germany. They tend to reset all their b-stock so I'm not sure how close to factory this is as it had a tech sheet from Thomann's showing what had been checked and done. That said - the action is gorgeous - for a guitar player coming to a bass it was low enough to play fast but high enough to avoid any buzz or dead spots. The pickups are not seriously adjustable, so you get what you get. The neck is lovely. A beautiful piece of wood with no flaws and the fret work was immaculate. As good as the US Fenders my bassist plays which I was really surprised by. Internally I only peeked briefly and will inspect further when we swap the pickups out for EMGs but it's about as good as you'd expect from a cheap far-east made budget guitar. Not rotten, but not stunning. The bridge was pretty hard to set intonation right, but again it's about what you'd expect from this cheaper end. If you are really wanting to get it perfect I'd probably swap the bridge as well. Externally though, the overall finish is very good. Ibanez seemed to have come on a lot in the past few years. // 8

Reliability & Durability: So far the bass has been very reliable and solid. Given it's so small it's easy to carry around and our bass-player loves it as it hardly weighs anything either, so on-stage it's easy for her to play longer shows using this for about half the songs now. In terms of the fit and finish, it's a very nice looking guitar and should last long term. Internally I expect the wiring would flake out long before anything in the hardware goes. We're about to rip this out and route in active pickups so that will mean changing the jack etc too so none of the original wiring will be staying. // 8

Overall Impression: As the other reviewer pointed out - this is a toy-sized bass that is definitely NOT a toy. It's a serious instrument that stands well above it's price-tag and most competitors in that budget range. It's very light but solid, the neck is gorgeous to play, even for a guitarist who lacks bass skills. It handles even some down-tuning well which is usually next to impossible on short-scale basses - and given this is about as short as they come, it manages a solid low-end thump - but it's real area is faster, more intricate playing as opposed to thundering low-end. It suits some of the more electronic/synth style songs we play and drives the synth pedals very well. I'd recommend this for anyone with smaller hands or more petite players as a definite buy. The other category who'll love it is guitarists who need to play bass occasionally or anyone who wants to record bass riffs with ease. Obviously kids and beginners would get on well with this too - but I wouldn't want anyone to think this is just a child-aimed bass. It's very similar to the low-to-mid range Ibanez ranges just a bit more compact and easy to fret and reach on. I was surprised it came with leads, tools and a gig bag. Most budget guitars don't these days. If you want to use this as a regular bass guitar I'd say the weaker pickups and wiring should probably go pretty fast. The bridge would be next to something a bit sturdier and possibly the tuners if you want to really spec it up. But at that point you'd have a beautiful instrument that could take on any short-scale bass. As the P/J pickups are standard as is the bridge, it's easy to just buy upgrades and slot them in which makes this an ideal upgrade project. It'd probably be nice to have more 28/6" scale basses but with a higher spec. I'm sure there are lots of players who struggle with big basses and never reach their playing potential simply because a 34" scale instrument is too much to get around. So a deluxe Ibanez GSRM would be welcome - but sadly the market doesn't seem to veer that way. Obviously this is never going to be a thundering low-end monster but with Bass eq, pedals and upgraded pickups, the actual scale isn't going to be make or break unless you play downtuned a whole step or more. // 8

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