K5 Fieldy Signature Bass review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (115 votes)
Ibanez: K5 Fieldy Signature Bass

Price paid: $ 415

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 8
This section is where the bass shines. Don't be put off by the name on the bass, as this bass is much more versatile than the name would suggest. As I said before, it has a nice range of sounds due to the midrange tweaking knobs and pickup mixing control, and I have found that it can be used in many different sorts of music. Overall the bass is VERY quiet, quieter than any other bass I have played. The volume of the bass also seems to be lower, but this is easily fixed on your amp. It stays clean no matter what the volume. It would seem to me that the lower strings seem to be a tad bit on the too quiet side, especially compared to the bassier (E, B) strings. This could be a settings issue, but I haven't found an ideal setting which fixes this problem. The low strings really growl cleanly, and the B string is very punchy compared to other basses I have played on which that string tends to be just a muddy bass sound. The bass works very well in harder rock and metal applications, which would seem to suit Fieldy, but the sound really cleans up nicely for other sorts of music. Perhaps not the most ideal for some sorts of music (I use it in the church band, but some of the hymns really are better suited to my Rickenbacker), but it is very versatile for what it is.

Overall Impression — 9
As I stated before I got this bass on a whim of sorts, and it was designed for heavier music than I tend to play, but I still love playing it. It's a nice compliment to my other basses, and it has it's own niche for my playing. The other basses I have are all passive and don't have humbuckers, so this is my go-to bass for heavier situations. I really wish the bridge was heavier duty, but this is a minor point, as it just requires a little more maintenance, which I can forgive since the rest of the bass is solid. For the price, the sound and quality could not have been better. Generally these go for around $800 new, but they go fairly cheap on Ebay. It is an excellent all round bass, and as I said before don't be afraid this bass paints itself in a corner with the name on the headstock. I really like the range of tones available on the bass due to the midrange frequency knob, and I really wish more of my basses had this EQ system on them.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This bass has withstood everything I've thrown at it so far. Played it for a couple Sundays now, and through the week, and the only problems I have had is the bridge being slightly off from playing. I attribute this to the Fender Jazz-type bridge that is stock on the bass, and I feel like Ibanez should have put a more substantial bridge than the one included on this bass. The strap buttons are solid, and allow for some rotation without unscrewing from the wood. I don't like to play in Live situations without a backup, so I always have my Rickenbacker with me as well, but this bass is very solid and hasn't given out on me at all. The finish seems pretty resilient, and has taken a beating from the previous owner's playing methods. Over all the bass feels very much like a quality bass, and I trust it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
When I got the bass, the strings were set extremely low, and the bass had quite a few rattling frets. This was fixed with a quick tune up, and a allen wrench to the bridge. It now has a nice low action with minimal buzz, though there are still a couple frets that buzz pretty badly, but this is only noticeable in slower music. As I stated before, the bassier strings seem to almost overpower the higher strings, but I have found settings can somewhat alleviate this, though it can still be an annoyance in full band situations. Since the bass was used, the finish was a little dinged up. The previous owner like to pick, and there is some scratching from that. There is fairly bad buckle rash as well, but these issues don't really affect the sound in any way.

Features — 9
I got this bass off of Ebay on sort of a whim (put in a random bid, surprisingly won the bass), and for a good bit cheaper than a new one would cost. My K5 was made in 2006 in Korea, at the Cort plant. It has a nice black finish which almost has a matte like quality, haven't seen one like it on any other guitar. It has a bolt on neck with 24 frets, and the fretboard is devoid of all markings save a K5 around the 12th fret, which I feel makes the overall look of the bass almost a sparse and clean look. It would seem to me to be a bit shorter than most 5 string basses, and it rather thin (width, not height) which makes for a fairly quick playing neck for a 5 string bass. It has 2 active humbuckers, and the EQ has a VARI-MID III for the midrange. I like this feature since it allows you to change the sound of the bass, ranging from a growling sort of metal sound to a really bright and clean 70's-80's funk sort of slap sound. Along with the standard volume/bass/treble controls, it also has a knob that mixes the pickups, allowing for even more sonic diversity. The only downside I think is the fact the bridge seems to be a Fender-type bridge, which I have never had good luck with, and even since I've had the bass the saddles have been pushed down from the strings. A quick fix, but annoying none-the-less. I would also like to add that this bass is extremely light, but the sound is better as any other bass I've played in this price range. The bass normally ships with a hard-case, but since this one was used, it came with just a gig bag.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    CAUTION: This is a KOREAN version of the old JAPANESE SR885 (the axe Fieldy, as well as just about everyone in numetal in the late 90s, actually played). And it costs 2x as much, for a bit of gaudy colour and Korn's dubiously valuable sig. Buyer beware. PS snagged an original MiJ SR885 for $100 on craigslist. Live n learn, grasshoppers.
    CAUTION: This is a KOREAN version of the old JAPANESE SR885. And it costs 2x as much...PS snagged an original MiJ SR885 for $100 on craigslist. Live n learn, grasshoppers. GOOD TO KNOW! Fieldy did have it tweaked a bit, hence the fact it's a signature bass. It means more than just having his name on it, but that's all a matter of perspective and personal taste. Personally I would never buy any signature instrument, unless I got an amazing great deal on it (basically too good a deal to pass up it). Last thing I want is a guitar or bass that is so dialed in and so fine-tuned to one guy's specs, sound, and style. But that's just me. I want the original factory model and work with what they offer to dial in my own tone that works for me. I would never want to come off sounding exactly like someone else.
    The signal output tends to get very weak when the battery is low. I've had my battery in about a month now and it's still going strong.
    I've had this bass for a loooong time and it still surprises me how well it plays. the only thing i don't really like are the string that came standard. they're too heavy for me.
    You'd think for a signature Ibanez this would be made in Japan, I'm surprised to read one of the reviews said "My K5 was made in 2006 in Korea". Not that it's a bad thing, one of my 7 string guitars are was made in Korea, just needed stock pickups swapped.
    Bassist Rising
    I got one of these because it is the best bass I have ever played for under 800, I wasn't that much of a Korn fan, but it is just perfection. Thinking about getting another one for different tunings, PM me if you're interested. (I live in the UK).