SR500 review by Ibanez

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  • Features: 7
  • Sound: 5
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 7.6 (106 votes)
Ibanez: SR500

Price paid: $ 400

Features — 7
My bass was made in Korea. 24 frets. Bubinga neck. Mahogany body. Well here is the problem number one. It is NOT mahogany. Or at least it is not a SOLID mahogany. It is too light to be solid mahogany. I have solid mahogany basses from Peavey and Washburn and they weigh easily twice as much. So SR500 seems to be made out of compressed mahogany wood shavings. They also call it "composite mahogany"... Guitar is very light. The neck is comfortable and fast. Thanks to extended neck joint, there is no "speed bump" effect. Has active electronics which are a saving grace for this bass. If it had solid wood body it would have been a 10. With "compressed mahogany shavings" body it is barely a 7

Sound — 5
Hence problem number two - NO resonance. It sounds. Okay. Just okay. While the electronics on it (Bertolini) are superb, the fact that it is made out of compressed wood shavings utterly limits its sound. It has no fullness or richness. No warmth, It sounds like someone is playing keyboards on "bass guitar" setting. The sound is all electronics and no wood. Very "keyboardy." Used with Fender 40W and with Peavey Max 110. Result is the same. It is the "keyboardy" sound that utterly kills this guitar IMHO. Since I have and had quite a few guitars, I can compare it to many. Peavey Grind and Peavey Cirrus utterly annihilate it in sound department. Washburn Force 4 utterly annihilates it in sound department. While Warwick Corvette SS for $200 more is expected to be better, as is my dads Fender P-Bass 1962 custom, my old Washburn XB400 has sound that has more richness. Even Epiphone Thunderbird has a more fullness and warmth to the sound. I would pick ANY of the guitar I named over this guitar. That's how little I like it's sound. This guitar, however was a gift. I think its "keyboardy" overly electronic sound comes from poor material of the body.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The set up was superb, easily 10 out of 10. Came from factory ideally set. No flaws of any type. Kudos to Ibanez for superb QC. Great GE, great pickups and switch. Every control is sharp and tight. Electronics are superb and incredible. A stark contrast to its "composite" body. Everything was nice and tight. Solid bridge, great top, perfectly fit nut. GReat frets. Not sharp, very gentle. Extended neck joint is an asset too. The set up and finish was ideal. There was no need to adjust anything. "Plug and play," that's the condition it came in.

Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar body seems to be too lightweight for any abuse. Luckily, this is my practice guitar. It spends most of its time in a hard case, well protected. It stood up to a year + of daily practice without ANY scratches or damage. The hardware: bridge, tuners, seems to be of superb quality. Not as heavy duty as lets say Washburn XR400 or Washburn Force or Peavy Grind or Peavey Cirrus, it is nonetheless very solid and durable. Very precise. The guitar holds a tune for months. Better than anything else I have with exception of Peavey Cirrus. Great hardware on a light weight composite body. Mixed feelings about it. To cut the cost they saved money on the body, and results are mediocre.

Overall Impression — 6
I play metal. Old style, power, heavy and thrash. Helloween, Iron Maiden, Rage, Running Wild, Sabbaton, Sabbath, Slayer. This guitar, the way it is, without any sound equipment is ill suited for this style. Once again, too "electronic." I been playing for over 3 years. I currently own or owned following guitars: Peavey Grind, Peavey Cirrus, Washburn Force 4. I previously owned Washburn XR400, Epiphone Thunderbird and I also was lucky enough to try LTD D-4 and Warwick Corvette SS. At this point I would take ANY of those guitars over SR500. Despite being super comfortable to play, the sound is too "electronic" and "keyboardy", lacking richness and fullness. If the guitar was lost or stolen I would NOT replace it with the same one. I would pick up ESP LTD D-4 which costs about as much. Any of the guitars that I own and owned in the past are easily as good as this one. Even old Washburn XB400 and Epiphone T-bird. Washburn XB400 is full and bright and Epiphone Thunderbird is warm and soft, with just right amount of growl. This one is neither bright, no warm.

My favorite feature is 3 band GE and great pickups. Nice comfortable smooth neck. Extended neck joint is a blessing. I feel it is inferior to any other basses I have. I did NOT buy it, it was a gift from my well meaning dad. The only reason I have not sold it and keep playing it, especially when he is there, as to avoid offending my father.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    These guitars are not made from Mahogany shavings. That's just a load of crap. Just because it's light in weight doesn't mean it's made from wood shavings. One piece of wood with the same physical dimensions is not going to weigh the same as another piece, as wood is not a consistent material. These basses are also just light by design, there's physically not that much wood there to begin with. My SR600 with a swamp ash body is the same. Very light. That's just the way Soundgears are. And even if it was made from wood shavings, the difference wood makes to an amplified electric guitar is not significant.
    According to Musician friend the body is "composite" mahogany. I doubt that the stock Washburn or stock Peavey pickups or my dads old Fender Pickups are as good as Bartolini that came with SR500, yet, both Washburns, even old XB400 have a fuller sound. So, you claim that 'lightweight body" is a feature, not a defect. To me, it is a defect. So it's not electronics, it is wood. I would rather have a heavy thick guitar with crappy electronics than a "lightweight" composite guitar with good electronics. As I said, if I would not want to offend my father, who gave it to me, I would have sold it. Maybe it is "modern thing" to have bass sounding like keyboards. I don't like it. As I siad, old Washburn XB400 is a better choice
    Retailers are inaccurate about a guitar's spec all the time and this is no different. Almost all the retailers I've seen, aside from Musician's Friend, don't say anything about the body being composite, they call it mahogany. Take off the neck and look in the heel. There's nothing inside there that in any way suggests it's a composite. It looks like solid wood, because it is. You might call a lightweight instrument 'defective' but to many, many people, it's a feature, you only have to see that the Soundgears are the most popular basses Ibanez make to know what the concensus on the issue is. There's nothing defective about the guitar, because calling a lightweight body a defect implies there's something objectively wrong with that. There isn't. And just because you don't like it doesn't make it factually wrong.
    1. Ibanez themselves said it is a "composite Mahogany" - aka mahogany wood shavings. 2. Lightweight is NOT a flaw. Having no resonance and no depth into the sound - IS a flaw. Handle old Fenders, you will figure out what I mean. 3. A lot of whiney limp wristed metrosexual complained that "basses are too heavy", so industry gave them what they wanted - lightweight basses. And saved money on manufacturing in process. 4. You can't compensate with electronics if you don't have resonance and depth in the body. You just can't.
    1.;area_id=2&cat_id=2&series_id=51&data_id=139&color=CL01 Show me where it says this. And again, take the neck off the bass and look in the pocket. Wood shavings do not have a grain pattern, like what you will see. I can promise you. 2. Your previous comment read: "you claim that 'lightweight body" is a feature, not a defect. To me, it is a defect." 3. Call them limp wristed metrosexuals if you want, but if you don't like how light it was, then why did you buy it? 4: Its funny you say that because solid body guitars were first invented specifically out of a need for the body NOT to resonate! You can say it has no resonance if you want, it's your review. But yor reasoning for why is simply not true.
    If you would actually read my review you and not just yap your mouth, you would have known that this bass was a gift from my dad. Look, if you want this guitar so much, make me a good offer. I will trade it for Warwick Corvette in a second