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.