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Ibanez SR300

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An Ebay purchase for £160 delivered. Chosen for the reputation Ibanez have for making great cheaper basses and the slim body as I was after something lightweight after a minor back injury earlier in the year. Owned for a couple of months now and used in bedroom, practice room, studio and on stage so I've had some time to get to know it.

Condition - Great first impressions. Really slim neck, great for my small hands, and no issues with sharp fret ends and the like. A little unremarkable design wise and I wasn't sure on the overly long upper horn but that made sense when I got a strap put on it as it helps with the instrument balance, presumably due to the light body. The intonation was a little off past the 10th fret but I'm confident I can sort that out next re-string, as well as sorting out a buzz on the low E which thankfully doesn't come through the amp at standard tuning but sounds awful when dropped to D. The input jack is also a little flaky, sometimes the cable requires taking out and re-inserting otherwise there's a terrible crackle which I hope some contact cleaner will fix. I've used another one since buying mine and it didn't have this issue so just one of those quirks I guess.

So a few minor issues with the setup but nothing deal breaking as far as a 2nd hand instrument goes.

Playability - Overall, excellent. The slim neck makes it really fast and I get my hand around it easily for any stretches. The pickup covers are arched, rising up towards the middle 2 strings and falling away towards the edges, making it tough to rest your thumb on due to the lack of an edge. According to Ibanez, this is to balance the output across the strings and it seems to work well for that purpose. I'm adjusting slowly or using the fretboard to anchor my hand but a thumb rest as standard would have been nice as it's obviously going to be a problem for finger style playing.

Sounds - 2 pickups with a balance control, volume, stacked bass/treble cut/boost and a "style sweeper" that's meant for making the bass able to go from slap to fingerstyle easily. Seems to alter the EQ as a whole in a way my rubbish ears can't describe very well but adds more girth generally at the clockwise position and scoops the tone in the other direction. I leave it just over halfway and bump it up when playing with a pick to add some growl and to stop the low end falling off on the D and G strings. A little different to the 3 band controls the current models seem to have but offer a nice range of sounds. The P position pickup has a big rounded sound but as I like a more cutting tone, I tend to balance a lot more towards the bridge PU to give the attack more definition but keep some of the P wooliness in there. Dial in a little treble and bump the style sweeper control and I'm set to go from finger to pick easily. Generally has a very zingy sound to the top end and a good amount of mids, very good with slap sounds if that's your bag but flexible enough to work very well with fingers or a pick as well with just the on-bass controls.

Overall - for the money, fantastic. I think these are £230 new but I'd still recommend it. Performs well across all playing styles thanks to the flexibility of the onboard controls. A jack of all trades rather than a master of any but what's on offer is a very usable range of sounds in a lightweight package and a great feeling neck.

Finally, what's a review without a picture! Here's me, laying down a jazzy line for a friends Christmas charity single back in November.

Edited by GarethFlatlands
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Great review. I recommended these to a friend for their son's Christmas Present and 1st Bass. I think they ordered one and an 80Watt Harley Benton Amp for under £300, think they are very pleased!

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Great Christmas present, I wish these had been around when I was shopping for my first bass all those years ago! I'm thinking about adding a thumb rest to mine to stop my hand slipping off when I get a bit over excited playing live.

Really impressed with the quality of budget instruments from companies like Ibanez and Yamaha these days.

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I got one last weekend
I like it
It is so different from my peavey zodiac it's like driving a merc and then going into a mini
Takes a bit of getting used to
It is also not as forgiving as my peavey
But all that is forgotten when the pre-amp turns out that low rumble
Just makes me smile :D

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