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Interesting new Ibanez, even for a 'traditional' player...


Musicman20
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[quote name='Paulhauser' timestamp='1483516743' post='3207733']
I think the main goal behind the Ibanez Bass Workshop is to get people talk about Ibanez.
They churn out interesting bass designs, none of which are completely new or never done before, run some small batches and have people talk about them.
So in a way it is a clever marketing solution because there is not a lot to talk about for ex the zillionth version of the new Soundgear 5 string with xy top and z neck.
For the record I love my Prestige Ibanez SR basses, but they are doing more or less the same for 20+ years and it is getting harder to get excited about the new model year's finishes, colors etc. With the Bass Workshop they get the excitement back to the brand for a certain degree and its also great for increasing brand image.
I think the Soundgear platform is great, really like the singlecut version and the fanned fret ones as well. I like this one in the OP as well but would be good that they'd do a 'normal' 7 string version, too. Soundgear design seems to fit better for extended range than the BTB of which they already done a 7 string version.
[/quote]

I find that Ibanez, for a well known and established brand, have been brave enough to try different designs with their Workshop series. You do not see this happening with other big mannufacturers.

Fender have been doing the same designs for 60+ years and when they "try" and bring out a pimped up version of one of their basses, the general public complains by stating that they do not innovate and stick to their old designs too much.

I agree that Ibanez tend to re-do over and over the same thing with their normal series yearly... new top/finish with such neck and that bridge design with these pick ups... but that is what all other mannufacturers do every year.

Edited by Byo
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  • 2 weeks later...

I played one of these today. Theyre fantastic things. Im not one for more than 4 strings, fretless basses, etc. But this was really nice. I found that, due to physical frets being there the fretless side was much easier to gauge as to where the frets really would be on the fretless side, if that makes sense. Oh and a bit of chorus thrown in and it sounded phenomenal through the Laney combo they had. Fantastic bit of kit if its your jam.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

A couple of months back someone said to me that they could never see a justification for a double-neck bass, to which I replied maybe a fretted and fretless, which he accepted.

Now these folks have stuck that together onto a single neck!

I kind of get it, and putting the fretless below (or is it above?) the E-string kindof reinforces thumb position for fretless expression.

The only grumble is the fretted isn't a 5-string.

And I don't like the red fingerboard.

At £1k it's cheaper than a Stick.

(I can't envisage a situation where I'd buy on though, unless they bombed and they had a fire-sale so they were available real cheap.)

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  • 4 years later...

Just quickly resurrecting this topic as I just got hold on one of these, and by the looks of it it's never been played, let alone gigged - not a scratch on the back, no fretwear, even seems to have the plastic on the rear control covers.

Liked the idea when they came out, and spotted it on eBay at a ludicrous price for a bass this "new" - I don't think anyone who's owned it has really known what to do with it. Proper Ibanez 7-string hard case with it too, not a cheap item.

Did anyone else get one? If so, I'd like to ask if you restrung the fretless side to a low E - I'm considering this so the fretless side can be used for actual basslines and not just soloing. Dual truss rod makes it look like it shouldn't be a problem tension wise.

Fascinating thing, the most amazing woods (I've got the dragoneye burst model, which is just gorgeous).

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Please go ahead. I strung my white Ashula with 5 strings (modded a bit...) and the tuning started from C. Worked pretty well, but the change from fretted to fretless was so distinctive, I rebuilt it with original parts and sold it.

If the fretboard was like in the 80's half-fretted Ibanez Alphonso Johnson, I would have kept it.

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I owned the original Ashula for a while, and I see they have improved a lot of the shortcomings that I found in the instrument.

First of all, they now split the fingerboard, so the fretless part of the fingerboard is level with the top of the frets. On the original model, it was the same fingerboard across, which made a huge difference in level. Either you had to lower the fretless strings a lot, which made the bass feel a bit uneven across the strings, or you had to keep the fretless part with sky high action, which also felt uneven.

I also like the fact that they moved the fretless part to the top of the neck, which makes sense as we tend to rely a little more on visual reference on fretless for intonation purposes. And they also increased the number of fretless strings, which makes the bass more accessible for fretless playing.

The reason I haven't purchased the new bass is based on my experience with 7-string basses with wide necks. It makes it hard to comfortably play the upper registry on the lower strings. On a normal bass where the strings are tuned higher as you move across towards the treble side, this isn't much of a problem, as you tend to move diagonally on the fingerboard. The higher you get in the registry, the more you lean towards the treble side up the neck, and vice versa for lower notes. On this bass, however, to play in the upper registry of the fretless part, you need to cross four strings on the fingerboard to get there. 

Also, already being a 6-string player, the fact that the strings "start over" when you cross from fretless to fretted confused me. I wanted them to work as a regular 6-string, rather than having the doubling of strings. Of course I could have strung it as a normal 6-string (which I also did for a while), but that throws me off in a similar way... In essence, to me at least, a double neck fretted/fretless makes more sense. 🙂

But I'm curious to hear what others experience is 🙂  

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10 hours ago, MrWalker said:

I owned the original Ashula for a while, and I see they have improved a lot of the shortcomings that I found in the instrument.

First of all, they now split the fingerboard, so the fretless part of the fingerboard is level with the top of the frets. On the original model, it was the same fingerboard across, which made a huge difference in level. Either you had to lower the fretless strings a lot, which made the bass feel a bit uneven across the strings, or you had to keep the fretless part with sky high action, which also felt uneven.

I also like the fact that they moved the fretless part to the top of the neck, which makes sense as we tend to rely a little more on visual reference on fretless for intonation purposes. And they also increased the number of fretless strings, which makes the bass more accessible for fretless playing.

The reason I haven't purchased the new bass is based on my experience with 7-string basses with wide necks. It makes it hard to comfortably play the upper registry on the lower strings. On a normal bass where the strings are tuned higher as you move across towards the treble side, this isn't much of a problem, as you tend to move diagonally on the fingerboard. The higher you get in the registry, the more you lean towards the treble side up the neck, and vice versa for lower notes. On this bass, however, to play in the upper registry of the fretless part, you need to cross four strings on the fingerboard to get there. 

Also, already being a 6-string player, the fact that the strings "start over" when you cross from fretless to fretted confused me. I wanted them to work as a regular 6-string, rather than having the doubling of strings. Of course I could have strung it as a normal 6-string (which I also did for a while), but that throws me off in a similar way... In essence, to me at least, a double neck fretted/fretless makes more sense. 🙂

But I'm curious to hear what others experience is 🙂  

Well, I've had it for a day, and I can say it's definitely growing on me a lot. The fretless side really does sound a lot like an upright (I have an NXT 5-string electric upright). And you're right - above the 15th fret or so, the fretless side gets pretty hard to play on the lower 2 strings. However - my plan is to restring the lower strings to E - A - D as I want to use it as two basses in one (effectively), I'm less interested in soloing on the fretless side - after experimenting with walking bass a bit inside a 5-fret area on only 3 strings, I think it's definitely going to work. 

I don't have huge hands, but I seem to be able to play the bottom 3 strings fairly well without any issues - I am wearing the bass higher than I would usually, though, to help with left hand position.

All in all, I'm really impressed with it, it's an excellent instrument.

And it's had so little use, the original battery is still in there(!!)

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14 hours ago, basexperience said:

Well, I've had it for a day, and I can say it's definitely growing on me a lot. The fretless side really does sound a lot like an upright (I have an NXT 5-string electric upright). And you're right - above the 15th fret or so, the fretless side gets pretty hard to play on the lower 2 strings. However - my plan is to restring the lower strings to E - A - D as I want to use it as two basses in one (effectively), I'm less interested in soloing on the fretless side - after experimenting with walking bass a bit inside a 5-fret area on only 3 strings, I think it's definitely going to work. 

I don't have huge hands, but I seem to be able to play the bottom 3 strings fairly well without any issues - I am wearing the bass higher than I would usually, though, to help with left hand position.

All in all, I'm really impressed with it, it's an excellent instrument.

And it's had so little use, the original battery is still in there(!!)

First of all, congratulations!!! 🙂

Glad to hear that it works for you! Makes sense  on the way you want to use it! Is there dedicated eq for the piezo side of the bass? I remember the first version of the bass, there was a tiny jazz pickup in the bridge position for the fretless strings. I liked that. Agree with Lfalex, no picture no bass! 😄 Please share!

Looking forward to hearing how you get on with the bass in the longer run. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 19/03/2021 at 08:10, MrWalker said:

First of all, congratulations!!! 🙂

Glad to hear that it works for you! Makes sense  on the way you want to use it! Is there dedicated eq for the piezo side of the bass? I remember the first version of the bass, there was a tiny jazz pickup in the bridge position for the fretless strings. I liked that. Agree with Lfalex, no picture no bass! 😄 Please share!

Looking forward to hearing how you get on with the bass in the longer run. 

Here she is! I’ve got a new set of D’addario Chrome flatwounds so I can restring them fretless side EAD. If I had bigger hands I’d be able to solo at the top of the fretless board, but that was never my plan anyway: the bottom 3 are going to be used for proper bass (and maybe the odd midrange excursion). 

the tone off those fretless strings really is quite striking! I’ve taken the thumb rest off: I don’t use them, and it just got in the way - hell of a job getting it off!

D7FA69D5-A226-4B43-94A4-E457BC8F56B2.jpeg

DA3D5F42-81D8-46BE-9793-530038DBC6FD.jpeg

Edited by basexperience
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