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Maude

NBD Ibanez Talman TMB30

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By some weird coincidence I seem to have a thing for short scales at the moment and this is the latest addition to the fun little family, an Ibanez Talman in, what I think is rather fetching Ivory. Bought from PMT online for the meagre sum of £151 delivered to my door. 

I fancied trying a piccolo bass and have always quite liked the look of these. I looked at a couple of reviews and my mind was made up. Now I could've just put some piccolo strings on one of my existing short scales but where's the fun in that. 

Anyway it turned up yesterday evening and I've only just been able to properly play it, and it's fantastic. Really well built and the hardware seems just as good as any bass in the sub £500 range. Paint is good, the pickups sound great, controls are responsive. It's a PJ and when pickups are solo'd it sounds like a P should and the J has that nasal quality but sounds good, both on full the volume drops slightly but back of the J to about 75% and the tone on about 50% and it sounds great. 

The neck is satin and lovely and smooth with some quite nice grain but very light in colour and the fretboard is quite light as well due to being something that's not rosewood, I don't know what, but I real life looks better than I'd thought it was going be, quite a depth to the colours in the wood. Frets are all nicely finished and it plays great straight out of the box, a couple of tiny tweeks would improve it but that's a personal thing and it'll be getting a set of piccolo strings, which have just dropped through the door for £6 from Amazon, so it will need tweeking again anyway. 

The only bit that's not great is a dull patch on the front of the upper horn that needs polishing. It's looks like it has been flatted slightly and not polished up properly, or some of the polystyrene packing may have been rubbing on it in transit. Either way it'll polish up no problem and I'm overly fussy with paint anyway so some might not have ever noticed it. For the money I'm not going to complain. What you can get for so little money these days is amazing. 

Enough rambling, I know you all just want pictures. 😉

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This the paint patch in the light making it look worse than it actually is, then some pics with reflections on the paint so you can see the finish. 

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I'm not sure I like the control knobs, but again for the money I can't grumble. 

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Finally the strings that just arrived. I've got some work to do but will be fitting them later. 

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So there you go. I can thoroughly recommend one of theses if you fancy a classic looking short scale. 🙂

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17 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Best colour imho. 👍

Thanks, I think so. I do like the surf green one but I've just painted my Longhorn mint green so didn't want something similar. This is a really yellowy ivory, it's really very nice in the flesh, like vanilla ice cream, which will go with my mint Longhorn and chocolate Kay shorties.

Mmmmmm, ice cream. 😁

 

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Oh wow. Love that colour combination. Really cool looking shortie. Enjoy! 

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These are mega value for money!  Had a perfect black one then sold it to get the ivory finish.  Unfortunately when it arrived it was very poor quality finish-wise and got exchanged for a Squier Jag s-s - now also moved on.  The cheap Ibanez basses are great unless you happen to get a Friday afternoon one!

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@scrumpymike The paint finish on that top horn shouldn't have left the factory really, but that's the only issue I can see. I'm happy to give it a polish up but some may have sent it back. I'm not into relic'd instruments but weirdly I can see this looking great if it was a bit beaten an worn. Unfortunately you can't get a forty year old one with genuine wear and I'm not about to bust out the belt sander. 🙂

 

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This is probably the first bass I've seen where the headstock looks better as a five string. The tuner arrangement looks quite odd on a four, like the D is too far away. Shame mines a four string. 🙂

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5 hours ago, hooky_lowdown said:

@Maude how heavy is your tmb30?

I haven't got any scales here but it's not a lightweight. It's about middle of the road I'd say. I've got some heavy basses and some light ones but this is somewhere in the middle. It's a big lump of a body even though it's short scale. You don't pick it up and think "ooh that's light" like the Longhorn or Hofner shorties I've got, but at the same time you don't think "shite that's heavy" like some. It's just like an average Precision really. 

Sorry I can't be more help. 

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Mine was a modest 3.3kg so unless they've changed from mahogany to something heavier (or lighter), should all be about that.

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I have a black one, I don’t know how they make them so nice and so cheap.

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I've got one of the older (2015 I think?) black ones with what looks like a rosewood fretboard, it's been modded a little; new bridge, pickups, pots, jack, some metal silver knobs, stick on mother of pearl block markers and some lighter weight machine heads. But that was probably less than £50 worth of upgrades. And as everyone is saying, these are ridiculously great basses. The neck is sublime, more on the chunky side than some other shorties but far from cumbersome. It's one of my favourite neck profiles and in more than 30 years of playing it's one of my favourite basses that I've ever played.

Mine is also what I'd call medium weight, heavier than my Mustang but not so heavy that it's a problem. I've gigged it many times and not had any shoulder or back ache from it.

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5 minutes ago, Japhet said:

I fancy a short scale. Interested in these and the Gretsch Junior Jets.

Both of those are very decent basses, as is the squier jaguar short scale.

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Posted (edited)

I really, really like this bass. 

I bought it to put piccolo strings on, which I've got, but haven't actually done yet as I keep playing it as it is. It sounds ace played with a pick. I've just spent a couple of hours playing along to The Cure, Neds Atomic Dustbin (the high melodic bass), Joy Division and have just blasted through some early New Order, the frantic ones like Procession, Age of Consent, etc. 

The Hofner Club is nice but in a different way, it depends what you want. My Club has LaBella flats so is a proper thump master whereas the Talman with fresh rounds is really grindy with a pick. Put some flats on and play with yours fingers and it'll be thumpy like the Club, but put rounds on the Club and I don't think you'll ever get that grind, plus aggressive playing on a Club moves the bridge over time. 

Out of my shorties I had the Club with flats for the thump, Longhorn with rounds for the grind, and this Talman was getting the piccolo strings for some high up melodies but the Longhorn might get the piccolos now and keep this as it is, I don't know. I've also got the Kay but I can't for the life of me explain why. 😁

Edited by Maude

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You're bang on about the Club. I just finished recording Tina Weymouth's part from the live version of Take Me To The River. 

Club, flats, foam mute, pick. Put it through an Ampeg sim and it is thump heaven. 

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when u say u dont like the volume knob, are you referring to the layout/positioning or the knob itself?

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5 hours ago, james_027 said:

when u say u dont like the volume knob, are you referring to the layout/positioning or the knob itself?

The actual controls themselves are absolutely fine, I'm just not a fan of that style of plastic knob that's all.

I put a set of chrome precision style knobs on but they are taller than the plastic jazz style that it comes with and the one closest to the pickups is easy to knock if you get carried away when playing so I've gone back to the originals. 

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6 minutes ago, Maude said:

The actual controls themselves are absolutely fine, I'm just not a fan of that style of plastic knob that's all.

I put a set of chrome precision style knobs on but they are taller than the plastic jazz style that it comes with and the one closest to the pickups is easy to knock if you get carried away when playing so I've gone back to the originals.

This is mine, (apologies for the crap camera phone pic), with replacement chrome knobs... Plus a replacement £10 eBay high mass bridge and a set of Entwistle neodymium PJ pickups. The end result, one of the most comfortable, biggest sounding basses I've ever played in more than 35 years of playing bass. 

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@Osiris I've got a Precision and a Jazz with the respective P or JBXN's in and they are great pickups, the Jazz has a series switch and the neos in series are monstrous.

I can imagine your Talman sounds great. 

I'll also add that sometimes the excitement of a new bass can cloud your judgement on how good it actually is. A couple of weeks in to let the waters clear and really is a great bass, not just great for the money, just great. I've got my picollo strings on and with the tiniest smidge of overdrive and chorus added it's a fun new instrument. 

I know different folks like different tones but if you like that knarly P bass with rounds and a plectrum tone then this review is great.

Jump to 1:55 for P. 

 

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Can't wait for mine to arrive now, talk about wetting my appetite! 

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Posted (edited)

I'm really glad these are nice and good value, having told a colleague that his son wasn't asking for something rubbishy for Christmas... :D

 

Spoiler

(That is a slight exaggeration.

 

Edited by alyctes

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6 hours ago, Osiris said:

This is mine, (apologies for the crap camera phone pic), with replacement chrome knobs... Plus a replacement £10 eBay high mass bridge and a set of Entwistle neodymium PJ pickups. The end result, one of the most comfortable, biggest sounding basses I've ever played in more than 35 years of playing bass. 

IMG_20200522_203150114.thumb.jpg.27ecbc94924888befb40c01f00e0b30c.jpg

thanks for sharing this picture, does anybody bother to relocate the position of these knobs by changing a pickguard with new knob holes?

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10 hours ago, Maude said:

@Osiris I've got a Precision and a Jazz with the respective P or JBXN's in and they are great pickups, the Jazz has a series switch and the neos in series are monstrous.

I can imagine your Talman sounds great. 

I'll also add that sometimes the excitement of a new bass can cloud your judgement on how good it actually is. A couple of weeks in to let the waters clear and really is a great bass, not just great for the money, just great. I've got my picollo strings on and with the tiniest smidge of overdrive and chorus added it's a fun new instrument. 

I've had my Talman for 2 or 3 years now so I'm well and truly over the honeymoon period you get with a new toy. But for me the Talman is still very much my go to bass. As you said, they're great, and not just for the money. I've gigged mine dozens of times and it has always been comfortable, easy to play and sounded good*. It's a little overweight for a short scale but not to the point that it's a problem. 

*I bought it off a mate who'd changed the original pickups so I can't comment on what the stock pickups sound like. For the past couple of years I had a set of PJ pickups fitted from, I think, a non DE Scorpio Peavey Zodiac. These sounded very good, but I recently picked up a PJ set of Entwistle neodymium pickups from a guy on the forum and now it's a beast, what a huge, clear and punchy tone! I've only played it in the house, but I'm itching to try it with a band once we're able to.

These really are superb little basses and a couple of inexpensive upgrades can make them compete with instruments that cost several times the price. 

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