Ibanez has become a really well-known brand for guitars and bass guitars. In our Ibanez GSR200 review, we look at one of the huge amount of bass guitars they offer. This is definitely a budget-friendly option and as such is popular with both beginner and intermediate bassists alike.
As a manufacturer of guitars and bass guitars, Ibanez is perhaps best known among the heavier musical genres, rock and metal fans will probably have seen their bands playing Ibanez guitars and basses as well as using their pedals.
The looks aren’t the main thing we judge a bass on, but this certainly has a sleek-yet-sturdy vibe to it and is available in five different colors. This model is sometimes called a GIO bass.
The GSR200 – Features
This bass guitar has a very sturdy, well-made headstock and tuners which do an adequate job. It doesn’t feel like the most luxurious bass when you come to tune it, but the tuner does what you need it to. The angled headstock attaches to a sturdy maple neck and then a rosewood fretboard.
This has 22 Frets, and although some Ibanez guitars have 24, it is slightly more than a lot of the Fender and Squier basses which often have 20. The body of this the GSR 200 is slightly cut away at the bottom for more ambitious fretting. This has made it popular with ambitious bassists who like to play the higher notes available to them and can make an incredible sound for slap bass or solos.
In terms of comfort, Ibanez has thought of everything. There is a contour designed for the arm which makes it sit nicely, and the lightweight design of the bass means that you don’t feel shackled once you put it around your neck. The edges are rounded and the body is made of Agathis. Some are put off by Agathis, but I am here to tell you that this is a myth, especially with an electronic instrument like this one. Brands such as Squier and Ibanez have used Agathis wood to great effect in recent years, and this is sturdy, with a great tone, not hindered by the wood in the slightest.
The simple electronic setup of the GSR is more than sufficient, and pretty impressive considering the price point. Most other brands and bass guitars at this price range go with passive electronics, but Ibanez has upped the game. The GSR200 offers an active set of electronics. There is a split coil pickup near the neck twinned with a single coil pickup on the bridge of the bass. This is not unusual in terms of pickups, and is similar to what you will see in a Precision or Jazz bass, but the fact that active electronics are included at such a great price point gives this the edge over a lot of other basses at around the $200 mark.
Cutting to the Chase: The Sound
The Sound of the GSR200 is, of course, the main thing people want to know when considering buying one. The good news is that considering how much this will set you back, the sound is good. It is pretty precise with a nice, meaty low end and doesn’t let you down in terms of going out of tune. It is a versatile bass and the sound will fit nicely into pretty much any genre of music, so don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a rock or metal bass, it will work well with anything! For a beginner, it is hard to find another bass with such a good tone at a price which is relatively cheap.
Four different tone controls and pickup controls allow you to alter the audio and tailor the sound to exactly what you are looking for. The Active EQ with Phat II Bass Boost gives a nice, responsive low-end sound. It is hard to be disappointed with a bass offering so much for the price, but it is important to point out that there are restrictions. The bass isn’t as impressive as some of the other models you can buy, but many of those cost two to three times as much. What we have here is a very sturdy and impressive beginner or hobbyist bass.
As we often say when it comes to budget or beginner gear, this isn’t going to be seen on stage at Glastonbury or Coachella anytime soon. That said, for those just getting started or wanting to give playing bass a try, for this amount of money you’ll struggle to do much better. The main competitor at the “low-end” range this occupies are Squier bass guitars on which we have written this article