A flood of new Ibanez basses announced at Winter NAMM 2010
(Dave Molter | Posted 2010-01-20)
What's a bassist to do? Just when you thought there might be be enough time to taste all the flavors of basses in the world Ibanez stomps on your palate by releasing 31 new bass models at Winter NAMM 2010. True, some of the new basses are just color variations of the same model, but that's a lot of basses to sort through. Still, Ill do my best to give you a sample of what was announced.
First, about Ibanez. The company has been turning out very nice basses since the late 1970s, and I expect this crop to be no less playable and appealing both to the ear and eye. So let's get started.
Among the most interesting of the new basses is the SR2010ASC Ashula, the world’s first fret/fretless hybrid bass guitar. The 34"-scale Ashula has four fretted strings tuned to the standard E-A-D-G, and two fretless strings are tuned to D and G a n octave higher. The Ashula features a Light Ash body with 5-piece Jatoba/Bubinga neck, with onboard Ashula EQ. The special humbucking Sonic Arch pickups are double coiled in a single-coil housing. Separate tone & volume controls are added for the two fretless strings. Width of the neck at the nut is a tad under 2.1", width at the final fret is almost 3.35"
I suppose this bass will appeal to soloists, but for myself, I'd rather have seen a five-string bass tuned B-E-A-D-G with 24 frets and no frets on the D & G Strings above the 12th fret. One good thing: MSRP is $1,133.32, so street price should be around $900. If it plays and sounds as nice as it looks, it may be something to consider for bassists who don't want to carry both a fretted and fretless to the gig.
Best of the rest
Another interesting model is the short-scale (30.3") GARTB20. Available in red or black, the double-pickup, single-cutaway bass has a sculpted Basswood body and rosewood fretboard with dot markers. The GART is indeed affordable: $285.70 MSRP. It may appeal to guitarists who double on bass or younger students or players with small hands.
Fans of "pretty" basses will appreciate the construction and good looks. Fans of "pretty" basses may like the SRA 500 Series, achieved by combining the slim, fast neck of the SR series and the "heavy bottom" of the SRX series basses. The SRAs feature contoured, quilted-maple tops and flat backs; 24-fret necks; EQB-IIIC 3-band EQ; and EMG® HZ pickups. The SRA 500 is available in Trans Amber or Trans Black; the SRA 505 fiver is available in Trans Blackberry.MSRP on the 500 is $666.65.
Six-string fans will appreciate the BTB676, which Ibanez claims has boutique bass quality at realistic prices. With a 35” set-through neck, deep cutaways and Bartolini KMK-II pickups, the natural finish BTB does indeed have that "boutique" look. MSRP: $1133.32
For a look at the other models announced at NAMM, visit http://www.ibanez.com/new?=bass.