Ibanez BTB 905 and 1005FL Reviews
Daddy's Junky Music. 905 was $1000 new
and 1005FL was $850 extremely clean used.
I was seeking a 5 string with very wide
string spacing [I'm a klutz] and a warm
mellow sound when I bought the 905. A
year later I found the 1005 fretless when
seeking a fretless 5 string.
The tonal range of BTB 5-strings is just
amazing. Much of it is the 18v active EQ
[with midrange sweep] but I know it's also the wood in these versions because I had
previously tried and rejected the Korean
BTBs. These are the Japanese limited run
models with mahogany cores and fancy tops.
I never thought tops made a big difference
until I tried these basses.
The 905 is our Diva's favorite sound out
of my too large tribe of basses. Also,
most settings produce little or no noise.
The 1005 has a brighter top [maple rather
than the ovangkal of the 905] that I like
for its emphasis of fretless whine, but I
find it too bright for fretted playing. I
did try a fretted 1005 before buying the
905 last year. The 1005 is newer to me.
I use Rotosound black flatwounds on both,
so you know I don't like extra brite tone.
Other major positive [for me] is the very wide string spacing, and I also like the
balance provided by the long top horn. A
35" scale is important to me as well, most
especially for a B-string.
The neck joint isn't the sort of ergonomic
nightmare of some other well respected
basses [and I believe that the newest BTBs
are now thru-neck, in case this is a big
issue for you]. You can access the whole
24 frets [or nonfrets] rather well, at
least on the ADG strings. These necks are
*very* wide up there, as wide as some of
the "normal gauge" 6-string basses.
While the tonal range is extreme, the
further you vary away from center [or
close-to-flat] the more artificial the
tone sounds. At mildly boosted range
it sounds pretty reasonable but nearer
the extremes it sounds very processed
or "engineered". It has plenty of
variety in the "natural" range but on
a 4-knob EQ it's not always easy to
make a safe adjustment while playing.
Bolt-on necks, 5 pice laminate with
dark stringer between hard maple and
rosewood fingerboards. Bodies have
mahogany cores with ovangkol top on
the 905 and maple both top and bottom
on the 1005FL. Bridges are monorail.
Pickups are large but not of any std
size and shape [changing them would
not be a casual project].
The top horn extends over the octave
so balance is excellent and the tip
points slightly down so the strap is
more secure on the button. Bodies are
on the large side but not excessively
thick, so weight is reasonable for a
"full size" 5 string, especially with
the extra wide 35" neck. There is no
passive mode at all. If the 18 volts
dies, you can't play at all.
If you prefer the sharper, more
"contemporary" sound of the Korean
BTBs, you can save big bucks since
they have the same necks, bridges,
and electronics. Obviously I really
like the limited run models since I
have both fretted and fretless.
I'd recommend any BTB-5 that plays
"your" tone as a vesatile and well
made bass for any use. The single
detail that bugs me is the stacked
midrange level and mid-sweep knobs.
They do look somewhat vulnerable as
they rise above the other knobs, but
a number of good basses also have the
same arrangement so maybe it's just
a personal thing, but I thought it to
be worth mention.
If you want a bass with which to hit
the road, I'd add a second jack that bypasses the whole 18 volt pre-amp and
EQ system [full out, no controls] just
to know you have a failsafe backup.
Overall it's a well made do-anything
bass that seems able to deliver the
goods for any playing style.Golem
rated this unit