While looking at bass guitars and trying to choose a worthy competitor for the Fender models I was faced with a pretty impressive model coming in from Ibanez, the GSR200. Ibanez has been one of the biggest names in the guitar industry with its amazing metal focused creations. However, one should not forget that it also has one of the most prominent bass guitars out there. The Ibanez GSR200 looks to be the savior of bassists on a budget.
Many experts have said that the Ibanez GSR200 is one of the best options for those that want Ibanez quality on their bass without paying a fortune. I can agree with that statement since this guitar costs a little compared to most models out there. While I am suspicious if it can really deliver some fat meaty tones or amazing playability, we will see it in testing. I reckon that this guitar is better suited for beginner bassists or those who are in a tight spot.
Specs and Features
Despite being a pretty cheap instrument the Ibanez GSR200 is pretty solid in the specs and features department, and if you didn’t know any better you would suspect it costing much more. Let’s see what it offers.
Starting with the construction, this guitar gives away its rich boy camouflage as it is built form a cheaper and more plentiful tonewood. The Ibanez GSR200 is constructed from the famous mahogany substitute, Agathis, which is not as hard as mahogany, but it is known for delivering some great warm tones, plenty of sustain and strength. This also makes the bass much lighter in general which should be a great thing, especially for beginners, because the bass is a large instrument as you know.
The neck of this bass is pretty good looking at the spec sheet. The neck is made from maple, which is pretty strong and durable in comparison to other tonewoods. This will make the guitar reliable for a long time since it will keep things intact all the time. On top of the neck, you have a rosewood fretboard, a material that is used even in the most high-end instruments, because it is cheap and the best alternative. It has 22 medium-sized frets, 2 more than its biggest competitors.
For those that don’t know in bass guitars, the hardware must be of higher quality thanks to thicker strings that put a lot of tension to the bridge and nut. The GSR200 rocks a B10 bridge which is pretty heavy duty and is stable at all times. On the other side, the nut is a synthetic one, pretty standard but overall good. The tuners are also simple die-cast machines hat will hold on, but not for frantic playing and will require tuning more often.
In terms of electronics, the Ibanez GSR200 is packed with an interesting set here. It has an active set, which should provide more responsiveness and dynamics, making it great for more contemporary genres. More often than not you will see passive pickups so this is nice for a change. The neck pickup is a Dynamic P split-coil which is a precision model and on the bridge, you will spot a single-coil Jazz Bass pickup, that looks promising. There are dedicated volume and tone knobs for each pickup and this beast should handle a wide range of genres.
Looking at the pictures of the Ibanez GSR200 I thought it was from the high-end range of the company, which is pretty much a camouflage, a good one indeed. When I first received this guitar it looked smaller than I expected but it was still full-sized which is interesting.
On top of that, it was much lighter than I expected due to the use of Agathis tonewood on it. It looks amazing though without any negative here. It has a straightforward aggressive double-cutaway Ibanez body that is a bit modified to make it a unique instrument. It has a glossy walnut flat finish which makes it look like more than it is worth really.
Taking the guitar on your lap will feel excellent as the company has made some nice modifications to be pretty playable. I was especially impressed with the contoured body design so that your arm will sit comfortably in a natural playing position. I was pretty impressed, to be honest from the first plugin. The fretboard felt nice, and the neck was pretty good despite not being the best in the business.
I have had the Ibanez GSR200 for about a few weeks now and I have played it very frequently. I have nothing but praise for this guitar. However, this is all based on the value that it offers for its price. The tones were pretty meaty and thick overall and the active electronics did their job perfectly. Tonal shaping was excellent overall and a beginner will have plenty of fun without a doubt. I was pretty much impressed with the active pickups which provided a bit more playfulness to this guitar. Warmth, precision, and responsiveness in the bass end of the frequency. It worked pretty well with a lot of genres overall.
With all that said the Ibanez GSR200 is not a great bass guitar, but it is a good instrument for its asking price. It is no way close at replacing an SR Prestige but it is better than some of the beginners focused models out there. I would recommend it for anyone though, I have decided to keep it as a bass I can teach someone on and have some jam sessions. Not the best there is, but if you want value and versatility this one does it.