What is it?
Ibanez’s reputation as a builder of excellent bass guitars has only been enhanced in recent years. Of course the top-end models coming out of the Ibanez Prestige series are head-turners of the highest order, but we’re also talking about basses in and around the magic 1000-buck price point. They just keep coming…
Take the evocatively titled SR2405W-BTL, a quite exquisite five-string from Ibanez’s SR Premium lineup A shallow-bodied beaut, finished in Brown Topaz, with gold hardware and a pair of active Aguilar Super Double single-coil pickups, this is a pro-quality instrument that’s accessibly priced, and testament to Ibanez’s imagination when it comes to tonewoods.
Here we’ve got an African mahogany body with panga panga and quilted maple top. The SR2405W-BTL’s neck is a composite build, too, with a five-piece laminate of panga panga and purple heart – aka amaranth – strengthened by KTS titanium rods.
The neck is joined to the body via four bolts on an ergonomically friendly heel, and a generous scoop to allow you up to the top-end of the fretboard should the the effervescent ecstasies of jazz-fusion spirit you there.
This unfettered access allied to the svelte body profile makes the neck feel a little longer than it is. It’s a 34” scale instrument – nothing extraordinary—and yet it just opens up all that territory to explore. The finish is tip-top.
Build-wise, it’s solid, with Gotoh tuners and Ibanez’s Mono-rail bridge design – which isolates each saddle to reduce sympathetic vibrations and let each string, err, live its best life harmonically-speaking – but seriously, there are lots of lovely little touches, visual and practical, such as hand-crimped freds and abalone oval fret markers.
Performance and verdict
Played seated or standing, there’s definitely a little headstock bias but not much to complain about. With a nut width of 45mm, there’s a broad fingerboard to accommodate those five-strings, but Ibanez have gone with a slinky neck profile to off-set this and there’s no question it feels welcoming in the palm.
That neck has plenty of zip on it, which makes this an ideal choice for busy basslines and flamboyant styles. That panga panga fingerboard feels great. Sure, with the wood cocktail and the gold hardware and so on, the SR2405W-BTL is fancy-schmancy, but it’s a player’s bass, daring you to overplay.
Controls-wise, there is a three-band EQ, volume and pickup pan, and an EQ bypass switch should you want to run this flat. The two Aguilar Super Double Single-coil pickups are active and hum-cancelling, but when run in passive mode the EQ’s treble knob acts as a master tone control. There is certainly enough onboard tools to scuplt your tone without reaching back to your amp or pedalboard.
What tone do you associate with Ibanez basses? For us, it’s that liveliness, the elastic bounce and snap. The SR2405W-BTL has that in spades. It has a chewy lower-mid rasp that has plenty of attitude without losing that sense of refinement you want from a bass of this class. Dialling in a little more treble and you can really cut through with a sharp, precise tone.
As ever, Ibanez has played the percentages with the SR2405W-BTL and delivered a crowd-pleaser. Players of all styled will have a lot of fun with that neck, zipping up and down the fretboard or holding it low in the pocket, and they’ll surely find the tone they need.
For a do-it-all bass with some boutique stylings and excellent hardware and electronics, that price is a bargain. You’ll sure remember the bass even if you can quite remember its name.
MusicRadar verdict: This SR Premium five-string has a boutique vibe, excellent electronics, and a pro-quality, crowd-pleasing performance – it's a steal at this price.
- Price: £1,149 / $1,599.99 /
- Made In: Indonesia
- Colour: Brown topaz burst, low gloss finish
- Body: African mahogany core, panga panga and figured maple top
- Neck: Panga panga and purpleheart five-piece laminate, 34” scale, satin finish
- Neck Joint: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment
- Nut Width: 45mm
- Fingerboard: Bound panga panga
- Frets: 24
- Pickups: Aguilar Super Double Single-Coils x 2
- Electronics: Active Ibanez custom 3-band EQ, 9-volt
- Controls: Volume, pickup pan, bass, middle, treble/passive tone control, three-way mid-frequency switch (250Hz, 450Hz, 700Hz), active/passive selector switch
- Hardware: Gold hardware, IbanezMR5S Mono-rail bridge, Gotoh machine heads
- Weight: 4.2 kg / 9.25 lbs
- Case/gig bag included: Gig bag
- Left-hand option available: Yes
- Contact: Ibanez