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Ibanez SR300E Bass Review
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Review

Ibanez SR300E Bass Review

by 2016/02/16
Overview
Price

$349

Product Name

Ibanez SR300E

Positives

• Fast fretboard that's easy to play
• Looks good
• Good set-up straight out of the store
• Balanced body
• Good pricing for feature set

Negatives

• Does not produce good results in the studio.

Rating
Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Sound Quality
65%
69%
Appearance
90%
78%
Worth it?
75%
80%
Ease of Use
96%
92%
Hardware
70%
89%
Features
78%
88%
Bottom Line

The SR 300E offers amazing feel and ease of playing for the price. It looks good and provides decent sound for the live arena. The sound in the studio leaves much to be desired. All in all, it's a good budget bass that offers fair value for money.

79%
Our Rating
83%
User Rating
40 ratings
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The Ibanez SR300E is a budget bass guitar suited to those who want a fast neck and value for money. It’s the latest update in the long-running SR series. The SR300E is very lightweight and easy to play. The fretboard is narrow and fast. It plays very similar to a guitar. It will attract both those with small hands and also those who want to play rapid licks. The bass has a five-piece maple/rosewood neck, mahogany body, rosewood fretboard with white dot inlay and 24 medium-sized frets. It’s powered by a pair of passive Ibanez PowerSpan dual coil pickups.

The Ibanez SR300E in Charred Champagne Burst.

The Ibanez SR300E in Charred Champagne Burst.

Ibanez SR300E offers good build quality

The Ibanez SR300E is evenly weighted so it can be played comfortably while sitting or standing. The action is nice and low, but doesn’t produce fret buzz. The overall design of the bass will likely appeal to pick players, although there’s no reason why it can’t be played with fingers. The deep cutaways allow easy access to the higher frets. The frets are even and don’t catch on your hands, which is a common problem for budget basses. Moving up and down the fretboard is easy. It has a standard 34-inch scale but the width of the fretboard is noticeably slimmer than most other basses. The width at the nut is 38mm, while the width at the last fret is 62mm. The bass plays like a dream. It’s easier to play than many other more expensive basses. I personally find most Ibanez guitars too thin too play, but on a bass the Ibanez engineering works well. People with larger hands or bass traditionalists perhaps will prefer a meatier instrument. For those that just want an instrument that’s easy to get around, the SR300E is perfect.

Thin neck appeals to guitarists, beginners

The SR300E will likely attract guitarists entering the world of bass for the first time. It is certainly a good instrument to help a guitarist become accustomed to the bass. For people new to music, the instrument may help them get used to the feel of playing a bass guitar without the impediments met by playing a larger bass. It’s worth noting that if you only experience with playing bass is on a SR300E, you may feel uncomfortable playing other bass guitars because it is so unusually easy to play. The bass is available in left-handed versions (SR300EL)

The Ibanez SR300E IPT.

The Ibanez SR300E IPT.

There is one problem for guitarists who want to pick up a cheap bass to use the studio. Ibanez may have got the feel of the instrument right. It sounds good when plugged into a bass amp and played live.  Its tone in the studio leaves much to be desired though. While recording I couldn’t get it to sound good despite a lot of tweaking both on the bass and in my DAW. It sounded cheap and was difficult to place in the mix. In the end I gave up and had to borrow a bass to complete the recording. For those who only want to record rough demos it’ll do the job. But it certainly won’t stand against the tones produced by higher quality basses. Perhaps changing the pick-ups could help alleviate this issue.

The back of the Ibanez SR300E IPT.

The back of the Ibanez SR300E IPT.

Sleek design on Ibanez SR300E

The bass has a sleek design and looks good. The curves of the instrument are reminiscent of the Ibanez S Series guitars. The SR basses have quite a modern look. Like the playing feel, the instrument is not going to please traditionalists. The Ibanez SR300E is offered in six finishes. The basses are similar in appearance to the more expensive instruments in the SR Standard line, although the pricier instruments do offer some different finish choices. They generally show more of the woodgrain than the coated SR300E basses.

The Ibanez SR300E has a three-band EQ, which is controlled by a trio of small pots. The controls offer a boost and cut to bass, mids and treble. The EQ options are extended with a three-way Power Tap switch. There are also two larger knobs for volume and blend, the latter which controls the volume prominence of each individual pick-up. Personally I prefer minimal controls on the instrument itself, in favour of controlling tone on the amp. Some bassists do prefer to have the options there so naturally this will appeal to them.

The headstock of the Ibanez SR300E.

The headstock of the Ibanez SR300E.

Conclusion

The bass offers amazing feel and ease of playing for the price. The instrument feels right straight out of the store. It won’t please everyone, particularly those who like more traditional designs. It looks good and provides decent sound for the live arena. The sound in the studio lets the instrument down. However at this price range I would be surprised if it did sound any good in the studio. All in all, it’s a good budget bass that offers fair value for money.

United States: Musicansfriend

United Kingdom: Gearformusic

International: Thomann

  • neck type SR4 5pc Maple/Rosewood neck
  • body Mahogany body
  • fretboard Rosewood fretboard w/White dot inlay
  • fret Medium frets
  • number of frets 24
  • bridge Accu-cast B120 bridge (19mm string spacing)
  • neck pickup PowerSpan Dual Coil neck pickup (Passive)
  • bridge pickup PowerSpan Dual Coil bridge pickup (Passive)
  • equaliser Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-band eq w/3 way Power Tap switch
  • factory tuning 1G, 2D, 3A, 4E
  • string gauge .045/.065/.085/.105
  • hardware color Cosmo black
  • Scale 864mm/34"
  • a: Width at Nut 38mm
  • b: Width at Last Fret 62mm
  • c: Thickness at 1st 19.5mm
  • d: Thickness at 12th 21.5mm
  • Radius 305mmR
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About The Author
Stephen Charlton

Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

  • Stevie Z
    2016/06/05 at 8:36 pm

    I’m wondering about your comment that it sounds great though an amp, but you don’t like it for recording. In my experience as a home studio owner I’ve found that if you can get a decent sound in the room, your job is then to figure out how to get THAT sound into the DAW. If you can make it sound great though an amp, then you just need to find the right mic/position/room treatment/chain to make it sound like that in the DAW. Other then that, I agree 100% with the rest of your review.

    • Stephen Charlton
      2016/06/06 at 4:40 pm

      It sounded good to my ears used in a room, but when I recorded it, it highlighted the unappealing aspects of the bass.
      I’ve found that quality instruments are fairly easy to get a good sound out of in the studio. It was a real battle to get the bass sounding good though. I’m sure it could be done. Although I found on the same set-up, that other basses were more straight-forward to get a pleasing result from.
      What you’re saying is definitely true though.
      Thanks 🙂

  • Lamont
    2017/01/14 at 11:01 pm
    Positives

    Great low end bass

    Rating
    Sound Quality87%
    Appearance86%
    Worth it?90%
    Ease of Use89%
    Hardware88%
    Features91%

    I like it cool

  • Sander
    2017/06/30 at 12:44 pm
    Positives

    Light, easily balanced, looks good, easy to adjust set-up

    Negatives

    None I can think of, own it for four months now, haven't seen one negative aspect

    Rating
    Sound Quality90%
    Appearance100%
    Worth it?100%
    Ease of Use85%
    Hardware75%
    Features100%

    I absolutely like the bass. I have tried Squiers, Fenders and a Yamaha but found this the best playing bass. Haven tried recording it (yet), so I can’t say anything about that aspect.

    Qaulity of finish is very good also, especially considering the low price.

  • Will
    2017/09/30 at 12:46 am
    Positives

    Excellent bass for the money. Much like a hot rod out of the box.

    Negatives

    As the neck is quite thin, if you use very heavy gauge strings it will bow a little more, so once strung up, you have to give the truss another 1/4 clockwise twist. As as lefty, I don't like that this only comes in one color. But that's better than none.

    Rating
    Sound Quality89%
    Appearance100%
    Worth it?100%
    Ease of Use100%
    Hardware100%
    Features79%

    Pretty good review. I think the Ibanez ranks above its peers in value, appearance, and sound. When you say “arena” I imagine you mean in all live situations. Could be a coliseum or a dive bar. but as another poster said, if you can get a good sound out of the bass in any room, you can duplicate that sound in the studio. Maybe the adjustments were meant for an instrument with a much different EQ curve.

    Other than that thank you for the positive reviews.

    • Stephen Charlton
      2017/09/30 at 4:22 pm

      Cheers 🙂 Yeah talking about live situations in general. Have been playing the hell out of this bass since I did the review, it’s still serving me well. I might upgrade the pick-ups or move further up the Ibanez range if I keep doing shows on bass at some point though.

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