Hands-On Review:Ibanez EDA 905 Five-String Bass.
by Emile Menasché
The five-string bass is nothing new, but Ibanez’s EDA 905 offers a new take on the form. With its compact and comfortable shape, synthetic body, slick neck and modernistic finish, the EDA 905 plays well and makes a bold visual statement. But it’s the electronics that separate it from the pack.
The bass uses a two-pickup system to deliver a wide array of traditional and innovative tones. The twist is that one of the pickups is a bridge-mounted Fishman Mono-Rail II piezo transducer, which Ibanez pairs with a body-mounted magnetic humbucker. By combining the two—and taking advantage of the tone-shaping power of the on-board active electronics—you can take this bass into some uncharted territory.
The piezo and the magnetic pickup each have a set of volume and tone controls. The magnetic’s tone knob can boost both the high and low frequencies. The piezo actually has two tone controls: a top-mounted treble boost/cut and a rear-mounted “set and forget” bass contour control, which you adjust using a mini screwdriver. You can also adjust the piezo’s sensitivity for each string, and preset its maximum volume to achieve the ideal balance between it and the magnetic.
On its own, the magnetic pickup sounds punchy, with plenty of attack. Boosting the lows gives you ample rumble to shake the house. Pushing the highs, meanwhile, provides enough top end for you to handle slap-style funk without sounding shrill.
You can get even greater range out of the piezo. When tested through a bass amp powering a 15-inch speaker/tweeter combination, the EDA 905 went from an almost acousticlike woodiness to a tone with a very papery top end. The latter setting sounded thin on its own, but it was great when combined with the magnetic pickup—the humbucker delivered the foundation and focus, while the piezo delivered the attack. Reversing the situation also worked well: mixing the high-end bite of the bucker (with its treble boosted) with the smoothness of the piezo (with its treble cut) made the bass sound big but not overpowering.
The EDA 905 is very comfortable to play. The neck is nicely proportioned: not as wide as some five strings, it still offers enough room to articulate each note. The action is low and tight, and the strings don’t flop. Wish I could say that about every five-string right out of the box.
The bass runs on a 9-volt battery, but the compartment can only be accessed with a screwdriver; a flip-open battery chamber would have been nice. Be sure to check your battery before the gig.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the Ibanez EDA 905 is a solid performer. It’s easy to play yet can handle an aggressive attack. And the quality and versatility of its sounds are very impressive in this price range.