Hands-On Review:Ibanez Soundgear Basses

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Ibanez Soundgear Basses

Well designed, well made, affordably priced

By Jeff Ballard

SR900 Soundgear 4-String Bass
SRX300 Bass
SRX500 Bass
SRX700 Bass


If you haven't played an Ibanez Soundgear Bass yet, you should. You'll be impressed. Soundgears have quietly become one of the top-selling basses worldwide. The reason is simple: more Ibanez bass for less money. Even the most affordable 300 level models are quality instruments with the construction, woods, hardware, and electronics you'd expect to cost much more.




The Soundgears have solid wood bodies, all in the same style—sleek, nicely balanced, contoured for comfort, and not too heavy. Ash, maple, mahogany, basswood, or agathis are used for different models, and this variety of woods gives each its own tonal character. Some models have figured maple tops for showtime looks.




Soundgear necks are especially distinctive, very thin in profile (22mm at the 12th fret) and narrow in width (62mm tapering to 38mm at the nut on the 4-string basses). They play fast and are especially easy on the hand. Soundgear necks are laminated, which gives them a strength that allows the thin profile. The number of laminations and the types of woods used vary from model to model, and the mid- to upper-end Soundgear models use neck-thru construction for enhanced resonance and sustain. All Ibanez bass models are 34" scale with 24 frets and have a gentle 34" radius.




All Soundgear Basses feature active electronics for high output and tonal flexibility. Most use an Ibanez 2-band EQ system with stacked knobs so you can adjust both treble and bass without moving your hand. Some models feature a three-band Bartolini system with matching Bartolini pickups.




The SRX basses are the wild side of the Soundgear family. They are basically the same as the SR models, with loosely parallel step-up features. The big difference is in the pickups. The SRX models are equipped wtih massive high-output PFR humbuckers with exposed pole pieces. They don't just deliver skull-crushing volume. They do it with tone.


Extensive Selection


The Soundgear Basses featured here are the most popular models but there are many more—23 counting the five-strings—so no matter what your style of music is, what features you especially want, or how much your budget will allow, the Soundgear Series gives you real choices. The lower-level models make great starter Ibanez basses. They are a popular solution for experienced players seeking a worthy five-string as a second instrument. The upper-level models give pro players ample choices of basses that will more than meet their needs. Essentially there's a Soundgear Bass for every player. Choose yours and get a great deal on a bass you'll love playing.