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This article was originally published in issue #25
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Ibanez's SR bases have been around for a quarter of a century now (yes, really!) and during that time they've earned a tremendous reputation for their combination of modern design, great sound and impressive playability. You might imagine that a manufacturer would have pretty much exhausted all the new ideas for a range during that time, but no, Ibanez keeps developing its SR models, and here's the latest the (let's be frank about this) not very inspiringly named SR375- BBS. But let's not worry about the name. This a very comfortable instrument to play that even the smallest of hands will be agile with - AND it's a 5 string!
Let's talk details. The bolt-on neck is super fast and skinny with a shallow profile but I didn't find it too small, despite my massive hands, and could navigate it unhindered. In fact, it's actually very nice to play, straight out of the box. The 34” scale feels familiar and the 16.5mm string spacing is something I have personally used for years and years so, naturally, I liked it on the Ibanez! I've always said that it makes sense to pull the spacing in a little when adding extra strings, though that's personal preference and not everyone will want a close string spacing at the bridge, I appreciate.
Moving on, the neck is maple with rosewood stripes and features a rosewood fretboard capping the skinny profile. 24 medium size frets are tidily finished-off, with no sharp edges on this example.
The body is downsized and certainly not as 'tall' when sitting down as, say, a Precision bass. This makes it instantly comfortable for smaller players but that didn't mean it was an issue for me at 6'3” either, so I think that just about anyone is going to find this bass very comfortable to handle. Under the rather tasty blackberry glossy finish, that I think looks superb, is a maple body that in conjunction with the maple neck gives the bass a brighter chiming tone acoustically.
Plugging the bass in to the EBS rig we had in for review for this issue with all controls set 'flat', (no cut or boost on the EQ, both pickups on and volume all the way up) we were rewarded with a punchy and balanced sound across the bass neck with no obvious dead spots. The voice of the bass in these settings has a modern vibe to it but I couldn't resist just a bit of boost from the bass control to help bring out a solid low end.
The controls on the SR375 are made up of a master volume and pan control between the pickups - I demonstrate the sounds between each of the settings in the video review. The other pre-amp controls comprise cut and boost for the bass, middle and treble frequencies. On the subject of the EQB-IIID equaliser, I was intrigued to find that the boost and cut centres on the mid EQ control are different, so that boosting the control (according to online diagrams) adds lower mids whilst cutting the control (anti-clockwise) cuts more upper mids.
Ibanez's pickups on this model are passive 'Cap EXF-N2' units that are arched so that the each string is set at an equal distance from the pickup poles. Great idea and I do wonder why so many pickup manufacturers don't offer this as an option. Discuss!
I've not mentioned the Accu-cast bridge yet and there's something that Ibanez point out that I'd like to pick up on. The B125 features extra-wide string slots that allow for the installation of heavier gauge strings. I like this because many bass players are grabbing instruments that allow for deep drop tuning these days and doing that will require a bass that can accept those thicker strings. It looks like this bridge will do the trick in that department!
Tonally, sweeping through the settings, the bass is very capable, especially with the front and both pickup mix settings, though I found myself reaching for the bass and mid controls to make that bridge pickup produce a fatter sound on its own.
To sum-up this is a very fine addition to the Ibanez range and represents very good value for money. It's a very well priced instrument, very well made and delivers a solid, modern and very usable tone.