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This article was originally published in issue #45
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Ibanez's Explorer-like Destroyer is back (what do you mean you never knew it went away?). Dan Veall (a bit of a destroyer himself) seemed like the ideal person to welcome it.
The earliest reference to the Ibanez Destroyer bass I can find is around 1976 in an early Ibanez catalogue, but here it is, back again, this time reincarnated as the DTB-400. Yes, the Destroyer has seen updates over the years, but what we have here is that classic Ibanez Rock outline which you will either love or...well, it might not be your kind of thing.
The bass may look huge, but actually the centre of the body, your main ‘playing area’, isn’t actually that big – it's just that the horns make it look a little unwieldy at first. Onto the mahogany body is bolted a maple neck and onto that has been affixed a rosewood fingerboard, bound around the edges and headstock. This binding continues on to the body perimeter too. I think this sets off against the black body in a tasteful way.
In true Ibanez style, the neck is designed to be slim and fast for aggressive Rock/Metal playing styles. In my review I thought that by feel alone the neck wasn’t that far away from a Jazz bass - not a bad guess actually, it’s a 40mm nut which doesn’t feel unlike the profile of my '70s P bass ‘A’ neck, also at 40mm.
Marking your positions on the bass neck, nine blocks that aren’t going to let you down on a dark stage, each flanked by 22 medium sized frets.
Over to the electronics and there’s really no messing with this bass - it’s all passive for a completely plug and play mentality. P style split coils and J style Jazz pickup in the bridge position offer up a range of familiar tones when balanced through the Volume / Volume / Tone passive control set. Personally, I've never really got on with two volume controls. I’d rather have a selector switch and a master volume. Very useful if you are playing music with lots of stops and you are a distortion fiend :) It helps to be able to shut the volume off easily. Maybe it’s just me, I’m not very good at flapping over two volume controls!
The tone control rolls off to a passive honk if you wind it all the way back, but there’s a pleasing sweet spot rolling back just enough to take the top off, then bang the whole lot through a drive pedal like the Darkglass Vintage Ultra. You can lift this instrument further with the active EQ.
So, here’s the thing. You know that I love instruments that are a bit different. The DTB looks great and on stage I imagine it’s comfortable charging about and getting the ole foot up on the monitor for some serious Rock posing. Sitting down though, for me was another story! Strangely, I had the same issue when we reviewed Hohner’s B2. The body shapes are just so different to what I am used to it messed with my hand position. I found it easier to use a pick. Everyone is different though and I am sure if I had more than the review time to play the bass I will have found a comfortable way to handle it. That protruding upper body angle did mess with my elbow position though.
There's no doubt this is a great bass made by a well known and trusted brand and you won't go wrong with it, but it's what we Brits like to call a 'Marmite' option. In case you don't know, Marmite is a savoury spread and the taste is so distinctive the makers cheerfully sell it as a 'you'll love it or hate it' proposition. You might feel that way about the Destroyer's looks – an acquired taste.