Gear Review: Ibanez SR300E and TMB2000 Basses
This review will cover two Ibanez basses that are by design apples and oranges, but maybe in side-by-side comparison help you to find a good fit that suit your needs. The SR300E-CCB is the more modern styled and beginner level variety and the TMB2000-TFL fits the more seasoned player seeking a classic sound and esthetic. Both are well built, came set up well out of the box, sound great and suitable for a variety of music styles.
I’ll start with the sleek SR300E-CCB. At a totally affordable $350.00, this is versatile bass with features you’d pay more for years ago. Its light, compact body will be comfortable to those that like small body basses. The neck has the slim fast feel that the SR series is known for, and a 24-fret, 34-inch scale length rosewood fingerboard. It’s very easy on the hands, making it comfortable for even young players and guitarists.
The three band EQ offers up a wide range of tones and is relatively easy to operate. If anything, it’s too broad due to the range of not so useful tones, but that is just my opinion. Nonetheless, good usable bass tone is there. One nice feature is the micro switch that allows you to choose between “tap”, “series” and “power tap”. In essence you get three different sounding pickup configurations on one bass. In my opinion, the range was decent but leaned to the high and “hot” side. If you use a cabinet with a horn, you’ll need to dial it in. You could roll back the treble or choose the neck pickup to take the edge off but I can’t ever imagine needing that kind of bite and spit from the high end. This is not to say that there isn’t a warmer, fuller tone to be had, but there seems to be an abundance of treble tones available. The mids knob was a nice way to pull up some good meat and snarl for finger playing. This is an entry-level bass, and it offers plenty to a budding bassist. It’s a fine bass at $350 bucks. What can you gripe about at this price range?
The TMB2000-TFL is a considerable move upward from the SR bass above, as is the price tag of about $1,500.00. This bass is aiming for a designated style and sound…generally speaking. It’s a hip yet retro looking bass with a strong nod the classic bass sounds of the past but with the broader tonal palette. It also has a more up front and fuller sound than stock instruments from the past could muster without some sort of pre-amp help. This bass has a vibe, a soul so to speak. One could play whatever style of music with this bass, but it just seems to really shine on R&B, Soul, Funk, Blues or anything that needs some good solid pocket and groove bass playing.
If you are a Fender P Bass kind of bassist, then you’ll enjoy the familiar feel. The neck and string set up was of a medium height which adds to the type of feel and tone the TMB has, but you could drop it down lower if you like a lighter touch. It’s the Nordstrand NP4 and NJ4 pickups that really make this bass sing. It’s full not muddy, clear but not thin, crisp and sweet on top. Working the balance knob between the two pickups is where you’ll find the sweet spot.
The tonal range was wide, useful and easy to tweak on the fly. I really liked the simple controls, which I’ve come to prefer over the years. The knobs are a stacked volume over pickup blend, then stacked treble over bass. That’s it. If you are of the school of thought that tone is in the hands, then you’ll dig this bass. There is an EQ bypass switch that basically leaves you with a typical treble roll off style tone control. The electronics are clean and free of noise and hum. A hard shell case is included along with a very nifty J Craft multi tool (think Swiss Army knife) that has every tool you’ll need for bass triage in the field. This bass has a voice, and for those that are looking for a great all around workhorse, I think you should check one out.
Ibanez SR300E-CCB Bass Specs:
|Neck:||SR4 5-piece Maple/Rosewood|
|Pickups:||PowerSpan Dual Coils|
|Electronics:||Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-band eq w/3 way Power Tap switch|
|Bridge:||Accu-cast B120 bridge|
|String Spacing at Bridge:||19mm|
|Hardware Color:||Cosmo Black|
|Finish:||Charred Champagne Burst|
Ibanez Talman Bass TMB2000-TFL Bass Specs:
|Pickups:||Nordstrand NP4 in Neck Posiiton, Nordstrand NJ4 in Bridge Position|
|Electronics:||Ibanez Custom Electronics 2-band eq w/Eq bypass slide switch (passive tone control on treble pot)|
|Bridge:||Gotoh® 203B-4 bridge|
|String Spacing at Bridge:||19mm|
|Finish:||Tri-Fade Burst Low Gloss|