I purchased this bass as an upgrade from my original bass (Dean Edge 10A PJ).I am still a beginner with the bass, or ANY musical instrument, having just been learning for about six months.
My main reason for wanting the upgrade was that the cheap, mass produced Dean bass had fret ends like razor blades and I was tired of having my hands cut.
This Ibanez SR1200 is beautiful to look at, and the neck is silky smooth on my hand. As a beginner I can't say if this bass is truly "professional grade." However, my inept fumbling with the various controls can produce a great many sound shapes from very dark and punchy to very bright and shimmering with everything in between. One thing is certain, this is a better bass than the player in my particular case, and I have something to grow into and play for years to come.
I am not crazy about the strings that come on the bass. I am used to the LaBella Deep Talkin' Bass Black Nylon tape wrapped strings (.060-.115), and these Elixer round wounds (.045-.105) are just to bright for my tastes. Although they obviously are not broken in yet.
As for dealing with Sweetwater itself, nothing could have been easier. I ordered the bass Saturday Oct. 26, 2013, it shipped Monday Oct. 28, and I had the bass on Wednesday Oct. 30 before noon. UPS delivered the package in good condition. Sweetwater had double boxed the bass with plenty of packing materials to avoid damage to the instrument, and it came out of the package in perfect condition and already tuned.
I gave the bass 4.5/5 stars simply because NOTHING is perfect, although I have yet to find a flaw in my order.