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Microphone Month 5

Ibanez SR500 - Brown Mahogany Reviews

4.5 stars based on 22 customer reviews
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Sweetwater Advice

  • Simon Picazo

    As soon as I played this bass I fell in love. From the Bartolini pickups to the mahogany body, any player from the beginner to the pro will be completely satisfied with this bass. Best of all the price - finally a pro bass for a great price!

  • Aric Brenner

    I originally bought my Ibanez SR500 bass for playing rock and metal, but soon found out how incredibly versatile it is. With a simple tweak of the Bartolini pickups and onboard EQ, it can go from a heavy growl to a warm subtlety - and executes both extremely well! Plus, the slap tone the neck pickup provides is absolutely amazing!

  • from California January 18, 2017

    So Nice

    This is a beautiful instrument. Very well made out of very nice woods. Lots lighter than Fender/Squier jazz basses I looked at. Very comfortable neck. Action just right. (By the way, if you look closely at them, you'll see that in the cheaper Fender/Squier basses, the strings don't all align correctly with the pickups). I'm totally happy with my selection.

  • from Lake Odessa, MI September 24, 2016Music Background:
    Worship musician for many years

    Outstanding instrument!

    I bought this bass a year and a half ago and it is amazing, very impressive for the money! I originally bought it for recording, but I play it live and it amazes me on every note! Unfortunately, I did not purchase it from sweetwater, as I did not know any better at the time, but I would highly recommend using sweetwater in any purchase! Their service is great and every time I purchase something from them it comes safely packaged and ready to rock! I love the worn brown finish on this guitar and the EQ controls on this axe are awesome! This is an all around instrument for beginner or pro, I highly recommend this beautiful instrument!

  • from July 30, 2016Music Background:
    Worship leader, playing the bass for 20 years

    Great bass

    For the money this bass has features and a quality build that you usually only see in units costing twice as much. Fit and finish is excellent, Sweetwater setup was perfect. It plays smoothly and the sounds you are able to achieve are amazing. Quiet electronics and long sustain, I really appreciate how light it is, (I am over 60 and need all the help I can get). You cannot go wrong with this bass!

  • from April 29, 2016

    Ibanez 500 Brown Mahogany

    This bass is sweet no need for setup the action is unbelievable straight from the factory and apparently the attention Ibanez pays to detail is exceptional considering i didn't pay 2 or 3 thousand dollars. All new guitars come with round wound strings unfortunately, i switched out to flat wound now its perfect, sounds great and very easy reach some of those hard to reach positions, not to mention considerably lighter no strain on shoulder then theres the bubinger neck so easy and fast and no more pain in my thumb.

  • from Utah February 27, 2016

    Awesome Bass

    I have owned my SR500 in brown mahogany for 4 years. I have had absolutely no problems with this bass. It feels so smooth to play and has a great action and is very fast. The active electronics let you dial in pretty much any bass tone. I am primarily a guitarist and bought this bass because the neck felt as close to a 6 string guitar as a bass can be. Another big plus for me is the oiled finish... very smooth and satin like. No stickiness, although the finish might not be great for players who do not take care of their instruments. I must also mention that I have never done a setup on this bass in 4 years.. the action and neck are perfect and I live in a dry climate. You simply cannot go wrong with this bass. To this day when I play it, I'd swear I am playing a $1,500 instrument

  • from October 12, 2015

    Great Bass......

    I had always though that Ibanez means junk gee how wrong I was this is my 3rd Bass and I love it, sounds great and does not weight a ton like many others. Play it with Boss ME-50B pedal. You can go wrong with this Bass PERIOD....

  • from Lake Worth, FL August 17, 2015

    Cannot be beaten in the <$1000 bass game

    I challenge anyone to find a better playing bass for under $1000. As a former peddler of music equipment, I've slapped around on literally everything between unboxing it and putting it on the wall for sale. I knew exactly what to buy when I decided I wanted to lay my own bass tracks in the studio. Of the hundreds of basses I've had my hands on, this one left an impression on me. The tone versatility is another major plus. It's almost overwhelming. But the action is unforgettable. This was my first purchase from Sweetwater and the service is everything everyone says it is: Amazing.

  • from Michigan May 4, 2015Music Background:
    45+ years experience playing the electric bass guitar

    A fine machine

    This bass is light, well balanced (almost 0% neck dive), the controls work very smoothly, and, the pick-up "fader" control is a control every bass should have. The tone can go from thin to fat, and, you can get a real nice growl, too. It's beautiful to look at and a joy to play.

  • from Chandler AZ January 5, 2015Music Background:
    General Music Lover

    Great Bass for the Price

    I couldn't be happier with my purchase from Sweetwater. My SR500 bass arrived a day earlier than expected and the overall condition and setup of the guitar was flawless. I played it right away, and 3 hours later I still couldn't put it down. All my friends are stunned at the quality of this bass with such a low price tag. I will do all of my music gear shopping at Sweetwater from now on. Their extra attention to detail and customer care has made a believer out of me. Thanks again for the great service!

  • from San Diego, CA August 8, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    A Wow!

    I have been searching for a light weight, comfortable, easy-to-play bass for almost a year, and every one has fallen short, either in weight, tone, shape,size, or neck comfort. When I picked up this beautiful, less than seven pound bass and felt the neck, body, and the nice balance, I was about blown away. Add to this the Bartolini pickups, nice fret work., tonal variations, low action, and the beautiful mahogany body, this bass has to be the best in its mid-price class. Definitely a keeper!

    Thanks to Sweetwater listing the weight of this bass. This was the biggest factor in purchasing this particular bass from Sweetwater, as I need to play a light weight bass.

  • from Hammond, IN March 22, 2011Music Background:
    35 years playing covers and original music: rock, blues etc.

    Outstanding value!

    I have been playing guitar for roughly 35 years. I own several American Fenders, a Les Paul, a PRS, Martin and Taylor. I also own 2 MIM Fender bass guitars, a P Bass and a Jazz. I recently considered buying an American Deluxe Jazz or P Bass, approx. $1,300 for either. My slaes engineer at Sweetwater suggested I try this Ibanez and I am forever greatful he did. It is a tone monster and being a guitar player, this thing has the lowest action and the fastest neck of any bass I have ever held in my hands. I can dial in a P Bass, a Jazz or anything else I desire and have the benefit of hummbucking pups to boot.Trust me, the quality of the build is second to none. It is a much higher quality than anything else I've seen selling for twice the price!

  • from Paducah, KY August 20, 2010Music Background:
    Bassist for Traffic Director and The Peddestrians, general bass repairman/expert

    A pretty nice mid-priced ace

    I played this bass in guitar center, but the one I played was sunburst. Maybe a limited edition? I dunno, but this is great for the price, just as good as the Japanese Fenders.
    First of all, the output of this bass is REDICULOUS. I had the store's Ampeg stack set at 4 and I nearly fell over. The pickups have some serious punch to them, and the EQ works very well, better than other active EQ's I've played with. The low end can be a little boomy if it's turned up past halfway though.
    All the hardware seemed of decent quality, everything was screwed into place tightly. The knobs wouldn't move on their own (an issue I have with my Jazz Bass). The tuners worked well and didn't rattle. I particularly liked the bridge, you can plainly tell it's huge and high-mass but it doesn't get in the way of playing close to it.
    The body shape is by far the most comfortable I've ever used. I'm a small guy, and either standing or sitting the bass was very light and comfortable. The neck was very thin and comfortable, I was able to play a lot of fast licks I can't do on my jazz bass. I also love the fact that there's a volute on the back of the headstock, that makes it a lot harder for the headstock to break, another problem I've had with my basses.
    Overall, for the price this bass is fantastic. You get a nice thin, satin finished neck, a comfortable body shape, and Bartolini active pickups for a great price. I'm definately buying this as soon as I can afford it.

  • from Raleigh November 19, 2007Music Background:
    20 years on guitar,lead,Satch,Malmsteen

    Awesome Bass

    Im a guitar player and this bass is the best hands down bass,easy to play.nice thin neck,sounds great.
    I was going for a jazz style bass for the thin neck but this bass has an even better and thinner neck than any JAzz bass i have seen

  • from Nashville November 23, 2015Music Background:

    Very nice bass

    I've had this bass for about a year and play it almost daily. I have a couple other basses I play as well. (p-bass, custom ash bass, acoustic bass).
    The SR500 plays great. The light weight, slim neck, and versatile tone are the strong points. With little effort, you can make this bass sound like just about anything. Despite some of the reviews, you can completely dial off any boomy sounds or dial on weak areas. Does it completely sound like a p-bass or j-bass? Of course not! It isn't one. But a p-bass or j-bass can't sound like anything else...even remotely. I can however make this bass sound pretty close to either of those...and many other tones as well...and it plays WAY nicer than either. (In my opinion of course)
    That said, it isn't 'thrilling' to me. My Korean ash bass that I've been re-building has more 'character'. My p-bass has that fender sound and feel. But neither of these are near as versatile as my SR500. If you are looking for only one bass that is 'great' to play and has a versatile sound, the SR500 is hard to beat for $600. The hardware is excellent and as good as on many much more expensive basses.

  • from Salem Oregon July 5, 2015

    Back to Ibanez

    After learning to be a bassist on various instruments including Gibson Grabber, Gibson SG, crappy fake jazz basses, I ponied up the dollars back then to purchase a brand new 1980 Ibanez Musician Bass...at the time a monster of an instrument...beautiful, solid, powerful. A whopping investment for a college student sidelining in the Mpls music scene, back then.

    Many years passed...that Musician went everywhere: bands, studios, gigs...followed my life, actually. People would always ask about that bass...

    Fast forward to family life, career, etc. Gave up that old Musician for the legendary Fender Jazz Bass. Good instrument. Well known, fun to play etc. You know, it was a Fender. For me, at the time, it was the next stage...all told me that seasoned bass players eventually land on a Fender. Made sense; That time of life. You get it.

    Jazz Basses are not an Ibanez. I was not quite as good a player on the Jazz...but it was a Fender, with that sound. Still, never picked it up as much as I remember the Musician.

    And...then: I picked up the SR500 at the local shop...All the years of that fine Ibanez neck came rushing back. And it was even better. Smaller faster neck than a Musician. Lighter. Sleek. Elegant. The Bartolini pickups gave me all I liked about the Ibanez punch and power with more options for throaty, low end power, the honk for slapping and, with all controls at level, a beautiful balance of clarity, punch and treble.

    When you learn for years to play on a certain bass construction and you leave it for a time and come back to an even better version, that familiarity brings back all the skill and joy you know. It makes you better. Even with hands that are not 18 years years old anymore: I simply fly around the neck and ping pong on the strings, be it two fingers, a thumb or a combination of both.

    The SR500 just blew me away. Fast smooth neck, great sound(s), thinner neck for dexterity. Light and balanced body, and the Ibanez feel. Whether a out of the box 1980 Musician to today's SR500, Ibanez brought me back home. Again.

    Great instrument folks. What fun.

  • from Athens, GA January 16, 2015Music Background:
    Brass gigger, bass noodler, drums n00b

    Outstanding Value

    This is an excellent instrument--very hard to beat this kind of quality at anywhere near the price. If I were limited to one bass guitar, particularly if the limitation were financial, this would be it.

  • from United States July 21, 2012Music Background:
    Former pro, current lazy hobbyist.

    Great bass for the money

    Synopsis: A great bass at a great price, high end features, excellent playability, versatile tone, and beautiful looks combine to give you a great deal of bass for your money.

    Background: I have been playing a 6-string bass for a number of years now but because of problems with tennis elbow and carpal tunnel I really wanted a 4-string that was light with a thin easy neck so that it wouldn't be such a pain (literally) to try to play.

    I had actually went into the retail store to buy a Fender Jazz as I have kicked myself for selling my 72 about 15 years ago for a lot less than I could have got for it now. I loved everything about that bass, and was looking to find something similar (and planned on spending $1200-1500). I seen some of these Ibanez basses and was pretty impressed, looked at the price tags and was even more impressed. As soon as I held this amazingly thin (neck and body) and light (almost unbelievably so) bugger up, I knew this was what I was looking for.

    Review: The bass looks really great and the sound and playability are amazing at this price point. Some additional comments -- the composite neck might not be to everyone's liking, although it seems super strong and light, the finish took me a little getting used to after spending 20 years playing maple necks of all various kinds. The rosewood fingerboard is nice and the abalone inlays add a nice classy touch. All 24 frets are easy to get to and finished nicely, and although I have had some trouble finding the sweet spot on the intonation where the last (highest) 5 or 6 frets are not noticeable sharp without affecting anything else, if one should find themselves noticing this, they should then be wondering what the heck they are doing way up there and then hurry up and get back in the pocket! lol Anyway, the balance of the bass feels really good for my taste. The pickups are pretty great, and the first thing you really notice about them is the sheer output level. Although they are lower end Barts, it is still suprising to see Bartolini anything on a bass at this price. The bass sustains better than anything I can remember playing, which surprised me for how light it is. The low-mid/slap switch is pretty cool. Only two minor gripes are that the preamp that comes equipped on this thing leaves a little to be desired. For my taste, the bass is too boomy, the mids are a bit too twangy and the highs are a bit too "thin", but this is really the only area where you have to say to yourself, "oh yeah, I didn't pay $1500 for this thing". Other thing is that the equipped string gauge was light for my taste and although I like the feel of the Elixir strings (factory equipped) they are a bit too bright for me.

    Final comments: Sweetwater customer service and support is the best in the business, like having your own musical personal assistants. Don't trick yourself into buying gear from the "other guy" to save yourself $10. You will end up regretting it sooner or later.

  • from Texas March 10, 2017Music Background:
    Hobby bassist for over 30 years


    I've owned the SR500 for about a month now and I'm very happy with it. The bass came with a very good setup, and I haven't found the need to make any additional adjustments. Sweetwater did an excellent job with packing and shipping of the bass, and they provided excellent communication during the whole process. This is my first bass purchase through Sweetwater and I will definitely use them again. The fact that Sweetwater posts the exact bass pictures, weight, and does a full inspection and setup of the bass puts them at the top of my list when compared to any other online bass retailer.

    The SR500 plays really well, it's very fast and has no string buzz. The frets are finished very nicely and there are no sharp fret ends. The bass is lightweight but still balances very nicely on a strap. My only complaint with the bass is that I'm not a huge fan of the preamp, and I'll likely replace the preamp and possibly the pickups with something that can provide a little more punch and aggressive tones.

  • from November 7, 2016

    Love my bass

    Bought this a couple years ago and I love it, and so my other bassists who are constantly playing it! Super easy narrower neck at the nut for those with smaller fingers. Low action, great strings right out of the factory set up. Bartolini active pickups give awesomely hot and susttained response (highly recommend you get a bass compressor pedal to even out string response as that is an issue. Great quality build and amazing aesthetics.

  • from Houston, Texas August 14, 2008Music Background:
    30 years of being a pro/semi pro musician.

    Great Bass!!!

    Great bass! I've had my Ibanez SR500 for about 2 years now and it is by far the most comfortable easy playing bass I've ever owned! The tone is great, very versitile and can easily fit into any type of music you play. For the price the SR500 is the best bass guitar deal around! The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is that I'm not crazy about the position of input jack!

  • from Central Florida December 14, 2010Music Background:

    Not for Everyone

    Do you like music from the 50's to the 70's? You know that sound that you think of when you think of a bass guitar? You know - James Jamerson, Bob Babbit? Well, this is bass does not have that sound. If you're a "Fender" guy, trust me, you will probably the tone of this bass. I've known people who have bought these sight unseen, and sold them shortly thereafter. One of these in a 5-string version was being used by a bassist in a time-share practice space, and was left there while my band practiced also. On a whim, I strapped it on just to see how it would sound. It was so awful sounding I would periodically plug it in between songs when no one was looking just to see what kind of reaction I would get from my band mates.
    It is hard to describe how this bass sounds compared to a fender jazz because they are two different animals. On the bass end, the ibanez is big a boom-y, as apposed to the taught-ness of a fender. The midrange on the ibanez is pretty much not even there. I'm all about a little mid-scooping but geeze. On the treble end, this bass does have some sizzle and sparkle. A little too bright for my taste, although it would probably sit well in some neo-soul or r&b settings.
    The good thing about this bass is the neck - it is in fact quite narrow and comfortable to play on. Fieldy from korn uses Ibanez basses, have you heard his tone (or lack there of)?!? Just go play on one before you buy one, it's not for everyone... If you want a cheap 5 string, look at squiers new jazz deluxe... Its cheaper and its almost a fender... :)

  • May 1, 2005


    this is a great bass and to any of the bass players in to Victor wooten if you put the right strings on it sounds just like his bass and for the price their is no other choice you could make the sound it prouduces is just as amazeing as it looks.

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