Ibanez GSR200 Review – 2020 Guide

Vlad
| Last Updated: January 21, 2021

GSR200 bass guitar was first made back in 1999. But, 4 years later Ibanez decided to upgrade this entry-level model with additional features. 

Where is the Ibanez GSR200 Made?

GSR200 is made in both Indonesia for the US and European market and China for the rest of the world as a standard part of the Gio series.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • A pearl dot inlay design for better looks
  • Comes with a one-piece Maple neck included
  • Comes with a rosewood fretboard
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Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Weathered Black (GSR200BWK)

PROS

  • Huge tonal versatility
  • 24 frets on the fretboard
  • Useful PHAT II EQ control
  • Incredibly affordable model

CONS

  • Mediocre quality control

Ibanez GSR200 Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Bass Guitar
  • Body Size and Type: Asymmetric double cutaway solid body 
  • Number and Type of Strings: Four strings, also available in five (GSR205) and six-string (GSR206) model
  • Orientation (left or right hand): Available in right and left hand model (GSR200L)
  • Tonewood: Poplar solid wood body
  • Neck Profile: 1-piece Maple TMB4 neck shape with 41mm nut width 
  • Neck Size: TMB4 neck shape with 41mm nut width
  • Scale Length: 34 inches 
  • Fretboard: Jatoba fretboard with 24 medium frets
  • Weight: 7.4 lbs
  • Color: Black (BK), Jewel Blue (JB), Soda Blue (SDL), Walnut Flat (BWNF), and Transparent Red (TR)
  • Pickup Type: Ibanez Dynamix DXP and DXJ passive pickup configuration with Custom Electronics 2-band EQ

Ibanez GSR200BK 4-String Bass Guitar

Pros

Huge Tonal Versatility

JP pickup system works ideally for those who can’t yet decide what sound they prefer. A Dynamix pair of pickups seem to be the best solution as it covers a lot from both worlds. And thanks to separate volume control you should have too much trouble blending the tone right to your personal taste.

Such detailed blending combined with the balance knob and unique PHAT II EQ add-on is one of the most versatile solutions, at least at this price range as you can generate both P-Bass grit or crisp J-Bass slap sound on the fly. 

24 Frets on the Fretboard

Often budget-line instruments come with a bit short fret numbers. GSR200 is an exception to such rule and it provides you with the 24 frets on the Jatoba fretboard so you can have the full scale beneath your fingers right from the beginning. You may not use it at first, but it won’t harm you either and it will be a nice investment in the long run.

Ibanez GSR200BK 4-String Bass Guitar

Useful PHAT II EQ Control

Apart from controls of neck and bridge pickups and a standard balance pot for blending those two pickups together, Ibanez GSR200 comes with unique PHAT II EQ knob control which allows you to add a musical bass boost in a simplified manner within a single knob dial.

It may not be the feature that semi-pro players would use that often, but we find that beginners will be really thankful for such an option.

Incredibly Affordable Model

While we were reading specifications, listening to how it sounds, and so on, it came across our mind that it’s unbelievable what kind of instrument Ibanez is offering at this price. We would only dream if we had so good instruments back in years when we were learning to play.

Cons

Mediocre Quality Control

GSR200 is a part of the Gio line which is the lowest tier of Ibanez bass guitars. That being said, to keep the price so low, the hardware parts are as cheap as it could get and even the quality control is not so good as for the rest of the instruments.

Same goes for strings or electronics. That’s why we would recommend replacing the strings for flat wound models right upon arrival.

But, if you find a proper piece of an instrument with all the hardware and electronics working, we don’t see anything wrong with this particular model.

Ibanez GSR200BK 4-String Bass Guitar

What Recent Buyers Report 

Majority of buyers were inexperienced players looking for a reliable starter bass guitar to play rock or metal songs and they were really satisfied with the purchase and loved the look, especially this particular Transparent Red finish. The lightweight factor was praised a lot as well.

But, although they didn’t expect too much the sound output of those pickups really surprised them by its loudness and clarity. They couldn’t believe how little they paid for such a sound and how much range you can cover with just two simple knobs.

They also report that the included manual is very descriptive and that it at least provides you with all the tools necessary to fix most of the inconsistencies that your model may come with including neck curvature.

However, even newbies had noticed that the tuners felt cheap and hard to turn. The master volume knob missing also felt like a bit of a letdown as they couldn’t get used to a separate volume control layout.

More experienced buyers had reported that the guitar usually comes with very high action and due to lower quality control, it may generate fret buzzing, but nothing that can’t be solved with the proper setting up.

What Are the Components of the Ibanez GSR200? 

GSR200 has an asymmetric double-cutaway Poplar solid wood body. Neck is a 1-piece Maple GSR4 model and it comes with a Jatoba or Purpleheart fretboard depending if it’s made in Indonesia or China. In both cases, it provides you 24 medium frets on a 34-inch scale length with a white dot inlay.

The nut size is a bit larger than you may expect from usual Ibanez coming at 41mm and it goes up to 62mm at the 20th fret with a standard neck radius of 305mm. Accu-cast B10 model with standard 19mm string spacing is installed on the bridge and tunings are typical Ibanez stock chrome, starter models. 

What Pickups Does an Ibanez GSR200 Use?

The Ibanez GSR200 comes with Ibanez Dynamix J-style single-coil passive pickup on the bridge and P-style Ibanez Dynamix P split single-coil passive pickup on the neck. The pickup level is controlled by the two dedicated pots for both pickups and there is a tone knob that balances out the use of both pickups. 

What Gauge of Strings Comes on an Ibanez GSR200?

Ibanez GSR200 comes with the unbranded Ibanez factory strings and the string gauges are .045, .065, .085 and .105

What Types of Music is the Ibanez GSR200 Best For?

Thanks to the PJ pickup system, Ibanez Mikro Bass can be used in all genres. If you need a precise, mid-range bright sound, you can use the J pickup on the bridge. Genres like funk and jazz will work marvelously with such sound.

But, if you’re more rock-oriented, then add a bit more knob value to the P bridge pickup and get that low-range thump and grit. 

In case you need a bit more of definition, try to find a sweet spot between those two pickups or think about using a pick for that bit of extra attack which may be required in heavy metal music.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Ibanez GSR200 Suitable For?

Beginners should be amazed by the build quality and the sound they are getting from the GSR200. Speaking of skills, it will suit both fingerstyle and playing with the pick respectively.

Due to its size, we doubt that younger teens could bear it comfortably. Also, we would recommend players with small hands may go better with some different Ibanez models as this neck is not the typical Ibanez style one.

The rest of the population may consider this model as an affordable spare or backup instrument they can carry around for rehearsals, smaller gigs, or quick jams.

What Makes the Ibanez GSR200 Stand Out From the Competition?

The Ibanez GSR200 is a very affordable JP style bass guitar that seems to be the ideal first choice for beginners. It should cover all the sound varieties you may think of and when you think about it, it’s amazing what value you’re getting at this price. 

It will sound good enough for all techniques as well and the pickups it provides deliver excellent output so you’ll get a lot of volume without any distortion and PHAT II EQ pot will come really handy for those who are still learning about the sound structure and how to build a nice tone.

Comparison Overview 

Let’s see how Ibanez GSR200 stands against similar models from other brands and also let’s specify a difference between two Ibanez guitars coming at the same price range:

Yamaha TRBX174 vs. Ibanez GSR200

It’s hard to tell a real difference between those two models as they both come with standard scale length and both have a JP pickup system and even the price is equal. The only difference we find between them is that Yamaha is a tad lighter and Ibanez has an extra pot for Phat II EQ control which in the end doesn’t have to be used at all.

So, to conclude, both are a great solution for starters so perhaps you can pick your model based on the color you prefer. Or you can spend a couple of bucks more and go with TRBX174 made of Mango wood.

Ibanez GSR200 vs. Ibanez Mikro Bass GSRM20

While they both belong at the same price tier and share the modern appearance, they are quite different in size. GSRM20 has a short scale design so it’s actually about 5.6 inches shorter than a GSR200. 

Also, while the pickups are exactly the same, GSRM20 is the only Ibanez guitar currently that comes with the reverse P pickup setup and due to its size, it requires a different string pack which produces much less tension than a regular 34” scale length instrument.

Ibanez GSR200 vs. Yamaha RBX170

RBX170 is another entry-level model from Yamaha that comes at about the same price as the Ibanez GSR200 but it provides you with two additional frets and a neck width that is more similar to P-Bass. Ibanez is more like J-Bass style regarding this aspect.

Our guess is that in case you’re a beginner you should go better with Ibanez since you will have a lot of help using PHAT II EQ control until you understand the sound basics better.

Ibanez GSR200 vs. Ibanez SR300E

SR300E is the next step in the Ibanez line and we strongly recommend buying one if you have a budget for it. It has a unique power tap 3-way switch that allows you incredible tonal versatility along with dedicated tone balance and 3-band EQ pots for a ridiculously low price. 

Simply put, Soundgear (SR) is a next-level Ibanez line, one that put Ibanez on the bass guitar market, while the GSR is simply a budget-line, so, when in doubt, always pick a cheaper model of higher class first.

Conclusion 

Ibanez currently has so many good entry-level models in the current line and the best thing is that it’s almost impossible to pick a wrong one. Dynamix pickups are working marvelously at this price every time, so the only choice is what kind of neck and scale length you need.

People Also Ask

And now, let us help you with some usual concerns about this bass guitar. We’ll cover technical aspects about playability and maintaining, but also explain the layout of the knobs, what type of pickups this instrument uses, and should you consider it at all if you had cramp issues while playing.

Is the Ibanez GSR200 Hard to Play?

GSR200 is a regular bass guitar with a standard scale length. Its neck size may be troublesome for some players, but if you have performed before on a bass guitar of standard size, you won’t have any problems playing on this Ibanez as well.

What Are All the Knobs on Ibanez GSR200 Bass?

Ibanez comes with four knobs. Apart from dedicated volume control of the neck and bridge pickup, there is a pot for a tone balance and unique PHAT II EQ that sculpts your tone further within a single dial.

Is an Ibanez GSR200 Bass Active or Passive?

Ibanez GSR200 comes with two passive Dynamix pickups along with the passive EQ pot control. Those pickups are DXP on the neck and DXJ on the bridge. 

Models older than 2014 came with Ibanez Powersound passive pickups.

Is the Ibanez GSR200 4-String Electric Bass Good For Small Hands?

As the GSR200 has the standard 34 inches scale length, we wouldn’t recommend GSR200 for people with small hands.

We would advise you to check out Ibanez Mikro Bass GSRM20 and Ibanez Talman TMB30 instead.

What Type of Volume Potentiometers Fit an Ibanez GSR200 Bass?

If you would like to replace potentiometers, you will have to watch out for impedance. Volume and Tone potentiometers are working with 500kohms while the PHAT II EQ pot works on 20kohms. Be sure to match the impedance as it won’t work otherwise if you put a pot that works beneath these numbers.

What Kind of Wood Was Used in an Ibanez 2001 GSR200 Bass?

During the 1999-2003 period, Ibanez was using the Agathis solid wood for the tonewood along with a 1-piece Maple neck and Rosewood fretboard. Since that era, it has moved towards basswood for TR finish until 2014 when all models were made of Poplar. The fingerboard was replaced for Jatoba.

Vlad

I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.