Ibanez SR500E – 2020 Review

Vlad
| Last Updated: January 21, 2021

The Ibanez Soundgear series was published first in 1987 which derived from the Roadstar II series.

It inherits the body, and today, 30 years later it has several sub-brands and many models.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with two Humbuck pickups installed
  • Equipped with a Jatoba fingerboard
  • Double cut-away body design for better reach
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Ibanez SR500E Bass Guitar (Surreal Black Dual Fade)

PROS

  • Lightweight design
  • Active preamp control
  • Unique wood selection
  • Great bang for the buck
  • J-Bass like the neck profile

CONS

  • Low resale value
  • Semi-pro sound quality

Ibanez SR500E Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Bass Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Asymmetric double cutaway solid body 

  • Number of Strings: Four strings, also available in five (SR505E) and six strings model (SR506E)

  • Tonewood: Okoume solid wood body
  • Orientation: Available in right and left hand model (SR500EL)
  • Neck Profile: 5-piece Walnut SR4 neck shape with 38mm nut width
  • Fretboard: Jatoba fretboard with 24 medium frets 
  • Scale Length: 34 inches
  • Color: Surreal Black Dual Fade (SBD) and Brown Mahogany (BM)
  • Pickup Type: Bartolini BH2 dual pickup configuration with 3-band EQ
  • Weight: 7.7 lbs

Pros

The following are some pros of Ibanez SR500E:

Unique Wood Selection

Ibanez SR500E comes with the unique combination of Okoume tonewood and Jatoba fingerboard combined with Walnut neck. Jatoba may resemble Rosewood in appearance, but actually it feels more like Ebony when played. The color finish is exceptional coming with unique black to natural fade and the Satin finish works excellent with such a color choice.

J-Bass Like the Neck Profile

The Ibanez SR500E comes with a Thin U neck shape that may actually remind you of the Fender Jazz Bass profile. As it may remind you of the electric guitar neck profile, it may be an ideal choice for all guitarists who would like to make a seamless transition or to have a spare bass guitar in their arsenal for optional studio recordings.

Also, it comes with a Jatoba fretboard which may resemble you to the typical Rosewood, but the actual response is more close to the Ebony.

Active Preamp Control

Besides passive humbucker pickups that provide an excellent tight low-end range, Ibanez SR500E is equipped with the additional 3-band EQ control onboard so you can dial in your tone perfectly. This goes especially for the middle EQ position as it provides you with the 3 points selection of this spectrum.

Great Bang For the Buck

The Soundgear series can’t compete with the Fender popularity and such an underdog position works in favor of all players who don’t need a Fender label on their instrument. Simply said they are offering about the same quality for the lower price range and that’s why they might be an excellent choice for all musicians on a budget.

Lightweight Design

Coming around 7.5lbs, Ibanez is one of the lightest bass guitars on the market. It’s amazing to see a model that is so light while delivering such a good low-end sound. It’s our favorite model for long live performances.

Cons

However, it comes with some drawbacks, including:

Semi-Pro Sound Quality

While the sound will be more than great for beginners and good enough for all the rehearsals and small to mid-sized performances, we wouldn’t recommend it for studio recordings. 

It lacks that fine edge necessary to make your bass recordings stand out, especially regarding vintage warmth that is often required for the bass frequencies.

Low Resale Value

Ibanez bass guitars are not very famous for their resale value, so think twice before buying it as you may get a hard time selling it later for a decent price. You may even decide to keep it for the price it comes to the used market.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers were beginners looking to buy their first bass guitar upgrade and Ibanez SR500E to be an excellent choice for those who are tight on a budget. Some even go further and say that this is probably the best purchase under $1,000, so it’s definitely an underdog worth checking out.

They loved the control layout and the body appearance while the Jatoba fingerboard combined with the flat wound strings was reported to be very easy and comfortable to play. The neck is reported to be a great substitute for those who would feel cramps playing on a regular neck width.

They loved the preamp options and the sound seems to be just fine and quite versatile as it can go from thin to really fat low-end tones. It’s described as a lightweight, but a heavy sounding bass guitar. Also, they said that this model may be an ideal pick to install new pickups later since the starting price is so low. With such an upgrade, they could easily imagine having this bass guitar forever.

As Ibanez provides great aftersale support, they all would gladly recommend this bass guitar to anyone.

What Are the Components of the Ibanez SR500E?

The Ibanez SR500E has a double-cutaway Okoume body with 24-fret Jatoba fretboard on a Walnut neck using abalone oval markers. The nut is made of plastic at 38mm width and tuning machines are made of Ibanez die-cast factory stock.

The Accu-cast bridge is upgraded to the B500 model with 19mm string spacing and the adjustment of the saddle of ±1.5mm. Onboard, you have the pot control for the Volume, Balance, Bass, Mid, and Treble and in case you switch the EQ bypass, the Treble control doubles as a passive tone control.

What Strings Come on Ibanez SR500E?

The four-string pack found on SR500E is EXL165 made by D’Addario. These are hexagonally shaped nickel-plated steel strings known as the all-around solution for most music genres.

What Kind of Pickups on Ibanez SR500E?

The Ibanez SR500E comes with Bartolini BH2 pickups on both the bridge and neck positions. These pickups are upgraded models from MK1 found at previous models. 

Along with the pickups, Ibanez SR500E is supplied with the Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-band preamp that comes with 3-band EQ with an optional 3-stage switch for middle EQ that allows you to choose between 250Hz, 450Hz, and 700Hz point. It requires a regular 9V battery to run.

What Types of Music is the Ibanez SR500E Best For?

The Ibanez company is best known for their guitar work in the metal world. Their bass guitar series is no exception, so it will work great for all kinds of aggressive and intense music arrangements.

Those humbucker pickups will produce extra grit necessary not just for modern hard rock and traditional heavy metal. We can see it fit thrash, black, or death metal as well. 

On the other hand, it provides you with enough tonal flexibility to fit into some blues and pops rock songs too. As long as you don’t need extra clarity and mid overtones, Ibanez SR500E will serve its purpose.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Ibanez SR500E Suitable For?

Ibanez SR500E is an ideal choice for all the beginners and semi-pro players due to its friendly price and a bit softer Jatoba fretboard. It provides great intonation stability and the sound it produces will be more than awesome for these fellows.

Professional players may consider it as a spare backup guitar for touring or quick rehearsals.

The thin neck profile of the SR500E will make it more suitable for younger players as they won’t have to struggle with the typical P-Bass like neck width. They will be thankful for its body lightweight design, too.

Where Are Ibanez SR500E Guitars Made?

The Ibanez SR500E is produced in Indonesia as a part of the Ibanez standard line.

What Makes the Ibanez SR500E Stand Out From the Competition?

Looking at the price, Ibanez offered you a model that really stands out by its price-to-quality ratio. You’re getting a wonderful design and quite playable Jatoba fretboard along with Bartolini humbucking pickups combined with the active preamp. 

It may not outpace the premium models but, at the end of the day, it will sound more than good enough for your everyday needs.

On top of that, the weight factor is just outstanding. Coming under 8 lbs. it will be a true delight to carry around. Guitar players who are trying to make a transit to the bass guitar may be especially thankful. 

Comparison Overview 

Let’s see how Ibanez SR500E stands out against some models which may be similar in price. Also, we’ll try to compare it with the models from the series but at different tier:

Fender Jazz Bass vs. Ibanez SR500E

Fender Jazz Bass comes in different price ranges, so for this comparison, it would be fair to compare it with the Player model which is about the same price as the Ibanez SR500.

The body size and finish quality are about the same and the setup process seems to be identical and the intonation seems to be a bit better with Ibanez SR500. The biggest difference, however, is in the weight - Ibanez SR500E is way more lightweight than Fender Player Jazz Bass. 

Sound wise, they are quite different due to the pickup configuration so it all depends on what you’re looking for - if it’s mid, clear, and bright what you’re looking for, pick up a Fender Jazz Bass instead. Ibanez SR500E may not provide you with such a tone, but it will cover more sound variety.

Ibanez SR500E vs. SR500

SR500E is a new Ibanez model that replaced the original SR500. Hardware seems to be upgraded as SR500E comes with different pickups, bridges and electronics come with an EQ bypass switch instead of installing a push-pull system or SR500.  

The wood material is a bit different too, but in the end, they provide about the same sound quality. Perhaps the biggest change is the exchange of Jatoba fretboard instead of Rosewood found on SR500. For those who are used to Rosewood feel, it might be hit and miss.

Ibanez SR300 vs. SR500E

SR300 is an entry-level Ibanez bass guitar and it works fine for the price it offers. However, it lacks a lot in the pickup area, so SR500E seems to hit that sweet spot between price and quality. While the price is really low for SR300 we would recommend to find a way to save up for SR500E as this investment will really pay off.

Ibanez SR500E vs. SR1000

Simply said, SR1000 is an Ibanez bass guitar from a more expensive tier. Therefore, it’s not a fair competition as everything is a bit of a step up from the finish, wood material up to pickups and knobs. Even the origin country is not the same - SR500E is made in South Korea and SR1000 is from Japan.

Conclusion 

Nowadays it seems to be so easy to find a proper bass guitar at the budget price

The Ibanez SR500E is a true example of such a showcase and you will enjoy both its active preamp capabilities, lightweight design, and quite stunning Surreal Black Dual Fade finish.

People Also Ask

Now that you know a bit more about Ibanez SR500E, let’s cover some questions that might be relevant for your next purchase. We will try to briefly cover some technical aspects, such as the benefits of finish material found on SR500E, and even provide you with the affordable wireless remote options for live shows.

Is the Ibanez SR500E Hard to Play?

Jatoba fretboard seems to be a bit easier to perform on than regular Rosewood. Thanks to the active preamp system, you can dial in your tone directly on the bass guitar and the neck profile come especially handy for those who are struggling with the cramps on a regular bass neck.

Can You Play Slap on the Ibanez SR500E?

You can slap, but don’t expect to get the usual slap sound. Because of the humbucker pickup system, it may sound different, producing bright and percussive sound without that nice low-mid sound you may expect.

That’s why we wouldn’t recommend it if slapping is found regularly in your repertoire.

How to Care For an Ibanez SR500E Bass Guitar

Taking care of a bass guitar is not so hard. For the tonewood, you will need a plain cloth and water and we advise you to take any chemicals as the last resort. For the electronics, you will need a contact cleaner with a needle applicator if you hear any unwanted noise. 

Which Wireless Remote to Use For Ibanez SR500E?

If you have an Ibanez SR500E, suggesting a Shure GLXD series would be overkill as it would cost you almost like a whole instrument. 

But, due to the nature of the bass guitar frequencies, we wouldn’t advise you to buy the cheapest one. That’s why Line 6 Relay G70 or Boss WL-50 might be the ideal purchase for you.

What Finish Material on the Ibanez SR500E?

Both body and the neck come with the Satin finish which works wonderfully for this instrument. Having Gloss finish on a dark body is an incredible fingerprint catcher so we’re really glad that SR500E comes without such a finish as it won’t require so frequent cleaning.

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.