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Ibanez Mikro Bass GSRM20 Great Compact Bass!
Apr 26, 2010
Review by musicmonte
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Light, Small Size, Big tone/small package. Performs like more expensive basses
Cons:Tuners could be changed, potentiometers seem light duty, Grain not matched well on neck.
The Bottom Line:
I was concerned that this bass would be more like a toy than a usable bass, however, this is a great small, light bass with an awesome price.
Because of neck and back problems, and a recent surgry, I needed a light, short-scale bass. After going through all my options, and hearing favorable things from owners about it, I decided to go with the Ibanez GSRM20, better known as the Mikro. Despite having many satisfied owners, very few detailed reviews of the Mikro exist, so I figured I'd give you my impressions of
Recommend this product?
what has become my main stage bass.
Looks- The bass is very nicely finished with no flaws in the paint. It looks even better in person than it does in any of the picures I've seen on the internet. My Mikro is red and there is much more fine metalflake in it than I expected, and I was very happy with the appearance of the bass when I excitedly opened the packaging. The chrome hardware looks very nice, although the knobs are either chromed plastic, or very light metal. After a year of hard use, and only being protected by a light gig bag, this bass still looks very nice.
Set-up/Intonation - I never expect a guitar or bass to be set up to be perfectly when I get it, especially from internet vendors. This bass was very close, however. The E, D, and G strings had excellent intonation and low action from the factory, but the A string had a very noticable buzz. I didn't have to adjust the truss-rod to get rid of the fret buzz, and just a couple turns of the saddle adjusment screws got it where it needed to be. I expect that, with the incredibly short scale, adjustments will be needed with every string change. Just a quick note on adjusting the truss rod: I think Ibanez hit a home run with the truss rod cover that doesn't require you to remove the screws to get to the truss-rod adjustment. Just flip the cap, and the adjustment is right there.
Neck- The fretwork was decent right out of the box. Only one fret had a sharp edge, and that was a quick fix, with just a couple of swipes from a file. The rosewood fretboard is nice as well. Some people with earlier Mikros said their fretboards seemed dry to them, but I haven't noticed that with mine. The finish of the neck itself takes a bit of getting used to. I love natural finishes, but this one seems just a bit too "raw," but not unplayable by any means. Another small issue is that they didn't do a good job matching the wood grain where they joined the headstock to the neck.
Tuners- These are barely average quality, enclosed tuners. They only do their job and stayed in tune well for the first eight months I owned the bass. The turn ratio could stand to be a bit better, because any small tweak of the tuner causes a large change in pitch, leading to diffiulty in tuning the bass quickly between songs. Ibanes has used several different tuners on Mikro basses. Many, like mine, have four screws attaching each tuner to the headstock, and some have the, more traditional, single screw mounts. My experience with the four-screw tuners is that they do their jobs well for a little while, but, after hard use, begin to lose their ability to keep the bass in tune. I definitly recommend that Mikro users change the tuners, as this seems to be where Ibanez has skimped a little in order to keep costs down.
Pickups- The P-style pickup is great, with a pleasing growl and no ambient noise. The jazz pickup comes close to what I have come to expect jazz pickup to sound like, but it is definitly not perfect. It sounds thin at times, and, to get a great tone, I always have a little bit of the P pickup in the mix. There is a bit of noise from the J pickup when it is soloed. Overall, I don't see a reason to change the pickups for now because I don't use this bass for recording, and the tones are great for live work.
Electronics- In their stock form, the potentiometers are acceptable. They aren't noisy and work fine, they just feel a bit fragile, although their performance has been fine. The tone control doesn't do much, except in the first few degrees of its travel. This is not much of an issue because many tones can be achieved through blending the pickups in different ways. I did replace the pots because I happened to have some great CTS potentiometers on hand. The stock pots were performing just fine, but I prefer controls that have more resistance. I mean resistance of a physical, not electronic sense. If you do decide to replace your Mikro's pots, be aware that you will need to remove some wood in the control cavity, unless you get smaller sized potentiometer.
Overall- This bass is an excellent value at $169, and it was just what I needed. I was concerned that it would be too toy-like and would look strange for a grown man to be playing such a short bass, but, Ibanez made the body dimensions match the scale so it doesn't look goofy. I am very happy with it! It definitly won't replace my Spector 5 string, which can do duty as a live bass and a recording bass, but the Mikro will be much better on my neck for playing longer periods of time. No extras are included, unless you consider a ten-cent cable and the allen wrenches to be extras. I think they used to come with gig bags, but not any more. The Mikro fits a standard guitar gig bag or hard case just fine.
I originally bought this bass to use temporarily, while I healed up from my surgery, and fully expected to sell it once I could handle playing larger basses again. I appreciate the tone and light weight of this bass so much, that it is still my main bass
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