Made In: Japan
Specs: Mahogany body, five-piece wenge & bubinga neck, wenge fretboard
Electronics: Bassculture stacked humbucker pickups, Vari-mid preamp
Controls: Volume, blend, bass cut & boost, treble cut & boost, Mid cut & boost, sweepable mid frequency selector
Shortly after the the turn of the century, I was playing in a fairly progressive rock band. At the time, I had just the ESP Jazz and a Ric 4003 to play with and I fancied trying a more extended range bass with the group. I was thinking about getting a five string and, having long wanted an Ibanez SR, was drawn to their Prestige five-string model but, at the last minute, decided to go all-in and get the six-string version. It was also my first experience buying over the internet – it went horrendously, Music123 shipping my bass to Alabama after my order had been altered, for some reason, and doing sod-all to remedy the situation but, after many irate phone calls to the USA, it eventually got resolved and this fine instrument was finally delivered.
Prior to getting this bass, I hadn’t even played a five-string for more than a few minutes in a shop, so the six was a big departure for me and took a bit of getting used to. I think I made a good choice though, the build quality was superb and it set up exceptionally well with very low action. The 16mm string spacing was a bit tighter than I would have liked but it was nothing which couldn’t be overcome. The neck was substantial, but not uncomfortably so, and perfectly stable. As with all SRs, the body was light and perfectly balanced and snug.
The stock Bartolini pickups, custom made for this model, were fairly anaemic – very clean, very polite, low on character. I worked with them for a while but I could never really warm to them so I had a pair of more aggressive sounding stacked humbuckers made by Bassculture in Germany. They proved to be a huge improvement and the rosewood covers also proved to be an aesthetic upgrade too. The Vari-mid preamp was very useful and worked well with the new pickups.
For the duration of that band, it became my main bass but, after the band broke up, I instinctively went back to playing four strings the majority of the time and found it hard to play the six again after periods away. If I played it regularly it was fine but over time I played it less and less. I struggled with going from four to six and back again and, for this reason, eased it on out the door. Great bass, just too many strings for me.