Ibanez Roadster RS924

Ibanez Roadster RS924

Year: 1980

Made In: Japan

Specs: Ash body, three-piece maple neck & fretboard

Electronics: Ibanez Super P4, Super J4

Controls: Volume, passive tone, active bass & treble cut & boost, two way switch for active/passive circuit, three way pickup selection switch

It’s hard to believe this bass is already over 35 years old, dating to January 1980. The singer in my band practically insisted I give this one a home. I could hardly say no. This was among the first original designs offered by Ibanez and has many high end features arguably long ahead of their time, such as separate active and passive circuits, high mass bridge, machine bolts in the neck and more.

Somewhat typical of the era, though, the body is a hefty slab of heavy ash. This might add to the feeling of solidity, as this bass has an air of indestructibility. The neck is nicely rounded and substantial. A forearm contour would have been nice, but it’s a familiar and comfortable design in hand.

The pickups are clearly modelled on DiMarzios and both are humbucking. This one came with a superflouous mini-switch which wasn’t wired up, so I wired  a serial/parallel option for bridge pickup. Some modifications had been poorly made to the wiring over the years so I brought it all back to the original configuration, aside from the bridge mini-switch. The Ibanez clones do sound quite like the pickups they were designed after and the bass has a smooth meatiness. The separate passive and active circuits are both very usable and it’s a very versatile machine.

This is a high end instrument, make no mistake. It’s easy to understand why Japanese instruments really made such an impression in the 80’s. There really is no comparison, in terms of quality, between the likes of these and the stuff Fender was putting out at the same time, but current prices don’t reflect this at all, with an example like this often costing less than a quarter of a US made peer of the same year. It beggars belief.

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