Impressions: Ibanez SRC6 Crossover

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Impressions: Ibanez SRC6 Crossover

Postby Christian LeBlanc » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:12 am

http://www.ibanez.co.jp/products/u_eb_p ... color=CL01

In the year 2000, I bought my first 6-string bass guitar, because my favourite band was (and still is) The Cure, who were known for utilizing 6-string bass. It was an Ibanez SR-406, which is long-scale and tuned BEADGC. This worked really well for me, as I was able to transition quite easily from my 4-string bass guitar, giving me access to a higher and a lower string. As a finger-picker, this was perfect.

What I didn't realize until a year or two ago, however, is that the 6-string bass I bought was a completely different instrument than the 6-string bass The Cure were talking about. The Cure were using a Fender-VI, which is short-scale and tuned EADGBE, just like a guitar, except one octave lower. I looked into it, and Schecter made several different instruments based on the Fender-VI, but I had never played a Schecter before, and there was no way locally to get my hands on one to test it out. They even have a Robert Smith signature-model now, but I was still nervous about getting one. More recently, Squier has made a Vintage Modified Bass VI, but again, there was something 'off' about them to me. My friend Adam bought one and let me play it, but I didn't take to it right away like I thought I would.

Last month, Adam let me know that Ibanez was throwing their hat into the ring of VI's, with their SRC6 Crossover. I already trusted the SR series and appreciated the fact that the body wasn't meant to mimic the Fender-VI exactly, so I ordered it from Long and McQuade last week and picked it up on Friday, which means I now own two 6-string bass guitars that are nothing at all alike (we really need to come up with some nomenclature to distinguish them...I think 'vintage' and 'modern' are good enough, personally).

So there was a huge learning curve to this guitar for me, but I'm starting to get the hang of it a little better now. Feeling these thick bass strings under your fingers when your hand is expecting guitar strings is still a weird experience; it's feeling more and more normal, but it's just such a shock at first. Palm muting notes tic-a-tac style sounds brilliant on it, or even palm muting simple chords on the higher strings. Open chords and slow arpeggiated patterns also sound good, as does soloing on the four higher strings. I'll have to do some recording experiments some night and see how they sound in combination with each other. I've been playing it through my bass amp (solid state), and it sounds really really good. Actually, I don't remember better sound coming out of my old Fender M-80.

It's the low strings I don't know what to do with at the moment; most bass lines I know don't work well on it, since I'm used to finger-picking, and the spacing on the SRC6 necessitates using a pick. Again, palm-muting makes them sound cool again, but played open, they just sort of ring out too muddily with each other. And guitar chords on these low strings just sound silly, of course, with all those low frequencies ringing over each other. I think it'll be a good writing tool, though; since the frets are easier to get around, it feels more natural for me to come up with a more complex, bouncy bass line than I would using my wide-necked, long-scale 6-string bass.

The range of tones I can get is amazing, though - anywhere from deep, thunderous lows to crackly "it sounds like I'm playing this over the phone" highs. I'm spoiled for choice in that regard.

Appearance-wise, this thing is beautiful, and much prettier than the pictures would have you believe. It's much darker, for one thing. It's also surprisingly feather-light, which is another way it differs from the hulking SR-406. Visually, it reminds me of whisky, to be honest, and that works well as a metaphor for it - simultaneously rough and smooth, something you have to get used to, and intoxicating, but not everyone's cup of tea.

In short, I'm really enjoying getting my head around this thing, and it's the first instrument I've had where I've felt that it has its own personality that it's trying to exert over me, and not the other way around. It wants to be played a certain way, and it wants to come up with certain tunes all on its own. I can't just approach it like a guitar, and I can't just approach it like a bass. Maybe if I had more (that is, any) experience with baritone guitars, I might not seem so confused, but I'm enjoying that confusion at the moment.

I realize that this review is very light on technical aspects, so let me know if you have any questions about this and I'll do my best to answer them.

(EDIT: I originally said this had active pickups, which was wrong; it has an active eq, but passive pickups. My mistake.)
Last edited by Christian LeBlanc on Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Impressions: Ibanez SRC6 Crossover

Postby macrae11 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:27 pm

Very cool

Having almost no experience with baritone guitars or Bass VIs I don't have anything to add, but here's a cool video about an awesome and almost unknown bassist.

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Re: Impressions: Ibanez SRC6 Crossover

Postby Christian LeBlanc » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:00 am

That is really cool - thanks for sharing! She seems so down to earth, too. Now I gotta go watch some old Wonder Woman episodes to hear dat bass!
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