Bass guitars, like any other instrument out there, come in various different flavors. There isn’t necessarily a bad ‘type’ of bass guitar, but rather one which you like or one you don’t. Today we are going to do a short comparison of two very different basses, which are priced relatively closely, and offer that different type of sound. One of them is a proven legend, while the other is a more modern work of art.
In one corner we have Fender ’70s Jazz bass – one of the most popular and most respected bass guitars in the world. In the other corner, we have an Ibanez SRF705 – a modern bass with active electronics and a whole lot of heat under those plastic pickup covers. Which one is better? Let’s try to answer that question.
Battle of The Giants – Old School VS. New Kids
Fender’s Jazz bass has been around for many decades. This has been the ax of choice for many popular bass players playing a wide variety of music genres. It was always respected as one of those instruments you can simply trust to get the job done. On top of that, its performance remained at a high level even after all this time. Ibanez SRF705 doesn’t have that type of pedigree and heritage to lean on. This bass guitar had to work for its success, which is partially why it’s loaded with a very aggressive set of electronics. With that said, we need to look closer.
In terms of build quality, both of these guitars offer a very refined package. Let’s start with Fender. Made of alder, this bass guitar brings one of the most legendary body shapes in existence. Fit and finish are impeccable, even for a mid-range Fender model. It’s hard to describe, but when you pick up one of these guitars, you simply know you’re dealing with quality. That’s the feeling you instantly get. Guitar itself is balanced, soft where necessary and stiff in other places. The neck is smooth, comfortable and just flows under your fingers.
In the other corner we have the Ibanez SRF705. With a body made of high-grade mahogany and shaped for ultimate comfort, this Ibanez creation already looks promising. The main deal with this bass comes from the level of detail it features. We’re talking a five piece maple Bubinga neck that goes straight through the body, a fretless fretboard for ultimate expression, and of course the finish which will knock you off your feet.
Both these guitars look great, but Ibanez simply feels like an extension of yourself. To put it in simple terms, Fender Jazz bass is like the old American muscle car – boxy but teaming with power. Ibanez SRF705 is more like a fine tuned Pagani Zonda. An exotic creation built for one purpose and one purpose only.
Moving on to electronics, we get to the first major difference between these two bass guitars. Fender comes with a set of passive single coil pickups, which have remained more or less the same over the years. Sure, they were updated, but they are still the same old Jazz pickups in their very core. On the other hand, we have the Ibanez with two large passive humbuckers. They are passive, but they are wired to a pretty potent preamp which gives them a solid boost in output.
As such, these two bass guitars are designed for different applications. They both cover a wide range of overlapping genres, but you don’t need to be a guitar guru to figure out which one does better at a certain type of music.
The tone produced by Fender’s ’70s Jazz Bass and that of Ibanez SRF705 are similar, but very different in the end. You could say that Fender offers a more expressive, organic tone which gets you that thump we all love so much, and is overall great for precision work. On the other hand, Ibanez is the master of raw output. With an active EQ on board, you can dial in a variety of tones, making the SRF705 a very versatile platform. Such nature of the Ibanez model allows you to play even the most aggressive genres of music, especially considering it’s a 5 string bass guitar.
Which Bass Guitar Is Better?
There is no clear answer to be given here. Both of these models excel in different areas. Ibanez is more versatile, has higher output and is generally built for performance. Fender, on the other hand, is a true classic which brings the type of tone that impacted an entire generation if not more. Let’s put it this way, if you’re into rock, jazz or blues, Fender ’70s Jazz Bass is probably a better choice. If you are into more modern genres of music and like to experiment with your tone, then Ibanez SRF705 will likely fit you better. If I personally had to choose one, it’d be a tough decision. However, considering my playing style and the type of music I’m into, Ibanez would probably prevail at the end.
The lesson to be learned here is that your taste in music, playing style and overall preference matters a lot when choosing a bass guitar. Both of these models we’ve talked about today are impressive, offering great performance. In all honesty, it’d be best if you could just get both. That way you would have the best of two very delicious worlds at your disposal.
Some might even wonder if these two bass guitars are even comparable. The argument here is that one might find themselves in a situation where they need to choose between these two models, are a pair of similar ones. Fender Jazz Bass is not the only old school bass worth its salt out there, just as the SRF705 is not the only modern marble. The point still stands. Get the bass which suits your needs the most.