Music Gear Central: Ibanez Jumpstart Bass Pack: Where it’s at in entry-level bass guitars

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11666437822738.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.musiciansfriend.com’, ‘With the Ibanez Jumpstart Bass Pack, a young player will receive an all-inclusive ensemble, complete with a prestigious-sounding GSR190 four-string bass, 10-watt amplifier, gig bag, tuner, strap, headphones for quiet practice sessions, cable and accessory pouch.’);

Playing the bass is popular again. Even as many young musicians are attracted to the electric guitar, they continue to understand that playing the bass involves more than just plunking away at four chunky strings.

A very simple instrument on its face, the bass guitar plays an integral part of all styles of music, and instrument manufacturers are making it easy and affordable to get started.

Ibanez has impressed me again. As with the IJV50 acoustic guitar package I recommended earlier in the month, Ibanez also offers the same out-of-the-box success with its IJSB190 Bass Jumpstart Pack, making it a perfect Christmas gift.

Typically, to own a solid electric bass or guitar, an amplifier must be purchased separately. With the Jumpstart pack, a young player will receive an all-inclusive ensemble, complete with a prestigious-sounding GSR190 four-string bass, 10-watt amplifier, gig bag, tuner, strap, headphones for quiet practice sessions, cable and accessory pouch. The Jumpstart also includes an instructional DVD featuring bass virtuoso, Gerald Veasley.

The bass itself is smooth and easy to handle, lacking the bulkiness that’s often intimidating to beginners. The maple GSR4 neck is only 21 mm think at the first fret, and also includes a signature Ibanez B10 Bridge, rosewood fret board and pearl dot inlays.

The sound from this bass was stellar, to say the least. I was impressed when I plugged it into a 250-watt amp, which, with that much power, could make any bass sound good. But I was actually blown away with how clearly it came through the 10-watt practice amp that comes standard in the package. The single-coil bridge pickup is coupled well with the split pickups near the neck. The GSR190 challenges any four-string on the market—even top-level instruments.

I do recommend purchasing this package from a local music store that has experienced technicians on staff. Basses sold as parts of packages do come stringed and are ready to play for the most part; however, it’s essential to have them “set up.”

Setting up a bass is the process whereby the neck, strings and bridge are adjusted to operate properly. Simply stated, it’s comparable to tuning up an automobile. A reputable music store will likely offer a free set-up with the purchase of the bass. If not, expect to pay $20-$40 to have your bass adjusted.

The Ibanez IJSB190 Jumpstart Pack truly is a sweet deal. The package lists for $406.99. Online retailers and discount music stores are selling them for much less. However, I recommend visiting an outfitter small enough to work closely with you.

In regard to certain instruments—especially those that will require maintenance in the future—it’s always wise to pay a bit more for personal service. Spending $275 to $310 here is a wise trade for the rock-bottom price.

Jim Hagerty is a staff writer for The Rock River Times. He’s also a singer/songwriter and drummer. He can be reached at 703-7383 or jimmyhags@hotmail.com.

From the Dec. 20-26, 2006, issue

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