When you start shopping for a new bass guitar, you’ll discover that many of them come in various styles. Although every brand offers some potential to meet your playing needs, many musicians find themselves picking between two brands: Ibanez and Fender.
Let’s be clear. Unless the manufacturing processes are terrible for a bass guitar, there isn’t a “bad” one out there to play. There are only the ones that you like and those you’d rather ignore.
When you compare these two brands, you’ll find that one of them has achieved legendary status within the guitar world. The other provides an affordable way to learn how to play while offering improved visual aesthetics for live performances.
Ibanez vs. Fender Bass – Comparing the Top Bass Guitars
Ibanez and Fender are both well-respected names in the guitar industry, with decades of experience producing high-quality instruments. You can find entry-level models or pro-quality bass guitars that work well for touring musicians. Ibanez works well for hard rock or metal, while Fender provides a well-rounded design.
Ibanez might be a newer brand in North America and Europe for musicians, but it has almost as many history-making guitars as Fender does. The brand was founded in 1929, initially staying local with its production and sales.
By the 1960s, they started making high-quality copies of the best American guitars on the market, including the impressive Destroyer, based on the Gibson Explorer.
The decision to make copies of American instruments landed Ibanez in trouble, causing them to manage several litigation issues. As an outcome of those negotiations, they began to craft their own styles.
Ibanez recovered their reputation by developing thin and fast necks, improved in-house hardware for its bass guitars, and an extended range design that others are now trying to copy.
If you play the bass guitar, having an Ibanez in your collection is almost required.
As for Fender, you have a company credited with giving the world some of the first solid-body bass and electric guitars. Some of their designs, such as the Jazz and Precision bass, have been around for decades.
It’s not unusual to have families hand down a Fender from one generation to the next as everyone falls in love with this instrument. When you look at the Telecaster or the Stratocaster, you’ve got two designs that have come to define what it means to create a high-quality guitar.
Although there is the Player series line of electric and bass guitars made in Mexico (making them more affordable), most of the instruments get manufactured in the United States. That’s why you can find a significant price difference between pro-quality Ibanez guitars and the ones from this brand.
General Comparison Between Ibanez and Fender for Musical Styles
Fender guitars have always relied on wood for their tone. That’s why you’ll see a maple neck and an alder body on almost every design, whether electric or bass. Some of the signature series models make some alterations from this design, but you don’t typically find as much variation on the four-string setup.
Both the Jazz and Precision Bass from Fender use passive pickups, making it rely on the tonewoods even more to produce an enjoyable sound.
The design is simple, yet it makes its mark because of each note and chord’s distinctive quality.
Ibanez focuses more on flexibility and power. When you grab something from the brand’s Soundgear Series, you’ll get active electronics that let you create a custom sound. The EQ controls are right there, on the guitar, so that you don’t need to run back and forth to your sound equipment.
That’s not to say the wood selected for an Ibanez guitar isn’t important. When you purchase one of their pro-quality instruments, you’ll find more exotic woods available that aren’t found in the Fender product line.
When you buy a Fender guitar, you’re getting something classic, simple, and natural. If you prefer the Ibanez bass, you’ll get a modern, flexible, and potent sound to use with your music.
■ What Bass Guitar Should I Buy for My Genre?
A closer look at each brand’s strengths can let you know what bass guitar to get for your trademark sound. Although Ibanez and Fender can work in any medium, one typically offers an advantage to some musicians.
|Music Genre||Best Guitar Brand||• Why This Bass Guitar Is the Best for This Style|
|Rock||Fender||• If you play any version of rock, you’ll find that a Fender bass comes through in almost any situation. |
• You’ll get a reverberating beat, extra support in the low end, and the rhythm you want for syncopated sounds.
|Heavy Metal||Ibanez||• You’ll get faster necks and heavier sounds from the Ibanez brand, making them the perfect solution for riffs and rhythm support. |
• It won’t overpower the chords from the lead or synth, and you’ll have some design variations that can let you develop a personal style.
|Country||Fender||• It’s difficult to beat the trademark twang that comes from a Fender bass. |
• When paired with a Telecaster in this musical genre, you’ll have an unbeatable combination.
• It’s possible to replicate some of the benefits with an Ibanez, but you’re better off with the real thing.
|Blues||Ibanez||• Although a Fender Strat is excellent for the melody, you’ll want an Ibanez bass for the fast-moving notes that this genre demands. |
• You can tackle brutal solos, put together a fun riff, or support the melody in several unique ways with the included layout.
|Jazz||Ibanez||• The improvisation possibilities with an Ibanez bass guitar are extraordinary. |
• Ever since the brand transformed itself with the thinner necks and extended playing zones, jazz musicians have found that this instrument can produce some stunning licks.
|Instructional||Fender||• If you want to start learning how to play the bass guitar without worrying about your musical style, a Fender from the Squier brand is your best choice. |
• It’s an affordable instrument that still delivers some of the company’s trademark sounds while staying true to the shape that you love.
|5-String||Ibanez||• When you want generalized bass support from your guitar, Ibanez has a clear edge for its overall design. |
• If you need a 5-string instrument, you’ve got to go with this brand.
• It’ll give you extra versatility so that your playing style has the edge it needs to deliver impressive results!
You’ll discover that most Fender basses are all about providing a simple, user-friendly design that offers consistent tone and shape.
When you choose an Ibanez bass guitar, you’ll have some more complex and flexible to use so that a broader sound range is possible.
If you want to learn the basics for general music creation, you’ll find that Fender delivers an excellent result. When you want something that isn’t passive, Ibanez offers an instrument you’ll want to play.
What Is the Best Ibanez Bass Guitar?
When you want to play a high-quality instrument, the Ibanez SR2405W 5-String Bass Guitar is a state-of-the-art product that delivers a supreme sound. Not only does it come with an exceptional build, but you’ll get the active electronics and EQ you want to create a customized sound.
Here are the essential specs you’ll want to review when looking at the Ibanez SR2405W 5-String Bass Guitar.
|Pickups:||2x Aguilar Super Double Single-Coil Pickups|
|Wood:||African mahogany (core); figured maple and panga panga (top); Panga panga and purpleheart five-piece laminate (neck); panga panga (fingerboard)|
|Controls:||Pickup pan, volume, treble, middle, bass, passive tone control, active and passive selector, and three-way mid switch (250, 450, and 700 Hz)|
|Finishes:||Brown Topaz Burst or Caribbean Green|
|Left- or Right- Handed:||Both|
|Price:||MSRP for the Ibanez SR2405W 5-String Bass Guitar is $1,599.|
When you look at the Ibanez SR2405W 5-String Bass Guitar, it delivers an exceptional build that provides a lot of bass for a fair price.
Not only is it fun to play, but you’ll also get to manage virtually any musical genre when this instrument is by your side.
Although the neck is a little heavy compared to other Ibanez models, it’s still thinner and lighter than what you’ll find on most Fender or Squier options.
Since it is a 5-string design, this instrument is a little harder to learn how to play than a standard design. Although the finish might not be everyone’s cup of tea, this example from the SR premium line delivers the stacked features you want to maximize your skills.
What Is the Best Fender Bass Guitar?
If you’re looking for the best Fender bass guitar to play, you’ll want to choose the Fender American Performer Mustang to add to your collection.
It might use the split pickup design, but you’ll be impressed by the deceptively subtle sounds that the instrument can produce. It’s an exceptionally playable instrument that delivers more power than you might expect.
Here are the specs you’ll want to review to get a closer look at the Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Guitar today.
|Pickups:||1x Yosemite single-coil jazz bass bridge pickup; 1x Yosemite split single-coil mustang bass|
|Wood:||Alder (body); maple with a bolt-on design (neck); rosewood (fingerboard)|
|Controls:||Volume and tone|
|Finishes:||Faded Daphne Blue or Black|
|Left- or Right- Handed:||Right-handed only|
|Price:||MSRP for the Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Guitar is $1,299.|
If you haven’t heard of Justin Meldal-Johnsen before, he is a session bass guitarist who has played with the likes of Beck, Garbage, and Nine Inch Nails. When JMJ wants to have a reliable instrument for a gig, he turns to the Fender Mustang series.
Although it provides a smaller and simplified approach to the bass guitar, this Fender design still delivers lots of range within its tone pot. That single coil is custom wound so that you can put a little hair on the chin of that instrument’s tone.
As with many Fender guitars, this bass offers a vintage voice with passive notes that can hold its own in virtually any setting. It even comes with a thumb rest if that’s how you typically carry your instrument.
The shorter scale isn’t for everyone. With only 19 frets, you’ll lose some of the versatility that comes with Ibanez designs.
It comes with a gig bag included so that you can take your new instrument on tour right away.
Which Bass Guitar Is Better: Ibanez vs. Fender?
The first time I went into a music store by myself as a teen was to purchase a bass guitar. I went there on my instructor’s recommendation, who suggested that I look at a few different instruments to see if there was something I liked.
It was one of those mom-and-pop shops that are still out there in some communities. I must not have looked like a musician because the sales staff had no desire to come to help me.
Although that could have been a frustrating moment, it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. I got the chance to look at numerous bass guitar brands and models with an innocent perspective.
When I looked at the Ibanez guitars, the first thing I remember thinking to myself is that the name must be impossible to pronounce. The visuals impressed me initially, but it was the weight and sound quality that sold the instrument to me.
What I appreciated most about the Fender bass guitars was their immediate playability. It felt like you could grip and rip it when a riff was needed for a song.
I must have been in the back for at least 45 minutes before someone finally realized that I was still in the shop. Although I ended up buying a Fender bass that day because it was what I could afford, I lingered over the Ibanez because it was simply gorgeous.
My Fender bass is still the go-to instrument I have for recording and practicing. Although I’ve added some excellent Ibanez designs to my collection, the truth is that you fall in love with that first guitar in ways that subsequent investments can’t match.
If you choose the best Ibanez or Fender bass guitar, you’re getting an excellent instrument. The rest of the decision is about your personal preferences. Go with your gut.