Ibanez SRC6 Crossover Short Scale Bass/Guitar Review

Hello there, back again with another real review of a pretty unique instrument! This time we will be looking at one of my recent purchases; an Ibanez SRC6 Short-Scale Bass Guitar!

SRC6 got my attention for the first time in late 2016 as I had become very interested in low range guitars such as 7 string and also baritone guitars. Featuring a 6-string, short-scale design with standard guitar tuning and way thicker strings, I thought I found a gem!

A couple of years later, I moved to Bratislava and started looking for it again. However, by the time I was ready to buy it, it was discontinued! I wasn’t hopeful but I tried searching for it online. Luckily I found one and went for it!

Before I bought it, I did a lot of research since I wanted to believe that it is closer to being a guitar rather bass. But most of the people who owned this instrument made it clear that Ibanez SRC6 is a bass guitar!

So before we dive into details about the instrument, I also want to let everyone know that this is a bass guitar! According to the Ibanez website, it was designed within an Ibanez Bass Workshop (from concept to reality). So this is basically an attempt to design and manufacture hybrid and innovative bass guitars!

However, this doesn’t mean you can not use it like a guitar. As I have mentioned, it’s a 6-string instrument tuned to standard guitar tuning. While I was buying this instrument at Muziker, the salesperson actually thought this is a 6-string standard bass and started tuning it to E- A-D-G-B-E notes!!! I had to stop him as this would mess up everything. 🙂

Ibanez SRC6 features a jatoba tonewood on its body. It comes without any finish or lacquer, very very lightweight and resonant wood that compliments with EMG 35Hz pickups. I have just inspected mine and been able to count 4 pieces! There 3 big pieces plus a small piece that I can spot around pots.

Mine is made in 2018, Indonesia. I must say the craftsmanship is flawless! There was not a single problem out of the box. As for the body, Ibanez doesn’t mention the number of pieces but they clearly state the number of pieces on the neck. It has 5 pieces in total consisting of jatoba and reinforcing walnut strips.

Ibanez SRC6 Crossover Short Scale Bass
Ibanez SRC6 Crossover Short Scale Bass

Ibanez SRC6 also features a pair of EMG 35Hz pickups. Unlike the first thing comes to one’s mind about EMG being all about active pickups, these pair of pickups are passive! However, the guitar comes with an active Ibanez custom electronics featuring a master volume, a blend pot which enables you to blend bridge and neck pickup precisely and also 3 pots as bass, mid and treble controls.

Soundwise this custom electronics offer a huge variety of different sounds (At the moment, I’m working on a full review video of Ibanez SRC6 to show you the possibilities of the electronics and the instrument, so stay in touch!).

Cool bit of information about Ibanez! Did you know that you can find detailed information about every single component and parts used on Ibanez guitars and basses here on this page?

Let me first share a very recent video that I released using my Ibanez SRC6. I played a timeless song by Barış Manço & Kurtalan Ekspres – Dönence which has one of the sweetest bass lines out there! If you are interested in the details regarding the gear and plugins used for making this video, please see the dedicated post here.

Before I give you more about my opinions on the instrument as well as some critical “upgrades“, here are the tech specs of Ibanez SRC6 below.

Tech Specs

Neck TypeSRC6 5 piece Jatoba/Walnut Neck (Bolt-on, 4 bolts)
BodyOkoume Body
FretboardJatoba Fretboard Abalone Oval Inlay
FretsMedium Frets
Number Of Frets24
Scale Length30″ – 762mm
BridgeTight-End Bridge
String Space10.8mm
Neck PickupEmg® 35Hz Neck Pickup (Passive)
Bridge PickupEmg® 35Hz Bridge Pickup (Passive)
EqualiserIbanez Custom Electronics 3-Band Eq
Factory TuningE- A-D-G-B-E
StringsD’Addario® EXL156
String Gauge24-34-44-56-72-84
NutPlastic
Nut Width42mm (58mm at 24th Fret)
Hardware ColorCosmo Black

As I have mentioned, jatoba tonewood is very lightweight and resonant on this guitar. So lightweight that it is actually a bit unbalanced. In my opinion, this guitar is not made for playing without a strap. For me, it was really challenging to handle it without a strap as the neck tends to pull the body to your left.

Ibanez SRC6 Headstock Rear
Ibanez SRC6 Headstock Rear

Apart from frets having arrived just a bit corroded out of the box (as with many Asian made guitars), there was no single problem with how it was built. However, here’s the most important problem with this instrument. Fortunately, it’s something you can change immediately! Yes, I’m talking about the factory strings.

As you may probably know when we have longer scales on guitars/basses, there may be problems regarding string tension at recommended tunings. Except for low E string, every single string sounds really nice and balanced. However, there’s a slight problem with the factory D’Addario® EXL156 strings. To me, it feels a bit sloppy and loose with this set of strings.

Especially, when you play near octave and higher on the low E string (starts around 9th or 10th fret), it produced a bit ringing sounds. It was almost like those notes and upwards frets were causing a resonance problem which I wasn’t able to solve with the adjustments.

Ernie Ball 2837 Slinky Baritone strings is a good fit for Ibanez SRC6?

So in order to fix this issue, I started researching alternative string brands and gauges. I ended up finding some good customer reviews on Ernie Ball 2837 Slinky Baritone strings that were claimed to go really well with Ibanez SRC6.

But there was a concern mentioned by many users. They basically bought Ernie Ball 2837 and attempted to restring their 6 strings, short-scale basses from companies such as Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI. Some of the 6 string short-scale basses feature a tremolo and also a longer headstock which makes it impossible for strings to reach that far. This means they weren’t able to string their guitars with this set.

But there was a really helpful customer on one of the websites and he clearly stated that Ernie Ball 2837 strings are a great fit for Ibanez SRC6. I even contacted Ernie Ball and Ibanez on Twitter, however, they were never sure about it as Ernie Ball wouldn’t take the responsibility for another guitar manufacturer’s products and Ibanez would do the same as they are really related, but only different leading companies in the industry.

There was nothing but the risk for me to take! So I got myself a set of Ernie Ball 2837 Slinky Baritone strings. Fortunately, it just fit right! And more importantly, this rattling, ringing sounds disappeared immediately!

Ernie Ball 2837 Slinky Baritone strings is a set of 6 strings for baritone instruments. The string gauges are as follow 20-30-42-54-74-90 as opposed to D’Addario® EXL156 24-34-44-56-72-84.

As you can see, except low E and A strings, the rest of them are thinner in gauge with Ernie Ball. But low E and A strings are a bit thicker! That does the miracle in my opinion and just adjust the balance and tension at the optimum level.

Conclusion

To summarize, I think Ibanez SRC6 is an excellent instrument. But don’t take it as an extended range GUITAR, it’s just a short-scale, 6 string bass guitar featuring a standard guitar tuning and guitar-like string spacing. This means it is going to feel like a guitar than a bass! This is why it’s called a crossover 🙂

It’s very difficult to find this instrument these days, but if you are a guitar player and one those who seek an easier-to-play bass guitar, I would definitely recommend it! It is so much fun to play this thicker, bass sounds while having a guitar playing feel, you should try one!

Active EQ circuit gives you a lot of tonal options and I think you can use this guitar/bass in many musical situations. I hope you like this real & honest review here! Please stay tuned for the Ibanez SRC6 full review video in which I will be demoing all the possible sounds!

Thanks for reading, and see you in the next article!

Osman

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