Ibanez SR300E vs. Yamaha TRBX304 (Jack of All Basses / Master of None?)

Can these modern basses really “do it all”? This bass review will show you which is better, and how it compares to a classic Fender.

Here’s more info on both these basses that I didn’t fit in the video, in case you’re on the market and need more nerdy details. :nerd_face:

Yamaha TRBX304 Bass Review Details

  • String spacing: 19mm
  • Nut width: 38mm
  • Scale Length: 34’’ (836.6mm)
  • Radius: 10’’ (250mm)
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: 5-Piece bolt-on maple/mahogany
  • Fretboard: (not specified, looks like rosewood)
  • Pickups: YGD designed M3
  • EQ: 2-band 9v active EQ (bass/treble)
  • Gimmick Switch: Performance EQ active circuit with five EQ curves
  • More info from Yamaha

Ibanez SR300E Bass Review Details

  • String spacing: 19mm
  • Nut width: 38mm
  • Scale Length: 34’’ (836.6mm)
  • Radius: 12’’ (305mm)
  • Body: Nyatoh
  • Neck: 5-Piece bolt-on maple/walnut
  • Fretboard: Jatoba
  • Pickups: PowerSpan Dual Coil
  • EQ: 3-band 9v active EQ (bass/mid/treble)
  • Gimmick Switch: 3-way Power Tap switch (single coil, humbucking, Power Tap)
  • More info from Ibanez

Do you own one of these two basses? How do you like it?


Interesting! I am both a Yamaha and Ibanez fan, as I have owned and loved both brands. I’ve never owned or played the models mentioned here and would love to hear the feedback from those who have.


I recently bought the Yamaha as my 2nd bass. I am still learning all the EQ settings but for the price I like it so far.


I had the 305 version of the Yammy and sold it but it was an OK 5 string.

In this video, for me, I liked the Ibanez much better tone wise. Yes more treble-y but I also thought more definition of tone where the Yammy was a bit muddy. The Ibanez has more ‘character’ in tone to me. I did NOT like the Yammy tone switch options for sure, so it is pretty useless.
The Ibanez power tap is great and allows for single coil vs. humbucker, which is one reason why I sold the 305 and bought a Lakland that let’s you do the same on the bridge pickup. This does allow for ‘jazz bass’ mode for sure at least on the Lakland where the Ibanez missed the boat.
The Yammy build in general is better to me.

In the end, its a bit of comparing apples to oranges, especially trying to match traditional Fender tones. I think if I was starting anew and had to pick one I would pick the Yammy, only only only because it feels more solid and build quality. I don’t care for the very light weight of the Ibanez basses, but the tone to me was much much better.

Cool video !


I have that Ibanez. It kicks azz. I love the neck. However, I do tend to gravitate back to my Jazz bass with flats. I think I’m gonna get some bright sounding flats for the Ibby. I just like their feel and sound better.


(hey look once again I wrote probably way too much about yer video. oh well)
An Absolutely Biased Written Response to this Yamaha vs Ibanez Video

I adored the Les Claypool video in January. I gained a renewed appreciation for Yes in February. On this First Day of Spring, I saw the title of what was uploaded and thought:
“oh. a gear video.” Because I’m not yet a gear person.

But this video, not surprisingly, was Q*bert awesome.

I have an Ibanez (albeit it a SR200), so I have already chosen which horse I’m gonna bet on (even though I know what place Ibanez has come in before in these comparisons).

Tone Battle – Sigh. Yes, I can hear the difference, and what might be better for a beginner. But…
2:30 – “…more treble-y, high end stuff on the Ibanez.” Yes, and when you play something a little Primus-y, it sounds great and I love it.
2:40 – “The Ibanez has a pretty distinct bite to it.” Biting is good. Yay Ibanez!
2:46 – I heard, “The Yamaha sounds more neutral and round…polite,” and I knew just how this would end.
3:43 – [Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey] [reminisces about Module 8, Lesson 6 – that was a fun lesson]
5:06 – “super cheapo battery connector” – good thing I don’t use the battery connector to fret or pluck, then :stuck_out_tongue: (jk I get it)
5:08 – “super slick connector in the Yamaha” ok yeah that is pretty convenient
5:44 – Battle of the Gimmick Switches [dun dun dun] – haha I guess when you buy a higher-end bass, you’re paying in part not to have to deal with a gimmick switch?
6:09 – “…what the [qbert] Yamaha?” snicker Hearing you cuss in these videos is a nice counterweight to your infinite patience in the B2B lessons.
6:23 – “don’t worry, we got u” Yahama sounds a little like Batman – point to Yamaha, I guess?
8:29 – “do they actually deliver the classic bass tones that most of us are looking for?” Sigh. Here it comes.
10:24 – “I thought the Yamaha got closer to those tones than the Ibanez.” Now I understand how my Cincinnati-Bengals-fan friend felt during the Super Bowl.
10:34 – “…neither of these basses suck!” yay

But here is where things turn around for me, an Ibanez owner:
10:53 – “The rounder, mellower tone is kind of a safer starting point.” Ok, sure. If you’ve never played an instrument before, and need less to worry about while starting out (like bad sounds), then yeah – something safer makes sense.
11:00 – “…how aggressive it can sound.” Point – Ibanez.
11:06 – “cutting through a wall of distorted guitars, or getting that kind of modern metal, Darkglass-y sound.” Point – Ibanez.
11:14 – “…the Ibanez is way sexier.” Yes. Yes, it is. Double points – Ibanez. And if I hadn’t already bought one, I would totally go for that blue finish.
11:22 – “…a weird 90’s sci-fi movie bass.” Point to Josh for the Johnny Mnemonic clip (in addition to Keanu, the movie also features Ice-T and Henry Rollins, doing what Rollins does best – ranting).

12:06 – “Fender style will just naturally get you closer to classic.” Which is why I’m looking at a Fender Jazz when I’m ready to level-up.
12:20 – “…you’ll want to acquire the exact right tools for the job.” I have to brace myself, because eventually…gear is coming. :grimacing:

Oh, and thanks for the lovely flashback from 1983 of playing Q*bert in the arcade at the mall. :slightly_smiling_face:


I have the 304, bought it almost 2 years ago, after watching Josh’s videos on beginner basses. The second place for everyone seemed like a safe bet, and yes, I also liked that “90s scifi movie look” the best. Got the same color Josh is using in this video, “candy apple red”. The awesomest color around :smiley:

So far, it does all I want it to, never had the itch to get another bass. But maybe that is also because scifi-basses are rare :rofl:


Fantastic balanced review, @JoshFossgreen! So informative in under 13 minutes!

I’ve been looking at the Jackson Spectra JS3 Bass, a similar bass in the same price range, precisely because it has an active/passive switch instead of a “gimmick switch.” I’d be interested any experience that other Forum members have with the Jackson.


I liked you, I really did.
You were special…
This is a bitter pill to swallow.

Anyway. Four and a half decades ago, in my previous bass life, I played in a guitar rock band. Two guitar players, one with a bunch of technique and an ego to match, so I could afford cutting through the mix a bit. My first endeavours with a Fender P went nowhere, so I got myself a Rick, turned up the high mids and the treble and went bonkers.
That helped.

These days, I’m not into that kind of stuff. I want… no, I need to push the other guys on, and stay back in the mix while doing so. It’s the kind of bass playing that you might not pay too much attention to, but you’ll miss it when it’s not there. So yeah… I don’t mind a bass being capable of unobtrusive table manners. The Yam can do that. I just need to roll down the treble and stay the fornicate away from the bridge pickup. I tend to veer towards the fingerboard position.

But here’s my beef with the review:
Tone is so much more dependent on the player than on the instrument, your mileage is bound to vary!
I’m really curious what @JoshFossgreen has to say on that. Put my TRBX in @kristine 's hands and it will sound completely different… which would imply that there’s no way of telling what a bass will sound like in your hands.


It is dependent on the player but not “much more”. I started off with a Yamaha TRBX174 and as much as I love it, it just never gave me the pbass sound that I wanted. Several bases later, I finally got a precision bass and it gives me exactly the sound I want for most of what I play. I have a Sire M7 and just like Josh says about these two bases, if you want a more classic pbass sound, you can get close but these aren’t quite going to give it to you.

This is definitely true, to the degree that a bass will only practically produce certain sounds. In one of his videos, Scott from SBL talks about how he was excited to get to play someone’s expensive bass and when he played it, it just sounded like him :slight_smile: but that doesn’t mean that one won’t be able to tell what a bass will sound like in their hands. As much as they sound slightly different depending on your style, a pbass sounds like a pbass, and a jazz bass sounds like a jazz bass.


Hahaha! I still am. :smirk:

There’s room for all types here. :joy: :joy: :joy:

But…you just took two paragraphs to tell me about how a Rick helped you cut through two guitars, and a Yam can stay back in the mix. So, yes - while people will get various tones out of the same bass because of their taste in music, playing style, etc., different instruments do different things.


Well, I am going to throw a big ‘depends’ on this one.
This is true to an extent, IF, you are playing whatever style it is you are looking to play for your own bad self. But, if you are trying to replicate a specific tone, and further the playing style of a song that exists (ala cover, etc) then … not so much.

In the latter case, some basses just won’t get you some tones…unless you have @JerryP’s magical Hawaiian Tiki God bass that is blessed with being an auditory chameleon.

And just to nip it in the bud…yes, you can EQ and amp sim and yadda yadda yadda but that was not the point of the video Josh made,


I owned the 304 and it’s a great bass. The Ibanez SR line is great too, no question.

My personal take on the 304: it has three drawbacks (all fixed by the 504).

First, two-band EQ. I know the Stingray folks have conditioned themselves to think this is okay but sorry, no. Two band EQ’s are nearly useless IMO. The mids control is about 5x more useful than either the bass or treble - 80% of the time what you want to do is pump or scoop the mids. Ibanez wins big here with a 3-band.

Second, the gimmick switch is just that. It’s a cute idea that you completely exhaust on day one. That real estate could have been used for another EQ band and an active/passive switch. You know this for a fact because that’s what the 504 and 604 have, and the geometry is the same.

Third, the pickups. They are not bad but nothing special. Sounds like the Ibanez ships with better stock pickups. This is also fixed with the 504/604, which have outstanding pickups.

But seriously, for $350 it’s an outstanding bass. The fact that the next bass in the lineup is a much better bass is to be expected. And the build quality is fantastic, as are the looks (I’ll take the 304’s looks over classic Fender every time - I think they look awesome. Same goes for the SR line - both look great.)

But what I would actually recommend people do with their $350 is buy a used 504 or 604 instead. They are truly great basses and compete up with the SR600e or so. And you can say more or less the same at that level too - slightly better build quality on the Yamahas, slightly more tonal range on the SR. Looks are a draw for the 504 and a win for the 604 (for me anyway).


I recently bought the 504 and was amazed at the difference, certainly worth the relatively small increase in price. I tried one out after reading @howard 's enthusiasm for them and practically walked out with it there and then.


40482_m copy

Nothing magical about it, although it is an SR400 patched through Zoom B1Four and a Rumble 40 before getting to the DAI. I just tweak it until I like how it sounds.


My Stream 204 has a 2 band EQ I added as a replacement for tone, which to me is like a tone+. As an EQ it’s not worth much.

But I have an EQ pedal ehich solves a lot of problems. It’s a basic pedal, just bass, mid, and treble, but it has a mid sweep and the godsend that is gain and volume controls. It’s an MXR M81 so it doesn’t add color.

So if your bass is passive or 2-band EQ, you don’t have to get a new bass. Or you can go direct into a DAW and fix it on the backend. But I am coming to appreciate passive basses.

What sounds a bass produces is very much dependent on the player, however, that’s the player’s skill applied to the tone of a given bass. Each bass has it’s own tone.

I love playing the bassline to Dazed and Confused as a warmup, and to practice adding vibrato. It sounds good on all my instruments, but only my Jazz nails the tone like the record, which is what John Paul Jones used.


I had the ibby es300. My grandson has it now. Really great bass to learn on. I was torn up between the Yamaha trbx304 and the Ibanez but liked the appearance of the Ibanez more. It still sounded like garbage until i learned now to play it, though😂

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Now the part where i get the disapproving side glances-I’ll just come out and say it…

I don’t like the look of the fender jazz bass.
I just don’t.
Yes, i get it-it’s a classic. But i never liked the look.
I don’t need a pickguard, the guitar shape in the head confuses me. I’ve never understood why an idea hasn’t been improved upon in all this time.

If i can’t perfectly reproduce specific tones, i can accept that. I’m way more open to that than owning a bass i don’t want to play because i can’t appreciate how it looks.

Sorry, guys. I know I’ve kicked the sacred cow.


I have owned the TRBX304, and I couldn’t get along with the Performance EQ switch. I was endlessly fiddling with its five positions, in combination with the two-band EQ, without ever really getting a tone I wanted/liked. There was nothing wrong with it otherwise: solid construction, perfect fit and finish, great neck. It just didn’t really resonate with me.


I’m going to try that, as i find myself doing those fully iconic, head turning lines from the ocean and houses of the holy in my warm-up without thinking about it. Plus john Paul Jones was a genius. So simple, but it sounds so good.


For me, I am really glad that the basses reviewed here don’t sound like a J-bass. I greatly prefer the double humbucker tone to a J/J. So while it might be tougher to mimic a J accurately (if that’s what you’re going for), IMO the tone from a typical double-buck is better - generally deeper, richer, more saturated, and warmer.

Ironically you can kind of mimic a P with a humbucker but that’s not the point either.

This is one of those things that is all about personal preference. Some people really like single-coils. Others don’t.

I often find myself soloing the P on my P/Js I have owned; I’ve never wanted to solo a J, either on the P/J’s or the J/J I owned. Conversely, I’ll solo humbuckers all the time too - usually the neck on basses and the bridge on guitars.

Again, YMMV. This is all very subject to personal taste and what sound you are going for.

And of course you can really modify things heavily in the DAW anyway so the original bass tone actually matters a lot less than you might think to begin with. A whole lot less. But that’s been explicitly factored out of this discussion.

And then there’s the looks. I’m with you on this one; I really, really prefer the more modern bass looks over something like yet another 1950’s/1960s Fender retread. I get that they are classic. They do look nice. But that doesn’t make them the most attractive for everyone :slight_smile:

I do like the looks of Fender P-basses, and don’t mind the look of J’s, but I would take any of a number of more modern designs over them any day. Again, really subjective, totally personal preference.