Ibanez GSR200 Review


We were interested in finding out if the Ibanez GSR200 is actually good or if people just settle on it because it is affordable. Perhaps the brand itself was enough of a selling pitch to get customers interested. After looking at this 4-string bass more closely, we saw that there’s more to it than just a price tag and a household name.

There are quite a few features that make it interesting to have, especially how easy it is to learn on. It’s the blend of a decent design and quality materials, with surprising hardware that make this bass guitar so popular.

Key features

  • Full-body 4-string electric bass
  • Big brand name at an affordable price
  • Durable
  • Active pickups for even more power
  • Slim fretboard
  • Full scale
  • PhatII base boost
  • Beginner friendly
  • Can play live

Build and design

There’s a no-nonsense approach to the way this guitar was made. It’s as straightforward as possible, cut from the same mold as other full-body models that Ibanez makes. They also didn’t have to use basswood to make it more affordable.

A full Agathis body is not bad at all. With a full-scale rosewood fretboard and chrome finishing, it’s not too shabby to look at. The only downside would be the plastic control knobs; these can fall off easily, but they can also be replaced.

Four different controls, one for each coil and one for the PhatII boost, is about as much tone customization as you get with the Ibanez GSR200. The extra knob, however, does make the model look a bit more different than the others.

Tone and sound

Ibanez had their ups and downs over the years. Some products were bestsellers, while others were a total bust. They sell everything from extremely cheap to insanely expensive and anything in-between.

With the Ibanez GSR200, it’s clear that they wanted to take the middle ground by offering more versatility in terms of sound. You won’t be able to customize the tone too much, but just enough to cover a few musical genres.

Because the standard tone can seem a bit flat at times, adjusting the PhatII bass boost can make a huge difference. You might enjoy this because it can help you switch genres between songs. Granted, it’s an extra knob on the body, but you get more control this way.

Another reason why you might find the PhatII bass boost helpful is how much richness it can offer to your bass solos. In a very simple straight-to-amp setup, all you need to do is change the pickup and turn up your boost. It can make your notes really stand out.


Once you get accustomed to playing an instrument, there comes the impending need for jam sessions, band practices, and ultimately live performances. Everyone who picks up an instrument to learn has these fantasies of being a rock star.

The Ibanez GSR200 may be the beginner-friendly version of a bass guitar, but it can also get you to the next level. While it’s true that it doesn’t have the best sound out there, and it can even seem flat at times, it can also be a decent starter for going live.

The active pickups are almost unheard of in this price range. You have a single coil on the bridge and split coils for the neck. Combine that with the PhatII boost and it’s a lot of power to walk out on the stage with.

Where does Ibanez GSR200 fit on the musical spectrum?

Although it lacks versatility in the tuning department, you can still approach a variety of musical genres with the Ibanez GSR200. You can’t expect to be the centerpiece of a jazz band playing on this, but you can fit in well in any blues, country, rock, or pop group.

Because of the powerful pickups, you can also tackle hard rock and heavy metal music. Don’t try to go too extreme, though. It sounds good for the cheap bass that it is, but it won’t hold its own in a thrash metal band; it just doesn’t have the kick for it.

Also, the more aggressive the music, the more strain you will put on the strings. Chances are that you will fall out of tune fast, but unless you work it too hard, you shouldn’t have problems. There’s always the option to bring the Ibanez GSR200 on the road as a backup bass if you prefer showing off your more expensive choices first.

What it can’t do

When it comes to bass lines, this is more than just your average instrument that blends in with the rest. Great bass players can still be the main focus even when surrounded by eight more people. The Ibanez GSR200 can help get you started, but only at certain things.

What we found was truly lacking from its setup and design was the ability to make use of slaps. It will handle a few of them, but not with the same quality sound as other models. If you plan on jamming to some funky riffs or playing the Seinfeld intro over and over, this might not be a good instrument for you.

The bridge can be adjusted a bit but for the most part, what you see is what you get. Few improvements can be made on this end. The unwanted hum is not a deal breaker for other genres or techniques until you reach the point of slapping. The chord positioning on the Ibanez GSR200 just won’t allow it to sound as clear as it needs to be.


There are many debates over what’s best in terms of starting instruments, and we think the Ibanez GSR200 can hold its own with most of them. It’s not the flashiest or the most powerful, but it does provide everything a student’s needs.

If you’re on a budget or maybe not even fully committed to learning bass, this instrument can be a good way to find out what it’s all about. The slimmer design around the neck allows you to access all 22 frets with ease.

You can even switch from guitar to bass more comfortably given its thin design. The medium-sized frets will help out a lot with the accuracy, too. All in all, for its price tag, it does seem to do more than you can ask from it, which is enough to warrant a recommendation.