‘Beautique’ Ibanez Steampunk Bass

I bought this old Ibanez GSR 200 4-string bass for $70 from a flea market because I was taken by the steampunk decoration. I wrote about buying and fixing it hereDSC06280The Ibanez labeled bridge, the saddles and the control knobs were chrome plated but the brightness seemed to overpower the adornment. So I rattle-can sprayed them satin black with leftover pool plumbing paint.
This seemed to better blend the bass fixtures with the body color to let the cogs and gears and whatever shine through.
The Ibanez GSR200 is one of the most popular bass guitars sold for many years in the beginner/intermediate class of instrument.


Every GSR 200 I researched online has active circuitry. However mine must be very old because it contains no battery and therefore has passive electronics.

The reason is its low price of around $199USD new and less than half that price for a good used example on Craigslist. And because of its quality construction and good tone production for the price.
The one-piece maple neck is straight and smooth with good frets.
The original chrome machine heads had been destroyed by incorrect stringing. The satin black set I bought online for $11 and change were of about equal quality. Which is to say they do tune the strings.
The truss rod cover was missing so I replaced it with this souvenir key chain from Singapore. Even though the bass was built in Indonesia.

I stuck in in place with picture hanging putty so I can easily replace it with a more appropriate steampunk cover if I can find one.

Fretboard is rosewood and the body is probably alder.
I strung it with D’Addario Pro Steel roundwound strings. They sound very good on it.
I did the setup myself, eyeballing the neck tension to match my Yamaha bass and setting the string height by screwing all adjusters fully down and then progressively raising them enough to stop fret buzz up to the 12th fret. No need to go higher since I can’t play any higher than that anyway.
I set the intonation using a Korg chromatic tuner, lengthening or shortening each string until it was in tune both open and at the 12th fret. It was satisfying to do the setup myself and save $40 or more.

It compares favorably in sound with my other basses, though they are both rather cheap as well. It wasn’t an instrument I needed since, as a lightweight and compact P/J style bass, it just about duplicates the sound and action of my Yamaha.

But sometimes I’m just a fool for esthetics. And you don’t see a bass that looks like this one every day. Or any day.

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