Bass guitars are fairly large instruments.
With a standard scale length of 34 inches, they can feel a bit uncomfortable to some beginners, or those who have smaller hands.
Luckily, there are some great basses with shorter scale lengths.
Read the rest of this review to find out why we think so highly of it and whether it is the right bass for you.
Table of Contents
Ibanez GSRM20 Bass Review: Overview And Features
The Ibanez GSRM20 is part of the company’s Mikro series (stylized as “miKro”), which is intended especially for those who have a hard time wrapping their hands around larger necks and holding a big instrument.
So how short is this bass’ scale length?
It measures 28.6 inches, which puts it among the smallest basses on the market.
Looking at its price tag, it’s pretty obvious that it is intended for beginner players or enthusiasts who just need a short-scale instrument to mess around with.
But it is well-made and can serve as a decent gigging instrument as well. It’s nothing too fancy, but it’s still a great addition to your bass collection, especially if you’re more comfortable with smaller bass guitars.
We like it a lot better than the Ibanez GIO basses, which actually made our list of bass guitar brands to avoid.
Overall, the GSRM20 is a very useful and ergonomic bass. Its simplicity, short scale length, and low price make it interesting to some players.
But not everyone likes a smaller bass guitar, so its most distinctive trait is also potentially its biggest weakness.
- Short scale length of 28.6 inches
- Contoured SR MiKro body shape
- Poplar body
- Maple neck with jatoba fretboard
- 22 frets
- 12-inch fretboard radius
- Dynamix J and P single-coil pickups
- Two volume controls and one master tone knob
- B10 fixed bridge
Design And Construction
The Ibanez’s SR MiKro shape is an interesting design. It looks great and is comfortable. The body is completely contoured and smooth, which feels great for your picking hand.
What’s more, the body and neck joint is designed to bring maximum comfort in the higher-fret areas.
As for the instrument’s build, it has a poplar body, maple neck, and a jatoba fretboard. It has 22 frets and a pretty flat radius of 12 inches. This makes it great for bass solo sections.
Pickups And Hardware
The Ibanez GSRM20 comes with the classic P and J pickup combo. It features two of Ibanez’s Dynamix single-coil pickups in the bridge and neck positions. The neck one is a split-coil.
There are two volume controls, one for each pickup, as well as a master tone control for some basic tone shaping.
The bass has Ibanez’s standard B10 bridge with four individual saddles. It is simple to set up. This is accompanied by Ibanez’s die-cast tuning machines.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- Cheap, but great for this price level
- Shorter scale length and small size make it a great choice for beginners
- Great ergonomic qualities
- Decent tone from Dynamix pickups
- Reliable, stays in tune
- Shorter scale length and smaller size is not for everyone
Ibanez GSRM20 Vs Gretsch G2220
With all the cheap basses on the market these days, you have a lot to choose from. But few are actually any good.
Aside from Ibanez’s GSRM20, another instrument worth mentioning in this price category is the Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Jet II bass guitar.
The two basses are quite similar in their function, because both are budget-friendly instruments with a shorter scale length.
That said, the Gretsch bass has a slightly longer scale length of 30.3 inches. But it only has 20 medium-jumbo frets, compared to the 22 on the Ibanez model.
Not that it matters.
It’s pretty clear from the design that the Gretsch G2220 is not intended to be played way up in the higher frets. It has a single-cutaway design: the company’s classic “Jet” body shape.
This shape is similar to classic Les Paul-style guitars with a bit of a twist. The body style means access to the higher frets is not as comfortable as on the Ibanez GSRM20.
As long as you don’t need those higher frets, the G2220 is an awesome instrument for its price level. It’s a bit more expensive than the Ibanez, but has some unique traits.
First, is the completely unique design. That is paired with some unconventional features. For instance, it has a 3-way pickup selector switch on it, which you don’t usually see on bass guitars.
While we’re at it, it’s equipped with two Mini Bass humbuckers designed by Gretsch. Compared to the GSRM20, the humbucking pickups give you a beefier tone.
Also, having these kinds of pickups removes all of the annoying hums that usually occur with single-coils. Aside from the unusual 3-way pickup selector switch, we also have master volume and master tone controls.
While both of these basses are entry-level, they each have some great qualities. The G2220 is more expensive, mostly due to its aesthetic features and more interesting finish options.
The GSRM20 is more of a conventional bass guitar. It is more versatile and the better option for most people. But if you’re into classic rock or punk music and care about the looks, then the Gretsch is probably the better choice for you.
Learn more in our full Gretsch Junior Jet Bass review.
Ibanez GSRM20 Bass Guitar: Conclusion And Rating
The Ibanez GSRM20 easily outperforms its price tag. It’s nothing spectacular (which should be obvious from the low price), but it’s a reliable bass that sounds good, feels great, and is pretty reliable.
Aside from the shorter scale length, which is arguably the biggest selling point, the ergonomic qualities are another standout feature. And, of course, the low price.
The GIO line of basses is Ibanez’s deep budget offering. They are not nearly as good as most of their other instruments, but due to the low price, they are an incredible value. Read “Are Ibanez Bass Guitars Good?” for more.
If you need a cheaper bass with a short scale length, this is easily the best option. That is true even for experienced bassists. You can’t get a better short-scale bass at this price level.
That’s why it gets a Musicaroo rating of 3.9 out of 5. Pair it with one of the best compact bass amps featured here for a great practicing combo.