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Rating and Reviews: Ibanez BTB685 Bass

The BTB685 Terra Firma is a sustain machine, thanks to the extra mass and extended neck-to-body contact area provided by its unique single-cutaway design.

User Ratings
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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Value
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The Wow Factor
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"Solid Bass, Excellent Quality, Unbelievable Sustain" submitted January 7, 2016

By Joe S in Atlanta Georgia area., GA
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: I've played and performed on bass over 30 years. I consider myself a semi-professional enthusiast.
Music Style: My playing interests include soft rock, smooth jazz, new country, classical orchestra and worship.
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Sound: This bass has been tuned as B-E-A-D-G. With the original factory-installed strings (Elixir), the sound and playability are both excellent. The touch is silky smooth with a deep, rich bass on B-string. I've adjusted the active tone controls with 50% boost on bass, flat on mid-range and 25% cut on treble. It provides a perfect tone for my finger-style method of playing. With it's wider string-to-string spacing, it's easy to control and play well (i.e., compared to other 5-string basses with closer string spacing). Feature: The Bartolini pickups match this bass and its factory installed strings perfectly. There's a wide range of tone adjustment to fit nearly any style of playing with very little unwanted noise. With all settings set flat (at the indent), the bass may sound a bit "bright", which is easily adjusted by boosting bass and cutting the treble. Ease of Use: I thought this bass would be noticeably heavy (or too heavy). However, it's so well balanced (no neck dive) that overall weight wasn't a problem for me. Since natural materials are used in construction, weight of these basses can vary somewhat (perhaps +/-8 oz between different units). Mine weighed 10 lb 1 oz, which seems to be a typical mid-range weight for BTB685MSC. I've played lighter 5-strings having noticeable neck-dive that actually feel heavier after gigging for 60 minutes. The need to constantly prop-up the neck of a lighter (but less balanced) bass can make them feel heavier. The neck of this bass is well-balanced and I found it very easy to play. The bass arrived with nearly perfect setup (low action with no string buzz). The only adjustment it needed was very slight change of intonation on D and G strings. Quality: I've owned a previous Ibanez BTB bass that was perhaps 4.5/5.0 with its quality of construction. The earlier bass had sharp edges on frets and some rough areas on the neck. This experience made me somewhat hesitant to purchase another, but I really liked the design concept of this instrument. The BTB685MSC is designed to satisfy the needs of a bass-playing enthusiast. Unlike my previous experience with the BTB basses, there were no quality issues at all with the BTB685MSC. I expect this bass will play reliably for a long time. Ibanez quality with this Indonesian instrument seems to be much improved from 2 years ago. Value: The normal selling price of the Ibanez BTB685MSC represents excellent value compared to other instruments of this same quality. I obtained a comparative price-match from Zzounds after providing information that another supplier offered a lower price. I'm quite pleased with this instrument as well as lowest pricing obtained from Zzounds. Manufacturer Support: I haven't needed any factory service with this instrument. I visited the company's web site to lookup the "playing weight" of the instrument, but couldn't find it posted (shipping weight that's posted isn't really useful to a performing musician). Although omission of this important weight information seemed odd, it didn't prevent me from ordering the instrument. I knew from my prior experience with Zzounds that the bass could be returned if it was unsuitable for any reason. The Wow Factor: The instrument has instant visual appeal and its unique neck-through design makes it a standout. I've received many compliments about the well-crafted appearance of the bass. But this is more than a "trophy bass" for me - it's the best-sounding and most playable bass I own, which has helped to elevate my playing ability to a new level. I plan to keep this instrument for a long time. Overall: I expected this bass to play, sound and look great. It exceeded all my expectations and I now consider it among the best musical instrument purchases I've ever made. The BTB685MSC is a delight to play; my only disappointment is when I need to put it back in its case.
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"Simply WOW!!" submitted January 8, 2016

By Mark Anthony Heredia in Pharr, TX
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: I've been playing bass for 3 years....
Music Style: Rock, alternative rock, pop, pop-rock, norteƱo, country, contemporary rock, gospel, Latin, salsa, merengue, blues, jazz, and Lat
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Sound: It sounds way more better than my Fender Jazz deluxe bass V5 (Mexican made) and it's way more versatile!! Just loved the mid-frequency switch and the tri-eq!! Ease of Use: I'm still playing around with the preamp but I love how I can change the tone real quick!! Quality: I love the singlecut!!!! It's gives the bass more beef and sustain...it's just crazy!!! Value: It's cheap for it being a singlecut bass...you will love this bass the moment you get it!!!! I'm seriously selling Ibanez bass just to keep this one!!! The Wow Factor: It has a real clear tone and plus love the bartolini pick ups!!! Overall: I gave it a shot sinc there wasn't many reviews from this bass...but man...totally worth th buck!!! Actually, this bass should be more expensive because of the single cut but Ibanez is such a sweetheart and made it under 1K...who does this?!?! Anyway, it's a really cool bass!!!!!
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