Each bass has the option of ovangkol (pictured) or flame maple (pictured on previous page) top wood.
Both models were crafted in the Ibanez premium factory in Jawa Timur, Indonesia. In terms of build, both basses have multi-laminated bodies and necks, and titanium reinforcing rods inside the neck, which usually enhances sustain and stabilizes intonation. Each has a natural satin finish, a bolt-on neck that blends into the body top (looking a bit like a neck-through design), and diamond-shaped abalone position marker inlays up and down the neck. The tilt-back headstocks avoid the need for string trees, giving the headstock a nice, clean look.
In addition, both basses have the same wenge and bubinga neck sandwich, providing a sensuous feel through their satin finish. Another touch of visual class is the dark wood cap on the top of the headstock.
So How Do They Differ?
Mostly obviously, the 1205E has one more string, one more tuner, one more bridge unit, and one more pair of pickup pole pieces. But these two basses differ most noticeably from the woods they are built with—and the resulting difference in tone. While the 1400E weighed in at a dainty 7.5 pounds, the 1205E hefted a full pound more. The additional string and its accouterments certainly account for part of the weight difference, but I’d attribute more of that weight to their respective woods.
Although both axes have the same wenge/bubinga neck, the body of the 1400E is built from mahogany with a flame maple cap. This wood combination allows for the smooth, warm lows of mahogany plus a bit of that maple bite and brightness. In contrast, the 1205E uses ovangkol instead of flame maple cap. While flame maple (sometimes referred to as tiger maple) provides a flashy, high-class appearance, ovangkol possesses an earthier look and a more varied grain pattern. Tonally, I heard a darker, deeper, rounder tone out of the 1205E’s ovangkol compared with the 1400E’s maple. Each bass essentially sounded the way it looked.
The headstocks on both basses are tilted back, eliminating the need for a string tree.
Both the 1205E and the 1400E are beautifully crafted instruments with decidedly exotic looks. Ibanez makes both body wood combinations in four-string and five-string versions, so whether you’re after the snap of maple or the depth of ovangkol, you won’t need to forego your preferred string setup. Happily, the setup was good on both basses and the nuts were cut to the right depth on both of the review basses—although the top could have been taken down a bit on the four-string. The woodwork was neat and careful, and the satin finish was smoothly applied. The onboard EQ allows for plenty of tonal variation that can move either instrument into the other’s sonic territory.
If there was one thing I would change, it would be a switch to copper foil shielding and tidier wiring in the cavity—plus a separate battery box.
you’re after a sleek, light, modern-looking bass with flash and style and you like natural woods.
you’re a traditionalist in your basses and prefer simple design, minimal controls and a little heft.
|Street SR1205E $1099, SR1400 $1049 - Ibanez - ibanez.com