Ibanez SR5FMDX2 Review & Prices

Ibanez SR5FMDX2 Review
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  • From Ibanez's 2023 SR Premium series
  • Made in Japan
  • 5 strings
  • 34"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Flamed Maple/Ash top
  • African Mahogany body
  • Panga Panga/Purpleheart neck
  • Flamed Maple fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Nordstrand Big Single wood covered (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Nordstrand Big Single wood covered (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • MR5S bridge
  • Bass Atlas-5 Bolt-On neck
  • 24 Medium frets
  • Gotoh machine heads tuners
  • Weight between 8.25lbs (3.7kgs) and 8.938lbs (4.1kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 75
Sound 83
Build quality 75
Value for money 73
Overall Score 78
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Ibanez SR5FMDX2
  • Made in Japan
  • Expensive Wood
  • Black Tusq XL Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Active Preamp
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Retainer Bar
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $2500, which means that the Ibanez SR5FMDX2 is around 28% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 5 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Japan.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Ibanez SR5FMDX2 meets 3 out of our 6 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not bad for beginners, but it could be better. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Ibanez SR5FMDX2
  • Comfortable shape
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Ibanez SR5FMDX2's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this bass—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

How Lightweight is it?

We found that the Ibanez SR5FMDX2 weighs between 8.25lbs (3.7kgs) and 8.938lbs (4.1kgs). This was recorded from some online retailers that publish the weight of the instruments they sell.

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Ibanez SR5FMDX2's 34" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Ibanez SR5FMDX2 Scale Length Comparison
Ibanez SR5FMDX2's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is considered a long scale bass, and it's the most popular choice for several reasons. Even though it might be more difficult to play than short scale basses due to their increased string tension, their punchier low-end results in a clear and defined bass tone that can cut through in a mix, making them well-suited for genres like rock, metal, and funk.

Neck Profile

Ibanez SR5FMDX2 Neck Profile
Ibanez SR5FMDX2's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Ibanez SR5FMDX2's neck thickness is approximately 0.768'' (19.5mm) at the first fret, and 0.846'' (21.5mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Ibanez website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Ibanez SR5FMDX2 has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Ibanez SR5FMDX2 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Ibanez SR5FMDX2's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Ibanez SR5FMDX2 has the same radius across the board.

Playability compared to main competitors

Ibanez SR5FMDX2
This model
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.772'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
23.622'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.772'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.772'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.772'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Ibanez SR5FMDX2 Nut Width
Ibanez SR5FMDX2 Nut Width

The Ibanez SR5FMDX2 has a nut width of 45mm (1.772''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 5-string bass. This is what most players find as a balanced width for both playing chords and single notes across different strings. If you have an "average" hand size, or you're not sure what nut width you'd like, this is a safe bet.

Frets

The Ibanez SR5FMDX2 has 24 frets. A lot of people mistakenly believe that having more frets will always be better because it gives you a higher octave. This is certainly an advantage, but there's also a disadvantage to this.

Since the fretboard will be longer, the neck pickup will need to be placed closer to the bridge. And as you may know, the further away the neck pickup is from the bridge, the warmer it sounds. This means you'll have a brighter-sounding neck pickup when using a 24-fret bass, even if you use the same pickup on a 22-fret bass.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

Fret Size

Ibanez SR5FMDX2 Fret Size Comparison
Ibanez SR5FMDX2's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Ibanez SR5FMDX2's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 80
Playability 75

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body
Panga Panga wood pattern used for guitar building
Panga Panga Neck
Flame Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Flame Maple Fretboard

Mahogany Body: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Panga Panga Neck: It's an African wood often confused with Wenge. It has a dark color with tight grain with a tone that emphasizes mids and lows.

Flame Maple Fretboard: This wood has beautiful patterns only found in specific types of maple.

Pickups

This bass comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Nordstrand. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

Preamp

The preamp is an electronic circuit that serves as an intermediary between the bass's pickups and the amplifier. Its primary function is to boost and shape the bass's raw signal before it reaches the amplifier. This allows for greater control over the bass's tone, volume, and other sound characteristics. Preamps often include tone controls, equalization settings, and sometimes even onboard effects, enabling bassists to tailor their sound to their preferences and the musical context.

This bass has a Active preamp. Unlike passive basses, which rely solely on passive pickups and tone controls, active preamps require a power source, typically a 9-volt battery, to operate. The active preamp offers several advantages, including the ability to boost or cut specific frequencies, resulting in a more versatile and customizable tonal palette. Active basses are favored in genres where precise tonal sculpting and extended tonal options are essential, such as jazz fusion or progressive rock. However, they do require occasional battery replacement or recharging to ensure optimal performance.

The Ibanez SR5FMDX2's configuration is SS. This is the classic Telecaster configuration and it's used mainly for playing clean or with low-gain distortion. It doesn't give you as much versatility as a Strat SSS configuration, but you might like the cleaner look of a guitar body with fewer pickups.

More with the same pickups

Ibanez SR5FMDX2
This model
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Nordstrand Big Single wood covered Bridge Pickup
Nordstrand Big Single wood covered Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Nordstrand Big Single wood covered Bridge Pickup
Nordstrand Big Single wood covered Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your bass for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Ibanez SR5FMDX2 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Ibanez SR5FMDX2's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 5 strings, Solid Body bass with SS configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Heavy Metal or similar. However, you can use almost any bass for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 85
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 83

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Ibanez SR5FMDX2 is made in Japan. You should expect a high-quality guitar with excellent quality control. It can be compared to guitars made in the US, which is why they're also expensive.

Bridge

MR5S: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your bass. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Ibanez SR5FMDX2 has a Black Tusq XL nut. It's not made of plastic or low-quality materials. They're made to resemble the sound you get from bone and ivory nuts, but with slippery materials so the intonation and tuning are stable. Also, each nut is carefully cut to ensure you won't have tune stabilization problems.

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the bass meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This bass has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 65
Features 70
Quality Control 90
Build Quality 75

All Specs

Ibanez SR5FMDX2
General
Brand: Ibanez
Year: 2023
Configuration: SS
Strings: 5
Made in: Japan
Series: SR Premium
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Top: Flamed Maple/Ash
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: African Mahogany
Bridge: MR5S
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Gotoh machine heads
Fretboard: Flamed Maple
Neck Material: Panga Panga/Purpleheart
Decoration: Abalone oval inlay
Scale Size: 34"
Shape: Bass Atlas-5
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.768'' (19.5mm) - 12th Fret: 0.846'' (21.5mm)
Frets: 24 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Black Tusq XL
Nut Width: 45mm (1.772'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Nordstrand Big Single wood covered (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Nordstrand Big Single wood covered (Single Coil / Passive)

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