Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Which Should You Get?

Picking a bass guitar as a beginner can be quite the chore as you could easily be swayed any which way based on marketing gimmicks. Thankfully, you have us, not sellers, but simply lovers of the art and all things guitars. Today, we’ll be looking at Ibanez Gsr200 Vs Yamaha Rbx170, what guitar is best suited for you as a beginner? Let’s find out.

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The first thing you need to know is that these two are worthy opponents. However, one of them would be a better pick for you, based on preference, price, and which is better suited to the style of music you intend to play.

If you don’t have the time to stick around and read the whole review, (it’s quite a lengthy read), then you should just check out the comparison overview below:

Table of Contents

Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Comparison Overview

Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Similarities

These two guitars have quite a number of similarities. They both come with 4 strings, which we established was the best for novices and people who are still learning to play the bass guitar. However, we also pointed out that some people think that 4 strings stifle creativity because it doesn’t come with those really notes like the 5 and 6 strings come with.

The second similarity that these two have is the mixture of the neck wood and the fretboard. Both these guitars come with maple and rosewood, respectively. This mixture produces a balance between striking sounds, produced by maple, and the warm, mellow sounds, produced by the rosewood.

However, one thing you have to note about the rosewood is that it would need to be taken care of occasionally. This is not a tedious task and it’s one you would only need to do occasionally, while you change your strings. All you need to do is wipe it with a conditioner. You can get a conditioner that is strictly for guitars, sold separately.

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Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Differences

The crux of the Ibanez Gsr200 Vs Yamaha Rbx170 argument lies here. But you will be surprised that there’s not much between these two. Ibanez is made with Agathis, while Yamaha is made with Basswood. While these are two different wood options, they are both considered to be of similar quality, which is of course, not top quality.

Both of these tonewoods are considered to be the more affordable options of a higher-end wood. They are used instead because of their availability and affordability, not necessarily quality.

The second difference is in the number of frets and the neck width. The Yamaha guitar has two more frets than the Ibanez, which means that you have more creative room to play with on the Yamaha guitar. That’s one point for Yamaha in Ibanez Gsr200 Vs Yamaha Rbx170.

Immediately, we see Ibanez hit back by having a slimmer neck than the Yamaha. This slimmer neck makes it more comfortable for people to play, especially beginners. See why we said there’s not much between these two guitars now?

For cost to performance ratio, we feel these two guitars have done extremely well for their prices. You hardly find this much quality at this end of the price spectrum.

Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Brand Comparison Overview

Well, although these two brands are both really respected when it comes to making guitars, we do not think any company can beat Yamaha’s lifetime warranty.

So, if we were to pick based on brand, we would pick simply based on that warranty policy. Apart from that, there’s hardly any difference between these two Japanese companies that have been around for quite a long time.

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Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Comparison Table / Spec Sheet

 

Ibanez Gsr200

Yamaha Rbx170

Body wood Agathis Basswood
Fretboard Rosewood Rosewood
Neck wood Maple Maple
Number of frets 22 24
Case Sold separately Sold separately
Number of strings 4 4
Controls 4 volume controls, which includes a bass boost Volume 1, volume 2, master tone
Neck radius 10 inches 12 inches
 

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – What Situation Is Best For Each?

Ibanez GSR200

Yamaha RBX170

Both of the guitars that we’re looking at today are regarded as beginner-level bass guitars. So, you can easily tell that that’s the situation that this guitar would work best for.  

However, although this is regarded as an entry-level guitar, it doesn’t mean that it becomes useless once you pass that stage.  

This guitar is made with enough quality to last you through your beginning stage, well into your intermediate stage.
This Yamaha guitar is also regarded as an entry-level guitar. Yamaha is very popular for making really affordable bass guitars that don’t compromise on quality.  

This guitar is packed with the minimum requirements you would need as a beginning bass player. With 4 strings, you might not have as much creative freedom as you want with this guitar. However, it’s an excellent place to start from.  

Most times bass teachers advise students to start with a 4-string bass so that they can master the basics, before moving up to 5 and 6 strings.
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Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – What Features Do They Have In Common?

These two guitars are more different than they are alike, sharing only 3 similar features. These features are:

1. They are both 4-string guitars.

2. The necks of the guitars are made with Maple.

3. The fretboard of the guitars are made with Rosewood.

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Number Of Strings: 4

Both the guitars we’re looking at today come with just 4 strings. For some people, that’s enough. For the others, though, that is stifling creativity on the bass. It is to be said that the 4-string bass is the most popular, most traditional, and most common type of bass guitars.

However, there are 5 and 6-strings that have begun to gain popularity, and even the 7 and 8 string bass that was first commercially sold by Ibanez. So, why did Ibanez, who pioneered the sales of 8-string bass, decide to go with 4 strings for this bass?

Benefits Of A 4-String Bass Guitar

Because both these guitars are entry-level guitars, we’re going to go ahead and guess that you’re not an expert player and still trying out and learning with the bass. If that is the case, the 4-string bass is of huge benefits to you.

First, the 4-string bass is the best type of bass for learning. Everyone knows that to learn anything, you would need to start form the basics. The 4-string bass is the simplest form of the bass guitar. Starting from it will give you with a great foundation to work your way up from.

The second benefit of the 4-string bass is the neck width. The more strings are on the bass guitar, the wider the neck would be. As a beginner, playing a bass guitar with a wide neck can be very uncomfortable and getting to those upper strings can be quite difficult at first.

Another benefit of the 4-string bass is the sound. This might be the biggest factor you consider before picking what number of strings you want your guitar to be, the style of music you want to play. The sound of the 4-string bass is quite different from the ones with more strings. You would want to check that out before picking for yourself.

Downsides Of A 4-String Bass

Not enough high notes to express yourself with. Although traditional electric bass was made to mimic the cello (standing bass), some new age bass players have decided to go out of the traditional with more strings that contain higher notes. These higher notes are mainly for bassists you like to run scales and need to extra notes, or people who play chords and don’t want them to sound all cloudy and rough.

With every extra string you add, you have 5 extra notes to play with. So, 5 strings have 5 more notes than 4 strings, and 6 strings have 10 more notes than the 4 strings and 5 more notes than the 5 strings.

This is also dependent on your preference and the style of music you want to play. If you play a style that needs only the traditional bass sounds, 4 strings are absolutely fine. However, if you play something that requires bass chords and higher notes, you might want to look into changing this after learning properly.

If you still don’t get it, here’s a video that explains the things you need to put into consideration before picking the number of strings you want on your guitar.

Neck Wood and Fretboard: Maple and Rosewood

We put these two together because they are often blended into each other to produce whatever sound that they do. The neck wood refers to the wood at the back of the guitar neck, while the fretboard is obviously the front-facing side of the neck of the guitar, where the strings hang above.

As a bassist, or a guitarist in general, the fretboard is the part of the guitar that you interact with the most. Because of that, it is important that that part of the guitar is made with good materials, so the interaction can be seamless and hassle-free.

One thing we can find with this mixture is that both Ibanez and Yamaha thought it wise to balance out the sounds that the neck tonewood provides the guitar.

This is because, in comparison, maple and rosewood produce largely different sounds. Maple produces snappy and bright tones, while rosewood produces warmer and more mellow tones. This gives you a nice rhythmic balance between those bright tones, and those mellow tones.

Also, because these are electric, you can easily increase either the brightness or the mellow of the sound. You can also leave it in its balanced state.

There is one, not so great, news to the rosewood fretboard. If these used maple fretboards, the finish would’ve been enough to keep the fretboard looking nice and feeling great for a long time. However, because they are rosewood fretboards, you would have to take care of them from time to time.

Rosewood fretboards need occasional conditioning to keep them feeling great and sounding same. This should not worry you, though, as it is not a very tasking job. A couple of minutes cleaning this thing while changing your strings from time to time, is perfect.  

Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – What’s Unique To Each Product?

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Features Unique To The Ibanez Gsr200

The guitar comes with 22 frets.

It has 4 control knobs.

It has a 10-inch neck radius.

The body of the guitar is made with Agathis.

Number Of Frets: 22

Most people do not like the fact that the Gsr200 comes with 22 frets because it gives you less room to play with. The argument is that with a 4- string bass, you already have a shortage of notes to play with and reducing the frets just makes the notes, all the more, fewer.

And we have to agree with them somehow. The 4-string bass guitar doesn’t have the extra strings that carry the tinier notes. So, if you want that, you have to play at the 20+ frets and having just 22 limits your options a whole lot.

However, there is another section of the populace that think that this is somewhat a benefit to beginners. There is an argument that bassists who learn how to play guitar with 24 frets get spoiled so much that they can’t really play basses that have fewer frets anymore.

While that might be true to an extent, there is also the point of discipline. Even with 24 frets, you can discipline yourself to learn the rudiment of the bass guitar first. If you do that, you would be able to play any number of frets, while enjoying the creative freedom your bass gives you with the extra frets.

And finally, you’re not going to be a beginner forever, are you? If you buy the 22 frets bass simply because it helps discipline yourself to learn the rudiments, what about when you’re done learning the basics? Would you get a whole new guitar?

Number Of Controls: 4

This guitar has one more control than the Yamaha guitar. If we were to take an educated guess, together with the features that this bass has, we would say that one control is for bass boost, which is a special feature the guitar comes with.

The other three are similar to every other bass, volume 1, volume 2, master tone. Now, volume 1 & 2 can either refer to bass and treble, or the two pickups. This guitar, like most other bass guitars out there, come with two pickups. These two volumes are used to alter what pickup should pick more sound, thereby, altering the sound of the bass.

But the most unique thing about these controls is the bass boost function which increases the thickness and robustness of the low-ending notes.

Neck Radius: 10 inches

Although both of these guitars are 4 strings, their neck radii differ. The neck radius of this guitar is 10 inches, which is slightly smaller than the Yamaha, which is 12 inches.

Well, with the standpoint that this is meant to be for a beginner, in reference to the Ibanez Gsr200 Vs Yamaha Rbx170 argument, we have to say that the Ibanez wins for the neck radius. This much is clear, the smaller the neck is, the easier it is to hold and play. What beginner doesn’t like easier?

With a smaller neck, it will take a shorter time to get used to the stress and strain on your fingers, which in turn makes you a better bass player in a shorter time.

But then again, just because humans can never completely agree about a thing and there must always be preferences, some people prefer guitars with a little wider neck.

The argument is that if you start with something this narrow, it will be difficult to get to play with 5 and 6 strings. However, we do not think so. It’s the same thing with learning words, you have to begin with the alphabets first. Learning the basics is critical as a first step in learning anything.

Body Wood (Tonewood): Agathis

This is probably the biggest difference between these two guitars, the tonewood. The tonewood of any guitar is one of the factors that determine the type of sound that particular guitar would make. However, with electric guitars, it’s not such a huge factor like with acoustic guitars. This is because, with acoustic guitars, it’s the wood itself that creates the sound, while with electric guitars, it’s mainly the electronics.

Although, that is not to say that the tonewood doesn’t alter the sound of an electric bass. It does, but just not as noticeably as the acoustic guitars. With that said, let’s see how Agathis affects the Ibanez Gsr200.

A lot of people consider Agathis to be the more affordable version of Mahogany, because of their many similarities. Agathis produces quite a really warm and deep sound, much like Mahogany. However, it is to be said that this wood is not equal in quality to some of the other tonewoods you would find out there, including Mahogany.

We think that this was the choice for Ibanez because of its affordability. To get a really affordable guitar, you would have to compromise on some quality. Although, just like we explained earlier, this is electric and the sound is mostly determined by the electronics, meaning, you’re not actually compromising on the necessities.

Want to hear what this guitar sounds like? Sure, you do! Check out this video below:

Features Unique To The Yamaha Rbx170

This guitar has 24 frets.

It comes with 3 control knobs.

It has a 12-inch neck radius.

The body of the guitar is made with basswood.

Number Of Frets: 24

This guitar comes with 2 more frets than the Ibanez bass. This is actually a huge advantage and might end up being a key factor to consider in the Ibanez Gsr200 Vs Yamaha Rbx170 argument.

With the extra frets provided by this guitar, you get extra creative room, extra creative freedom. Although this guitar comes with only 4 strings, you can hit a few of those high-notes you want to hit on these lower frets, which is great.

However, one thing you want to look out for when using this guitar as a beginner is discipline. As a beginner, you have to understand that although this guitar has 24 frets, you might need to play guitars with lesser frets in the future. Because of that, you need not get spoiled with this that you can play with any lesser frets again.

As you just begin, we advise that you stick to playing the higher frets and getting used to that, before coming to the lower frets. That way, you’ll be able to play with any number of frets given to you, without any problem.

3 Controls

The Yamaha Rbx170 only comes with 3 controls, unlike the Ibanez guitar that comes with 4. The added feature in the Ibanez that is not on this one is the bass boost. Sadly, this Yamaha bass guitar doesn’t come with a bass boost like the Ibanez.

The bass boost function would’ve helped to make the lower-end notes a lot more bassy, full, and robust. Although, with the right amplifier, this is something you can get without said controls. However, it’s just easier to have one control that’s easy to reach and does the same job.

The three controls that remain, though, are two volume buttons, and one master tone. The two volumes are for the two pickups, reducing and increasing the sound produced by each pickup, which in turn alters the sound of the guitar.

The master tone is, of course, to control the tone. You can use it to move from a full, mellow sound, to a bright, striking sound. The reason why this switch can work is because the guitar is balanced at the neck by the maple neck wood and rosewood fretboard.

Neck Radius: 12 Inches

Well, in comparison to the Ibanez guitar, this is a downside to this product. At 12 inches, this guitar is 2 inches wider than the Ibanez guitar, at the neck. This increase in width will cause a slight increase in the difficulty level for a beginner.

With a wider guitar neck, it becomes a little more difficult for a beginner to grasp easily. As a beginner, it would take you a long time to get used to the stress and strain on your fingers while playing the bass guitar. With this guitar, it will take you a slightly longer time to do same.

Although, this is not something you should bother yourself about too much as it’s something you would get used to in no time. However, it’s something that we just had to point out so that you could get yourself prepared for the slightly greater challenge.

A slight advantage to this, which is brought forward by the minority, is the fact that with this, it won’t be so difficult to switch to a 5-string bass. They say that it’s because you would have gotten used to wide necks with this 4-string. Although we do not fully support that theory, there is some sense to it which we cannot deny.

Body Wood: Basswood

First of all, the “bass” in the “basswood” is pronounced as “bass – the fish”, not the musical instrument. We’re sure that many sellers would have put this into their ads to deceive people like “bass made from basswood” making you believe that the wood is specifically planted for making bass guitars. It is not, it’s simply a hardwood, like many others used to make guitars.

With the misconception out of the way, let’s look at what basswood brings to the table. The first thing we see about basswood is that it is pretty light. Considering how heavy bass guitars tend to be, and how tiring it gets when you carry them, this is superb news.

Straight from superb news to not so great news, this wood is relatively soft when compared to other hardwoods. It is usually used because it is in abundance, therefore, very affordable. While some people feel like basswood is simply a cheap option, others think that the tonewood carries a good balance between warm and bright tones. Although, it edges subtly to the warmer side.

It’s also usually pale looking. Because of its affordability and availability, this tonewood is often used on the more affordable guitar options, like this one.

Alright! We’re done looking at the unique features. But we do know that the most important thing about any guitar is the sound it produces. Check out this video for a brief play-through with the Yamaha Rbx170:

Why Some People Like The Ibanez GSR200 More Than The Yamaha RBX170

A lot of people like this guitar more than the Yamaha RBX170 becomes it comes with an extra control knob that acts as a bass boost. This helps to magnify the low-end notes which is exactly what you want with a bass guitar.

The second reason why people love this guitar is its nech radius. It comes with a 10-inch radius neck, which is very comfortable for beginners.

Why Some People Like The Yamaha RBX170 More Than The Ibanez GSR200

The first reason why some people prefer this guitar over the Ibanez is that with this guitar, you get two more frets for extra creative freedom. It might not mean much to the beginner. However, the better you get, the more creative freedom you need as a guitarist.

The second reason why people love this guitar is its choice of tonewood. The guitar is made with basswood, which is described as carrying a good balance between warm and bright tones.

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Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Unique Cons

Ibanez GSR200

  • Agathis body wood is considered by many to be affordable but of inferior quality.
  • Comes with only 22 frets.

Yamaha RBX170

  • This guitar easily goes out of tune because the tuners don’t have much traction.
  • Replacement for any parts of this guitar have to come from Yamaha themselves.
  • Has a 12-inch neck width, which might be uncomfortable for beginners.

Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Common Pros

 

Ibanez GSR200

Yamaha RBX170

Affordability The Ibanez guitar comes at a very attractive price for the quality it offers.  

If you buy this guitar for that price, you’re sure to get value for every dollar spent.
This guitar is also really affordable. Yes, you have to compromise on a few things, quality-wise, but this is still a really great beginner-level guitar, especially for its price.
4 strings Although many people might not agree with us, we feel learning with a 4-string bass is the best.  

This is because, 4-string is the most basic form of a bass guitar and in any learning circumstance, it is best to start with the basics and then work your way up.
This being 4 strings also makes it a great beginner-level guitar.   Also, with the foundation of this, you can move on to 5 and 6, even 8. But start with those, and learning to play the bass guitar might get too tough.
Neck and fretboard The blend of maple and rosewood to make the neck and the fretboard of these guitars is a huge benefit that these guitars share.  

Maple and rosewood complement each other as one produces bright sounds, while the other produces mellow sounds.
This guitar also possesses the blend of maple and rosewood as the neck and the fretboard of the guitar.  

The blend produces a balance of tones between bright and mellow, satisfying a larger audience and of course, a wider range of musical styles.
 
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Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Common Cons

 

Ibanez GSR200

Yamaha RBX170

Tonewood Although these two guitars are made with different tonewoods, both the tonewoods possess similar qualities.  
Both of them are regarded as “cheap” materials by a large audience.
Yes, basswood is not such a great basswood. Sad, isn’t it?  

Well, basswood is also considered a more affordable option to Mahogany, one with lesser quality.

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Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – General Feeling Amongst Users

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Ibanez GSR200

Yamaha RBX170

The first thing people loved about this guitar is its durability. People still have the guitar intact even after it was dropped a few times. Although we do not advise that, it is something that does happen and it’s good to have a durable guitar that can withstand things like that.   People who got this guitar were mostly beginners, all of whom were comfortable with the affordability of this product.  

People who bought this guitar also like the versatility it offers by providing both P & J pickups. Because of that, it provides a really wide tonal range.    
The Ibanez guitar provided people with quality for their money. There was hardly any person who completely hated this product. Yes, there were a few hiccups here and there, but nothing but general love and satisfaction by a large section of the audience.   They really loved the fact that this is lightweight. You hardly ever get a bass guitar that are this lightweight and it’s a good thing. Being lightweight, you can carry the bass for longer, and, therefore, play it for longer.  
Another thing people like are the electronics. The pickups on this guitar are really great. When tested using the same amplifier and amplifier settings, the Ibanez guitar sounded fatter than the Yamaha.   Finally, purchasing this didn’t bring any worries as all Yamaha guitars are backed up by Yamaha’s lifetime guarantee. See company for terms and conditions, though.  
Also, a section of the crowd who loved the popping and slapping bass techniques, preferred the sound this produced while doing those, to the sound from the Yamaha when doing the same thing.   One hitch that people had with this guitar is that it goes out of tune easily. This is because there isn’t much traction on the tuners.    
However, people really would’ve loved if Ibanez added at least two more frets.

With only 22 frets, your creative freedom is reduced a tad bit. This is still a great guitar for most people, though.  
Once you tune it, it’ll remain tuned until the headstock rubs or hits against something. Once that happens, the tuners are easily moved, detuning your guitar in the process.  

Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Final Thoughts

In our opinion about Ibanez Gsr200 Vs Yamaha Rbx170, we honestly feel that there are a lot of similarities between these two guitars. They also have some differences but even those differences are in slight margins.

We can see that these two guitars were made for the same type of people, beginner players, and made within the same price point. Also, there is hardly any much difference between the brands, when it comes to making guitars.

With that said, there is hardly anything between these two guitars and most times, it’s down to a matter of preference, which one sounds better and feels better for you, personally.

So, with regards to the Ibanez Gsr200 Vs Yamaha Rbx170, we would call it a draw…

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Ibanez GSR200 Vs Yamaha RBX170 – Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Ibanez gsr200 active or passive?

The Ibanez GSR200 is a passive electric bass guitar. It is made with a standard P neck passive lick up and a standard J bridge passive pick up. This 4-stringed electric bass does not require batteries to operate. It offers a more traditional, quieter tone. On the other hand, active pickups produce a brighter sound thanks to a battery-powered pre-amplifier. This is absent in the Ibanez GSR200. 

Where can I buy bass guitar parts?

Bass guitar parts can be purchased in any well-stocked guitar shop in and around your neighborhood. However, one of the best and somewhat most reliable places to purchase bass guitar parts is online. 

Purchasing guitar parts online means you have the luxury of choice and the advantage of comparing prices across different sellers. You can find bass guitar parts on the big e-commerce sites like Amazon, Aliexpress, and eBay. Also, check out sites like reverb.com, allparts.com, and gear4music.com.

Remember that bass guitar parts can also be purchased from the manufacturers’ online shops e.g. shop.ibanez.com for Ibanez guitars. 

Why do bass guitars have batteries?

It is common to find bass guitars using batteries to operate. These types of guitars are called active bass guitars. Active Basses require batteries to power a small pre-amplifier which produces a more consistent signal and allows additional EQ controls on the bass. This feature helps to increase the range of sounds produced. The sound produced from active bass guitars has a brighter tone and an “electrified” feel which is achieved by boosting the treble. 

What do the 3 knobs on my bass do?

The three knobs on a bass guitar are used to control the volume and tone of the sound produced by the guitar. Bass guitars usually have a master knob to control the volume of all the pickups. Some bass guitars may have two separate volume knobs – one for each pickup. Bass guitars also have at least one-time knob to control the amount of bass or treble produced by the guitar. Passive basses are usually equipped with only one knob for treble frequencies. Active basses usually have at least two knobs. One knob controls the treble and the other controls the bass. 

How do you tell if a bass is active or passive?

Active Basses are fitted with a battery-powered pre-amplifier whose function is to boost the signal. They produce a brighter and more “electrified sound” compared to passive basses. On the other hand, passive basses do not require batteries nor a preamplifier to operate. They produce a more natural, raw sound. 

Can active bass work without battery?

Active basses are made with a pre-amplifier that is powered by batteries. The function of the pre-amplifier is to boost the signal from the guitar. Without these batteries, a purely active bass will not work as it should. There are some basses with an active/passive switch. These types of basses will work without batteries if they are switched to passive action.

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