Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Which Is The Better Option?

Today, we’re looking at Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100. If neither of these guitars catches your fancy, click here to find other comparisons like this one.

Because of the wealth of information in this article, it is going to be quite a lengthy one. If you don’t have the time to read through it all, check below for a brief comparison overview. In the overview, the main points that are explained throughout the article are briefly highlighted.

Although, we advise you read through the article as it promises to be informative, educative and thorough. Let’s go!

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Comparison Overview

Looking at the general features of both guitars, we have to say that they are pretty solid. The features are well rounded. You can see that the company tried its best to go for more affordable options, without compromising on the overall quality of the guitar.

For the quality that these two guitars offer, their prices are simply, ridiculous. There are hardly any other guitars in the same price range that offer you this much quality.

So, looking at that fact, we’re going to have to say that these two guitars absolutely nail the price to performance ratio. Although the Ibanez TMB30 is slightly more affordable.

Generally, we feel that both of these guitars are really great choices, especially if you’re a beginner. If you’re a more advanced player, you might not appreciate these guitars having only 4 strings. However, if you are a beginner, this is something you should look into investing in if you’re serious about learning.

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Comparison Of Key Features


Ibanez TMB30

Ibanez TMB100

Special Features None 2-band EQ electronics.Active preamp.

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – What Situation Is Each Best For?

Ibanez TMB30

Ibanez TMB100

The first reason why people pick this guitar is because of its price. There are only a handful of choices when it comes to quality bass guitars in the price range that these two guitars come in.  

Also, this guitar is slightly more affordable than the TMB100. Although the difference is barely noticeable, it can help get some extra strings, or a bag.
This guitar is also very affordable. When people are looking for quality bass guitars, they often look no further than these two guitars right here.  

Ibanez always does its best to provide quality and affordability with their guitars, and these two are no different.
Because this guitar is so affordable, it works well for beginners. Because of its quality, it’s good enough for intermediate players.  

If you want to invest in a bass guitar that will last you throughout your learning phase and well into your intermediate phase, either of these guitars will do the job well.
This also comes in similar price range and quality to the TMB30. Because of that, it’s also good from beginners, and intermediates alike.  
Because of the special electronics on this bass, you can use it for rehearsals even as a semi-pro player.
Finally, this bass is a good-looking one. There are various colors you can choose from. Also, it has chrome hardware. Chrome hardware keeps your guitar looking new for longer. This bass is also good-looking. There are more colors to choose from, compared to the TMB30. However, it also comes with chrome hardware that doesn’t tarnish like nickel.

What Features Do The Ibanez TMB30 And TMB100 Have In Common?

Double cutaway design

Mahogany tonewood

Maple neck woo

Rosewood fretboard

Passive pickups

Chrome hardware

Just like we said earlier, both of these guitars are made by the same brand and belong in the same series. Because of that fact, these two guitars are more similar than they are different.

In fact, these two guitars are almost identical, save for certain special features that the TMB100 has. Just like the name implies, the TMB100 is an improvement on the TMB30.

Then what’s the essence of the Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 comparison then? Well, although we know these two are very similar, we want to know whether the special electronics that the TMB100 comes with is worth paying the extra buck.

Body Design

The body design of these two guitars are the same. They both have a double-cutaway design and are both solid body guitars. We would get into that in just a moment:

Double-Cutaway Design

The double-cutaway design was made to allow guitarists get to the lower frets of their guitars. For acoustic guitars, there has been a long debate to between whether the cutaway affects the sound, or not.

The thing is, with acoustic guitars, the structure of the wood is what determines the sound. Therefore, any alteration to the structure, build, or the wood itself, alters the sound of the guitar.

With electric guitars, slight alterations like a cutaway, do not necessarily affect the sound of the guitar. Because it’s electric, the sound is mostly determined by the electronics surrounding the guitar. The amps, the pickups, stuff like that.

Which brings us back to the first point, the design helps you to get to the lower frets easily. This is actually a huge advantage, seeing that these guitars are only 4 strings.

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With a 4-string bass, you need to play the much lower frets if you want to get a bright, treble sound. So, making those frets easy to reach with a cutaway design is a commendable move from Ibanez.

What are the bass guitar body types?

There are three bass guitar body types. These are solid, semi-hollow, and hollow. The name is determined by how much wood is inside the bass. For solid basses, it’s completely filled, for semi-hollow it’s partly full, and for hollow, the inside of the bass is completely empty like an acoustic guitar.

Hollow Body

Hollow body basses are also semi-acoustic. This is because, although they’re able to generate sound using the electronics, because it’s a box-like guitar, the sound can come out straight from the box too.

The hollow body is known for its acoustic feel and sound. It can be played with an acoustic vibe, and it can also give you the resonance and thickness of an actual electric bass, with the right electronics.

The hollow body is most times recommended for beginners who don’t have the money to get an amplifier. This is because, with the hollow body, you can rehearse without an amplifier and still get a moderately bass sound.

Semi-hollow Body

Then there is semi-hollow body. This one is the type that a lot of people think is the most versatile. The semi-hollow body most times, sounds way too acoustic to be a bass guitar. However, with the semi-hollow, it’s not so. It has a nice blend of acoustic and electric sounds. Because of that, it can be used for a wide range of musical genres.

Solid Body

One thing people don’t like about both the hollow and the semi-hollow body bass guitars is feedback. Because sound is also coming from the box, when those guitar types are connected to electronics, it often gives off feedback, which nobody likes. The feedback is worse on hollow body guitars.

With solid body basses, you do not get any feedback. This is the pure electric bass. If you want a growl, deep sounding instrument, this is what you should be going for. The only downside to solid basses is that you can’t play them without an amplifier, because there is no box for the sound to come out from.

Body Wood: Mahogany

Mahogany is one of the affordable options when it comes to high-end tonewood. For electric bass guitars, maple is not often used, because of its bright sound. However, asides mahogany, there are other tonewood options like rosewood and alder.

The first reason why we think that mahogany was preferred is because those other two are quite expensive. To make these two guitars as affordable as possible, Ibanez had to opt for the more affordable option without compromising on quality.

Mahogany is a hardwood. Its hardness and density give mahogany a warm, mellow sound. The sound that is preferred by many bass guitarists.

However, with this pro, comes a con. Because of how highly dense mahogany is, it is quite heavy. Which in turn means that these two guitars are quite heavy. This might not necessarily be a bad thing to some, as many bass players are already used to the weight. However, if you’re a new player, it might take a little getting used to.

Compared to other tonewoods, we can say mahogany produces a pretty neutral sound. Rosewood produces a very warm sound, maple produces a very bright sound. Mahogany lies somewhere in the middle, although tilting more towards warmth.

These guitars are not affected by the looks of mahogany. Yes, mahogany is a good-looking wood with rich-grains, it doesn’t matter. This is because, these guitars come in an array of different finishes, taking up different colors.

Neckwood: Maple

Both of the guitars come with maple wood as their neck woods. The first thing about maple is that it is a very strong wood.

There is something called a Janka hardness test. This test is used to measure how much a particular wood can resist wear and tear. It is measured in pounds.

Maple has a Janka hardness of 1450 pounds. To put into perspective, mahogany has a score of between 800-900 pounds. The score differs because of the many types of mahogany available across the world. Indian rosewood (the most popular type of rosewood) has a Janka hardness of 2440 pounds.

From that, we can see that maple lies somewhere between mahogany and rosewood. However, 1450 pounds is a really good score, being that mahogany is also considered a very hard and durable wood.

Because this wood is so hard, you can rest assured that the neck of your guitar is durable. The strings on your guitar are high-tension strings. This means that over time, they will start to wear out your guitar’s neck.

Once this happens, it becomes more difficult to keep the strings in tune. This phenomenon will take a very long time before it happens to either of these two guitars, because of how strong maple is.

With this much hardness, comes accompanying weight. Maple is quite heavy. If maple was used all through these guitars, they would’ve been way too heavy. So, it was best that Ibanez only used it for just the neck.

Now, when it comes to tone, there is a mixed audience. Some people believe that the neck material in an electric guitar has nothing to do with the tone produced, some other think it does. Well, we’re in the middle.

Fretboard: Rosewood

For all guitarists, one thing is constant, the fretboard remains the part of your instrument that you interact with the most. Because of the level of interaction you have with this part of your guitar, it is important that the manufacturers get it right with regards to the material used.

The material used to make the fretboards of these two guitars is rosewood. Just like has been pointed out earlier, rosewood is a very hardwood. It has a Janka hardness of 2440 pounds. This means that your fretboard is completely solid and durable.

Apart from durability another thing you really want to consider when picking a fretboard material is the way it feels. Some materials require finishes, other don’t.

The materials that don’t require finishes are usually a lot more natural feeling than materials that require finishes. If your fretboard requires a finish, you’ll have to check the particular finish used to make sure it is not harmful to your skin and feels nice.

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Rosewood does not require a finish. This means that playing either of these guitars, sliding across your fretboard will feel completely natural. This does come at a slight cost though. Because this material does not require a finish, you would need to condition the fretboard, occasionally.

You can do this while you change your strings. All you need is a conditioner for guitars, and a rag. Pour the conditioner on the rag and use that to wipe the surface of your fretboard. While doing this, make sure that you get all the fingerprints and other stains off. This will keep your fretboard looking clean and feeling smooth.

Passive Pickups Or Active Pickups?

At the end of the day, picking pickups depends on your personal preference and what style of music you want to play. Passive pickups are the more traditional of the two. They are plug-and-play and do not require a power source to power the pickups. On the other hand, active pickups require a power source before they can work. This power source is often a battery.

Another similarity between these two guitars is that they both come with passive pickups. The argument between passive and active pickups is an age old one. It’s one argument we do not think will be solved by one article.

The reason why this argument often can’t be won either way is because it’s dependent on personal preferences. The reason why some people like active pickups is the same reason why many others despise it.

The one reason why many people do not like active pickups is because you can’t play them without batteries. Also, if you mistakenly leave the batteries in the guitar after playing, when you come back, the batteries are dead. Once the battery is dead, you either get a really poor sounding guitar, or you don’t get any sound at all.

One thing that active pickups do better than passive pickups is to reduce the noise. You know that humming sound you hear with your passive pickups? You don’t get them with active pickups. Also, with active pickups, you get a brighter tone and a tight low-end. If you play metal, then you might want to look into getting active pickups.

Watch the video below for a better understanding of the passive vs active comparison:

Chrome Hardware

The final similarity we’ll be looking at in this Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 comparison article is the hardware of these two guitars. We left this for last because, although it is important, it’s not “in your face”. This is one feature that you’ll only notice if you look carefully, or when you need to fix something wrong with your guitar.

While nickel is the more traditional option for guitar hardware, chrome has become a more preferred option in recent times. The first reason why chrome hardware is preferred is because it has the ability to keep your guitar looking new for longer. This is because, it doesn’t tarnish.

Asides from its looks, chrome is also loved because it’s very durable. Also, unlike nickel, chrome is corrosion resistant. Being that we already have corrosion problems with steel strings, we’re sure you don’t want more corrosion problems with your hardware.

One thing you have to note when changing hardware in the future, is never to mix nickel and chrome hardware on the same guitar, especially if they’re close to each other. Things like tailpieces and pickups should be the same material because of the difference in their size and close proximity to each other.

Always replace chrome hardware with chrome hardware, and nickel hardware with nickel hardware. Unless you’re ready to replace all the pieces of hardware on the guitar to the other.

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Features Unique To Each Product

Alright! We’re done with looking at the features that these two guitars have. Quite a number of them, right? Well, we told you so. Now that that’s done, it is time to look at the main point of the Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 comparison, the features that are unique to each of these guitars.

Because these guitars are so similar, it was pretty difficult finding out the difference between both of them. In fact, there is no feature available on the TMB30 that is not available on the TMB100. Therefore, only the TMB100 has a few unique features, as an improvement from the TMB30.

Features Unique To The Ibanez TMB30

This product does not have any unique features. However, the sound it produces is quite different from the sound produced by the Ibanez TMB100. This is because it does not come with the special equalizers and preamp that the Ibanez TMB100 comes with.

However, are the special features on the TMB100 enough to make you spend those extra bucks? Well, we can only find out by listening to the guitar, right? Check out the video below for a review of the Ibanez TMB30. From the video’s title, you can see that this is a good guitar.

Check it out:

What Makes The Ibanez TMB100 An Improvement On The TMB30?

The one improvement that Ibanez put on the TMB100 to make it slightly better than the TMB30 is better electronics. The TMB100 comes with an active preamp while the TMB30 doesn’t come with any preamps.

With an active preamp, your bass produces a more sound-sculpting tone. This is done by providing different tone controls for different frequencies. Using these unique boost and cut controls for your bass and treble frequencies provides you with a wide-ranging tone which is good for playing “slap” styles.

The lower notes get thumped harder, and the higher notes jump out a lot more. There are also midrange controls that help when you’re trying to play solos in jazz. If you’ve been playing jazz solos, you definitely know that most of the sick frequencies live in the midrange.

There are other reasons why active preamps are great. However, all that won’t mean anything to you if you don’t hear the difference in the sound produced for yourself.

To do that, we have this video below that we think you should watch. It’s a pretty short look at the Ibanez TMB100, including how exactly it sounds like. Check it out:

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Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Unique Pros

Ibanez TMB30

  • No unique Pros.

Ibanez TMB100

  • Comes with special active preamps that gives an all-round better tone.

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Unique Cons

Ibanez TMB30

  • Does not come with active preamps.

Ibanez TMB100

  • No unique cons.

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Common Pros


Ibanez TMB30

Ibanez TMB100

Affordability When it comes to buying any product at all, the first thing on people’s minds is whether they can afford it.  

For these two guitars, you can almost always afford either of them. Also, looking at the quality that is offered to you, the price just seems ridiculous.  

One thing to point out though, is that this guitar is slightly more affordable than the TMB100.
Same as the Ibanez TMB30.
Great hardware The fact that these guitars come with chrome hardware is a huge plus.  

Chrome does not tarnish or corrode. This means that this hardware will be very durable and last you for a very long time.  

With chrome hardware, you don’t have to worry about your hardware rusting every time. Changing hardware becomes sometime you do once in a while, not often.
Same as the TMB30.
Natural feeling fretboard Rosewood is a wood that doesn’t require finishing. Because of that, this guitar’s fretboard has a really nice feel to it. This guitar also has a nice feel because of the rosewood fretboard. However, you will have to condition the fretboard from time to time, to keep it looking and feeling fresh.
4-string bass Because these guitars are entry-level guitars, it is nice that they come with only 4 strings.  

For a beginner, a 4-string bass is the most preferred. It’s the easiest to play, and the easiest to get used to playing.  
It has a slim neck which doesn’t over stretch your finger.
Same as the TMB30.

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Cons Common To Both


Ibanez TMB30

Ibanez TMB100

Mahogany body wood Although this is not bad, it is something that can be improved upon.   Mahogany is a hardwood. However, it’s not as hard as maple and rosewood. This simply means that your guitar is durable, but not very durable.   Although, if the reason for this is to make the guitar as affordable as possible, we cannot fault Ibanez too much. Same as the Ibanez TMB30.
4-string We know we mentioned this as a pro. However, it’s only a pro for beginners.   For intermediate players this is only a few notes lost. With every extra string comes 5 extra notes that you can play. Same as the Ibanez TMB30.

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Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – General Feeling Amongst Users

Ibanez TMB30

Ibanez TMB100

The first thing people notice when looking at this guitar is the price. This guitar is so affordable that almost anybody can pick it up, including entry-level guitarists. People who bought this guitar also appreciate just how affordable it is. Because it was so affordable, it was easy for you to pick up, even beginners.
Beginners who bought this guitar found it really easy to learn. When it comes to bass guitars, the easiest one to learn is the one with 4 strings. It is the most basic and has the slimmest neck, which is easy to maneuver. This also comes with 4 strings which was really nice for beginners. However, the more advanced players would have liked if the same guitar was available in 5 or 6 strings.

With this guitar, if you want to upgrade, you have to buy a completely different guitar.
Because of the many finish options available, users were spoilt for choice. Being that bass guitars can be quite superficial, this was a nice problem to have. This is also available in a wide variety of finish options, even more than the TMB30. With these many options available, picking a guitar finish was super easy.

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – What Do We Think?

Well, one thing that has been consistent throughout this Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 article is that both of these guitars are very similar. The only slight difference between them is that the TMB100 comes with an active preamp, while the TMB30 does not.

So, is that enough for you to pay the extra buck for the TMB100? Well, that’s up to you. We’ve shown you videos of what both of these guitars sound like, now the choice is up to you.

However, if were up to us to decide the winner of the Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 comparison, we would have to say that we didn’t see enough improvements in the TMB100 for the extra cash, although, it’s little. So, we would have to say that the Ibanez TMB30 did it for us on this one.

Ibanez TMB30 Vs TMB100 – Frequently Asked Questions

Is bass guitar easy to learn?

Learning to play the bass guitar is quite easy, but it depends a lot on how fast the person can learn. For people who are slower at picking things up, it might take longer and seem complex. Nonetheless, on a general scale, learning the bass at a very basic level should be easy for anyone who can learn fast.

However, when it comes to mastery and getting to the professional level, it’s actually quite difficult, just like every other thing in life. Getting to this point will take years, even for the sharpest learners.

How much do bass guitars cost?

The price of bass guitars varies based on a lot of factors. These include the type of guitar you are buying, the brand, and of course, the quality and condition of the guitar. However, are a very rough estimate, bass prices range between 500 and 700 bucks for beginner to intermediate level guitars. 

But as mentioned, this may vary. For example, if you decide to go for a 5-stringed amplified electric bass guitar from any of the popular brands, then you should be ready to pay top dollar.

Can you learn bass by yourself?

It is possible to learn to play bass by yourself. However, it will always help to have someone to guide you, or at least practice partner.

However, if you are already used to musical instruments and music as a whole, you should be able to easily learn bass yourself. And even if you are not, with the right tools, you can learn the bass on your own. 

Is bass fun to play alone?

The bass guitar isn’t ideal as a standalone instrument. However, it’s important to note that this is also true for almost all musical instruments.

Nonetheless, it is actually pretty obvious with the bass guitar that it is not the most fun instrument to play alone.

The bass is commonly used as a background instrument to support and add fullness to the rhythm in most songs. So, it is best played with other instruments. If you don’t have friends who play, you can improvise by playing to a backing track.

Where is the TMB30 made?

Most of the guitars and accessories that come from Ibanez are made in Japan, which is the company’s origin country. However, the company has been able to spread its reach to manufacture in more countries like the United States, China, and Indonesia, with Indonesia being the birthplace of the TMB30.

What is a good bass guitar for beginners?

A beginner bass must be simple (not more than four strings), must fit the kind of music the bassist intends to play, be comfortable in size, and of course, not cost an arm and a leg. 

Based on all these factors, we have chosen the Fender Mustang PJ Bass. The most notable feature of this guitar is its compact size compared to other bass guitars. With its PJ pickup configuration, this bass also offers a lot of tonal variety.

By being a short-scale bass, this guitar gives room for beginners who are still figuring out what tones they enjoy most.

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