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Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass Flat Black

Item #: 
1275776901882
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Gary Willis' mastery of the fretless can be heard on recordings by Tribal Tech, Wayne Shorter, Allan Holdsworth, and his own solo recordings. His no-frills fretless 5-string has just the right feature... Click To Read More About This Product

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$79999.00
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Overview

Gary Willis' mastery of the fretless can be heard on recordings by Tribal Tech, Wayne Shorter, Allan Holdsworth, and his own solo recordings. His no-frills fretless 5-string has just the right features to facilitate his remarkable tonal and dynamic control. Basswood body. 3-piece maple neck. Ebonol fretless fingerboard. SFR-GWB Custom neck pickup and a Custom 2-band EQ.

Features
  • GWB 3-piece maple neck
  • Basswood body
  • Ebonol fretless fingerboard
  • B105 bridge
  • SFR-GWB Custom neck pickup
  • Offset pearl dot inlay
  • Black hardware
  • EQB-GWII 2-band EQ
Warranty
MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY
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  • Customer Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
IbanezGWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass
 
4.7

(based on 13 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Plays and sounds even better than it looks!

Ibanez's latest fretless, out in January 2004, is the GWB35, the mid-market version of the GWB1 signature model. When I came across it a month ago, its sleek looks with minimalist controls...Read complete review

Ibanez's latest fretless, out in January 2004, is the GWB35, the mid-market version of the GWB1 signature model. When I came across it a month ago, its sleek looks with minimalist controls and a matt black finish meant I couldnt leave the shop without at least getting my hands on it. Id tried Ibanezs SGR basses before, and found them very smooth, even a bit too smooth as their narrow neck and lack of fret markings made it difficult for me, a composer rather than skilled technical player, to hit the right note. But the finger feeling on the GWB35 is perfect, very different from my existing range of fretlesses, a Yamaha TRB II 5 string (weighs a ton!) and a Yamaha BB four string (great sound for jazz, African, reggae). On the GWB35, your fingers just fly, making it by far and away the most comfortable fretless Ive played. Also, as the bassman in the shop said, Ibanez have an edge over other makers in that their quality control seems to include adjusting each bass before its sent out. The shop has never had to have an Ibanez adjusted before or after sale. The GWB35s use of basswood reduces the weight, so even after the first all-night session, my shoulder wasnt aching. Fine, so it looks great, is featherweight and plays well, but what about the sound? In a word, terrific! The top end has a clear, fine fretless sound, perfect for those high solos, yet, at the same time, the bottom end has a full, fat growl. That means that from grunge and rock to jazz or ambient, youll only ever need the one bass. The onboard active electronics work well too. My setting so far has been to boost the bass end by a half, giving it real punch to rival even the most cranked-up of distorted guitars. And on top of all of that, the price is right too, making it a not too expensive alternative to other 5 string fretless basses on the market. So wheres the drawback? A first minor complaint about a lack of product information: the Ibanez website and catalogue give you no information about the material used for the fretboard. Its man-made Ebonol, not the ebony wood used for the GWB1. Or about a cool function I have yet to test, the volume knob pulls out to cut out the active EQ, in theory at least allowing you to keep playing if the battery goes flat on you. A related second minor complaint, this time on design. The battery panel on the back is held shut by two small Phillips/Posidrive screws, much less practical than the usual clip-off cover, particularly in the heat of a gig. Ibanez, take note! Still, if the EQ cut-out function works as I hope, at least you can still keep playing. A final complaint, potentially more of a longterm issue. The Ebonol fretboard marks easily with roundwound strings, and the ruts, while not affecting the sound or ease of playing, look a little whitish, slightly spoiling the jetblack look. A bit of spit takes the edge off it, but it will no doubt reappear. Then again, it's my first fretless with a manmade fretboard. Maybe all manmade materials are prone to such marking. But these are all minor issues compared to the fantastic ease of playing, the fattest fretless sound youll find around. It's light weight and great looks. In a word, go get it! You wont regret it. Forgive me if I dont write more; Ive just got to go and play it again!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Great Bass, poor quality

First, the good.I love the features on the Gary Willis bass. Greatest of these is the ramp. It makes playing so much easier. I wish it came standard with other basses or ramps...Read complete review

First, the good.I love the features on the Gary Willis bass. Greatest of these is the ramp. It makes playing so much easier. I wish it came standard with other basses or ramps were available on retail. The bass looks great and feels great .I also love the fat tuning pegs, they are probably my favourite pegs on any bass. The controls are simple and responsive the fretboard looks great and the markings help a fretless novice like myself. And, I love the sound. This bass can sing. The sound is warm, woody and resonant and beats other fretless basses I have tried by a mile (Warwick, Fender production model fretless jazz-not the Jaco bass). This bass can duplicate Jaco's much sought after tone. (I play it through a Fender practice amp and a GK 500 Goldline amp).Now, the bad. The bass was very hard to set up. The action was too high when I took it out of the box and when I lowered it a few times, the truss rod got stripped. Mind you, I did not force the truss rod, use inappropriate tools or mishandle the bass in any way. The truss rod of my bass is now stripped and so I am no longer able to adjust the neck. Also it is hard to claim the factory warranty. I am not sure if I registered and have had trouble finding out. There is no online system that I can find to confirm my registration and no numbers I can call. All I have is an address which I have been trying to contact. The neck also marks easy because of the glossy finish (but I actually like this). This is not a bass for slap and pop but if you want a good fretless, this bass may be the way to go. I hope I just got a defective instrument and that this is not the norm, because I really do think this is a great fretless bass.

Reviewed by 13 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great sounding Bass

By Thomas Cass

from Syracuse NY

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

For the life of me I don't understand why the other reviewers recommend flat rounds. To get the classic fretless sound round rounds are a must. I tried flat rounds and the sound was lacking in definition and color, a bit thumpy.

(10 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Magnificent fretless

By MusicMan 101

from Columbia, SC

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

First, a suggestion for those finding the pickup lacking in power. It's not. Please watch the Gary Willis setup of this bass on youtube. You can adjust the output. I agree with another reviewer that this bass sounds better than a great many very high-priced instruments. I set this up myself to have some very slight string buzz above the 12th fret unless played lightly (so I have a choice), and the fretless growl, coming through a superb amp like Markbass, is really nice and much like an acoustic string bass. Easily my favorite fretless, and several thousand less that some of the axes now sitting in my closet.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

My first 5-string/fretless

By Bass Girl

from Honlulu, HI

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

The good: Warm sound, thin neck, great action. I love the was this bass plays. The markings where the frets would be are great for someone who's never done the fretless thing, but I took to it like a duck to water. I recommend immediately switching to flat-wound strings, as that completely eliminated what little string buzz there was, and made the bass a joy to play.The bad: The pickups stink! Mind you I'm spoiled, as my other basses are a Fender P-bass & a Rick 4001, but.... Can't get the volume or punch out of it that I get from my Rick. I'm playing through a Genz-Benz 300W, and I don't have to change the settings going from the wireless on the Rick to a cord on the wireless... that's about a 30% drop in output power.Overall, though it's a great instrument, but I know I'll be upgrading the pickup soon.

(7 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Great Bass, poor quality

By BassplayerMD

from Chiacgo

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

First, the good.I love the features on the Gary Willis bass. Greatest of these is the ramp. It makes playing so much easier. I wish it came standard with other basses or ramps were available on retail. The bass looks great and feels great .I also love the fat tuning pegs, they are probably my favourite pegs on any bass. The controls are simple and responsive the fretboard looks great and the markings help a fretless novice like myself. And, I love the sound. This bass can sing. The sound is warm, woody and resonant and beats other fretless basses I have tried by a mile (Warwick, Fender production model fretless jazz-not the Jaco bass). This bass can duplicate Jaco's much sought after tone. (I play it through a Fender practice amp and a GK 500 Goldline amp).Now, the bad. The bass was very hard to set up. The action was too high when I took it out of the box and when I lowered it a few times, the truss rod got stripped. Mind you, I did not force the truss rod, use inappropriate tools or mishandle the bass in any way. The truss rod of my bass is now stripped and so I am no longer able to adjust the neck. Also it is hard to claim the factory warranty. I am not sure if I registered and have had trouble finding out. There is no online system that I can find to confirm my registration and no numbers I can call. All I have is an address which I have been trying to contact. The neck also marks easy because of the glossy finish (but I actually like this). This is not a bass for slap and pop but if you want a good fretless, this bass may be the way to go. I hope I just got a defective instrument and that this is not the norm, because I really do think this is a great fretless bass.

(12 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Amazing Bass

By Kelso K

from Aurora, IL

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

This is one great fretless for the money! The neck is extremely easy to move around. Balanced great due to the ABS molded tuning knobs, and the tuning machines are a nice touch as you can use a phillips head screwdriver to make quick tuning adjustments. The cut allows you to reach all "frets" and has enough room to get at that "24th" with the pinky while keeping innotation. The bass comes with round wound strings that sound good but I REALLY recommend flatwound strings on this bass. The Bartolini pickup sounds amazing. This model does not have the bypass pull knob. Only con that I can come up with is that there is no hard case offered specific to this model.

(20 of 22 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Fantastic Bass, Cheaper than most

By Bones

from Pennsylvania

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

This bass is simply amazing, the only real work you have to do is to change the roundwound strings to flatwounds for that authentic fretless sound. Perfect for any kind of bassist who wants to expanded into fretless territory, not recommended for beginners. Great for almost every genre of music.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Fantastic fretless bass

By Gabe-_JrGZ

from San Rafael, CA

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

This bass is incredible. To start, it looks absolutely awesome. The matte black finish on the basswood body is totally sinister. It's also very lightweight and comfortable to play. The action is fantastic, it's incredibly smooth, and it sounds fantastic. The only problem is that there seems to be a bit of buzzing and noise in the treble when I play with the tone up. The electronics are not this bass's strong point. This is my second bass; my first is a Fender Jazz Bass, which is a good bass, but I was looking for something different. The low B on the GWB35 sounds demonic and awesome. I highly recommend this bass to anyone looking for a 5 string and/or a fretless. It's hard to find a better bass for this price with these features.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Love the tone and feel

By Bonevoodoo Music Productions

from Hawaii

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

Big sound and fast action, great for recording, very transparent. For that price you can't go wrong.Mike Peters

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Nice action

By Doc Scott

from London

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

Good entry level fretless. Gary Willis' signature 'ramp' makes it harder to really thump. You can remove the ramp if you like, but I've stuck with it and got used to it. Its not suited for heavy slapping, but you're probably not buying it for that. Despite other reviews, this doesn't have a very beefy bottom end, but thats not to take anything away from it. Its designed for GW's own stye of playing, and the min / top range is nice. I find myself using this bass more than any other. I love the low action and it has a nice average tone. Bit of Chorus / effect doesn't go amiss to thicken the tone. Easy to play and a good starter fretless. Ibanez's always win you over in the shop as they're so comfortable to play. For the money, you can't get much better new.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Quality Control needs Improvement!

By Heerul

from San Diego, CA

Comments about Ibanez GWB35 Gary Willis Signature Fretless 5-String Bass:

The good: 5-string fretless that is a real bang for your buck. The neck is thin and plays fast. Tri-wing tuners are convenient. Ebony fingerboard is smooth (although scratches slightly as you play). Limited knobs make volume and tone control straight-forward. The action is great; I would even set the string height lower. The ramp helps, however gets in the way if you want to experiment w/ slapping on a fretless. Beautiful tone, although that is subjective.Not so obvious: Neck is maple, NOT matching the body color. Pickup is NOT contoured like the ramp (as on the GWB1).The bad: The QC for Ibanez was horrible. The pickup/preamp was blown, right out of the box. There was a chip in the finish near the battery compartment. A small dimple in the finish on the front of the bass. Rather than take the matter up with MF, I decided to take the bass to an authorized Ibanez repair shop. I have played this bass for one day, and have not seen it in 5 weeks. Hoshino (Ibanez) says it will take another 4 weeks for my pickup replacement to arrive to the repair shop from Japan. I still recommend this bass however, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).

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