Above is an Ibanez GSR200 series bass guitar. It isn’t all that expensive. In fact, a GSR200 is under 300 USD ordinarily.
Why are we mentioning this bass guitar specifically? Because it is a popular choice for parents that gift a bass guitar to their daughters or sons as a birthday present, or for the gigging musician that needs a cheap backup electric bass instrument.
We do routinely get requests for what upgrades can be performed on low-cost instruments of this type, and this article specifically concentrates on tuning machines.
On the GSR200 pictured above are four tuners. Two on the bass side (E and A strings, as in strings 4 and 3) and two on the treble side (D and G strings, as in strings 2 and 1); this is sometimes referred to as a 2L+2R (two left, two right) set. The tuning machine shape is what is known as a “Y key,” because the shape is similar to a letter Y. Also, the way the tuning machines are mounted are angled towards the player for easier tuning adjustment.
If for example you were to upgrade to a set of Hipshot Ultralite bass tuning machines, the size that would most likely fit is the 3/8-inch, where you would purchase two for the bass side and another two for the treble side.
“Most likely” fits?
Yes, most likely, meaning not absolutely.
Anyone who sells bass tuning machines, including ourselves, cannot say that a replacement tuning machine not made by Ibanez specifically will fit the instrument precisely.
What we can say is that based on our experience selling tuning machines to Ibanez electric bass guitar owners is that most of the time they will fit without issue.
The headstock on the GSR200 as well as several other Ibanez electric bass models are on the small side, meaning there’s not much room to work with. The Hipshot tuning machine in particular is compact in size enough to fit without the machines “running into each other,” so to speak.
In the end, at least now you have a good starting point for a tuning machine upgrade for low-cost Ibanez electric bass.
Got more questions? Contact us. We’ll be happy to help you out.