Sound — 9
I play mostly classic heavy metal and hard rock, sometimes a little bit of black metal and progressive stuff. This bass suits all styles well, if you know how to use it. I use a small no-name 20 watt amp for practising. The sound on that one isn't too great, which is mainly the amp's fault and has nothing to do with the bass. The output of both pickups is very high, so the small amp starts distorting by itself at pretty low volume already. On the 100 watt Behringer amp I use for gigs, this bass sounds great, no distortion if you don't want it. The tone is full and rich, very bass oriented on the neck pickup and very crisp and clear on when using the bridge pickup. Like most short scale basses, the attack isn't very sharp, but more about that issue later. Mixing of both is possible, usually I prefer using each pickup by its own though. Due to the very high output, the pickups produce a bit of a hum sometimes, which is tolerable considering the good overall performance of the bass. When using distortion, I usually turn the volume down a little to get a better tone. Both pickups work great for distortion, the tone can be varied easily by using the controls without having to mess around with amp settings.
Overall Impression — 9
As said, I mostly play metal. The problem is that a short scale bass like this one usually doesn't sound sharp enough for that. I chnaged that with a set of super heavy strings (you wouldn't want to know how heavy), which made it a little harder to play (a very playable bass with normal gauge strings this is), but the sound I get now is unbelievable. Of course, the truss rod had to be adjusted for that. I also tried to play some jazz, and I got the impression that this bass is suitable for almost anything, except very fast slypping stuff maybe. Tapping sounds great on it. I scalloped the upper frets for easire bending, which is very useful for some of the more extreme solos. I have only been playing bass for a little more than two years and own some obscure Soviet electric guitar I'm restoring at the moment as well as a '50s acoustic jazz guitar. The greatest benefit to me is that this bass is very light, I am a singer who plays bass at the same time, and this is the ideal singer's bass. A super heavy instrument would get my body tension screwed up and hurt my voice. All in all, this is a very good instrument, not the best maybe (disadvantaged because of the short scale sound, old fretboard), but it would be hard to find a bass better than this one at a price below J1000.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This bass is rock solid, it took some severe beatings without even going out of tune! I dropped it because my strap broke, I fell over on stage with it, it fell over when standing leaned against walls or an amp severyl times. The only thing that happened was that the screws on the neck pickup got a little loose and a little chunk of wood broke off on the back side when I dropped it on concrete. Finish is very, very hard to scratch, except for the little thing on the back side, my bass doesn't have any scratches at all. This is my only bass, as I do not have enough money for a backup, but I probably wouldn't need one anyway. I played entire gigs on this bass without having to retune more than once. Nthing ever broke, except my guitar cable.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Action was great, the pickups were adjusted perfectly. Finish is very durable, although it is a pain to keep clean. There were only two major negative things about this bass. One is the noisy pickups selector, which I fixed, and theother one was the fretboard, which did not look very good when I got it. Looked like it had been lying around for years in a very dry room. I used some furniture oil to polish it, it still doesn't look great, but better. Feels good, though.
Features — 10
Bass was made in Korea in 2002 or 2003. It is a short scale bass (30.5" scale) with 21 frets. Maple neck, rosewood fretboard, body is made out of Korina wood. Neck is set, not bolted. I have no clue what the pickups are, but the bass has two big humbuckers, two volume control knobs and one tone control, one three-way selector switch. Finish is black with a white pick guard. Back of the neck is also painted black. The body is shaped exactly like the Gibson Flying V guitar, a bass version of which originally never existed.