Price paid: $ 499
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 5
I bought this as a back up bass to my B.C. Rich models and because I wanted a different tone than what I have been playing for the past several years. I NEVER thought I would buy an Epi (was always way too embarassing to be seen with one! ) but this one raised the bar a bit because of the neck-thru construction, brass nut and upgraded electronics. It definitely has a dull sound with very little tone, which is just what I needed so it fits the side project I am doing. Nothing beats the punch and tone of my neck-thru B.C. Rich basses but I needed a bass with clean bottom end and not much else. This bass doesn't deliver any crunchy highs and the mids are very dull. I have noticed that if I play with a pick it sounds much better, though. That is frustrating because I am more of a finger player. With this bass it is pick all the time.
Overall Impression — 7
I play Rock, Metal, (some) Funk, Post-Punk and Country. It fits Country and Metal very well because of the dullness in tone and abundance of bottom-end. Basically, if you play music in which the bass is FELT RATHER THAN HEARD, it is perfect. It's mediocre in my overall opinion because I usually like a bass to have a lot of trebly punch that cuts through the mix. If that isn't your thing, this is a great bass given the price and construction quality!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've played it live and it gets the job done if all you want is a solid bottom-end sound with very little top, punchy tone options. It is a solid-made bass and stands up to any other neck-thru constructed bass guitar. I would depend on it without a back-up, even though I bought it as a back-up.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The out-of-the-box action was horrible but I gave it an initial set-up and even though it naturally stays a bit higher than I like, it is relatively comfortable. It's probably because I keep it in standard tuning and I am used to tuning my basses a whole step down. Overall, I can buzz around the neck just fine. The fit is a bit akward because it leans forward but you get what you pay for (it's an Epi afterall). It's not the worst thing in the world to deal with. The finish is pretty nice. I got the sunburst because all my other guitars are black and I wanted something different for a change.
Features — 7
It was made in China, 2011 (just bought it). It has all of the mass-manufactured Epi Pro Iv specs - active electronics, 20 frets, maple/walnut/mahogany, neck thru construction, etc. It would be great to see some of these classic bass guitar styles, such as the Thunderbird, upgraded to 24 frets. Eh well. I guess it wouldn't be considered a "classic" style then.