Price paid: £ 280
Purchased from: DV 24/7 (online)
Sound — 9
I play hard rock and heavy metal and for that purpose, this bass sounds phenomenal. For the price, the pickups are amazing; despite being ESP's stock pickups they are very versatile and, though it can easily make the walls shake. However you want to play, most things will sound good: chords, soloing, aggressive heavy metal bass or soft and melodic. I can't see it working for slap bass and funk techniques as the pickups tend to be quite aggressive. Getting a melodic, clean sound can be difficult, especially if you want be loud enough to break through the mix. I run it through a Marshall MB 150 and the tone is quite heavy from the way I set up this bass, however, this really fills out the guitar tone and definitely adds another dimension to the sound. The heavy tone means that people WILL be able to hear you and it definitely holds its own when everyone else stops. If you're looking for something outside of rock or metal then unfortunately, you're probably better off looking elsewhere. For the overall sound that I'm looking for (something Duff McKagan-eqsue) then it's perfect.
Overall Impression — 10
This is my first bass that I can call my own, I previously played my Dad's Yamaha RBX 270 and this bass just blows it out of the water in every way. I took a bit of a gamble; I'd never played a five string before and I was buying online, but the risk payed off. For the price, I couldn't ask for a better bass. I would definitely stick with ESP if this were stolen, though I would definitely upgrade to one with proper EMG's, now that I know the quality of the brand. One or two minor issues mentioned above, but for the price, you can't expect it to be as good as a 2000 guitar. That said, I'd recommend this bass to anyone, rookie or veteran.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The only issue I've ever encountered with this bass is that the bottom strap button came out after a few months of band practice without much force at all. A quick bit of maintenance fixed it, but if you were going to gig with it then I'd recommend double checking the strap buttons, maybe replace them if you had to. Other than that, I feel like this thing could go to war and come back sparkling. I wear a studded wristband on my picking hand while playing and after more than a year there are still no signs of wear or scratches on the body, at all! Which I find astonishing. Electronics are very solid and it stays in tune beautifully. I would certainly rely on it to get me through any gig. Just make sure you keep some batteries spare for those pickups!
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was set up pretty standard from the factory, but you can get the strings nice and low with minimal fret buzz. Intonation needed a slight adjustment on the low B and E strings, but the higher strings were spot-on out of the box. The neck is great for fast playing and is super comfortable. The finish is outstanding; gorgeous and hard wearing. One thing I will say about the paint-job is that online, it looks very blue/bluey-green. However, most of the time it appears to be a dark grey/steel colour and the blue/green finish only shows up under bright light. This suits me fine if I'm honest though; it's certainly very different to any other manufacturer's finishes. No flaws at all in the finish when I first got it. This is quite a heavy bass, but it doesn't feel like you're carrying a lead weight around your neck.
Features — 8
2011 model LTD B-105, manufactured in China. Basswood body, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. 34" scale with 24 jumbo frets. Two ESP SB-5 active pickups. 4 controls: Volume and a 2-band active EQ with bass, treble and balance. ESP Stock SB-5 active pickups. Chrome hardware; ESP stock tuners and bridge. Gunsmoke blue finish. Graphite nut.