Sound — 8
It fits my music style of metal, funk and jazz.It fits to anything with the balance and EQ. I can't quite get it to get that upright bass sound though. I'm getting dist. soon, I tried it at the store and it was crazy. My amp is a crappy starter, doens't go good with such a good bass. I use the controls to create a brighter crisper sound, trying to recreate a Steve Harris/Geddy Lee type of sound. However I can get the fuller sound for stuff like Miles Davis' So What. The pinch harmonics don't sound quite enough, but they should sound with dist. It has lots of variety in sound. It suites any genre (the shape and look is another issue).
Overall Impression — 9
I mainly play metal, and what else is ESP made for. This is accualy the same model Hennka Blacksmith of Children Of Bodom uses. I've been playing guitar for 2 years and bass for 1, I also own a crap Simon starter bass(a Fender Precision rip-off). I don't have no regrets with this bass. I don't think I would of asked anything. If it was lost, which I take such care it will never be lost. I would go out and buy the same thing, only 5-string. Love the look, Hate how it smudge, I like the 24 frets. I compared It to A ESP AX some other sick bass with solid steel pick-guard and a SG bass. I think it was still the best. I wish it had 5 string yet I can't say, since I like 4-string too. I think I'd get one of each, maybe the 5-string blk.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I think it can withstand a fair amount. The hardware seems invincible, I have little to No Doubt there. The strap buttons hold nice, it's almost hard to get a strap off. I would have a backup at a gig because of active pickups, and you can't trust batteries sometimes. Other than that I have No Doubt about it breaking or jamming up on me. I have to polish the finish a lot since it is so glassy. Specially since the back of the neck is finished. The tuning pegs and bridge also show fingerprints well. The finish also scratches easy, since there is no pick gaurd.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
It was Pretty well set to go. The A and D strings were flat, but what do you expect. The pick ups were perfect for slap and pop, great on that note. I personally found I had to adjust the bridge to get better sound. The Bass didn't have any visible flaws. But I don't know much bout' maintenance ect. so I might of missed a bit. After a few days I noticed scratches but I don't if I caused them.
Features — 10
It had some nice features. It had 24 X-Jumbo frets with a rosewood fretboard and Dot inlays with product name at the 12th. It is 5-piece mahogany with neck through body construction. It has red transparent finish with the grains showing, it also comes in titanium and black. The bridge like everything else is unique. It has the stings connect to the bridge and do not tighten or anything. It has active pick ups with 3-way EQ (treble, mid, bass) volume and balance, a total of 5 controls. The pickups are EPQ or something like that. there are 2 one bridge and one neck. It has non locking, nickel tuners. It comes with Alan keys and a 2007 ESP catalog.