Price paid: $ 530
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 10
I play mainly metal including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Slayer. This bass suits metal perfectly and with the 3-band EQ, you can get any tone you want, too. My current amp is nothing to be proud of, but I've played through better bass amps and it sounds great either way. With this bass, you can get growling tones ranging to bright jazz tones as well and the slap tones have a great sound. I think with the amount of adjustments you can make, this bass will suit any sound you can think of.
Overall Impression — 10
This bass is a match made in heaven when it comes to metal. My starter Washburn XB-100 is no longer needed for anything I play. This bass takes the cake in every way. I've been playing for almost a year now and I decided I wanted to step up to a legit bass and the F-4E is definitely what I was looking for. If it was stolen, I'd probably save up and buy the model that has a different finish and EMG's just for the sake of having a different bass then I had before. I would feel odd buying the same bass twice. I love the overall look of this bass the most. It just screams BADASS! I played a Thunderbird before, and it was garbage. I chose this bass because of the distinct look and the fact that ESP is known for making great metal instruments. I wish it had EMG's just to see if they are actually better than the stock pickups. Overall, this bass looks epic and will turn heads with its booming metal tones and playability.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This bass would be perfect for live playing(I tested it myself). The hardware seems like it could withstand anything as well as the finish itself. I would definitely use it without a backup as long as the battery was new before each gig just in case. If you keep this bass in good condition, I see know reason why it couldn't last forever. None of the hardware is loose or has any flaws. I've bumped it a couple times off of hard surfaces and it doesn't even dent.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This bass was perfect out of the box. The box was packaged with so much cardboard and foam, the bass was kept prestine. The action is great and the pickups are properly placed as well as the other hardware. As far as the finish goes, it looks great and contained no flaws whatsoever and the clear coat doesn't look overdone.
Features — 10
This bass was made in 2008 in Vietnam. It features twenty-four extra jumbo frets, and a fast, thin "U" contoured neck and a 35" scale. The body is mahogany with an ebony top. The beveled edges of the F-4E give this bass a distinct look that definitely turns heads. The 5 piece maple through-neck gives this bass great sustain and the ebony fretboard looks great as well. It has a standard ESP brdge, tuners, and nobs, all in black nickel. The tuners rarely fall out of tune, and if they do it's not by much. The pickups are SB-4 ESP passive pickups that sound just as good as EMG's. With a 3-band active EQ, you can get any sound you want and also adjust volume and balance between the neck and the bridge pickup, making for unlimited tone adjustment. The bass came with everything it needed including wrench for the truss rod and a battery for the electronics(although the battery should probably be replaced). This bass looks and feels great while playing and its not too heavy either. My only complaint would be the factory strings. When I played a show with this bass, people couldn't get over how great it looked and sounded.