Price paid: $ 569
Purchased from: www.Samash.com
Sound — 10
This bass sounds as sweet as it looks. There is no buzzing, mild fret slap (it's a bass, it's to be expected, especially on the low B), and it has a full range of sounds. It has a 3 way EQ with active pickups, so you can literally do anything with this bass as long as you adjust your amp/pedal setting to match. I am sadly only running this amp through a 35 watt Ibanez Soundwave bass amp, but even through that, it sounds fantastic. I play Metal of all kinds, from classic stuff like Iron Maiden, through thrash like Pantera (R.I.P. Dime), and all the way to death and black metal, and this bass keeps up with it 110%. I play punk as well, and it has a great presence for punk bass lines. I have tried a little funk/slap/jazz as well, and it has a great twang for slap, and the EQ can adjust to it perfectly. It can range anywhere from a deep de-tuned growling death metal riff, all the way to a bright funk/slap/jazz groove, and right back to metal with the spin of some knobs. This bass sounds amazing, and can do everything.
Overall Impression — 10
This bass owns, hands down. It looks nasty, sounds great, and is as reliable as anyone could ever want it to be. This blows my old ESP LTD B-50 out of the water. I have played around, and tried the 5 string Schecter Stiletto, and for about the same price, the LTD takes the cake, in both looks, playability, and sound. This bass is mostly suited for Metal, Punk, and Rock, but can handle Funk and Jazz just fine. If it were lost or stolen, I would honesly cry my eyes out, if I didn't kill somebody first. I saved my money for too long, and practiced on a P.O.S. 4 string for too long just to be able to rock this bass. I have had this bass for a few months now, and I have yet to change the 9 volt even once (asides to remove the Vietnamese knock off crappy battery it came with). For the price I paid, I could not hoestly say anything bad about this bass. Less then $600 for something that looks and sounds this good, I would need to be some kind of idiot to do that. ESP is a good company, even that P.O.S. B-50 I have is still great for the price I paid for it used to learn on. There is no single word in the English language that I can think of to describe how completely emaculate this bass is.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This bass would not stand up for Live gigging, it would obliterate it, and then walk all over it! I completely trust this bass to play Live. I might not trust the battery in it, but I'll change it before I go gigging, and check it before every show. Asides from what can be an independable battery, I do not doubt this bass in the least. the finnish can handle a lot of playing, and if you play this thing enough to actually wear it down, and play it well, that is something to be proud of.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This bass is unflawed in every way out of the box. ESP packed this thing in so much cardboard, styrofoam, and sponge wrap that, if it was almost annoying to get open, but that me happy to see they care about the shipping of their instruments and don't just throw it in a box. The action was perfect for the factory strings, which were good strings too, I only adjusted the action to fit aftermarket strings (Ernie Ball's regular guage 5 string). The entire bass has a clear coat finnish that looks indestructible. I have owned this bass for a few months, but I care so much for it I have yet to drop, scrath, or bang it on anything, but if I do, the finnish will hold up. You can see how much depth the finnish has on it when you look at the bass in the light, it's about 1/4 a millimeter thick, pretty hefty, but not so much as to make it look like it's covered in plastic. The hardware is spot clean, and all the knobs are tight and level. Any other mild imperfection is too insignificant to matter, no scrathes in the finnish, the natural wood body looks nasty, and either way you look at it, small things don't change the way it sounds, and in an instrument, that is all that really matters. Yeah, a big scratch right out of the box would have drove me to commiting homocide, but if you are gonna complain about a tiny scuff or factory mark, then grow up, get over it, and just play. Hendrix played a backwards beat up Stratocaster that he couldn't even tune himself, but look at him, he didn't complain.
Features — 10
This bass is one of ESP's 2008 new models (I have had it for a few months now, so I know all the little things about it, I also spent a long time researching it before I bought it, lets just say I know this thing like I know how to write my name). It is what used to be the LTD F-255, but it has a natural wood finnish. It has 2 active ESP brand pickups, pretty much the same thing as EMG's, and sound amazing, coupled with a 3-way active EQ, so you can adjust and fine tune your sounds for literally any playing style or genre. It is a 35 inch scale from nut to bridge, with 24 jumbo frets, so it's very easy to play for a 5 string bass. It has a solid ebony top with a mahogany body, so it looks as badass as it sounds. It has a 5 piece maple through-neck, with a Rosewood fretboard. The through-neck construction gives this bass seemingly a endless sustain that lasts for well over a minute, if you needed it to. It is a standard stationary bridge, but if you wanted too, could be customed to a string-through body very easily if that is what you want, mine currently isnt, but if I look closely enough inside the bridge to the body, I can see where the body was factory marked to be drilled for a string-through body. The tuners and bridge are just ESP, but they are solid, it rarely falls out of tune, and the string adjustment on both are extremely smooth and easy to use. The neck comes standard with an abalone inlay of offset dots, which looks sweet with the dark woods the bass is made of. From what I can see, this bass has everything or even more then a high end expensive bass, and it delivers. Although mine was made in Vietnam, it is an amazing bass, that looks sick, and sounds great. New, it came with all of the necessary hex keys to adjust everything, if anything needs to be, even out of the box, all it needed was a little tuning, if that. I only have 2 complaints, the first is that the 9-volt supplied inside when you first get it blows, and if you care about your instrument at all, remove it and get a good American battery in it, and Second, any picture online I have seen of this bass on the internet does not do this bass justice, it needs to be touched, and seen in person, and possibly played to be able to comprehend how much this bass owns. It is a little heavy, but it's a 5 string, so get over it, if the weight is what would keep you from buying this bass, you should just quit playing in general, unless you have a disabily/medical innability to lift or hold something of this weight. If not, grow a pair and get this thing anyway, it kicks ass.