Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 9
I play mostly modern rock and alternative, but I dabble in everything, and I have to say that this bass hasn't let me down. It's an exceptional value for the amount of sound you can squeeze out of it, the unique nature of the pickup arrangement allow you to alternate from fat P-Bass tone to the growl of a J-bass and everywhere in between. I've found that the J-bass P/u is a bit weak on it's own, but with a good dose of the neck pickup, it blends out very well. But since my bass is made in Mexico (some of them are made in Japan, however.) I've found a few buzzing frets. But that's nothing a good shop can't fix. I play mine thru an Ampeg BA-115t and it's great, and there's rarely a sound I can't emulate.
Overall Impression — 9
For my musical tastes, which are broad, this rig fits the bill. It's versatility has yet to have been matched in my travels, and it's a looker to boot. Coupled with a low entry price, it's a great buy for an advancing bassist that hasn't yet made the commitment to an American rig. A new bridge (the factory one is way cheap) and pickups (factory ones are noisy) make an inumerable difference in the overall playablity of the instrument, and those would be the only modifications I would suggest, other than straplocks. You don't need any other work done really, it's a workhorse that has pleased me thru and thru. Great buy, good sound, exceptional value. If it was stolen, I'd buy another one immediately, then find the guy and beat him over the head with it. A testament to Fenders durablity.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Like most Fenders, this rig is a beast, and takes a serious beating. Add straplocks, and you won't hesitate to throw this thing around. I've played small gigs around town with my rock group, and taken it to play with the choir at church. While the pickups seem a bit flimsy, along with the bridge, I would trust this instrument explicitly to take me thru a gig without croaking. For the last year or so playing it, it hasn't skipped a beat. Made like a tank.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I bought mine used thru eBay, and the previous owner did a fairly decent job keeping up his instrument. It looked as if the pickguard had never been removed, and the pots were a bit dusty (causing a bunch of buzz, not a problem with a new one though). The pickups were a little high for my tastes, so I screwed them down a bit more, but that's just personal preference. The acton is my only real problem with this instrument. The neck has to be continually retorqued, usually ever other month. After a bit of fussing with the bridge and nut though, I've gotten it about as good as it can be. The finish was overall very solid, nice paint and Shine, and the hardware seems to hold up well. I've replaced the bridge with a Badass Bridge and it's made a helluva difference. That's one upgrade I'd recommend.
Features — 8
My specific instrument is a 2003 P-Bass Special, made in Mexico. It has a unique pickup arrangement: a P-Bass split coil on the neck position, and a J-bass P/u on the bridge. From the factory, it comes with a mexican bridge, saddles(Brass, barrel style), and tuners. I'm not sure what kind of wood the body is made of, but the neck is maple with a rosewood fretboard. The finish is glossy, but the new ones are satin, and the gold aluminium pickguard is a cool touch. 3 knobs; one for each p/u's volume, and one for tone. As for the neck, this P-Bass is unique in that it has the thinner, faster Jazz Bass neck. The neck is maple, and gets quite wide as you get closer to the neck joint, and is thick at the nut, a bit beastly for small hands. Mine came with an aftermarket HSC, but the new ones ship with a gig bag.