Price paid: $ 599
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 2
How Fender could allow it's name on this thing is beyond me. This thing was so screwed up electronically it's a joke. There idea of QC for this model is having there customers determine they are junk and return them, forcing there retailers to sell junk at a discount. Mine looked like it was returned or tested by somebody to see if it was a good one or not, because it was not repackaged properly when I received it. And yes it was noisy as all get out when I plugged it in to my amp. The battery was dead when I got it, because the ground wire was soldered to the tone pot instead of the input jack were it's supposed to be, so the jack can act like a Switch. The bridge and battery ground were backwards. After re-wiring all the grounds and properly shielding the body cavities it sounded pretty good in passive mode. In active mode the preamp is muddy and noisy sounding. The series/parallel Switch works great and gives you normal/full sound. With a preamp and pup swap this thing could really Shine and could get a full range bright to dark. Unless you can solder or know somebody Who can. You should try before you buy.
Overall Impression — 5
I play Rock, Blues and some Jazz and am an Intermediate player. The looks of this Bass are awesome, the versatility is also pretty great. Compared to my American J-Bass and my American VG Strat the workmanship and component quality aren't even close. With a fret end dressing, pup and preamp swap, some high quality lighter weight tuners and beefier high mass bridge. And in some cases like mine a re-ground wire and proper shielding job, this Bass would be the perfect Bass. And how about a gig bag and a manual.
Reliability & Durability — 5
As far as Reliability & Durability go I haven't had it long, but except for the input jack, the master tone and vol., the switches, the hardware is cheap. The wood and finish are high quality. I would not use it on a gig w/o a backup. The finish looks like it would hold up well. The hardware seems suspect. The strap buttons are typical Fender not great.
Action, Fit & Finish — 4
The action, nut height, pup height and intonation were set pretty close to perfect. The body had some scuff marks do to the poor repackaging mentioned earlier. The neck was straight and the pocket was tight and flawless. The fret ends were sharp and not filled, like on low budget basses. The shape and feel is just like a J-Bass. The tuners are clunky and imprecise feeling and it needs to be tuned frequently. The bridge is cheap and flimsy looking. The preamp pots were really scratchy.
Features — 8
Mine is the Hot Rod Red with matching headstock. I'm not sure what year it was made. It is made in Japan, Alder body, 1pc. Maple neck (Gloss Urethane Finish), Rosewood fingerboard 9.5" radius, 20 Vintage frets, 2 Vintage J-Bass pups, Controls: Master volume and Tone, Preamp On/Off, Treble and Bass boost only. Pickup Switching: 2 On/Off slide switches one for each pup. Standard 4-saddle bridge, Vintage style tuners, Chrome hardware, 3-ply Minty white pick guard, 34" scale, 1.50" synthetic nut, Aged white pearloid block position markers. No accessories, not even a manual, Oh wait they were kind enough to give you a truss rod wrench.