Price paid: C$ 1100
Purchased from: Avenue Guitars
Sound — 8
The core tone of this bass is very much like a P-Bass but with extra body and sustain, which is probably due to the mass of the instrument. The bass has a bright top end and a somewhat muddy bottom end with either pickup when used in the passive mode. The phase control can help this a little bit as it seems to brighten the tone. In active (non-boosted) mode, the bass takes on a character that is more like an older Ibanez soundgear or any other older active bass. On the neck pickup, it sounds big and full with little of the searing brightness on the top end that seems to plague some basses. The bridge unit is very similar, but with added bite and less bass. In active+boost, the bass takes on a much more modern quality that is characterized by bell-like high end and rich, deep lows. It is in no way tinny or thin, this is a big sounding beast! There is also a little growl to be had when using the neck pickup, where the bridge is a little more clinical clean sounding. The phase Switch, again, seems to brighten the tone (almost too much). I never use the pickups together as I do not like the nasal quality it gives the tone. I play in several bands right now ranging from a Ukrainian function band to a modern math-metal band and this bass covers the whole spectrum. I use either a Peavy Tour 700 (Peavy 4X10 and 1X15 cabs) or an SWR (sorry, don't know what it is as its been painted) 450watt combo and I use Rotosound 135 strings. It sounds most at home playing anything fingersyle, regardless of whether it is metal or jazz. The bass just has good tone. However, use a pick and it sounds very blunt and thumpy, think a violin bass. I don't like that. It can also be very noisy if you are neer poor stage lights, but flipping the phase Switch seems to fix that.
Overall Impression — 10
I play almost any kind of music but my favorite is definately metal or punk, though I never use a pick. This bass is a great match to my playing style as it can produce almost any tone while still being very playable. I have been playing for 8 years now and have played alot of different basses; my stable now includes a Fender Mark Hoppus, a MusicMan Sterling 5 and an Epiphone Jack Cassidy. This is by far my favorite and most used bass and I would buy another one right away (if I have money) if it were lost or stolen. It is simply the easiest to use bass I've ever played. There is nothing that it simply cannot play and it sounds good for almost everything. It handels detuning quite well and barely goes out of tune. On top of that, it is just comfy to play, not having any polarizing ergonomics, just comfort.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This is a tank! Mine has clearly taken some brutal falls, evidenced by there being dents deep enough to shatter the finish and Splinter the wood, and it still works perfectly. My experience shows that the finish is quite sturdy (the last owner must have been a complete hack to do that sort of damage)as I've hit it on things and its been good. I've also taken it cross country and its been really solid. I usually have 2 basses onstage with me for variety, but I would have no reservations about using the bass without a backup. Also, the strap buttons are among the best non-locking I have used, none of those Dunlop plastic strap lockers needed. I have had 2 issues arise though: firstly, the 1/4" jack wore out and I had it replaced with a locking one. I'm rather dissapointed that happened, but its a cheap fix at a shop. Otherwise, buy a battery meter: the battery is hard to get to and there is little notice its about to go. Meters are cheap, and they'll save your ass with your other basses and pedals too.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I have no idea how the bass was set up from the factory as I'm not the original owner. However, the factory frets (replaced a couple months back) were perfect and there were no signs of any factory flaws in the finish of the guitar and the hardware has an even degree of lustre (something that can't be said of my Fender...). However, what I'm most impressed by is the control cavity: its clean and properly shielded. I'm yet to see a better guitar or bass.
Features — 9
My bass is an older one, but I'm not quite sure what year it is exactly but it definately has some miles on it. It is an american made guitar and was made out of figured swamp Ash (non-transparent finished basses are alder)with a maple neck and fingerboard with 22 medium frets and black dot fret markers. It features Fender style open tuners in a 3+2 configuration. Mine is finished in a deep trans Orange and save for the damage caused by the previous owner, it is perfect. The bridge is an absolutely massive string-thru design and the strap buttons are non-locking but truly massive. The electronics on this bass are the key to its versitility: 2 G&L design humbuckers, 1 volume knob, 1 bass knob, 1 treble knob, 3-way pickup selector Switch, 2-way phase Switch (in phase, out of phase) and a 3-way passive/active/active+treble boost Switch. Other than that, the bass comes with a G&L custom moulded hard case (looks and fits just like my SKB P-Bass case... I use them interchangably)