Price paid: $ 350
Purchased from: Ebay
Features — 8
It was made in Indonesia in 2010, I believe. With 24 frets, Mahogany body, 5 piece bubinga/jatoba neck, rosewood fretboard, non-lacquered body and neck, B-106 bridge, Bartolini MK1-6 pickups, and MK1 3 band EQ. In addition to the 3 band EQ there is a master volume, pickup blend, and active/passive toggle switch.
The Bartolini pickups are a very nice touch, and the preamp is simple but effective. Every piece of hardware seems well built. My only qualm would be that the active and passive modes don't seem to differ very much. I'm glad that the option exists, nonetheless, because many time I find that a setting that doesn't seem to work very well in the active mode works better in passive mode and vice versa.
Sound — 8
I play in a metal band, but I enjoy funk, post rock, jazz, and an overall punchy and clear solo bass tone. This bass nails it. Of course it wont get exactly that perfect Fender Jazz or P bass tone, it wont sound like an Ernie Ball Music Man bass, and it wont give you that distinct Warwick growl, but that's not why you buy a bass with soap-bar pickups. It gives a good tone for every situation and a great tone for most situations. Mainly, this bass is clear, smooth, defined, and balanced. I don't have any intentions of selling, trading, or otherwise getting rid of this bass any time soon.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I got this bass used, so I can't comment on any of the factory settings, but after a 35 dollar tune-up by my local mom and pop guitar store, it was playing fast and had low low action. Definitely one of the better feeling basses I have played. It is important to note here the difference between the Korean made models and the Indonesian made models. Other than the lack of active/passive toggle switch, the Korean models have much thicker necks. This is not necessarily a drawback to those models, but I do prefer the thinner neck of the Indonesian made models.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Not really much to say here, other than I use this as my main bass without a backup. Nothing about this bass makes me think it will not last. It seems sound enough, solid, holds tune, sounds good, feels good. It weighs about as much as you would expect a six string bass to weigh, but it's not heavy, and it doesn't nose dive with a strap. Maybe the battery could die, but then I could just switch it to passive mode and all would be well. I really like the fact that this bass is not ultra-light like a lot of Ibanez basses that I have played. It makes it seem solid and well built. Definitely not a toy.
Overall Impression — 9
For metal, this bass rocks. For solo tapping, it's perfect. For just about everything else it's great, as long as you don't ask it to do something it wasn't designed to do, like nail a vintage P-bass tone. I will say that this bass isn't the best for slap style. The strings are pretty close, but I bet it can be done with practice. I've been playing this bass for about six months, and I've been a bassist for about seven years. If this bass was lost, stolen, or broken, I would greatly consider buying another. There are other great basses in it's price range, new, but if I could get the same model for the same price that I got this one for, I definitely would.