Sound — 8
The TB-75 is capable of producing many unique sounds, although not all of them are easily attainable. Straight out of the box the TB-75 produces a biting, clear tone often found in metal. With minimal work it swings to the other extreme of boomy, muddy, bass, with very little high tone to speak of. It takes a lot of work to find the middle ground of tone that is clear but punchy, rich but distinct. It is in dialing in tone that the bass's biggest inadequacy shows through. This lies in the high end control of the 3 band EQ. It adjusts only the high, cutting range of the high end, giving the bass brightness but not necessarily more warmth or presence. This lack of a solid high end control is accentuated by a volume increase on the D and G strings.
Overall Impression — 9
What the Ocean lacks in sound control on the high end, it more than compensates for with excellent playability and style. A unique phenomenon that I have witnessed since them time this bass arrived, is that of people coming up to me after shows and asking me if they can touch or look at my bass. This thing is really just that gorgeous. Of course what better to go along with a smooth looking bass than equally smooth playing? This bass makes playing all over the neck not only possible but smooth and fluent. The ability to play at the 24th fret with ones thumb still on the back of the bass is unprecedented. Overall this solid beauty is a great value for the price, a must for working musicians.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Because of the thru-neck design and maple body, this bass is solid as a rock. The immediate concerns of durability lie with the tuners and the control knobs. The control knobs are made of plastic (which is fine) with rubber ringed accents. I've had the bass for a little over a month and already these rubber pieces are starting to crack and fall off. While this doesn't effect the playability of the bass in the least, I'm wondering how it will effect the look and feel of the knobs once they have completely falling off. But, this is a small concern relative to the instability of the tuners. If one was to swap out the factory tuners, this bass would once again be able to compete with basses twice it's price in realms of durability.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This has been the first bass that I have played where the action has been to low. When first taking the bass out of the box I had some real problems with buzz when playing high registers on the D and G strings, however, this problem is easily remedied. As far as overall playability, this bass plays smoother and sports easier access to the high registers than basses twice it's price.
Features — 9
The Ocean TB-75 is a culmination of boutique style, workmanship and electronics at a workingman's price point. The first notable feature of this bass comes from a stylistic aspect in the form of the body constructed of hard rock maple. The maple is highlighted in sharp contrast to the rosewood fret board. However, from a stylistic view point, my favorite feature of this bass lies in the 5 piece maple thru-neck with wenge stringers. I was even impressed with the stylistic choice behind the nut and bridge. For the nut they chose a Satin-Silver Anolized Brass piece, and found a 5 saddle fully adjustable bridge to match. Both of these things bring in a stark, modern look to an otherwise natural, earthy looking piece. Moving past a stylistic angle, this bass is equally equipped with high end electronics. It sports two active Bartolini MK-1 soapbar pickups with a three band EQ. On flipping the bass over I was disappointed to find hipshot licensed tuners. While hipshot is a popular brand, I find their tuners to be rather unstable, and this bass was no exception to the rule. I found that in between uses that the tuning would drop as much as a quarter-step.