Sound — 9
My musical style ranges from punk, old and new (The Clash, DK, SLF, LFATB etc), through ska to rock bands like The Who. I find that running this bass through my Crate BT50 amp gives a good punchy sound that really suits these styles. However it is not that good for slapping as, because it is a 5-string, the strings are wuite close together, and also because it has guite a bassy sound. I also use distortion from the amp and a Crybaby bass, and it copes with these well, by using the wah on a trebley setting it gives the bass a bit more brightness for my odd funkier excursions. This bass has never given me any real problems with noise, though sometimes the input jack can become a tad loose and if the cable moves it makes a crackly noise. However this is easily fixed with a spanner. The sound is rich, full and punchy, and a good variety of sounds can be attianed by mixing the neck and bridge pickups and playing with the tone control. My one gripe with the sound is that the extra low B string doesn't always seem to ring as loudly as the others, though boosting the bass eq on my amp a little sorts this out.
Overall Impression — 9
This bass is a really good match for all styles of music, apart from slapping and popping funk. I have played everything from Zeppelin and Bon Jovi, through The Who and T Rex, The Clash and Kaiser Chiefs on this and it always sounds good. I have been playing guitar for 3 years, and bass for 2. My other basses are a Tanglewood Warrior 3FH and a Jazz Bass style fretless made mainly from Ebay parts. I would say this bass is probably my favourite. If it were stolen (how the hell would I lose it?) I would definetly look out for another one, though as I don't think they are made anymore I might be forced to bu something else. Things I love about the bass are: the neck, chunky but not too fat and the sound, pure punchiness. Things I don't like so much (I don't hate anything about it) are: the weight and the fact that the headstock plummets earthward as soon as you let go of it. I compared this bass to other second hand basses such as Gould, and new basses such as an Ibanez five-stringer, but found it far superior. The only things I wish it had are, a better slap tone (though I don't even slap that much) and more power behind the low B.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This bass has withstood live playing a few times, and though my band doesn't tend to gig that much I'm sure that as it has already lasted 10 years of being gigged, it can survive. The hardware is in really good nick and seems sturdy and I've had no problems with the strap buttons. I have used this for gigs without backup though I normally bring one just in case. However I have never needed a backup yet (touches wood). The finish is thick solid black and tough it does have some minor scratches it is definitely tough.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action on the bass needed heightening a little as there was some fret buzz on the first two frets, but this is easily done and now I have it at a really nice height. The guitar was slighty flawed as the tone knob was missing and there were a couple of slight marks on the body, but after 10+ years of playing it isn't going to be perfect. Apart from that the bass works perfectly. The black finish is plain but cool.
Features — 8
This bass was made sometime in the late '80s or early '90s I believe, the guy said he had had it for over 10 years. It was made in the USA and features a maple neck and fretboard with 21 frets, and scale length of 34". The body is made of poplar and is fairly heavy, with a polyurethane solid black finish. The body shape is quite similar to a P-Bass. The bridge is a simple die-cast chrome one, that makes re-stringing pretty easy and the chrome non-locking tuners hold tune well. I don't know what brand the tuners are, I assume they are stock, but who cares as long as they work? The bass comes with 2 high-output, passive singlecoil pickups housed in Soapbar style cases and a simple layout of two volume controls and one tone. I received a free gig bag with the bass, though I bought it off a guy rather than a shop, and it was used.