Price paid: $ 110
Purchased from: secondhand
Sound — 6
It does cleans decently, but can't handle distortion at all, which is sad, because half of what I play is distorted. The most this can handle is a "DeeDee Ramone" sort of loud overdrive. Other than that, the hissing and humming becomes too much to bear. Keep in mind that I'm saying this about a guitar whose cavities were shielded by a professional... But hey, what do you expect out of a single coil? I couldn't that much variety out of the tone and volume knob, but the sound was decent enough on cleans. A little muddy at times, but that's the price you pay for the ease of playing short scale.
Overall Impression — 6
I play a little bit of everything, but this thing's not up to "everything." Not exactly a one-trick pony, but don't expect it to be hugely versatile. It's fairly good at what it does well at any rate. I've been playing classical piano for close to eleven years, have been playing guitar for about three years, and picked up bass a year ago. I know quality/tone when I see/hear it. This is one of those halfway basses that isn't quite a beginner's bass, but certainly isn't a pro bass. Don't expect good distorted sounds and slightly muddy cleans. If this was stolen, I probably would mourn for a day and go try out other basses, as I was planning on selling this one soon anyways.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The thing is built sturdily enough to be a tank. I don't know how long the bridge would last under gigging conditions, but replacements are dirt cheap and easy to find. The strap buttons were surprisingly solid. It's finished with ultra-hard polyurethane... It's not getting beat anytime soon. I accidentally hit it against my desk once, and it left a dent in the desk... Only a small scratch on the finish of the bass. I'd go gigging with this without backup if I personally liked the sound I got out of it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Because I bought it secondhand, I have no idea how the factory set it up. However, the action was easy to adjust, I never had to deal with the truss rod, and the intonation was just as simple to fix as it would be on any other bass. I didn't have any other problems with the hardware. Seemed sturdy enough, except for the screws, which looked as if they would strip at the slightest contact of a screwdriver. Didn't worry me too much because replacement screws are cheap and easy to find.
Features — 6
Made in Indonesia in 2002. Short scale neck. 19 frets, one-piece maple neck, I believe. Agathis body. Comes with one "special design" pickup that's actually a Squier GUITAR pickup. When I bought mine, the previous owner had replaced it with a genuine Fender pickup and shielded the cavities. Polyurethane finish. Nothing's going to get through. Shaped after the Fender Mustang. The bridge is some cheap economy thing with only two saddles, but it worked well enough. Looked cool too. One volume, one tone. Pretty straightforward. One of the best things about the neck is that it always feels glossy. Never sticky, and always a pleasure to play. Very thin too. Fast, and comfortable. I'm going to miss that feeling once this bass is sold. Note: Rating is for stock settings. Mine was actually around a 7 or 8.