Price paid: £ 250
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Features — 8
It's a black Steinberger Spirit XT-25L (left-handed), it has a very glossy lacquered finish, I bought it as B-stock, and I tell you that was my biggest mistake, but more on that later. Everyone should know what a Steinberger is, they make headless guitars and basses and have a unique tuning system built into the bridge (instead of a headstock). It is short necked, has 2 humbucker active pickups, a volume and 2 tone knobs and a neat little fold out "foot" for when you want to play sitting down (being a thin bodied bass it's not easy to sit with it).
It came with a unique gig bag, a lead, manual, and Steinberger sticker and a set of Allen Keys (one of which was the wrong size for the bass), I have plenty of Allan Keys so thats not a problem, overall it came with a generous amount of kit.
Sound — 9
My previous 5 string bass was a Vintage with active pickups, which where quite thin sounding an quiet, this bass however is LOUD, and has a significantly different sound to it. I'ts taken me a good few months to tinker with what sound I want (I like quite a Steve Harris type sound). I play through a 100 watt Fender Rumble bass amp and I seriously have to turn down the bass or I'll end up drowning out my bandmates! Overall it has some nice tonal qualities to the bass, ranging from a low, neck-rich sound to a trebley bridge sound. I've still not found my perfect setup but it's great that I have so many sounds and options to play with!
Action, Fit & Finish — 1
This is the area I was most disappointed with. I had quite a drawn out e-mail exchange with Thomann over 2 cracks at the top of the headless stock, fair enough, I bought the "B-stock" range but this kind of damage you just don't expect from a brand new guitar! I took it to a specialist who assured me it's not as bad as it looks and was only superficial cracks in the heavy lacquer. I begrudgingly kept with it but surprisingly the cracks have not expanded and there is no internal damage.
The bass itself was also completely stock and not setup at all. The action was so out there was considerable fret buzz and also complete note blocking up past the 12th fret. I had to manually set it up myself and adjust the truss rod and bridge. The Allen Keys supplied were also the wrong type. Obviously, all the strings were out of tune.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Despite the problems noted above, this thing is absolutely bullet proof now I've got it all sorted, she is totally silent when plugged in and resting, I've had no problems with the active pickups, the build quality is great (apart from the lacquer cracks), it NEVER goes out of tune due to that cool tuning system and I can see myself using this bass for the rest of my life.
I play in a band and actively gig and would not question this bass to deliver on the night. I play a Squier P-bass in drop D to go along with this due to our style but if that failed then this would easily take it's place.
Overall Impression — 8
I play mainly rock/metal and although it sounds completely different to my P-bass, the range of tones and sounds I can get out of it more than makes up for not sounding similar. I picked a Steinberger because it looks like nothing else, and plays like nothing else either! once set up it sounds great, my only complaint is there isn't really anywhere to rest your hand if fingerpicking, but using a plectrum its fine (I alternate between finger and pleck depending on song, so its ok with me).
One word of advice I'll give to anyone buying an instrument: DON'T BUY B-STOCK! I came to realise its B-stock for a reason, however it's made up for it by being a rock-solid bass after all the troubles I had getting the thing up and running.