Price paid: $ 680
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 8
I'm fairly eclectic with my music playing, so I play a wide range of songs with it. Funk, Jazz, metal, hard rock, just about anything. The bass works best with funk and metal, though with a few tone adjustments, you could get it to suit any stlye. However, it does tend to feel a little empty sounding, lacking a certian feel I'm always trying to get, which I've spent many hours trying to remedy with playing around on the equaliser on the bass and my amp (Fender Rumble 100). It's just that I have trouble getting a real "bass" sound out of it, without the sound coming out mushy and yuck. It would be perfectly possible that I just suck at getting the EQ right. I use a Zoom B2\.1U effects pedal with it, and distortion settings don't really tend to suit its natural sound. Slapping on this thing is brilliant. It really has a great range for slap, from early Chili Peppers to old Bootsy Collins, or just about anything.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing actively for 2 and a half years and this is the 3rd bass I ever bought. I like it, and wouldn't give it away or sell it ever. I use it a lot, and I love it, but overall, if it was stolen, I would do my best to get it back, otherwise I would replace it with an Ibanez, or Spector or something different. It's great, but apart from the looks, the sound is just too... Unbassy for me. I wish I could just make it play the sounds I want to play.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Now, the only problems I've had with it since I got it exactly 1 year ago have been as follows: The knob for the "middle" control of the EQ fell off, for no apparent reason. Lately, there is a little bit of trouble with the input hole, where the lead tends to be able to wobble around a bit in there, causing buzzing, or complete muting of sound, which is annoying. Apart from that, it's been 100%. I've gigged with it every show since i bought it, replaced the strings once (the original strings were not anything special) and replaced the preamp battery once only. It still goes on as strong as the day I bought it. I would gig with it withut a backup, and have done many times in fact. No problems at all with the finish either.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The Action on this was a bit high for me when I got it, but 3 minutes and an allen key later, and it was just lovely. Apart from that, everything was in ship-shape, no problems with the dealers (except for the problems getting it here from the US, which took a while).
Features — 9
This baby is the 5 string version of the Phoenix, black (they call it 'Black Shadow'), with 24 frets, 5 piece bolt on neck, rosewood fretboard, with a body shape that is a kind of an aggressive strat I would say. The Neck has inlays of flames going all the way up that looks pretty cool. The bridge is one of the Traben "Bigger Bridges", shaped like flames going up the body (they call it the "Phoenix Flame Bridge"). It has active pickups (one single coil Jazz-style, one humbucker), a 3-band Equaliser, Volume, and a Blend knob for the 2 pickups. The pickups are standard Traben Custom Combo. It's a 35" scale, the nut is chrome, the preamp is a Traben T3 active preamp. With it, I got a gig bag.