"Fender Take Note!"
This reviewer purchased this item from Same Day Music.
The stock pickups on this bass are a little weak, but decent-sounding. With both pickups dialed in, I can get a nice round tone with just enough top-end "tic" for definition. Separately, each pickup delivers its own distinct tone. The "J" pickup gets a nice funky midrange without sounding too tinny or microphonic. The "P" pickup gives a decent round Precision Bass tone. I may change them out at some point, but they are adequate for now. The volume controls are responsive, as is the tone control. I was able to notice distinct changes in tone throughout the tone knob's range.
The P+J setup offers a nice set of tonal ranges, supported by a hi-mass bridge and responsive control section. The tuners seem to do their job well.
Ease of Use:
As mentioned earlier in the review, I'm able to dial in a wide range of sounds, via pickup selection and tone control. The bass arrived fairly well setup, though the action was set a bit higher than I like it. The one-piece neck is slim, but quite sturdy. I noticed that the fret ends could use a little smoothing out, but they don't stick out and get in my way. I'll likely change the strings to flatwounds, but, overall, the bass was quite playable out of the box.
I feel I could play this instrument without a backup. The relic'd look out of the box was surprisingly good. I know relic'd guitars are like the "ripped jeans" of guitars, but the body and neck finish on this thing are just cool-looking. ESP/LTD even included an off-white pickguard to add to the vintage look. Unfortunately, they didn't bother to install relic'd hardware, so the bridge, tuners, knobs and neckplate are all shiny and new. That detail aside, I love the look of this bass.
I think this bass represents a good value in this price range. Maybe Fender will take note and offer a "Road-Worn" Squier series of their own.
The Wow Factor:
It plays well, sounds good and looks killer when it's strapped on.