An Incredible Instrument
May this bass never leave my collection. It's been such an incredibly important asset for the past couple of years. On stage, it doesn't attract a lot of attention, but in the studio it never stops getting positive comments from fellow musicians and engineers. The preamp and pickup configuration allows for a number of very usable tones; Always cool, always tight, always able to fit in the mix.
To those who haven't played one of these already, let me try to describe the feel: The neck is quite chunky. In no way is this bass a fast playing instrument. If you have very large hands, you'll get by Sir Duking it around the neck all night, but for everyone else, keep your play-style intentions in mind. The string spacing is somewhere between Soundgear tight and Fender 5-string jazz wide; Very manageable. The body is well balanced.
The electronics are interesting. Each pickup has a distinctive sound when A/B'd, but there isn't a whole lot of room to play where blend is concerned. The blend knob could have well been a 3-way switch for how much it does. The bridge pickup switch offers subtle differences in tones, but again, it's not incredibly useful as designed. What I end up doing is playing with the EQ section to vary the tones, which thankfully does a lot. Active EQs are tricky to balance, especially as a bassist that leans towards passive electronics, but there's a lot of power in it. With it you can shape the tone from the CAP pickups with a very large palette of options, which along with that bright maple gives you an incredible instrument.
It's absolutely not a perfect instrument for everyone, but I've found that it's got a ton of character, and when it comes time to consider what has to stay in my collection, character is the most important trait I value in an instrument. It sits next to basses that cost more than twice what Ibanez is asking for and it absolutely deserves to be there.