I paid extra for the spalted maple top and I get my musician friend's eye's bugging out when they see it. They gasp and say, "It's beautiful!" "Wow!" etc, and that's the reaction I had too. But that's not even the best part of this instrument. I bought a headphone amp and headphones, and the bass is TOO POWERFUL for the headphones with the EQ turned up. So I have to pull the EQ back to almost zero in order to use the headphone amp with it, but it sounds fantastic anyway. I also played it through a Brian May AC30 and it sounded great. It's got a great ring to it. With the EQ there's a tremendous range of tone available with this bass, so there is no shortage. Great instrument. One of my all time favorites.