A great bass, with only one real flaw
It sounds and plays excellent, with no dead spots on the neck, and has that rich, warm midrange sound that only a P type can give.
The neck has a great broken in feel to it, with its rounded edges on both sides of the neck, and the slightly cupped areas between the frets, as if your fingers have pressed there, many thousands of times. The width is perfect, especially for smaller hands, with the nut width being a little narrower than a standard modern P, and a bit wider than a Fender Jazz type. I also like that the neck isn't too flat around the back, so I have something substantial to hold on to. I have a Korean Lakland Duck Dunn, which has a thinner Jazz- type neck, and is faster playing, but is not as rich sounding in the lower mid range as this bass, and I think the slightly thicker neck of the Mendel adds to this. Of course, the Duncan Quarter Pounder also contributes as well. One minor complaint is that the neck must be unbolted to adjust the truss rod. and a special "Truss Rod Wrench for Fender" (stewmac.com) type screwdriver should be used to adjust it, so its grooves don't get rounded. To be fair to Fender, in pictures, it looks like Nate's original bass has the same truss rod.
The Looks...people grumble about buying an instrument that looks like it has been knocked around for about 10 years, but its nice to be able to wedge a pick between the body and the pickguard without worrying about scratching the paint...or dinging the headstock or lower horn on a cymbal for the first time.
Neck dive...it dives on my lap, but only a tiny bit on a wide strap. The bass I bought only weighs 8.2 lbs. so the light body may be contributing a bit to the dive.
OK, here's the only real reason this bass lost a star... The tuners. They are rubbish. All four of them. They are difficult to tighten, and if I overshoot, and tune too sharp, when I de-tune, the posts bind for about half a turn of the key.. without the note going flatter, and then the posts makes a little pop sound, and the note goes instantly one whole tone too low. I tried adjusting the screw on the back of the post, but this didn't help. I have an early '90's cheapo $200 Japanese Squier, and an inexpensive Epiphone Allen Woody that do not have this problem. And the Lakland Duck doesn't either. I'm going to try put the tuners from the Squier on the Mexican Mendel, but I'm not sure they will fit.
I hope Fender sees this, and has a little talk with their tuner supplier, because there are basses at lower price points that do not have this problem. This is the only thing that lessens the performance of this excellent gigging bass.