There's not that much info about the newer Esh basses here, so I thought I'd make a short review about this latest acquisition of mine to give some fresh insight.
So what's it like? To put it short: This is a quality bass.
Overall feel is very, very nice and sturdy. No flaws in the finish, good fretjob, electronics well shielded and hardware is good (it should be, it's all Schaller). I chose the satin finish on the neck and it is just that, smooth - no flaws there either. So basically no surprises here, anything other would have been a disappointment. Pricewise these compare e.g to Sandbergs and higher end USA Fenders here in Europe, so this kind of quality is to be expected (prices are on their website).
- (European) Ash body (very light, which is nice)
- Hard Maple neck (3pc w. walnut stripes)
- 1 x EMG-TW pickup + Piezo
- Esh-tronic electronics
- All Schaller hardware
I haven't run this bass through my live rig yet, so all opinions on sound are based on my home recording setup (M-audio interface + Reaper).
The basic sound from the EMG is what you would expect from an EMG in the MM sweet spot - a bit compressed, punchy & clear. I could say "growly", but through earphones that just doesn't feel right.
Basically - I can hear what I consider to be the "Music Man sound", but through an EMG filter (if you get what I mean). Besides volume & tone, there is a switch for splitting the PU for some single coil sound, which is akin to a bridge PU in an EMG J-set.
I haven't really played with the "Esh-tronic" enough to say anything definitive, but I can say there are more sounds to be found. In short, you can use the EMG directly to the output, the piezo alone, the EMG with the vol/tone/split -pots (this is what I used in my sound review above) or the EMG (with pots) and the Piezo together. There are trim pots in the cavity for the piezo, so that you can tweak the levels.
Compared to the basses I've owned/own (Dingwall, Status, Noguera etc.) this one is very nice indeed and I'm glad that I got it. I wanted a workhorse bass, and got one - with some added extras.