I know, I know... another Essex bass review. Well, I read all of the reviews that were on this site (if thats possible), so I might as well give back with my own. I recently bought the following. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (You can find this bass here: The Good -I had a lot of hype in my mind about this bass based on previous reviews. I expected it to be a pretty good value, etc. But even with that, I was not prepared for the quality of the bass body. It truly does look and have that feel of a $400-500 bass. Sure, when you remove the pickguard, you see some unusual cutting approaches and the there is some spillover glue on the nut, but top to bottom it is really nice. This just doesnt feel like a mass-produced instrument. Pretty much every other bass within $400 of this bass feels very standardized, as if it were run through an assembly line. This bass has a personal feel to it. As people have mentioned, a lot of the components of the bass are not cutouts or standard even across the same line of basses I dont know how they make them, but whoever is doing so is being underpaid, =/. I really feel that a lot of work was put into the bass by someone who was concerned about quality, but maybe didnt have the time, expertise, or resources to pull it off. Anyway I like it. -$138 new bass with shipping .that is INSANE. I dont get it. -Customer service is superb. Ordered Thursday morning, arrived the following Wednesday. -Frets are level and edges are cut well. Much less fret edge than Ive seen on some of my $300-400 basses. -It wasnt as heavy as I thought it would be. -Pickups are sweet. I was trying to think of what to compare them to. There arent too many standard P-Basses in the sub-$500 range, but I will say: significantly better than a Squire or Ibanez starter bass (Ive owned both), I havent played the CV Squier, but I have played the VM Precision squire and I think this one may have a slight edge, but its hard to tell as Ive only ever played the VM at guitar shops. I think its on par with the pickups used on the MIM Fender P-Bass, but also, difficult to tell as I wont buy those as I think they are horrible value, =/. -Looks better in person. The Bad -Setup was average. As always, the action was too high. Intonation was dead-on perfect except for the E string was just a tad sharp. Neck needed only a 1/8 turn at most to provide a bit more relief. -One word: Clanky. Bear in mind, this is something that only can be heard unplugged, but I play my bass a lot unplugged while watching tv, and the clank on this thing (particularly on 12-20 frets) is about the loudest Ive heard. My understanding is that this is a product of cheap alloys for the frets. To be clear, this is not action/relief buzz, this is the sound of the string clapping against the fret during fretting. It can be heard noticeably even while not plucking. But once again, it is not picked up by the pickup. Ill probably try some flatwounds to see if this can be reduced. -Tuners feel a bit weak. They will probably need replacement. Ill wait and see how well it stays in tune. -Glossy neck that could be smoother. I prefer less finish. -Neck is a bit thick (in terms of depth, width is standard P). -Weird harmonic on the E string. Ive come to realize that this was probably the string that I installed (Slinky). More on this can be seen in this post. -Slightly neck heavy. -Finish on neck/headstock just a little bit too orangey. It has an artificial vintage finish. Under certain lights, it looks REALLY nice, other times, it looks kind of cheap. The Ugly -The E/A pickup was detached from its case! (See image) Apparently the glue had not stuck, so the pickup was recessed in the cavity. It wasnt much of a problem to fix (I put some foam under the pickup instead of gluing it as I like solid cases, so I might replace it at some point anyway and it worked fine.) -I am not that picky about strings. 9/10 times I just use the stock strings until they get grimey. I kind of like the sound/feel of beat-up strings. But these strings .are by far the worst Ive ever played ever. They were just awful in all categories. Luckily I had a replacement ready, but come on. Thats effectively an extra $25 for the bass. Final Thoughts Overall, its an unusual product. Its not a great bass for a complete beginner as it needs significant setup and I think I would have started crying if this were my first bass and the pickup was detached! If you are a beginner thinking of this bass, just make sure you have a friend that can take a look at it for you. For more advanced players, its not of high enough quality to be a main bass. Its more of a backup bass that through some TLC you could slowly fall in love with. Its great for messing around with if you like to do upgrades as its so cheap. The price is so low that probably everybody should give them a shot to see how they like them.