So a couple of days ago I wandered into my local Long & McQuade outlet and thought I'd have a casual peek at some of the new gear from Fender and Gibson. That day I looked at: (i) a Fender American Deluxe Dimension Bass IV HH with sharp fret ends sticking out so far they'd cut your hands, and (ii) a remarkably ugly, black unbound Gibson ES-335 bass with a host of finish defects, the worst being a near-complete miss where the neck meets the top of the body. Neither of these instruments are cheap and both are (I think) U.S.-made. Nonetheless, my experience with them lines up with what I recently also saw with a Gibson Midtown bass and a Fender American Deluxe 5 Jazz: amazingly poor attention to detail that never should have escaped QC. It's possible that I just have really bad luck looking at instruments, or that they save the "special" ones for us here in the hinterlands of Canada, but I have to wonder what's going on. My sampling of a wide range of other maker's interesting instruments (Ibanez, Warwick, Yamaha, G&L, etc.) just doesn't show the same issues. What gives?