Its been a while since I've done one of these, so bear with me.......... First, a little back story on my quest for tone. I first fell in love with the sound of a Pbass. Motown comprised my earliest bass memories, where I was drawn to that down-in-the-bassment thump of James Jamerson, and years later when I first got my mitts on a bass, it was a Pbass. So, in a sense, that 'sound in my head' is forever tied to what Leo Fender bestowed upon the bassworld in 1951. If only it hadn't taken 20+ basses, all but a few traded on this wonderful site, to realize this!!!! Of course, Fender hadn't yet 'smelled the coffee' and realized to themselves that other bass builders had been making excellent Fender-copies in a 5string model that felt and sounded, for the most part, just like the real thing. I was taken by the beauty of woodwork, the lightning fast playability, and modern sound, of many different breeds of boutique. Ken Smith neckthrus and bolt-ons, MTD's, Warwicks, Modulus, mulitiple Sadowsky, Roscoe, etc. 9 times out of 10 I would usually run the neck pickup on those fine basses, trying to emulate that pbass thump in a 5 string. Well, as the song says, 'Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing'. I've come full circle in my gear quest, realizing that my ultimate 5string is completely passive with a split coil single pickup and a symetrical body, and a killer B string. I must say that that last part was not immediately evident when I took it out of the case for the first time. The stock fender B string was pretty floppy, but still not as floppy as some other Fender B's. Being adventurous, I picked up this bass from the ol GC right before going to a gig in Tulsa that evening, where I would be playing in a boomy concrete area in a Space/Science museum, complete with a too-large Mackie PA. In other words, a challenging environment. I did some adjusting before the gig, raising the action slightly and rearranging the pickup levels. Still can't figure out why Fender ships the bass with pickups like they are: slanted away from the E/B string so you can barely hear them and slanted towards the A and D strings, which become overly boomy. IMO/IME anyways. Plugging into my rig (Aguilar AG500SC thru two GS112s) and firing up, I noticed right away that Munjibunga was right on in his in-store review of this bass: It had that lowmid kick in the lowend in spades, although the Bstring was fairly overwhelming at first in the mix. It sounded like a sub kick, with not a whole lot of note definition, especially from low D down to low B. I had to really baby the string throughout the gig, especially in light of the ginormous PA that was a little overkill for the venue. As far as playability goes, let me dive into that for a second. FINALLY Fender figured out that a lot of us like wide spacing!!! Coming from the ultra-wide spacing of the Yamaha John Patitucci Signature 6'er, I didn't at all feel cramped. The maple neck feels solid, and the rosewood fretboard (not PauFerro, which I personally loathe) is a thing of beauty, adding warmth to each note. The neck pocket is tight and the neck itself was arrow-straight right out of the case, a big +1 for me. And let me also add that the intonation on this bad boy was dead-on through a strobe tuner. Fender really paid attention to everything as far as fit and finish, especially in light of me having unboxed god-knows-how-many Fenders during my 4+ years combined working at Mars Music (RIP) and Guitar Center. In between that first gig and the next, I remembered that I still had an old set of TI Flats for a 5string, having once upon a time put them on a Sadowsky Metro RV5 to good effect. That's when this bass truly came alive for me. Huge but controlled fundamental to every note on the Bstring with awesome pitch clarity, perfectly balanced with every other string. In short, the perfect supportive fingerstyle tone that stands out in the mix without overwhelming other instruments. For 90% of the playing I do, this sound is 'it'. I occasionally slap and have been known to use a bridge pickup tone every now and then, but for that, I just might have to pickup Fender's J Bass in a five.