I had the opportunity to do my yesterday gig with a cheapo MusicMan Stingray5 copy, and I want to share my experiences. I have used my custom neck-thru EMG-active 5-stringer for 5 years, and I've been doing intensive comparison with MM's and MM copies. And now, finally real life experience. What I like in my custom bass (sounded very much alike when comparing with a new Skjold) is the solid fundamental of tones, and that the tones are very unfloppy. The notes are constant right from the attack. I have been missing some G-string aggression, partly because I tend to have my strings very low. Pop-slapping is a lot quieter than regular fingerstyle. Also, 2KHz is something I always tend to boost. Now to the MM. It is a chinese made Eko MM305. I believe it is quite comparable with OLP MM, except priced like an SX. I set the bass up for old Elixir strings, 'cause I'm familiar with them, unlike the strings that the bass came equipped with. I also put a series-parallel-single controller. The neck was thick to my taste, and the strings are very close to eachother at the bridge. I adjusted the string saddles in an arch so I got them just a bit further from eachother. Surprisingly there were no severe high or low frets, and I was able to put the strings quite low. I took both basses for the gig, 'cos I thought that the rather heavy Eko would be too weird to play. I noticed in the soundcheck that the Eko doesn't need any EQ from my amp. I ensured this with my own bass (soapbar J and soapbar DC EMG's), and noticed that I had to boost 70Hz, cut 250Hz, boost 600Hz, and boost 2KHz. Eko was good flat out. First set was mostly jazz. I thought I'd play the first song with the Eko, just to try how un-jazzy it is. Singlecoil from the neck side with most of tone rolled off, the sound was actually very good. I played the whole set with the Eko. 2nd set, groove, same thing, except the Eko was marvellous! I love the parallel mode the most, and this bass sounds and feels great! I ended up playing the whole gig with the cheapo Eko. What is the biggest difference is the dynamics. I am used to my bass where very silent notes come out quite quiet, and extremely loud notes come out on medium volume. Lousy dynamics. Therefore, when I meant to play a short fill on the G-string, I ended up playing loud and the volume was VERY LOUD thru the amp! I almost wet my pants! And my bandmates' too! The other big difference is the attack. Bolt-on neck combined with a pickup in a perfect position yelds an incredible attack, that punches You in the stomach even when the whole band is in the "forte" part and You need to strike a few accents. My custom would've been drowned a long time ago. I think I have a handmade custom for sale. No smiley, this Eko is so much more versatile and it's capable of doing several things that my custom can't. The weight is heavy, but even if I'd have to carve the body and put a new birch etc top, I think I'd do it. A bass this cheap is no problem to be used as a trial-error project. I can always get a new one! Conclusion: I'll never get myself a neck-thru bass or EMG pickups, and Stingray is the best bass style in the world. -Aki.