I have a new bass and just strung it with some new strings. I notice that the open E is completely muffled. you get just a hint of attack and then "flub". But when I fret the string starting at the 3rd fret or higher it sounds just fine. I'm inclined to think that the string is too far from the pickup. The bass does have high action and the split P pickup dips quite a bit up top. I didn't measure, but it's probably nearly half and inch from the pickup. Does my hypothesis sound accurate?