I went to Guitar Center yesterday to scope things out and see if there was anything that might be worth trying to pick up Monday (depending on Pres. day discounts etc.). I'm not really in the market for anything, but I wanted to see if they had one of the new 5ive string Pbasses to check out. I do miss my original Fretless P (my first real bass) and thought if the fiver was a contender it might make a nice defret project down the road. Anyway, long story longer they didn't have the fiver Pbass, but, since the Bass Room was empty I got to sit there for @ 2 hours and play (at volume louder that I can practice at home I might add, although not rehearsal or gig levels). Five String Active Jazz First I sat down with a 5ive string Active Jazz and plugged it into an Ampeg B115. It took me awhile to get the amp where I liked it but once there I was set. Now I've always played passive basses (I consider my Rob Allen passive due to the lack of onboard controls, though I realize that technically it is active), so it took me awhile to get a handle on the controls on the bass. As a matter of fact either I never really got a handle on the controls or they s**k. No matter what I did I couldn't get a nice satisfying burp or growl; to my ears it never sounded like a real Jazz. To top that off I thought the B string was loose and muddy. [I should add here that all of the basses I tried had good to excellent setups, not something GC is known for.] Sterling and Stingray I've never played MusicMans before but since there is such great love around here for them I wanted to see what the buzz was about , so I tried a 4 string Sterling and 5 string Stingray. I loved them both. I found the Sterling's sound was a bit more pleasing and I couldn't believe how light it was, but I liked the feel of the Stingray better. I wish they had had a Fretless of either to try out. Warwicks From there I moved on to the Warwicks. I've never been really impressed with the Warwicks I've played, but yesterday I think I finally understood why. First up a Corvette $$ 5. When I looked at the neck profile I thought it was very strange and boxy but when I started to play it i was amazed. I now understand why the metal guys love these things. The growl was tremendous and the neck was incredibly fast and easy to play. Unfortunately I think they're butt ugly and while aesthetics is low on my list for why I'd buy or not it's in there, more than that though while I loved the sound it's not my sound. The next Warwick up was a Corvette Fretless. Yuck! This is why I always thought Warwicks just s**ked. I've played a number if these over the years and I find then impossible to play! Now I've been playing fretless for 25 years or so; most of that time exclusively, so it's not like I don't know my way around one. I have always found the Warwick Fretlesses I've played to sound choked with little mwah or growl and just hard to play. Yesterday did nothing to change that opinion. I find the same thing with factory fretless Jazzes (I'm only talking about manufactured fretlesses here, not defrets). I've never played one I like. Perhaps in both cases it's a question of setup, but so far after years of trying both fretless Warwicks and Jazzes I'll pass. American Standard Pbass After my unfortunate experience once again with a fretless Warwick, I noticed a new American Standard Pbass. Ny natural tone tends more towards a Jazz sound, but I loves me some Pbasses! And this baby did not disappoint! The only down side is that it was strung with rounds; Sacrilege! (I should admit I played a P with rounds for years, but I have repented my ways). This was a classic P. Even with rounds, with the tone pot turned done it was warm, thick and punchy. And it played like a P should. I recently played a real '62 with TI Jazz Flats on it. I'm not a Vintage enthusiast, but this was without a doubt the nicest P Bass I have ever played. How does the new American Standard stack up? Well if I had $10,000 of disposable income laying around the '62 would be mine, abd if i was going to buy the American Standard the '62 would still haunt my dreams, but... at $1,100 what can I say it's a great player and if I were in the market for a fretted P there'd be one in my house tomorrow. The Big Surprise Ocean Fretless Before I left I looked to see if they had anything else interesting and I saw this Ocean 4 string fretless. Now from what I know this is GC's house brand and so I grabbed it with real skepticism. All I can say is WOW! This is one of the most fun things I've played in a long time. The neck is slim and fast, it has passive/active Barts, is nicely constructed and light. On top of that the thing is a tone monster. I could get a thick creamy P bass sound out, it burped and growled, and had some nice sounds of it's own although it did have a lot of far too nasally tones that i would find unusable. Having said all of that there's kicker. This mother is SLAPABLE! That's the thing that has me seriously thinking of buying one. I could dial a slap tone and hit this mother and i truly believe that anyone not seeing the bass wouldn't have a clue it wasn't fretted. I've never found a fretless that I could get a convincing slap out of. I am really impressed. I wish it was a 5 or even a 6 (which is what I expected my next purchase would be), but I'm going back tomorrow to see how far I can talk then down from the $750 floor price.