I'm comparing this Fender Nate Mendel p-bass to my Squier Matt Freeman signature p-bass (in the pic - sorry for the offset image. They are the same general size and length) which to many here on TB consider the gold standard of affordable basses. My MF is modded with pickups, Hipshot tuners and a ToneStyler tone capsule, so I will not attempt to compare the tone, but only the feel and playability. On paper this bass had a lot going for it. Awesome '70s P-Bass styling, roadworn nitrocellulose lacquer candy apple red finish, dark rosewood board, upgraded pickup, all wrapped up into an unique package... I searched for a couple of weeks while I waited for another bass I was selling to sell on Reverb. I wanted a comfortable weight, somewhere around 8 1/2 pounds. The bass I was selling sold quickly and I was impatient so I went with the Nate you see here at 8 3/4 lbs. It was the lightest I could find. First impressions: The Playability - The bass was delivered with a decent setup from Willcutt Guitars in KY. The neck was comfy and after my full setup (neck relief, understring radius, pickup heights, intonation) it felt wonderful. I didn't care for having to remove the neck (twice) to adjust the trussrod. The neck is a tad narrower at the nut compared to the MF bass - something like 1.62' vs 1.65, but it is thicker off the back and has a rounder fretboard - 7.25" radius vs 9.5" on the MF. So it doesn't feel as thin as it looks, although it plays fast compared to p-basses with a 1.75" nut. Playing a p-bass neck makes me think about my playing differently which is cool. The only thing I kinda wish were different are the tall frets. The MF bass has small vintage frets which contrasts to the feel. You actually touch the fretboard more with less effort on vintage frets making it smoother. But fret height is not a big deal. Just different. The Sound - Off the bat, the Fender nickel strings sounded like stainless (very bright). So hopefully they mellow quickly. But the dang Duncan Basslines SPB-3 Quarter Pounder PU was outrageous. So loud and rude! The tone was boomy, full and massive. It is like the big know-it-all at the party who refuses to be ignored. It's pretty wild how the tone knob didn't calm it much. But to its credit, there was no mistaking this tone as ALL P-BASS. Lord, it was like Godzilla's p-bass. I'm going to try installing some old roundwounds or my old flatwounds to tame it. My MF bass wasn't honky enough so I dropped some DiMarzios in and that fixed that. Now I'm suffering the opposite problem. But to me, this is no reason to dismiss this otherwise really cool bass. The Looks - The roadworn Candy Apple Red has a bit of sparkle to offset the chips, dings and swirls in the finish. The red is darker than most I've seen which fits the heavy nature of the tones this bass creates. The shape of the body is interesting. I didn't see it at first, but it appears that the face is a touch flatter. The edges have a slight ridge before the body rounds off. The back side of the bass has a deeper belly cut, too. The black three-ply pickguard has matching swirls and keeps the dark theme intact which is cool. The pickup's weathered and dulled pole pieces are doing their job keeping the sinister theme. I love the look of the dark fretboard. I applied conditioner while doing the setup and it seemed to darken it more. And those faded, dark dot markers? Drool. The '70s style, curved "Fender PRECISION BASS" logo couldn't be prouder to state what it is applied to, which I like. The flat barrel V/T knobs and flat-topped tuning spools have a consistency that works with everything else going on with this bass. The outlier in the looks department is the Fender hi-mass bridge. Fender apparently tried applying some light rust colored spray, but the shine and overall modern blockiness and new Fender logo script clashes with everything else going on. If it bothers me enough, I can always find a vintage bridge (with real rust) for not much money. To summarize, the Fender Nate Mendel sig P-Bass plays great, feels really good and I love the looks. The tonality may be polarizing to some. To be fair, I have not yet tried this bass in a band setting. It very well may fit perfectly into the mix, which p-basses are the champion at doing. I look forward to hammering this ax in two different bands (British soul originals and a Clash tribute), and quite possibly in a Sunday morning worship band, but only if I can smooth out the tone. If the SPB-3 can't be tamed, I don't mind exploring the possibilities of aftermarket precision pickups.