They say you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, which I think is generally true, but aren't leather purses OK, too? I have a MIJ Fender Precision, which in my book is closer to the silk purse end of the scale, but I have a couple of other basses, too, that I'm trying to make something worthwhile out of. The better of the two is an old Washburn c.1990, that is actually not too bad, but suffers a bit from poor quality control. I recently repaired a cracked neck heel in this bass, and it sounds pretty good now. I couldn't see spending fifty or a hundred bucks at the repairman for a bass that's worth maybe a hundred dollars or so. So I got some advice here and fixed it myself. At the same time, I cleaned up the neck pocket a little, as I feel that having high spots bearing unduly on the neck could have a bad effect on tone. I've also replaced the pickup with one I got free. So now I have an acceptable, even giggable bass, with very little investment. I also have an old Orlando (talk about your sows' ears!) that I de-fretted because the frets were toast. This bass was owned by a local high school for some years, and had some hard use. I'm still working on leveling the fingerboard, but I've strung it up, and it sounds pretty good. I wax-potted the pickup off the above-mentioned Washburn, and even though it's a little weak, I get a nice URB-ish tone from this thing with medium-heavy flats. Kind of like that Dave Holland/Bitches' Brew kind of sound. I've also re-wired both of these basses and changed the pots and caps to Fender parts. So what's my point? I dunno, except maybe that boutique basses, nice as they are, aren't everything. I expect to get a lot more miles out of these klunkers, and without spending a fortune. At this point, all my extra cash goes into trying to build a business, but with a little elbow grease and research, I'm having some fun with these instruments.