....and no, I'm not talking OLP's here. I played an OLP in my local music shop and it's a great bass for the dosh - selling at £250. I loved the responsiveness of the neck, although it wasn't as smooth and fast as I'd have liked, but I'm fussy when it comes to necks. (Yes, I even gave this one a quick going over with 600 grit, lemon-oil and wax - although it didn't need much). This is a Vintage (Encore/John Hornby Skewes) EST96NA - it's got a solid ash body, maple neck and fingerboard and an active 3 band EQ! Man, oh man....does this baby croon! It's so much better than the OLP - and I got it new for 169 quid! Oh, alright...the shopowner made a mistake and put the wrong price on it and sold it to me as advertised (lucky, lucky me!) but even at its correct price of £199, it's a steal. It could sell for three times the price, easily. I pulled the battery out and listened to it without the active EQ and it STILL sounded sweet (I remember the adage of "if it sounds crap passive, it won't sound much better active"). I cannot believe the sound I get, even through my lil' 20W practice amp with this bass! I thought that big humbucker would be loud but not very versatile - wrong, wrong, wrong! Brimming over with wrongability! Matched up with the active electronics, this sweetheart can sound like a Jazz bass, a P bass, a funk bass...whatever tickles your fancy. And it's got a growl like a caged tiger! It has all sorts of little extras that speak of a more expensive bass. For instance, the knobs have that "nudge" when they hit mid point so you don't need to have markings to see where you are - you can feel your way. It also has a graphite nut instead of the usual low-price-range poly one. The black 3-ply pickguard is also a refreshing change from the OLP's white-only and makes a striking contrast with the natural wood finish. The fingerboard is quite flat (which I like) and it's effortless to play compared to some more expensive basses I've tinkered with. It's solid without being oppressively heavy and it's not neck heavy either. It balances very well and feels .... natural. There's no other word for it. The grain on the solid ash body (and yes, I checked when I took the back cover off to insert the battery - it is indeed solid, not laminated at all) is shown off to it's best by being pretty much left alone. The natural finish is drop-dead gorgeous - he's a handsome chappy as well as having an incredible tonal range! No, I'm not saying this is as good as a "real" Stingray - but I am saying that this bass is hugely underpriced and if, like me you can't afford to rush out and buy an Ernie Ball, and if perhaps you're wishing the OLP's came with active electronics, the Vintage is something to seriously consider. I can't stress how beautiful this baby sounds! As my old Gran used to say, "It'd bring tears to the eyes of a china dog". (Left) - Here's mine. Once again - excuse the crappy camera. It looks a whole lot more wonderful in real life. (Right) - This is a publicity shot of the same bass - mine's identical - 'cept I think mine has slightly nicer grain.