Got my new Traben bass Monday afternoon from Guitars and Audio Stuff. In case you didn't catch it last week, I won a limited edition Tribal Sun bass, one of a batch of only 100 made. The limited edition differs from the normal model in having a maple fretboard with "solar flare" inlays and a string-through-the-body bridge. It has a curly maple top finished in orange, a basswood body, five-piece maple/walnut neck, active electronics, J-style neck pup and MM-style bridge pup, brass nut and huge brass bridge. It arrived safely, partly due to the expert packaging job. (Thanks Vince.) It came with a complimentary Traben gigbag. (Thanks Vince.) It was tuned down a whole step for the trip, and sported a brand-new set of GHS strings. (Thanks Vince.) The fit and finish was extremely nice. The top is nicely figured, and the hardware is of good quality. Inlays are well done. The (extremely narrow) neck is straight as an arrow, and once I tuned it up to concert pitch there were few if any buzzes. Unplugged, it sounded about like I expected: bright, clangy, very piano-like. Excellent intonation. It instantly reminded me of a Rickenbacker, adding that treble edge to even it lowest notes. A very nice contrast to my trusty P bass, which is the very definition of "thump." Honestly, the only negative details I could find with this thing were a couple of sharp fret edges and the fact that the nut was slightly off-center of the neck. The distance is only a sixteenth of an inch or so, and since the strings are well-centered down the length of the fretboard, it's only a cosmetic niggle. The fret edges can easily be dealt with too, so I'm a camper. So, I took the Traben to band practice Monday night. Let me repeat: I took the Traben to band practice Monday night. Do any of you realize what I'm saying here? This the first time in my life I have played bass in a live setting with anything other than an American-made Fender product. Huge leap of faith here. Not only is this my first non-Fender bass, it's active, for God's sake. It's flashy.....it's beautiful.....dammit, it's downright POINTY!!! I played it through my normal stage rig, a 450-watt Peavey head into an Avatar 2X12 cab. Let me say once and for all that all of my preconceived notions about traditional instruments have pretty much gone out the window. This thing violated every tenet I had ever held about basses: flashy colors, active electronics, tiny neck, fancy inlays, exotic wood top, pointy shape, etc, etc. Man, have I been on the wrong train! The electronics made it possible to tailor my sound precisely, and the bright edgy tone translated incredibly well into our band mix. The Traben allowed even my low E to come through loud and proud, and was a match made in heaven for my Avatar. I got several compliments from my bandmates on the tone, and after a couple of songs they were more focused on its sound than its looks. I think it's a keeper, and, although I'm reluctant to say this after just one practice session, I could conceivably see taking this to a gig as my only instrument. I'm practicing with it again tonight, and it will definitely see stage time next weekend! Oh yeah, in case I forgot to mention it: Thanks Vince!!!