My teacher is having some serious luthier work done on his 186ish German flatback. I use his bass when I have lessons with him. Yesterday, he told me he had borrowed a bass from a friend and began to play some Bach on it. He looks at me and says, "Ya know, not bad for an Englehardt" Yup, that's what it were all right. I opined that this must be one of the S-1 models. We look inside and learn it's an EC-1, which does not even come with an ebony fingerboard. This one did not even have an adjustable bridge. We could not figure out what strings were on there but the bass was actually easy to play and the sound was . . . quite decent. So what's the story here? Who knows? At least we know that someone knew how to set up this lowly and oft reviled (especially here) student grade plywood instrument to sound credible. I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone dump their $20k Alfredo Parmesano Vesuvios and get an Engel. What is would say is that a bass buyer with limited funds has an additional option if he/she is willing to exercise patience in finding a decent luthier and working closely with such a professional.