So, I picked up a Sterling Ray35HHSM (spalted maple). I've always loved MM basses (at least sound/wise, haven't played them all that much, but generally had good experiences with them). The USA ones were and still are a bit out of my price range. But I saw the current line of Sterlings and started eying the specific model in question. Unfortunately, NOBODY has/had that exact bass in stock (this is going back to like Februrary or March). I did play a 4 string natural finish single pickup version at GC and really liked it. Anyway, I ordered one from one of the big online retailers (about the only one where I've seen these in stock at all) and they didn't really do any packaging besides putting the bass in the gig bag in a box. And it must have been handled roughly, because the zipper teeth from the bag put some teeth marks in headstock, and there was some finish funkiness on the fretboard, and some roughness on the underside of the headstock, etc... So I sent that one back, problem is, they had ONE more in stock and were supposed to hold that one for me, which they DIDN'T. I only found out because the week following when mine was checked back in, I called and asked. So now they were out of stock for a while again, but I got them to agree to give me the same price I had originally paid (I had a holiday coupon). Both my bass AND the other one they had ended up as open box for even less than I paid, so they must've boned up shipping both times and damaged an apparently super rare bass. Fast forward a few weeks, they finally had them in stock again and I decide to take another shot. This time the bass arrives without shipping damage. BUT, now that I get a chance to actually PLAY it, I'm not getting on with the action/setup at all. No problem, I can do a truss tweak/action lowering/intonation. But the string gauges they ship with are the typical all over the map random ones. So I decided to get what I need to turn what I have into a balanced set (ie a 75, 55, 40, in the matching EB). I manage to order them from an online place. They ship the 75 and 55, but say the 40 is on backorder (annoying since it was listed in stock when I made the order). After a week or so of waiting for word, I have to call up. "Oh EB are hard to get, etc...." so I order a DAddario. But I'd rather have a matching set. Finally, I go to a local place for something else a couple days after the DAddario 40 comes in, and thought I'd try my luck at the accessories section on a 40 EB single. Magically they have one. So finally I can put these more appropriately gauged strings on. I give the bass at least a roughed in setup. I had already put somewhere between a 1/4 to a 1/2 turn on the truss rod. While sitting mostly unplayed while I had been busy with other things, the neck seems nicely settled. I actually RAISED the action a little once I put the new strings on. Still maybe a few spots where the frets are maybe not as consistent as they could be, but seeming workable until I can do another pass. Well, a few days later I have a band practice, and the thing feels about how I did when I got it. I know it's summer time, and I live in a converted swamp, so maybe it's just temp and humidity fluctuations. I'm convinced the nut slots need to be filed, they're pretty high and I think that's making a good smooth setup difficult. Also I think it probably needs a fret dressing/polishing/whatever. I'm just not sure I want to spend the money to do those things on a bass before I'm even sure if I'll want to keep it. If I got it used, it wouldn't be a big deal, but although I paid what I think is a good price for it out the door, I don't want to just dump money into it blindly. I haven't really fallen in love with the bass otherwise like I thought I would, but I'm not sure how much of that is just playability frustrations, etc... (I'm fairly picky about setup/action, and I like it really low, which my 90s Carvin 6 string has been good about accommodating most of the time). So if you were me, what would you do? I should still be within the return window for a little longer but it's closing fast. My tentative plan is to take another run at the setup in the next few days and reevaluate. The bass does LOOK sweet, and can get some pretty cool tones (still experimenting with pickup selection and EQ settings). The neck is a bit chunky but reassuring, which is a different vibe from my other basses which mostly have pretty slim necks, so I kind of like the change. It's also at least an import/licensed version of a classic, which I don't really have, but with more modern/exotic looks which I like. But at the moment I feel like I'd have to go on faith that maybe another couple hundred bucks in work (or doing stuff myself that I haven't tried before) could make it a bass worthy of this kind of price point (let's say I'd be looking at 1200-ish altogether).