I want a new bass guitar… a quality bass. So, what does that mean actually? I've been looking into a 'different' bass for a couple of years now. I've gone from a crappy P-bass copy, to a few Squire… affinity and standard series. After being frustrated with the instruments I used the John Curruthers teach yourself guitar/bass repair to get intimate with my bass and all its parts. What I hate about the Squire Deluxe P-Bass Standard I play with most is the tuners. I know I can buy better tuners, but that money can go to a better overall bass too. Next on the annoyance list, the neck. Not the size so much as its flex. I've changed the pickups, pots, and bridge of this squire. It sounds good, but the feel is just okay. I've handled about every Fender bass in Guitar Center. Some feel solid and sturdy. I don't feel that with my bass. Ive read many articles on wood and its tonal/musical properties, build techniques, and the sum of its parts. This has me wondering where the truth lie and the rest is a mind screw? Is an American Fender really that much better… why? What does Fender have proprietary right over? If we start with the sum of parts can't I buy bodies and necks from companies like USACG, Warmoth, All-Parts, etc. of the same exact quality? Same goes for every top shelf manufacturer… What's missing? Do they have special wood piles that are hands down better? All that said… will I ever hear notes so significantly better to warrant buying a $1200 plus bass off the shelf? I also wonder if liking my bass would make me happier playing it? Thanks!