I have had my Beast (Ivory 5 string, poplar body, maple neck w/wenge fingerboard) for about a month, and have been playing it just about every day, and thought I would share some impressions.

This is an amazing bass at the price.

I have fiddled with it a bit. I put on Lakland flat wound strings and lowered the action / straightened the neck just a touch.

I don't much like Jazz-style volume/volume/tone controls (I played a P-bass for 30 years and like to have just one volume knob to worry about.) I was always setting the two volume knobs equal, since otherwise it hums. Also, the tone control seemed strange, lowered the volume in the middle range, increased it at either extreme. I just ended up leaving the tone control turned all the way to treble, which meant it was doing nothing. So I rewired the bass to just have one volume knob with the two pickups in parallel. I tried different pots I had around and ended up with a 10k pot. The other two knobs are just dummies.

Also, the finish on the back of the neck was not quite perfect. My thumb noticed this - after a couple of hours of playing the surface of my thumb would start to feel funny. So I looked the neck over really carefully, held it up to the light at various angles, and noticed that the finish was not quite perfect, a few rough spots and some orange peel. (We're talking _very_ picky here.) So I carefully/lightly sanded the back of the neck with 400 grit paper and then hand rubbed it for a while, and now it is as smooth as the proverbial baby's bottom.

One of the nice things about having a bass at this price point is I was not afraid to make these minor modifications. I might put some Gotoh tuners on it - the ones it comes with are OK but just a bit notchy and I like good tuners. And I am tempted to put an active preamp in it, but trying mightily to resist that as mere GAS.

But the main message about this bass is the neck.

Nothing against Fender - like I said, I have had a P-bass for 30 years - but Michael Tobias has taken things a generation or two beyond what Leo Fender was able to do. The neck is really thin, front-to-back. The neck has 24 frets, and you can get at all of them, the cut-away neck joint really works. There are no big dead spots that you always have to work around. The asymmetrical shape really works. All of this combines to make a neck that I can get around in a way that I never could on a Fender. My Fernandes Gravity 4 with its lovely slim laminated neck feels round like a baseball bat in comparison.

Like I said, amazing at the price.