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NBD: Fodera Monarch Madrone Burl

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DirtPoorRobins, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    So, I've been in possession of my brand new Fodera Monarch for a little over a week now and I'm ready to present it to the world!

    First of all, ever since I played my first fodera about 4 years ago I've been wanting one of my own but never been able to afford one. Fast forward 3 years and I'm in the US Air Force band and I get the chance to pick any bass I want as my main axe for the gig paid for by the air force, so naturally I picked up a fodera (YYS, thank you USA tax payers!) I became so enamored that I had to have one for myself (yes i get to play the YYS all day every day, but I can't take it out on private gigs, only air force gigs).

    Here's where Fodera REALLY shines. They've always made fantastic instruments, and they seem to get better and better, but their customer service is second to none. They say that it takes about 40 total man hours to make a fodera, I think Jason spent that much time alone between phone calls and emails just talking specs and details (I still call and email even after the bass has been delivered, and he still answers the phone!) I'm probably not considered low maintenance when it comes to a custom order, I really obsessed over a lot of little details and Jason took every concern and details about the bass seriously and got second opinions when he wasn't sure.

    He went beyond the call of duty and if it's any consolation to you Jason, it was worth every phone call, email, and nitpicking because it really is everything we talked about, I mean everything. Everything I asked for was delivered, 26 frets that feel comfortable, cut away is perfect, the tone is bright and the low end is warm and smooth. And they matched my YYS neck shape exactly the same for this bass (probably my biggest concern, and I couldn't be happier)

    And it looks gorgeous!
  2. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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  3. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    A lot of people ask if the extra money is worth the custom shop, and owning both, I can definitely say yes it is. I think the preamp is a very big step up from the standard simply because of the ability to change almost every one of its functions (eq points, coil taps, switch functions, changing caps with jumpers, series or parallel, really a ton of stuff in that custom preamp). The fact that they can match any neck shape you want (the biggest seller for me.) That and everything else like wood choices, scale length, body style, and frets (i bought 24 frets and got 2 free!)
  4. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs, Jule Amps
    Nice. Is that 33" or 34" scale? I'm actually having my lower cutaway extended a bit from the regular carve though I'm only going 24 fret.

    Agree that custom is worth it, but I don't find the preamp difference to be huge sonically. It is nice to be angle to change the mid eq points though.
  5. Robin Ruscio

    Robin Ruscio Supporting Member

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    Congrats on the bass! What are the rest of the specs?

    Which AF band are you in? I had the pleasure of being a civilian guest with the Falconaires at Peterson in CO springs about ten years ago and it was really fun. Great guys to work with. I'm buddies with their bassist since then- Jason Crowe.
  6. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    It's 34" scale. I really wanted to try 33" but since I've never tried one before, I didn't think it was wise to do it.

    In regards to the preamp, for me there's no difference flat, but when I want to boost and cut frequencies I notice a big enough difference that i enjoy the custom more. Specifically, the passive tone roll of on my custom rolls off more than the standard. I also noticed that on my standard the treble and passive tone, when turning them down, are in a closer range than the custom pre (i almost cant tell the difference when rolling down the treble or tone.) On the custom i can have different tones when rolling either the treble down, or the passive roll off (I've put a jumper on the treble to utilize the low treble setting though) But like everything ymmv (this is what i mean when i said I'm very nitpicky)
  7. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    So this bass started off its journey as a replica of my YYS with the only difference being a burl maple top. Things changed, I tried more foderas, ect, ect, and it ended up like this.

    26 Fret Monarch
    Alder body
    Presentation grade Madrone Burl Top
    3 piece maple neck (bolt on)
    Ebony fingerboard

    And the only suggestion that I turned down from Jason was the gold knobs to match the gold hardware because of my black plastic pickup covers. I'm glad I went with it, I like it, even though i never thought I'd ever go with gold hardware because its too "flashy" but i think it looks good with the madrone top.
  8. mjac28

    mjac28 50th Anniversary Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964 Gold Supporting Member

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    Wow instant change of shorts very nice
  9. mjac28

    mjac28 50th Anniversary Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964 Gold Supporting Member

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    I just got into an argument with a kid who said that the Wishbass was of the same caliber as a Fodera? but at a fraction of the cost. I don't know who in their right mind could even have that thought enter their mind after seeing one of these beauties.
  10. Solarmist

    Solarmist Supporting Member

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    That's a gorgeous bass with stunning top wood! Congrats.
  11. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    Jason Crowe is an amazing bassist, one of, if not the best, upright players I've ever heard, and a great guy.

    I'm in the PACAF Band in Alaska, although not for very long, budget cuts and restructuring is forcing them to get rid of this band here (even though its one of the most successful and most loved bands we have, alaskans love this band a lot) They are cutting three bands and downsizing two more, so after this we will only have 5 full size bands, and 2 small ones left. I guess we bought too many foderas (they seem to be pretty popular with AF bass players)

    Best gig in the world in my book, (I got to practice with my new fodera all week at work!)
  12. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    Yeah, extending the carve is a great idea, I love how i can freely play chords up to the 24th fret with ease.
  13. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

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    That's nice.... But it's no Wishbass.:bag::D

    Seriously, that top is killer. Congrats.

    My first Fodera (new Emperor 5 Standard) will land in the next couple of weeks but after playing a few customs, I am hoping to order a custom Monarch 5 when I am in New York in March.:hyper:
  14. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

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    Can you keep your AF Fodera or buy it at a reduced price if your band is cut? If not what do they do with the instruments? Just curious.

    I guess a $5k bass is a drop in the bucket for the AF in the grand scheme of things!
  15. alembicbones

    alembicbones

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    That is a beautiful instrument. Enjoy it in good health. One question, when you retire from the Air Force, do you get to keep it for personal use?

    Thank you for your service to our country.

    Bones
  16. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    It is an awesome top, when jason first sent me pics of it, I thought it was way too much (too fancy), but then the more I looked at it I just had to have it, plus its a pretty rare piece of wood from what I'm told. Jason said they only had three pieces of madrone in the shop at the time. Sonically it is supposed to be in the same tonal camp as maple burl, it might be a little brighter, it's exactly what I was hoping for.
  17. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    Thanks, and to clear up the confusion, the YYS I have is an Air Force instrument, but this one is all mine, this was me saving up money from civilian gigs on the side for a couple years. The reason I bought it was so that i could gig a fodera on non-af gigs, among many other reasons. :smug:
  18. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

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    My MTD 535 has a madrone burl top.... It is nice, but your Fodera has killer figuring. Fodera tops just seem better than everyone else's.

    Not too over the top at all IMO. Classy.
  19. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    Haha, I love it, you're all trying to help me get a free fodera out of all of this. Seriously though, the band being cut just means everyone in this band gets to go to another band in the lower 48, and the YYS comes with me and when i retire it stays with the band and another VERY LUCKY bassist will inherit it.

    I might end up the AF band in VA, and there is a bassist there who has a victor wooten classic that I've played before and he is very close to retiring..... I'm not sure how dibs works on this, but I'm calling dibs here on talkbass for it when he's out.:bassist:
  20. DirtPoorRobins

    DirtPoorRobins

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    I'll be posting up some clips at the end of next week when my Monique Tardis gets here!

    Baird, we seem to have very similar tastes in gear between our fodera/monique/bergantino setups.

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