2008 till today's Fenders

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by xarafus, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. xarafus


    Nov 24, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    I am on the brink of making a purchase of one of 3 used Precision basses. I keep searching the internet for information about different years and there is the usual arguments over what year is better, what constitutes vintage, blah, blah, blah.... I prefer to avoid such talk. I did keep observing, however, that people talk about the better years (post CBS) as being 2008 to now. Does anyone have any input about this? Was there a change in manufacturing in '08? What was different about this era as opposed to 1985-2007?

    Or am I victim to being caught up in the "this is better than that," discussion?
  2. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    At this point your best bet is to go play the damn things :) Play many, in every store you find.
  3. The newer ones have a thinner finish which makes the bass feel more resonant. Also they have higher mass bridges, different tuners and just overall feel like a really quality instrument.
  4. All I can tell you is the '08 MIA Jazz I got is the best made bass I've ever played. Flawless.
  5. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    The 08+ quality control seems to be a little better too. Not to say there aren't some dogs or really awesome pre 08' basses out there, just a generalization.

    I've got an 08' Am Standard, it's basically flawless.
  6. sbpark

    sbpark Supporting Member

    May 26, 2010
    I'm no expert on Fender basses, but in the guitar world there is a general consensus that things slightly improved in 2008 on. The finishes did change and are thinner and not as thick and plastic-like. I had an early 90's MIA tele that had finish issues where the finish just started flaking off in chunks off the fretboard, which apparently was common with those years. I later picked up a 2008 tele that was REALLy nice. The only think that bothers me with current/newer Fenders is their QC on the MIA stuff seems to be all over the place, which is sad. MIA used to mean something (at least to me) but in all honesty it seems like there is more consistency across the board with the MIM stuff, and although there are duds, the Squier CVC stuff is on average amazing construction and build quality and way more consistent than most MIA stuff today. Instead of buying a MIA fender I picked up a CVC tele and replaced the pups, pots and switch, and had an amazing instrument for very little $$$, and the finish on the body was amazing. My brother did something similar. He found a really nice MIM P-bass, and replaced the pup with a Fralin and installed a Badass bridge, and now has a killer bass that was well under the cost of an MIA.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trashing the current stuff from Fender, I'm just saying that you really have to get out there and check out the instruments as there is a lot of variation among the different countries of origin, but I have found that in the more recent years the stuff coming from Fender from other countries is sadly more consistent and sometimes better than stuff made here in the USA.
  7. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    That's not been my experience with the 2008 and later FMIC stuff. I went on a little bit of a Fender binge a couple years ago when I was thinking about getting a Tony Franklin. I only finally found a TF at the Sam Ash in NYC, but prior to that time got to look over a bunch of different P's and J's.

    The new MIA's as far as I could tell from just shopping were the best I'd ever seen from FMIC. Good hardware, good wood, well-made neck pockets and pretty consistent sound when they had the same strings on them.

    With the new instruments, the MIA's anyway, there's just absolutely zero reason to get anything older unless you can get it for a song. Good luck of course :).

    And under _no_ circumstances whatever would you ever want anything before 1980 if you want to play it at gigs, no matter how rich you are. If you're a collector, yes. If you're a player go immediately to 2008 or newer lol. Get a new one and it'll look great, sound like a good P or J and once setup you'll never have to mess with it again. They're really good instruments now.

  8. sbpark

    sbpark Supporting Member

    May 26, 2010
    I guess with the Fender MIA guitars it's different. When I was in the market for another tele about 2 years ago I looked at a lot of new Am. Std. teles and MIM teles. I was appauled at the variance and lack of attention to detail of the current MIA offerings, sloppy neck joints, crooked bridges, etc. especially for the price that these now go for! I found that you really have to weed through a lot of them to find a nice one, and in all honesty you get more bang for your buck with an MIM Fender, even after you swap out the bridge and pup!

    As far as it not being worth it to purchase a pre-80's instrumnet because it's not worth it...I'm not a collector, and recently scored a like-new '76 P-bass for $250 with a crappy practice amp, and I'll probably sell the amp for $40. Obviously this is a rare exception, but I still would go used over buying ANYTHING new from Fender. New Fenders are waaaaaay overpriced, and you can get one thats 1-5 years old for a heck of a lot less than a brand new one.
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Pick a year and look it up, you will find people saying Fender's best generation/years are pretty well every year.
  10. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Thats what i always wonder. If TB had been around or prominent during the American Series years, would all the Fender owners be saying that they were the best Fenders ever? I plan on buying an AmStd soon but have only been able to try a couple poor examples at GC. I don't pay any attention to what hangs on the wall there though.
  11. boristhespider9


    Sep 9, 2008
    The short story is that Fender touted a big change in 2008 to the American Standard line. They decided to revamp the American Standard line and rededicate the company to quality control, better components, and lighter weight. You will hear differing opinions about the results of course.

    So, 2008-2011 American Standards have:

    - the new Fender tuners which are lighter but still traditional looking

    - the new high-mass vintage bridge which is beefier, allows string through body set-up and perhaps in the best improvement, nylon coated threads on the saddle height adjustment screws to prevent the saddles from moving up and down which was a known problem on traditional Fender bridges

    - better fretwork and nut shaping

    - buffed rosewood fretboards or glossed maple fretboards

    - lighter-weight bodies

    - the lighter undercoat mentioned above

    - a very nice lightweight, but sturdy TSA ABS plastic case with large strong latches

    - overall better quality control

    The only difference in the 2012 version is Custom Shop pickups in the 4 string Am. Std. P & J.

    My experience: post-2008 Am. Stds are a huge improvement to the prior Am. Stds. I think that's the consensus. Are there still duds out there and occasional QC issues? YES!!!! I've experienced that too. But, I have a 2010 J and 2012 P and they are great (not as great as my Lakland USA versions, but those are 2.5x the price). If I had to pick an Am. Std., I'd go with post-2008 and likely a new 2012. You do still have to look around (or sometimes do a few online exchanges) to find the "one."
  12. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    I think this 2008 Fender improvement stuff tends to get pretty exaggerated. Also, I think that a lot of the "quality control" issues "discussed" here on TB are exaggerated or just plain off of the mark. Based on my experience selling guitars and basses back in the 80s and early 90s, people tend to like guitars with low action and fresh strings. If an instrument is not properly set up and/or has dead strings, people seem to think there is something fundamentally wrong with the instrument. I think a lot of the "bad" Fenders just need to be setup and restring.
  13. StrangerDanger

    StrangerDanger Neo Maxie Zoom Dweebie Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    North DFW, TX
    My 2011 American Deluxe P bass is fantastic. I have also owned 3 other post 08 MIA Fenders and they were all really great pieces. Much better than the 5 pre 08s that I owned. The fit and finish, weight, balance, playability and tone is IMO superior. Dont listen to us though, go get one.
  14. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 best advice you can research all you want and get mix reviews but nothing beats "your" ears.
  15. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Also, the thinner finish and new bridge are both a step down from the previous models IMO.
  16. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Aug 23, 2011
    I'm probably about to catch alot of crap for this, but I dont like the new tuners, bridges, and I especially hate two piece maple necks. The ones with rosewood boards look nice, and sound nice, but he bridge and tuners kinda make me cringe.

    I guess I'm a bent metal and skunkstripe person.
  17. sbpark

    sbpark Supporting Member

    May 26, 2010
    THis is 100% true, especially at a place like Guitar Center where they probably just unpack them and put them on the wall without any kind of set up. It just sucks when you see misaligned pickguards, crooked bridges and sloppy neck joints in $1000+ instruments that are made in the USA.
  18. elbeau


    Feb 5, 2009
    Detroit MI
    I have an 08 Am std P and an 08 MIM P. For the money the MIM is just as good. The only difference I really hear is the Am has a better tone variance. I bought the MIM used because I was always afraid of the Am growing legs at a gig. Since I've had the MIM everywhere and with it being over a grand less I paid I'm not nearly as paranoid. Like others have said though, play em and pick the best. Go pawn shopping.
  19. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    To this I'll add that my newly aquired '09 MIA Jazz is the best made bass I've ever played.
  20. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    X3, except I like the thinner finish, not the bridge, tho.