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A few questions for you F bass owners

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rojo412, May 8, 2003.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I am seriously considering a new bass. I was searching for Status basses (and still am), but the prices are up there, used and new, so I started looking at other "end-all" basses and F basses came to mind. I played Larry Kaye's and wasn't thinking about it too much at the time, but it was a nice bass. After reading into it more, people seem to like these A LOT.
    The points that draw me to them are the scale, the versatile EQ and pickups, the beautiful shape, the colors. I really would like to hear more about the tone and reliability from other owners. Larry spoke very highly of his and I respect his opinion, but our playing styles are different.
    How does it hold up for slapping? Rock? What does the EQ and pickup tone resemble or is it completely original? How often do they require neck and intonation adjustments? How do they handle weather changes? Stuff like that.
  2. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    I hate them and im buying all Hondos from now on! :D
    lets see, for rock- well, it was good enough for Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith to do a record with-
    for slap. well , i did a little ditty with mine - wrote a song about it, here it go

    its very original sounding but with a Jazz bass on steriods vibe- growl in all the registers
    no intonation adjustment need- Im in vegas where temps go from 30 to 120- if needed a 1/4 turn of the truss rod and you're good to go-
    the eq has everything you might need- singlecoil/humbucking
    3 band boost only
    IT KICKS AZZ!!! what can i say??
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Okay, fair enough. Let's see if I can dig a bit deeper into the electronics...
    Is the bass boost subtle or overpowering? Barts are way too overpowering and I don't dig them, EMGs are on the "Not enough" side of boost. Are these comparable to any one of the other major companies?
    Do you need to go to passive mode when trying to get a warmer, tone knob turned down tone, like for reggae? Or can the no boost tone do that?
    Is the 9v enough to provide good headroom for the bass?

    As for design features, there are some basses with a 2+3 headstock, some with a 3+2. When did this change? Does it make a big diff either way? Was there a particular year (years) that are considered more desireable?

    Like I mentioned, Status basses are a bit pricey on the used market, I've never played one. I see people trying to sell them and not getting what they want. As far as I know, the F basses I've seen used keep their value, so I know if I got a good enough deal, I'd never lose money. If I can afford to buy something that won't lose value, then I'll do my best to do so, you know? Who really needs a CAR anyway?
  4. BenF


    Mar 29, 2001
    Boston area
    Here're some random thoughts on Fbasses:

    The necks on my Fbasses require regular set-ups with seasonal changes in humidity, and it's the humidity that makes the necks on all my basses flex. They're not set-it-and-forget-it necks by any stretch.

    To my ears, my ash bodied and maple necked fretted Fbass has a fairly scooped sound, which I find great for any style other than rock. That said, I did try my fretted Fbass in a rock setting. With the onboard EQ and amp EQ set flat the bass didn't cut through at all, I had to do some serious mid-boosting to get a usefull rock sound, whereas with my jazz bass I can cut through with no drastic EQing needed. YMMV, obviously.

    The pickups in current Fbasses are dual coils spec'd by Fbass and made by Duncan.
    I find that the bass, mid and treble boost knobs are very subtle.
    There isn't a big change in sound or huge boost in output when in active mode as compared to passive.

    My active, fretted Fbass puts out a low-output signal even in active mode and with a fresh battery. It's lots quieter than my passive Fbass, and my other basses. I've seen others write that their Fbasses are also low-output. The output on mine isn't high enough to drive some of my effects pedals.

    Try to borrow one and try it out in some of the band settings in which you'll use it.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I would have to disagree with some of the comments in the above post......I think the F-Bass is great for Rock. It cuts through extemely well. Your amp also will have a bit to do with this. I have always played the F through an Eden WT500. The tone controls add a good amount of boost, slightly less than Bartolini's. But I have only used the 18 volt Bart pre-amp, so I can't really comment. You can't really say that a neck needs adjustments often, or rarely. It varies from bass to bass, even from the same manufacturer. I haven't needed to adjust the neck on my BN5 more than 2 times a year. I feel they are fabulous basses.
  6. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    i will say this- the output level is not the hottest youll encounter- i dont know what pedal you are using- but even with an envelpe filter- which relies on input gain for effect, works just fine- actually better because im not overdriving it with a super hot gain- i also have an Akai Deep Impact synth pedal that tracks fine with the input of the F bass-
    the growl i get from my F bass would be perfect for grinding rock , even though i dont play that stuff too much...
    the truss rod access is so easy its silly- so if i need to adjust- no sweat- there's no graphite or anything like that- a few luthiers dont use graphite ( Sadowsky, F bass, MTD -) because they feel it changes the sound-
    these are all personal views and opinions, so i respect them all- i have pretty much forsaken all the hi end basses i have owned for the F bass- it just fits right- and i find it cuts like a knife- especially when i go to the back pickup and add a littel mids-
    by the way=, the eq is most musical-- you really cant make this bass sound bad. even at extreme settings-
    just my humble opinions
    and im not trying to sell a bass here- i know you are looking for a used one :)
  7. I had a Fbass for about 6 months and then decided that it just wasn't for me. The one thing that I thought was very cool about it was the preamp. Lots of flexibility! I would say that the EQ was subtle in a good way. I really hate when you barely adjust one way or the other, and that adjustment dramaticly changes the sound. EQing should be subtle to let the true sound of the instrument come through. If the EQ is too overpowering, then all you here is EQ and not the bass.
    Other than the preamp, I thought the bass was pretty average. It's defintley a jazz bass, and if that's your thing, you'll probobly love it. Defintley a lot more flexible than any standard jazz bass that I've played.
    I happened to play both the 3+2 and the 2+3 headstocks, and I'd say there's a difference in the B tension, but it's not overwhelming. If you found a used 3+2 Fbass, I'd say go for it because they seem to sell for a little less.
    The only way you'll know if you'll like an Fbass is to try it. You really should talk to Adrian if you decide to buy new. He's very helpful and will guide you the one that will suite you best!
  8. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I agree with most comments here. I am on my second Fbass. The 1st was a Studio 5, I found it a bit heavy with ever present growl I couldn't dial out, and I felt the bottom bass registers were weak, so off it went. My current Fbass is a fretless 5 with full pre-amp and 3 PUPs. The only thing that kept me from selling this one too was the piezo PUP. It allows me to tame the growl that seems inherent in these basses IMO, and the piezo also introduces some nice fat bottom. Plus I like the fretless body shape much more than the standard.

    The EQ changes are subtle. It doesn't sound special by itself, but the strength is in a live setting, it really seems to punch a hole in the middle of the sound spectrum, and everyone else has to climb aboard as best they can. My drummer smiles everytime I strap it on. It's not my favorite, but the band sure seems to like it, so I use it quite a bit. Coupled with a Mesa Boogie 400+, it works very well for my Rock N Roll cover band.
  9. I have found both my newer Studio 5 and my older passive BN6 to have the most clean and even tones of any bass I have played when in passive mode. Other than a weak B on the BN6 (which is 17 years old, and a nominal 34" scale), the natural sound is crisp and clean and the passive tone gives a nice range.

    I think the 3-band preamp is genius - I never touch the EQ on my amp with my Studio, and I don't feel it sounds growly at all unless in single-coil mode.

    As for slap, my Maple neck Studio just kills. And I figure Alain Caron is one of the best slap players out there - the F seems to satisfy him.

    I couldn't ask more of these basses, other than the weight of the Studio. That's one reason I want to add a BN5 to my arsenal later this year.:)