Are Fender Custom Shop Basses really worth it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MetsMan75, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. MetsMan75

    MetsMan75 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    I decided to start this thread not to start an argument but a legitimate discusion as to wether you feel they are worth the sometimes outrageously high prices they command. This is just meant to be a forum to express oppinions and I know its all subjective but wanted to hear oppinions of my fellow TB'ers just for fun. Let me know your experiences with Custom Shop Basses and even post pics of them if you'd like. Also would like to compare vs the true Vintage basses these Custom shop ones try to emulate. As for me I've only owned 1 CS bass and it was a Pino Palladino Bass. Very beautiful bass both in tone looks and playability but I eventually sold it because I wanted a real vintage. I Loved the bass but it was pricey and I just happen to prefer an actual vintage instrument for the $. I've played the CS '59 basses in a store and that was nice and a little more reasonable was used and. Had a price tag of arounnd 2'. So that I can understand because there's a big difference in that and the real thing as far as price. What I don't understand is. Why people would buy the custom shop dale wilson '57 for 7-8k? I see them on ebay now. I've seen real '57s up for sale for much less although they may be refins but still I'd much rather have a refin '57 than a CS. Ithyats just my oppinion though. I'm interested in hearing from TB'ers on both sides. Please excuse my many typing error...using my phone at moment, :)
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Obviously it is worth it as they are selling and the market defines the price. If they were not worth it they wouldn't sell and the prices would come down or Fender would go boobies up, simple as that.

    Who would buy a Fodera for $10,000 or a Ritter, or a Dingwall, or any other company that makes insanely expensive basses? Why pick on Fender.
    anavar likes this.
  3. G-MonRV5


    Apr 29, 2008
    Absolutely not!

    I am a Fender guy - I subscribe to the views that "Leo got it right the first time", that the Precision is Bass Guitar 1.0 and the Jazz is Bass Guitar 2.0, and that no bass arsenal is complete without both.

    But there is NO way I'm paying those folks the kind of money they're asking when Sadowsky, Mike Lull, and Lakland will make a superior customized instrument for significantly less money.

    Don't get me wrong - The Fender CS does some really cool stuff (loved that beauty that Bruno's bassist had at the Super Bowl last week), but whatever cachet the Fender brand has starts to drop off quickly at around the $1,200 - 1,500 range... IMHO.
  4. MetsMan75

    MetsMan75 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    I know they are selling at least some models but I see many sit on ebay for a long time and I don't think they are going to appreciate in value like a vintage has. I started this mainly out of curiousity why someone would spend close to the same amount of $ for a new re-creation when they can get the actual vintage bass for sometimes less $. Also I'm not picking on Fender...I mention them because I happen to Love Fender guitars and basses and know about them. As for the other basses like (Fodera)I don't know much about because haven't owned one.


    Dec 13, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    People are willing to buy an instrument for the price they offer. Otherwise, they would drop their prices immediately because they wouldn't be selling anything.
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    A friend of mine has one. He knows the name of the guy that built it, and the name of the guy that wound the PUPs. I guess they are big names when it comes to Fender stuff. Kinda like that Vinny guy or that Roger guy, or that dude named Carey.


    Dec 13, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I do find it peculiar for someone to buy a reissue for more than the real thing.

    The one thing that I see is better about the Custom Shop instruments is the build consistency. Vintage instruments have seen a lot of miles. You don't know it's past and what has happened to it. All of them are different. Custom shops are built as well as the price tag says. You know that it will last, because it was built that way.
  8. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Can't comment on the over-the-top master-built Fender CS stuff, but my team-built Fender CS Jazz is the best passive electric bass I have owned, and I have had 5 pre-1970 Fender Jazzes and P-basses, and played many others. Yes, vintage basses can be great, but so can new ones.

    To me, it is the music that an instrument inspires and enables through its feel and tone that matters. While the price, actual date of build, look, etc. contribute a subjective quality in the short run, eventually, for me, it is tone and feel that draw me.

    Honestly, I prefer my CS Jazz AND my Road Worn Jazz to all but one or two other Fenders I have ever played. Price means little, IMHO, YMMV, FWIW, OMG, GLWTS, USW, etc., etc., etc. :D
  9. MetsMan75

    MetsMan75 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    I understand some people are willing to spend the money for them...I get that. I'm curious why they prefer a CS over an actual vintage when they sometimes are so close in price. I'm not knocking anyone that prefers CS...just curious. I guess when I saw that CS '57 on ebay priced over 7K it made me wonder. I've seen '57s and '58 refins go as low as under 5K. So what I'm wondering is what would make someone prefer a copy over the real deal?
  10. MetsMan75

    MetsMan75 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Also has anyone that sold a CS bass ever broke even with the sale or do you usually sell for less? I see many CS sit for a while on ebay. Vintage do as well but its usually the high priced all original ones.
  11. MetsMan75

    MetsMan75 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Build consistency makes sense...I've owned several vintage instruments and most were good some amazing...some of my favorites are Fullertons...every one I ever owned was great.
  12. I'm a lefty and would absolutely LOVE a Fender Custom Shop Dimension. If I could actually afford it, I wouldn't hesitate a nano-second.
  13. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Before I bought a CS bass, I played it for several hours over several days. I played it against my current #1, and have been playing mostly Fender basses since 1963.

    Still it was not an easy decision, as the deal meant I was selling a '69 P-bass I had used for years. No regrets.

    About appreciation, while nice, isn't it irrelevant to how a bass sounds? BTW, my CS Jazz cost no where near what a vintage 1960 relic would cost—probably less than half. :ninja:
  14. One of the best sounding basses I ever heard was a CS bass. However, none of the CS basses next to it sounded anywhere near as good and most would be indistinguishable sound-wise from the American or Mexican productions. My personal take on bass quality is that it isn't linear - not all American basses are better than Mexican, not all CS are better than American, etc. What makes an other-worldly-amazing-sounding bass is not a known formula, but chance constructions from any manufacturer can hit "it" from time to time. I think it correlates with the higher priced instruments - that is, you are more likely to get a better-sounding American than Mexican instrument, but it is not a certainty. This is why you have to try out the instruments themselves. I purchased a Mexican Fender immediately after trying it out unplugged - did not intend on purchasing a bass that day - because it was far superior to the Japanese and American Fenders I had owned (I sold those basses). The higher-end ones had better finishing, but the Mexican had the points where it mattered.
  15. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    I own/have owned many vintage fender jazz basses. Its hard to compare the intrinsic value of collectible vintage instruments vs today's value of authentic remakes. I guess whatever the market bears is as good as any but I do know that anytime you purchase a custom shop vintage bass it is going to be top notch in all areas of craftsmanship and going to be a great player and the older vintage ones....especially from the 70s, will be a crapshoot. All of the fullertons are top notch because this was fenders first attempt to rectify their image from a quality standpoint in the early 80s. Fender brought out the old fixtures and designs and wanted to show the world they could produce those pre cbs gems that put fender on the map in the first place.
  16. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Because the CS bass is better built than the vintage bass. I was going to say "almost certainly better built", but that would not be true. An actual '57 Precision was thrown together by assembly line employees and rushed out the door. The CS bass is carefully built by experts who spend a LOT of time choosing the right components and building a CS bass.

    With all the vintage guitar fetishizing, many people forget that Fender, back in the so-called day, was an assembly line business selling a mass produced product.

    They always sell for less. Just like every other new bass on the planet. No one is going to spend anything close to street price for a bass they can buy themselves.
  17. REMBO

    REMBO Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2011
    I would love to own one to find out.... just don't have the $$$ now!!
  18. THE SAW


    Sep 14, 2006
    I played a Jaco special recently that was the best gxx dxxx fxxxxx' great bass I ever played.

    Try before you buy, the next CS bass I picked up sxxxed.
  19. MetsMan75

    MetsMan75 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Apreciation, while nice, isn't it irrelevant to how a bass sounds? BTW, my CS Jazz cost no where near what a vintage 1960 relic would cost—probably less than half. :ninja:[/QUOTE]

    I appreciate everyones input on here so far...I'm hearing some good points. Jim, that's a good point above about appreciation and I totally aggree when you find that special one it don't even matter but it is a nice thing to know that if something came up and you needed to sell you can get what you paid for it back or at least close to it and that's a good thing about Vintage because everyone I've sold I at least got close to my $ but and in some cases more so that helps when your gassing for something else and must sell one to finance another. I hear ya about the 1960 but I got a question for you...would you still prefer the custom shop over a similiar priced 1960 refin? Say the refin was an old one done. Long time ago and it was naturally reliced? I know there's a lot of other factors that go into that decision but just curious off hand.
  20. MetsMan75

    MetsMan75 Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    This is just me but one of the charms of a Vintage bass is the imperfections asuming it otherwise plays well and feels right to me...its so subjective. I also like the fact they were made by hand vs CNC and that the necks and bodies are not exact..they have their little nuances and character and over time gain even more with the history on them...guess you can call it mojo but again that's just me. :)