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Boutique Fender-ish Basses for Studio

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SirFunk, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. SirFunk

    SirFunk Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Topeka, KS
    Hi there,

    I have heard a lot of people say that many people frown on using a botique bass in a studio environment (When someone else is paying the bill). Especially for pop music.

    I know if I was hired for a studio gig and walked in with my Elrick, i'd probably be walking out again in a few minutes, even though the sound of my elrick is very good, it doesn't look like a fender so it's not what people want.

    That being said, what is the opinion on high-end fender style basses like Sadowsky, Lull, Lakland, etc? Are they given a fair shot in the studio because they are supposed to be similar to fenders, only fix some of the 'problems' of the fenders?

  2. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Well... Here in Nashville, Sadowsky is what people want to see on your headstock these days. A few years ago it was Tyler basses. Of course its not without Merit, those are great basses. But I have done all of my session work here on my LowEnd Jazz basses and Never get complaints or strange looks...
  3. The reason Fender basses are used in recording studios is that generally they dont need any messing about with regards to mixing. An engineer who has a deadline to meet with a band etc will be happier with a Fender Bass because he knows that it will fit in the mix with little or no messing around.

    Boutique basses have massively varying sounds and as such are different in every studio you go to. In the same breath its worth noting that as boutique basses vary so much, engineers will have less, if any, knowledge of the sound the bass is capable of producing and therefore will have to spend time messing around to get a decent sound.

    Fenders have been around forever and therefore people know what they sound like and how they cope in the studio and in live situations.

    In my opinion, any engineer should be happy to record any bass...and if not then I believe there must be a certain amount of apathy involved on teh engineers side and you'd do better elsewhere.

    I dont think is matters what the bass looks like so long as it sounds good. If someone turns you down due to the 'look' of your bass...be happy you're not going to be playing for them.

  4. Fender basses have been around forever, thus studio engineers know what to do to make them sit in the mix where they want it. This isn't to say that they sound superior, but engineers don't need to think as much and therefore can do their job much quicker.

    Other various basses can be virtually unknown to some engineers. These require more effort, which isn't to say that they sound worse than a Fender. They might say otherwise, but they're just trying to minimize effort and time.
  5. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Depends on what boutique bass you're talking about.

    A Lakland USA Joe Osborn (passive, Fralin single coils), for example, will sound VERY similar to a vintage Fender, so it's probably not an issue, unless your engineer is more interested in the name on the headstock than what your sound is.

    Other boutiques might sound very different. It depends on how closely they "copy" the Fenders they look like. A JO will sound a lot more like a vintage Fender than a Sadowsky (active, humcancelling pups), which may or may not be a good thing depending on your engineer.

    Lastly, there's always the option of a Custom Shop Fender -- Boutique quality, and it has the "right" name on the headstock for those engineers who insist on Fender
  6. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    I don't think thats true in Gospel. Most of the "top" Gospel bassists are recording with high end boutique basses "like" MTD and Ken Smith to name a few. I would have no reservations about bringing my Roscoes to a session... they just work everywhere. :hyper:
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    People, its not what the engineer likes or dislikes...normally the engineer can give a rats a$s since he's being paid by the hour. Its the PRODUCER who cares.

    The producers are the ones who hire you, and who will decide whether or not to REHIRE you. They have VERY particular ears and tastes, they have sounds set in their heads. They are in charnge of creating the soundscape, making the decisions as to how the whole tune is to sound. You give them what they want with a smile on your face. If not, you won't get called by them again.

    Every session bassist should bring a P bass with flats, a P bass with rounds, a J bass, and then whatever boutique bass you prefer. The producer will decide, but for god sakes give them what they want, no muss no fuss. Session work is a service industry, you have to check your ego and your preferences at the door.

    Many boutique basses fill out more of the sound spectrum than a standard Fender bass, and that isn't always a good thing when a producer is layering multiple instruments. Sometimes they'll experiment and let you roll with whatever you bring unless it becomes a problem, but most of the time they want the comfort zone. If they do, GIVE IT TO THEM.

    Sadowsky's have been earning respect and recogniion amongst producers as a Fender equivalent, but some people still are more interested in the tried and true. Personally I would bring both. Its just good business sense.
  8. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    I love the way my Sadowsky sounds when recorded. I have used it here in Nashville and I think the sound it gets is like a Fender, just warmer, and more track filling. But as the man said above, maybe the producer doesn't want this huge track filling tone. Maybe they want the same sound they have done on every record. Doesn't matter because they got the checkbook...
  9. davec

    davec Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 4, 2006
    bartlett illinois
    Owner; Cody Electric Basses
    For Recording I've used my Smith without issue so long as I go passive, and if they want something more go active
  10. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    I am happy and very fortunate that I have a big collection of gear to pick which bass(es) would suit the occasion. On the other hand, I will always bring some "other" bass that they least expect but I think it will sit in well. 99% I am right, yet first I provide them with what they think they want. And I do not like to record any other way but straight to the Avalon U5 and then straight to the board. So it's not like messing around or anything.

    Oh, did I mention that I do not own a single Fender in my 40-odd herd? Even producers who say "If it doesn't say Fender on the headstock, it has no sound" they had to eat their words and go "If it doesn't say Fender on the headstock, it has no sound... with some exeptions to the rule... like this one"

    I need to add that people are happy that I care for both the song, the band and myself too (sound and attitude-wise)

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