Does FENDER still make the best basses or are they just holding on to the past?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by de la mocha, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha Guest

    Aug 20, 2005
    We have Ibanez, warwick, and all other types of companies out now, does Fender still have the lead as far as quality, consistantcy and innovation?

    Just a question.
  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Aug 31, 2001
    Halifax, Canada
    Owner - St. Germaine Guitars
    I would say that they don't have the lead in any of the areas you've listed. That isn't to say that they don't make some nice basses, but certainly they don't lead in innovation. I would say that innovation is being led by the various boutique builders, whom I would say also lead in consistency and quality as well.
  3. Fender imo makes good, solid basses, very nice basses, but nothing great about quality and innovation...i do think that the MIA fenders are somewhat consistent...
  4. basspunk2005

    basspunk2005 Guest

    Jan 31, 2005
    I suppose Fender did come up with the electric bass, did anyone think of that?Without fender there wouldn't be any of these other makes
  5. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    Odds are someone else would've come up with the idea.
  6. niomosy


    Nov 9, 2002
    Fender consistency isn't there. As for their quality, without consistency, the quality varies. Innovation? I don't think Fender's had that for some time now. They tried a few things in the 80's but have mostly been content being a marketing machine for their traditional line-up and buying other companies when they want something different rather than do it themselves.

    Most of your innovation is coming from smaller shops and luthiers.
  7. Kilian.

    Kilian. Guest

    Sep 14, 2005
    Netherlands, Delft
    We don't need to worship them for that :smug: Thanks is enough.

    I haven't been like WOAH with their basses. Yesterday I played a fender MIA fretless which was like 1200, but I wasn't like: this bass is perfect.
  8. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    That doesn't make Fender an innovator. They were in the 50's and early 60's, not now.

    Regarding consistency and quality...let's say it this way: They are consistent in their lack of quality control. This doesn't mean that you can't find good or even great Fender basses. The quality of their basses varies from model to model and from bass to bass.
  9. kovachian

    kovachian Guest

    Nov 5, 2005
    The only thing that was truly pioneered by Fender (fas as I know) was mass production. Back in the 40-50's Gibson was still a comparably small 'boutique' maker who couldn't produce a truly affordable quality guitar if their lives counted on it. The bolt on neck was conceived by Leo Fender to ease manufacturing and make low-cost guitars for the masses. Mr. Fender was the Henry Ford of guitar, but the innovation ended right then and there. They still make decent instruments, but the sporadic levels of build shows that they need to clamp down on quality control.
  10. niomosy


    Nov 9, 2002
    Actually, no, they didn't. The electric bass guitar was invented in 1937 by Paul H. Tutmarc of Audiovox (or rather, he seems to get credit, at least from my reading). There were also attempts at electric double basses before that.

    All Leo Fender did was create popular, mass-produced electric bass guitars.
  11. montrocity

    montrocity Guest

    Jan 17, 2003
    Pittsburgh PA

    I just bought a mexican fender after playing dozens of MIA's and the MIA's didn't have anything on their cheaper mexican counterparts- at least imo. A month ago I wouldn't have said this but now I'm convinced the "American" tag just makes it a collectors item.

    BTW, the bass i bought is a deluxe p-bass special with active electronics and it is the best value bass I've ever owned.
  12. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    Fender has the ability to build the finest basses in the world quality wise. I've played some amazing instruments with the Fender name on the headstock. The funny thing is, not all of them have been supposedly painstakingly assembled custom shop instruments, some of them have been Japanese and Mexican assembled instruments. Fender definitely has a quality control issue and it doesn't matter how high the price tag is on the instrument or necessarily where it was assembled or by who. If you want a Fender you've got to try them to see which one you like. In my experience, the build level and component quality can vary widely.
  13. jaymeister99


    Aug 2, 2005
    Fender was the first to make a commercially viable electric bass. Not to mention that they set the standard by which all others are compared. When it comes to playability and design they are tough to beat. The designs of their basses are over 50 years old, yet they are still the most copied. Why??? Because they designed some great timeless bass guitars.

    Yes there are newer designs that many people prefer over Fender, some sound better, and play better. But after 50 years Fender is still the standard.
  14. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Inactive

    Oct 20, 2004
    I'm not sure Fender has innovated anything since the original designs back in the 50's and 60's.

    They are good utility basses, and have a sound we have become accustomed to. That said, I don't even own one.

    I don't think there is a "best" bass... it's all a matter of preference. Quality wise I'd have to vote for Alembic... but as the old axiom goes, you get what you pay for!
  15. Stox

    Stox Guest

    Mar 18, 2005
    London UK
    No they are not the 'best' quality basses in terms of fit and finish available and yes you do have to search to find a good one, but when you do find a real player it is worth it in spades. What they do make is the most consistent and easily identifiable sounding basses, ultimately proven by how many musicians have recording and played live with them over the years, and continue to do so.

    For me its my favourite 'do all' adjustable spanner that every toolbox should have.
  16. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Inactive

    Oct 20, 2004
    Well it's also because they didn't go after the copiers the way someone like Rickenbacker did. You don't see any Rick copies anymore.

    The other reason you see so many Fender clones is that back when the replacement parts market started in the 70's, they went with Fender style necks and bodies, since they were bolt on. You could get a new neck for your P-bass, or a new exotic wood body, but you couldn't do that with through neck basses like Ricks, or set neck basses like Gibsons.

    So you had companies like Schecter making Fender clones with better parts. It became a market and other's sprung up. But it's always a matter of making a Jazz bass, for example, but making it better than a Fender, and that's where makers like Roger Sadowsky come in.

    I don't think it's so much that the designs are better, just more familiar.

    Personally I find the whole clone thing tired... and that includes hardware. Prevents true innovation IMHO.
  17. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Quality? Sometimes. Consistency? Never. Innovation? If you like playing a 40 year old design, yes.

    On that note, they're the best basses for ME, if I get a good one.
  18. Speaking of quality control. Every time I visit a GC or other large music store the Fenders basses always seem to be ones missing knobs, bent tuners, or something. I actually bought my USA shector jazz across the street from the GC in LA b/c GC had a gang of messed up Fender Jazz basses. what gives?
  19. Nope, none of them...IMO. :meh:
  20. I always get a kick out of these threads. The anti-Fenderites start in with the "inconsistent quality control" and the pro-Fenderites counter with "50+ year-old designs that are still copied." I'm a pro-Fenderite. The quality control argument is one I can't quite fathom. Fender makes a gazillion basses a year while boutique makers make relatively few. It stands to reason that if you make more, you'll have more "lemons." I doubt, however, if Fender has more lemons as a percentage of total production than "Maker X" or "Maker Y."