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Fender Factory Special Run Quality Issues

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Clark Westfield, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Jersey
    I just ordered and picked up a Fender Antigua Jazz bass which is part of the Factory Special Run series of basses.

    The bass is everything I expected except for a few minor flaws.

    The neck pickup is at a weird angle, lower on the E string and high on the G string. Almost no thumb rest to speak of. What bugs me is that the set screws are angled and not fully flush with the pickup cover.

    Another thing that gets me is the skunk stripe on the back of the neck was not sanded flush. Right by the first fret, you can feel that the strip is not fully seated flush with the maple neck.

    Being that this is a Special Run series bass, should I expect perfection or am I just being a bit too anal?

    I have a Indonesian Squier VM that is completely perfect from the factory. Pickups, skunk stripe, block inlays, everything!

    Am I just being too picky or is this something that all guitars whether they are made in Mexico or the USA should be expected?

  2. Can't speak to the QC issues with your bass, but my Antigua P was perfect right out of the box.....
  3. itchy


    Jan 3, 2009
    Bay Area
    Fender specs suggest that your pickup height will be: E - 8/64", and the G - 6/64" (measured space between pickup cover and string fretted at the highest fret).
    So, the G side will be closer to the string.
    Pretty much any new bass will require, or at least benefit from the setup being tweaked.

    The skunk stripe is a different story. If you can feel the stripe sticking out, that would fall into the unacceptable category for me. I would contact Fender to inquire about a replacement.
    I had a guitar whose skunk stripe started to separate and stick out.....it only got worse and worse over time.
  4. If I "ordered and picked up" a bass (I actually did twice) at a store, I would've had the opportunity to refuse it, or at least ask about the issues, and you probably still have that chance. I'd ask for a replacement.

    My fear would be that if the skunk stripe is real, and it sounds like it is, there may be wiggle room that develops over time and your truss rod doesn't like wiggle room.

    I'm paranoid about that. I wouldn't be happy with just a sand down to even it job.

    Good luck.
  5. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    I guess I'd be a little worried that some green wood was used, causing the skunk stripe to be uneven. As Immigrant said, that could cause problems in the neck later. It could just be a poor sanding job, too, but why take a chance? I'd return it, I think.
  6. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    I would take the bass back to the store where you bought it and bring their attention to the issues you've mentioned here.

    If they're a reputable dealer and care about their customers satisfaction, they should order you in another one.

  7. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005

    Pics of the angled pickup/skunk stripe?
  8. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I tried out a version (basswood body crimson red finish) in shop and, poor setup apart, liked the phat boost circuitry alot. The one I ordered in my confident shop was way better setup and fine soundin', but hey: skunk stripe was almost leaving back of the neck...
    I traded it, same shop, for an LTD Phoenix 204 with same basswood body and same phatboost circuitry, just a neckthru.

    Now I'm, expected neckdive apart, happy: MIC with stunning QC and a reliable overall craftsmanship...

  9. The pickup is nothing I would worry about but I wouldnt be cool with the skunk stripe sticking out, I had a few MIM necks develop this over the years and I could feel it out a bit so my guess is it will get worse with time.
  10. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Jersey
    The skunk stripe issue is very minor.

    If I drag my fingernail up the neck, it will catch.

    It does not seem that the strip will fall out. It appears that it was not sanded correctly.

    I have not sat in the store and grabbed every bass that was there and felt them all. They will think I am some sort of neck pervert.

    I can live with it, just making sure that there are no issues down the pike.

    The rep from Fender told me that the guitar was mint, and sometimes with humidity things change. Here is his reply below:

    Although the instrument was as perfect as physically possible prior to it leaving our facility, it is normal for wood to shrink and swell due to environmental changes. I would imagine that and increase in humidity may have cause your skunk stripe to swell a little and cause it to protrude slightly. You can certainly take your instrument to an Authorized Service Center for an evaluation; if they deem the instrument to be defective we can cover the repair within our warranty terms.

    For your reference the skunk stripe being raised would not cause any damage to the neck and should not get any worse assuming the instrument does not experience any drastic environmental changes.

    I'll bring it back to the place I bought it from and see what they say.
  11. where are the Antiguas made? MIM?
  12. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Jersey
    Yes, MIM
  13. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    That depends on how much it's raised, how well it was glued in place, and the quality of the wood used. I used to work in a furniture factory, and even well dried wood can sometimes "have a mind of it's own" when subjected to temperature and humidity changes. I'd bet your neck will be just fine, especially if it's a very minor raise as you've said. Still, at the very last, I'd certainly keep an eye on it.

    Anyway, good luck, and I hope you really enjoy your new bass!
  14. If you have a return policy, ignore the Fender email and get a replacement or refund. The neck needs to be smooth. If you ever sell it you will lose money.
  15. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    Agreed. If this bass is new, you deserve a replacement and I would not settle for less than a new neck assuming you are good with the rest of the instrument. If your dealer is reputable, they will call Fender and set up an exchange or neck replacement. It happened to me. I ordered a new 2008 American Jazz Bass and when it arrived I simply did not like the piece of neck wood. The bass played well too. My dealer got me another one in a week! It also played well but a much nicer piece of wood.
    Don't settle.
  16. DRafalske


    Nov 6, 2008
    Hebron, KY
    My Anitgua P was very nearly perfect right out of the box. I even liked the setup, but I did need to make adjustments when I swapped on a set of GHS Flats. My only gripe was that the thumbrest was missing. Fender stepped up and shipped me one, and they even threw in a bridge cover for "my trouble". Everything else was perfect. I've played a few gigs with it and it sounds as good as any P I've ever played.
  17. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    welcome to Fender world
  18. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    You know, I think that this is an absolutely irresponsible thing to say, especially with no proof. As someone else said, these things are made of wood and things do happen from time to time. :rollno::rollno::rollno::rollno::rollno:
  19. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Jersey
    So I took the advice of everybody here and brought back the Antigua to the store I purchased it from.

    I expressed my concerns and they totally agreed with me.

    They returned the bass and ordered me another one.

    Now I am at ease and can feel that my decision was justified.

    One of the knuckle-heads that was by the counter (not sure if he worked there) told me that he would be concerned if it was a USA made bass, not so much for a MIM unit.

    Total bull! I do not have issues with my Ibanez Gio or my Squier VM or my Squier Strat, with the skunk strip being out of whack. I stepped up and bought something with a Fender badge on the headstock, I expect the same quality regardless of the country of origin.

    Kudo's to Guitar Center for standing behind the products they sell.
  20. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Jersey
    So as of my last posting Guitar Center ordered me a new bass.

    I went to pick it up today and there were multiple things wrong about the entire bass.

    1st- the guitar was to come with a soft case. The bass was just wrapped on foam, and then boxed up. I pulled out the factory staples.

    2nd- the FSR sticker was not on the headstock. No big deal, just something that Fender advertised would be there for a special run guitar.

    3rd.- the finish was absolutely unacceptable! You can see the seam lines of the body of the guitar. I ran my callused finger across it and felt seams. What did they run out of sandpaper that day?

    Has the Fender quality control inspectors had their eyes checked by a professional? This was noticed not by me, but by the GC employee.

    I always hear that MIM products are inferior to the USA and Japan units, now I am starting to believe that statement.

    Of the 4 units that Guitar center had in the warehouse as of July 22, I have ordered 3 of them. After that they have no more to speak of. I sure hope that the last one is the best of the bunch.

    Such quality control issues need to be addressed, especially for a Special Edition bass.

    No case, missing FSR sticker and extremely poor finish. How is this company surviving?

    These were special run units, I can't imagine what happens on the regular production runs.

    For something that was limited to 300 units, 2 of them so far have been duds.

    Guitar Center has been great. Just what do I do when their
    Fender supply runs out if this last one is another doozy?:mad:

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