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Fender...not as special as I thought?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jscriv, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    Been a fender fanboy for years. Eventually got into just slapping Fender parts together. And yes, you don't have to type it I'm aware of the "well then it's not a fender" club here. I've had my jazz and my P a bass for a while. But I ended up with a cracked fretboard 70s block inlayed neck. Replaced it with a warmoth neck that I just can't seem to bond with it. It's fine around the house but when I start really playing love I feel like it just doesn't resonate, and the previous necks (70s RI and CIJ Geddy) sounded fantastic. So I figured I'd get an American. Ive been trying American jazz basses Everytime I see one and they all seem so Blah compared to the original jazz I modded out years ago. Anyone else have any experiences like this? Maybe it's the lack luster set up of the GC technician? I'm considering going in with tools, properly setting one up and tryin it out. I'm at a bit of a loss over it all. Enough to turn to TB to randomly vent.
  2. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    Personally, my best "Fenders" are the ones I built. They're, not just ok, but they're really good and I like'em better than my genuine American ones. Lightweight, balanced, low action, nice tone, reliable, you name it. Here's two of many.

    Fender clone duo.
    javi_bassist, retslock, jmon and 39 others like this.
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Leo designed the AK47 of bass guitars - just like the weapon, it's a design that can be built by almost anyone with a decent amount of skill in pretty much anyplace on Earth, and it'll work OK. The fact that you built yours doesn't make them any less of an instrument. The best "fenders" made on the planet are not built by Fender anyway.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

  5. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Ok, deep breath here...you are not alone. Fenders are really just another mass-produced instrument. The more you make, the more likely you make a great one. They were arguably the first mass-produced instrument, so there's vintage mojo and credence lent by the name, but Fenders are really just another mass-produced instrument... :)
    Wavebird, Ggaa, rollie 55 and 15 others like this.
  6. AboutSweetSue


    Sep 29, 2018
    Lebanon, TN
    A Fender being the AK-47 of the bass world makes a lot of sense and is an excellent analogy.
  7. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    To be fair, US Fenders aren't sold at boutique prices and still pretty reasonably priced. It's a pretty good bass out of the box, but you can upgrade the parts. like the pickups, electronics, bridge etc and no doubt make a better sounding instrument than what it originally came with-but you get a good platform to start of with.
  8. The local music store has Fender, PRS, & Ibanez to try out, and it brings me to the same conclusion as the OP.
  9. I'd say that for me, there are too many variables at play at any given moment to make a sweeping judgement like that. YMMV
    FRoss6788 and JakobT like this.
  10. Except that if you start with any of Fender's flagship passive models those upgrades are already done at the factory. From there, it seems to me that any further changes to hardware or elecs are lateral moves, based strictly on subjective tastes.

    The "starting platform" approach best applies to Fender's lower echelon models...MIM, Squier. But even those less expensive models are more than adequate, sans upgrades, for any real-world situation.
    bunky1998, Mili, sgtpepper and 5 others like this.
  11. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    And of course, now we want to know what went into the creation of these marvels, especially the "light." I'm sure you give yours more individual attention that FMIC gives its production line basses.
    rollie 55 and Spidey2112 like this.
  12. That's true. It's also a design that can be played by anyone with a decent amount of skill and it will work just fine. The evidence is a matter of record (pun intended).

    I know that's a popular opinion on TB, but I think it's a bit suspect, at best. Let's look closer....

    A passive Jazz bass and P bass are simple designs. Simple to the extent that it's almost impossible to screw them up, no matter who makes them. You can only go so far with selecting premium woods, ensuring close tolerances via CNC machining, winding pickups from the finest materials, using the best quality elec components and hardware, etc.

    Beyond that, we're getting into much higher priced, lower production volume, boutique builds. There's no question that those hi-end jobs are built to a higher standard than Fender's production models. Even so, their real magic lies in the hours spent on setting them up to perfection. But at what cost? Many will argue that at an equivalent price range, Fender's Custom Shop competes equally with Sadowsky, Lull, Lakland etc. IOW, if we want the ultimate in a Fender style bass, we're gonna have to pay the going rate for it.

    Or as already discussed....

    A work-around is to build a parts bass carefully choosing every part ourselves, exactly how we want. The caveat for most of us is executing the perfect setup, we just don't have the skill set that Roger S. has. Plus, we're not really beating the system because we're doing all the work ourselves and time is money.

    Les Fret, SasquatchDude and FRoss6788 like this.
  13. AboutSweetSue


    Sep 29, 2018
    Lebanon, TN
    So, what you’re saying is that I may have the best bass in the world.

    I don’t know what makes the best Fender bass, I’m thinking it’s probably down to pure dumb luck to a certain extent. Somehow, in some instance, fate ordained that the butterfly effect leap frog it’s way to create the perfectly pieced bass through no true design on any one persons part. I like to think it’s my bass, and so it will be.
    iruyle and Templar like this.
  14. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    You're trying out new Fenders but have you considered G&L?
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    Edgetone, Gizmot, wmmj and 8 others like this.
  15. Yes, yes I am. ;)
    DirtDog and AboutSweetSue like this.
  16. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    Both basses in the picture are just under 8 pounds without the chrome covers, and just slightly over 8 with the chrome. Both balance perfectly hanging on a strap.

    The white P bass is a '58 clone consisting of a lightweight MJT swamp ash body in lightly relic'd trans-blond nitro with a Fender Classic '50 neck, Res-o-lite tuners, with Fender '58 reissue pickups, pickguard, and knobs. Strings are Labella flats.

    The sonic blue Jazz bass is a clone of a Custom Shop '60 Jazz. It also has an lightly relic'd MJT body finished in nitro. This one is actually pine in order to really keep the weight down since the jazz bass tends to be heavier with the chrome metal control plate and the stacked knobs. The neck is an Allparts P neck because I like bigger necks. I painted the headstock to match the body. Again, Res-o-lite tuners. '60 Custom Shop pickups. Stacked knobs. Labella flats. By comparison to the genuine Custom Shop version, mine is about 1 1/2 pounds lighter.

    Those MJT bodies are something else. Highly recommended.
    sgtpepper likes this.
  17. Mike Vee

    Mike Vee

    Oct 8, 2012
    IMO you gotta go for the American Original/ American Vintage before they really have some character. The others before it are good too, but like you said, a bit bland. I bought a few American Standard and American pro precision basses, and they were cool. I wasn't wowed until I got my AVRI 63. This is probably the experience you are looking for.

    The roadworn deserves an honorable mention as well, the old rosewood ones.
  18. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    last month I bought an awesome vintage Fender P bass for $100, it just says Silvertone and is kinda new
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This thread is very funny!
    J-Bassomatic, Wisebass, wmmj and 7 others like this.
  20. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    Fender is NOT special, and that’s the beauty of it and that’s how Leo wanted it to be.

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