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Fender Quality - Depressing

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


  1. EBMan

    EBMan Guest

    Oct 10, 2006
    I know this topic has probably been done to death, but I have gone through the last four weeks trying to find nice, new Fender bass. I currently have a Sterling and wanted a Fender very badly, because it is a Fender.

    Well after quite some looking, I found a NIB Mustang. The finish was pretty nice, but the frets stuck out too far causing very sharp edges. So then I bought a '51 Reissue. I liked the funky yellow, but it had a fairly large gap between the neck and the body. The tuners were also extremely tight. It did sound good. Of course to purists, the aforementioned basses were not "real Fenders" since they are subcontracted out by Fender.

    So on to the Mexican made. The first FSR natural P Bass was unpackaged by me straight out of an Ensenada sealed box. Played great, but it had a gouge in the neck. I guess a gorilla packed it. Then I opened the sealed box of a Fender Deluxe Active Jazz. The paint was blistering all around the battery access plate. Was it inspected prior to shipping?

    I've looked over many MIA P & Js. Not impressed seeing the ripples in the finish due to poor sanding.

    I really tried to buy a good Fender, but I have given up. It's hard to go from the quality of Musicman to Fender. I've have owned several Warwicks in the past. Their quality is top notch like Musicman. So I gave up on Fender and ordered a buginga Corvette.

    I really wish Fender would get their act together. Their MIA and MIM line does not appear to be any better then their Squier line. To put it in perspective, I've got to mention my Gibson sightings--depressing. What's with Fender & Gibson?
     
  2. Johnny5

    Johnny5

    Mar 5, 2006
    Calgary, Canada
    I don't know what to tell you dude.
    The first Fender I ever bought 2 years ago I still cling to as my workhorse. I bought a MIA Highway One P Bass, sunburst satin finish, GREAT bass. It beat out the other MIA's in the store as far as feel and price for sure. I originally had a CIJ Geddy Lee Jazz but then I saw this hanging on the rack, I picked it up, plugged in and instantly knew I had to trade. I think the non-gloss finish is great (on mine anyway, smooooth) and I inspected this bass closely at the store and didn't find any flaws. One of the first places I looked was the gap between the body and neck, I didn't see anything suspect so I moved on. The tone is your typical P Bass, round and fat. Have you looked at the Highway One's? You might want to try to if you haven't, you may be surprised.
    Good luck.
     
  3. eedre

    eedre

    Feb 26, 2007
    St. Louis,MO
    I, also, must have been fortunate enough to get a good MIA Jazz. Has trounced every other bass I've played.
     
  4. MammaryVest

    MammaryVest

    Oct 18, 2006
    Stoneham, MA
    What does NIB stand for?
    Plus, I guess I've just been lucky because I own three Fenders, and none of them have any construction problems.
     
  5. asg618

    asg618

    Jan 9, 2006
    Yeah, this topic appears alot, but for good reason. Many will agree that you've just got to get out there and play as many Fenders (or Gibsons, or Warwicks, etc.) as you can find until you get one that speaks to you. Some of the faults you mention (painfully sharp frets) are completely objective, and most bassists will agree that they're unacceptable. But other elements, like feel and tone, are subjective and each bass will speak to each player differently.

    I currently have a Fender Pino Paladino P-Bass Relic from the Fender Custom Shop. It's absolutely the most comfortable playing and sweetest sounding bass I've ever had (and I've had dozens from just about every mfr). But it's also got a thick neck, and vintage style frets that maybe could have been smoothed out on the sides a little better. And I'm not crazy about having paid for Fender to relic the body as much as they did. Other players might balk and any one of these "flaws," and taken together, might think me crazy for dropping a few thou for the pleasure of owning this particular bass.

    Still, it's the bass I play the most and know the best. It inspires confidence and creativity because on it I really know what I'm doing. We have a "connection" - that's nothing but subjective, but it's invaluable. When you find the bass that you most connect with, grab it, keep it, and learn to love it even with what may be perceived as "flaws" to others, and even sometimes to you.

    Best!
     
  6. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    "New in box".

    I don't know, I must have either been really, really unlucky or you're very, very unlucky. ;) All of the Fender's I've owend have not had any issues to speak of, certainly nothing like you've described, and I've run the gamut with basses from Mexico, Japan, and the US. Even the basses I've played in the stores have been free from the general clamor I hear regarding them on the boards.

    I'm not sure what to tell you except that not everyone's getting duds!
     
  7. Alexander

    Alexander

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I have a great MIA jazz as well, though I looked at dozens before selecting this one and noticed very similar issues to what the OP described with a good number of them...
     
  8. Amaru

    Amaru

    Jun 16, 2007
    New Glarus, WI
    Fenders are definately the most hit-and-miss company. I've played alot of crap basses and alot that were the greatest I've ever played. If you're looking for a more consistant company, definately hit up Lakland or Sadowsky.
     
  9. exflavier@gmail

    exflavier@gmail

    Jun 21, 2007
    new-in-box
     
  10. eedre

    eedre

    Feb 26, 2007
    St. Louis,MO
    I must have REALLY lucked out then, I just ordered my MIA Jazz blindly from a store and came out of the case playing great! Unless they set it up for me (which I highly doubt, given my experience with the store).
     
  11. NIB = "new in box" I believe. Now what's "FSR"?
    I have a MIA P and the fit and finish were great. Got lucky I guess. :)
     
  12. EBMan

    EBMan Guest

    Oct 10, 2006
    I want to clarify that I like Fenders. They along with Ricks define the classic rock that I grew up listening too. All of the ones I tried had a good distinctive sound that I loved. But, the QC on a $450 MIM Fender should be as good as the QC on an Epiphone, Ibanez, etc. in the same price range. The quality of a MIA P or J Bass should be on the same level of the lower end Warwicks. The quality problems are not the workers fault.

    As much as I love them, and desparately wanted one, I couldn't spend the money on one. That is why I selected a Corvette as my companion bass to my Sterling. I'm not saying that Fender can't and doesn't produce some quality basses. It's just that they are a hit or miss proposition. I got tired of missing.

    Gibson is not any better, if not worse. Hold a painted Gibson or Fender up to a light and observe the waves in the finish. And both are poor at matching wood when gluing up bodies for their natural finish basses. I had a Fender Esquire in a transparent finish. The wood grain in the middle of the body ran horizontal to the neck. Same with the grain on the bottom. The grain on the top ran at a 45 degree angle. It really detracted from what was otherwise an attractive guitar. The string ferrules on the back were also pushed in at an angle. One side was flush to the body. The other side was correct.

    Once again, I love the Fender mojo. But it's not enough to get me to buy one again. I'll be the first in line to buy a P or J bass when they get up to par with their competition.
     
  13. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    If you're looking a considerably more expensive instrument made it much, much lower volumes. :meh:

    I hear this a lot but feel the need to point out that, while they are putting out similarly looking products, those companies are pretty far apart in terms of how their businesses operate. :meh: Fender produces basses on a scale far, far beyond that of either Lakland or Sadowsky. The sheer volume of instruments makes the two companies hard to compare.
     
  14. jtc_hunter

    jtc_hunter

    Feb 16, 2007
    NIB is "new in box" EBMAN, I agree 100%. Finding a really good Fender bass is like finding a needle in a haystack. For those of you w/ good ones, count yourself lucky. Most of the "bad" ones can be worked on, setup, parts changed ,etc. to make them good, but for the price Fender charges, the buyer shouldnt have to do that. I bet I played over 50 Fender basses ranging from $400-$1600 and the $1200-$1600 ones were "OK" at best. One day, by accident , I saw a 3TSB P-bass on Craigslist and drove 2 hrs. to look at it. (I dont know why, guess I was bored) I bought it w/ a genuine Fender hardcase. Both Bass and case are pristine and it is by far superior in finish,fit, and tone to any of the $1600 American P-basses I have played. Its a MIM stock,and I paid $275 for it and the case. So what does that have to say for Fenders "Quality Control"?
     
  15. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Michigan
    NIB stands for Nativity In Black, duh. We all know a Fender P is the only way to get that Geezer Butler tone. :bag:
     
  16. EBMan

    EBMan Guest

    Oct 10, 2006
    I hope I have my acronyms correct. It's the natural finish line of Fender MIM basses and guitars sold through Guitar Center. I almost walke out with one last Monday. It was a P Bass with fairly nice looking wood. I was the first person to handle it after it left the Ensenada plant. I played it, was happy that I found a good Fender, and then...........that's when I saw the gouge in the neck near the headstock. I know that it had not effect on the sound. But it was brand, spanking new. That is when I had them pull out a NIB Deluxe Active Jazz bass in Vintage white. I was excited. How often does Guitar Center actually have NIB basses? Any way, I inspected it prior to playing. All around the battery cover was blistering paint. I rubbed it thinking it was buffing compound, glue, whatever. It was blistering paint.

    My Mustang was also NIB. You could have carved a roast with the fretboard. The guy at GC looked at it and said the neck must have really shrunk. Can a neck/fretboard sealed in polyurethane shrink? Anyway it was painful to play.

    I checked out the highway ones but I just don't like the soft finish. Every one of them at GC at dents, dings, missing paint. Much worse so than any other guitars. The finish is just too soft. I don't want it looking like relic in 6 months.

    I momentarily looked at a Gibson (Not the Epiphone) Thunderbird and Gibson's SG style bass. Momentarily is the operative word.

    The only problems I've ever seen on Warwicks were problems caused by being handled in the store. I did see a Musicman Sterling that should have never left the factory. But it was the exception.

    I'm not knocking Fender. I know that there are many great ones out there. I just can't find one.
     
  17. EBMan

    EBMan Guest

    Oct 10, 2006
    I hope I have my acronyms correct. It's the natural finish line of Fender MIM basses and guitars sold through Guitar Center. I almost walked out with one last Monday. It was a P Bass with fairly nice looking wood. I was the first person to handle it after it left the Ensenada plant. I played it, was happy that I found a good Fender, and then...........that's when I saw the gouge in the neck near the headstock. I know that it had not effect on the sound. But it was brand, spanking new. That is when I had them pull out a NIB Deluxe Active Jazz bass in Vintage white. I was excited. How often does Guitar Center actually have NIB basses? Any way, I inspected it prior to playing. All around the battery cover was blistering paint. I rubbed it thinking it was buffing compound, glue, whatever. It was blistering paint.

    My Mustang was also NIB. You could have carved a roast with the fretboard. The guy at GC looked at it and said the neck must have really shrunk. Can a neck/fretboard sealed in polyurethane shrink? Anyway it was painful to play.

    I checked out the highway ones but I just don't like the soft finish. Every one of them at GC at dents, dings, missing paint. Much worse so than any other guitars. The finish is just too soft. I don't want it looking like relic in 6 months.

    I momentarily looked at a Gibson (Not the Epiphone) Thunderbird and Gibson's SG style bass. Momentarily is the operative word.

    The only problems I've ever seen on Warwicks were problems caused by being handled in the store. I did see a Musicman Sterling that should have never left the factory. But it was the exception.

    I'm not knocking Fender. I know that there are many great ones out there. I just can't find one.
     
  18. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    I too like the tone attained by many a Jazz bass. I just haven't ever found one I'd want to take home. Closest was the Marcus Sig, but it had a terrible bowed-in next that I'm sure could've been fixed, but it was like the truss rod was already broken it was bent so bad.
    I've played a few Geddy's and they were about 50/50.

    But, I can't even relate anymore as I can't stand 4's. :) I even got a custom Modulus VJ/PJ and sold it cause it got no use, so there is no hope.

    (The Wal doesn't apply here because it's a Wal...) ;)
     
  19. You've earned my respect.
     
  20. lefty007

    lefty007

    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I'm a Fender fan, but I agree with you. I have played many MIAs and MIMs straight from the factories and most of them had defects enough to prevent me from buying the basses.

    That said, when you find a good one, it's worth all in the world. Better yet, buy used, fix and enjoy. You can get an American Jazz on eBay for less than $800 all day long. Spend $100 in a fret leveling job, and you have an incredible bass in your hands.

    If impeccable quality is your first priority, Fender won't do it.

    Mmmm... a Warwick Corvette sounds and feels nothing like a Fender, but nice basses, anyway.
     

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