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Fender Road Worn Basses

Discussion in 'Bass Club Chicago' started by Bass Club Mark, Mar 27, 2009.


  1. Bass Club Mark

    Bass Club Mark

    Dec 21, 2005
    Bass Club Chicago
    I'm signing the deal on Fender and wonder what's the word on the Road Worn series? These are reliced basses made in their Mexican factory, and are made to very high specs. Nitro finish which means truer vintage tone. They're also selecting the best woods for this series, which means better tone and lighter weight (most under 9 pounds).

    This is a new line, so just wondering if the interest is there. So far, only one j and one p in two finishes each. MAP is $1200 and $1250. Any interest?
     
  2. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    There have been several threads up in the Basses forum on these. They are getting very mixed emotions---some people absolutely love them, others think that relics in general are a stupid idea, and still others think it's maybe a cool idea, but that they are a little overpriced.
     
  3. annoyingman

    annoyingman

    Apr 26, 2003
    I've been rolling my eyes about "relics" for years now. Just got an email from "Bass Emporium" and did a quick visual A-B-C of the three Road Worn basses offered. Looked at the pictures of the backs and all three had nearly identical wear marks in almost identical locations. What, do they have a template!? Jeez, like I want to spend a grand plus to own this quackery. Takes lame to a new level.
    See for yourself. They start around ten spots from the bottom of the list.

    http://www.bassemporium.com/bass_emporium.php?Fender
     
  4. Ezbass

    Ezbass

    Apr 3, 2008
    U.K.
    Just bought a Road Worn P at the weekend. Tried it side by side with a MIM standard '50s bass and a Lakland Skyline Bob Glaub. The RW had the best tone and feel to my ears and hands and wasn't the most expensive of the three either. I quite the looks (not why I bought it though) and from what I see the wear patterns are very similar (but not identical) on all the RWs I've seen here, but then the wear isn't totally dissimilar to my '63 P which leads me to believe that instruments pretty much wear out in the same places anyway. As the RWs aren't custom shop you've got to expect some cost savings here and there, and "template" wear is probably a cost saving measure. What I think Fender should be praised for is that they've brought out some great sounding and playing instruments, whether you buy into the whole relic thing is another matter and one that always divides opinion.

    There is another thread on TB rating the level of importance people give to their purchases, Tone, Feel, Looks & Price. For my part the order is Tone, then Feel and then Looks and Price an equal 3rd.

    Anyway I like mine very much and here it is

    P3260001.
     
  5. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
    My issue is primarily with price (especially relative to the '50s P), but I'm not really a fan of relics, either. Having said that, the reviews I've seen both on TB and at the FDP have been very strongly positive regarding their tone and feel. So maybe this line will turn out to be a winner after all.
     
  6. Bass Club Mark

    Bass Club Mark

    Dec 21, 2005
    Bass Club Chicago
    Thx ez and Greg. I'm told the RW's are supposed to be among the best pieces coming out of the Mexican factory. Even if you don't buy the RW for the relicing, you almost have to buy it for the quality. I'll let you all know my personal opinion when the first pieces arrive.
     
  7. Bass Club Mark

    Bass Club Mark

    Dec 21, 2005
    Bass Club Chicago
    As far as the 'template' wear patterns are concerned, it does look fairly similar from bass to bass. However, considering the wear is performed by hand, it's still pretty impressive in my opinion. I've seen plenty of the Master Series relics, and they look amazing. They're also north of the $4000 mark. I have a Custom Shop 64 Jazz relic that looks great, but these are also over $3000 now. IMO, the RW basses are the best basses coming out of the Mexican factory, even if the relicing doesn't compare to the $3000 relics. As far as templating is concerned, I'm not going to notice it unless I've got 3 or 4 of these together. How often is that going to happen outside of a store?
     
  8. p-bass

    p-bass Guest

    Feb 17, 2008
    I was in a Guitar Center yesterday picking up a set of DR Sunbeams and took a walk over to the Bass section. I saw right in front of me a Road Worn 50's P and I gotta say,it was very silly looking IMO. I thought the checking didn't look real ,the wear on the neck looked over done, the dings looked "ok",but the most ridiculous thing was the fake cigarette burn on the head of the bass, just next to Fender logo with the little registered trade mark..okay ? I guess these basses are cool if you are into "pretending",but just give me just a good Fender Bass USA,Mexican,Japanese..I don't care and I will put the wear on it, if somebody has not beat me to it. Oh Yeah...the price of the Road Worn Bass I saw...I won't even go into that.
     
  9. Ezbass

    Ezbass

    Apr 3, 2008
    U.K.

    I've got a very beat up '63 so I don't need to pretend. Forget the looks, these are great playing and sounding basses and represent a level of quality for MIM produced basses. As for the price I tried my RW against a more expensive Lakland Skyline Bob Glaub before buying it, to my ears and hands the RW played better and sounded better, which is why I bought it. However, should Fender do a nitro finished, unreliced 50s P for those dissuaded by the looks? Yeah absolutely.
     
  10. Bass Club Mark

    Bass Club Mark

    Dec 21, 2005
    Bass Club Chicago
    Thx for the input guys. Lots of good info here. I agree. I think if the RW's are popular enough, and it appears that they will be, Fender will most certainly look into an unreliced nitro finished Mex bass. Wouldn't that be sweet.
     
  11. annoyingman

    annoyingman

    Apr 26, 2003
    I'm sorry the concept is ridiculous. I've been playing for 40 years and have never had a bass long enough to even begin wearing through the finish.
    I've lived through the late 60's early 70's when Fender and Gibson had well documented quality problems. Now those pieces of dubious quality are collector's items.
    Give me strength! Fender and Gibson are cultivating a culture of posers. Isn't that precious? Posers playing instruments that are posers in themselves.
    Fine, make a great sounding, feeling, and playing bass. That's why I got a Highway 1. Paid $550 brand new in the box a year ago. Now that bass goes for double. Make it in Mexico and take some sandpaper to it and you have an RW. I also build my own. Spent weeks on the finish of one of them. What kind of fool am I?
     
  12. Bass Club Mark

    Bass Club Mark

    Dec 21, 2005
    Bass Club Chicago
    I don't think anyone is foolish if they buy a bass that they like the feel and tone of. That's why there's chocolate & vanilla, and why there's Jazz bass lovers & P-Bass lovers. If your principle is correct, wouldn't the opposite also be true? Couldn't a player also be considered a poser if they played a bass that looked new, but was 20 years old?
     
  13. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    +1

    I would never waste my $$ on a new guitar that has strategically pitted hardware and a beaten up finish. The cigarette burn? :rollno:

    How about they build a nice one and then the owner can leave it outside in the rain for a week or so, and then drag it up a staircase by the headstock and play it while wearing a big metal belt buckle, big sharp bracelets on the picking hand and a fretting hand fresh from a bucket filled with automotive grime and lapping compound? :bag:
     
  14. annoyingman

    annoyingman

    Apr 26, 2003
    I wonder if a polishing cloth is included in the goody bag. Wouldn't that be precious.
     
  15. Ezbass

    Ezbass

    Apr 3, 2008
    U.K.
    No these are truly meant to be faux old basses, the case candy is missing (as is the case):D
     
  16. annoyingman

    annoyingman

    Apr 26, 2003
    And while I'm in a good mood, I like to watch shows like Overhaulin' and OCC to get inspiration for future bass builds. I'm no luthier, I dabble. I know it might not make sense when it comes to building instruments, but it's interesting to watch them make art out of trash or out of nothing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the show doesn't exist that makes trash out of art. You'll probably never see a show that takes a Cadillac off the line and turns it into something you'd find in a field in Benton Harbor MI. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for latching on to a great feeling bass, but cookie cutter wear marks that are nearly identical for the whole line is laughable, and it has nothing to do with how the instrument performs. I hate glossy necks, so rather than pay double for a relic...sandpaper and steel wool...problem solved.

    My first Precision was an L series that I got in trade in 1972. I sold it 25 years ago and I still remember the serial number. L43198. That bass was only 8 years old, and it had already been stripped and badly varnished. They even varnished the fingerboard. That would have been a prize to leave alone to age gracefully, but some moron had to mess with it. The guy I sold it to narrowed the neck to Jazz specs and probably raped it in other ways I'm not aware of.

    When I was growing up in the 70's, everybody had a 'refinished' instrument. Who knows what they looked like before the refin. Maybe a fiesta red with a few unsightly wear marks?

    Sorry for the rambling, I'm getting old a set in my old guy ways.
     
  17. Bass Club Mark

    Bass Club Mark

    Dec 21, 2005
    Bass Club Chicago
    A-man,
    No worries, and thanks for caring enough to post. More musicians should care enough about there instruments to have such a stong opinion. Rock on, and we'll see you around the boards.
     
  18. jimmydean

    jimmydean

    Mar 14, 2009
    :hyper:I was a "Fender Snob" until last week when I bought a RW Jazz Bass.I was tired of playing 5 and 6 strings and wanted to clear out those six basses looking at me.After trying out alot of basses, I played the one I told myself I could care less about and it was the best sounding out the bunch.If the bass was priced like the Relics,Ect,there's no way I would have bought one,THAT'S INSANE! Seeing how I sold a couple of basses,the price was'nt in question.I have a 74 Jazz,and it does'nt have one nick on it, I could never even let my bass even get to that condition.The bottom line is that if it sounds good to you,buy it. Don't be a bunch of "HATER'S" gang.Yes,they cost too much,fake wear,ect----deal with it,some of us bought it for the sound of the instrument----REALLY!!!!
     
  19. Bass Club Mark

    Bass Club Mark

    Dec 21, 2005
    Bass Club Chicago
    I've posted pics of the Road Worn Jazz in Fiesta Red, and the Road Worn P in 2 Tone burst on our site. Not too shabby looking if you ask me. I did a slight set up on both, and the action on each adjusted very nicely. I would reach for one of these for a gig as easily as any other Fender I have on the wall. I'd actually feel more comfortable taking a Road Worn on stage with me, without worrying about that first ding or buckle rash like I would a Custom Shop or American Vintage.
     
  20. rmars

    rmars

    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    Mark, I stopped in to check out some of you basses today, unfortunately you weren't in yet so we didn't get to meet. Anyway after playing almost ever Jazz style bass you guys had I tried the Fiesta Red Fender RW and was quite impressed. It was easily the one of the best newer Fenders I have tried in years and I think it more than held it's own with some of the higher end basses. It had more of that classic midrange honk like quality out of the bridge pickup than most of the other basses I tried and had a really full vintage sound with both pickup rolled up and overall just sounded thick. Only thing I didn't like is that the simulated wear on the back of the neck wasn't as smooth as actual finish wear and my thumb tended to drag on it, but that's nothing a quick rub with some ScotchBrite wouldn't cure. The pickups sounded very good but I have a feeling that thing would totally kill with some Fralin's.
     

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