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Fender vs. Boutique

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jason Hale, Aug 12, 2004.

  1. Original 60's Fender

    56 vote(s)
  2. High end, boutique bass heavily based on Fender (Sadowsky, Lull, etc)

    88 vote(s)
  1. All the time we see polls asking us if we could pick between all these boutique basses, what would we get. I have an interesting take on this.

    Would you rather play a 60's Fender or a high end Fender indulged bass like Sadowsky or Lull.

    This DOES NOT include Fodera, Lakland, Warwick, etc etc etc and all the other great builders. Just ones based on Fender design.
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Play or own?
  3. Therein lies the conundrum.

    Just wanted to say that.

    I've yet to find anything as "comfy" as my 65 Jazz, but I've found many basses that I'd rather take out to a club besides my 65 Jazz. It's not that the value in the bass scares me off of it, just thinking about finding another one this sweet.

    My main gigging bass is a G&L, while not a Fender clone, it delivers different things that a Fender clone can. It plays great, tougher than Melissa Etheridge, cuts through most any mix, and it wouldn't be that expensive to replace.
  4. that's an excellent question, because i'm sure you can get quite a lot more for a pre-CBS 60s fender jazz than you could for a used sadowsky these days.

    of course, there are those who simply prefer the tone of a sadowsky over a standard jazz, no matter the year. also, guys like nordstrand make some pretty sweet basses, but they're a pretty wide deviation in both tone and look compared to others.

  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    If I had to pick between a Fender style boutique bass and a sixities Fender, I would take the Fender because they are increasingly rare. If I had to use one on a regular basis, I would use a boutique bass because they are more common and they have no antique or curio value. Personally, I use a G&L Tribute and I just put away an American Jazz with an
    S-1 switch. I really think that new Fenders get a bad rep. If you take the time to look, it is not hard to get a great Fender at 1/3 to 1/4 the price of a boutique Fender copy. I plan to hold on to my Jazz because I'm sure that in twenty or twenty-five years, every one will be wanting a 1990's or 2000's Fender just like everyone wants a 1970's Fender now, and everyone who is old enough knows how 1970's Fenders used to be ridiculed. :D
  6. josh_m


    May 5, 2004
    Davie, Fl
    I think I would take the fender, not because it's more rare or worth more...but because of the character it has. Also, you can emulate all you want but I have yet to hear a bass that sounds like a vintage P or J, they come close, but its still not the same.
  7. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Jason, don't exclude Laklands. My USA Joe Osborn 4 string passive is very exactly a "Fender" style bass. I actually held Joe Osborn's bass and Dan Lakin took a picture of me holding it without the strings. (Dan were is that picture ???) I'm pretty sure they took the original completely apart to help design the Joe Osborne bass so it would be "exact" beside their enhancements. Mine is an exceptional instrument and sounds and plays utterly great. All the others mentioned are superb instruments too, but please don't exclude the Lakies as a Fender style bass. Just so you know the 4-94 and 55-94 Laklands were designed by combining all of Leo's great basses. The Jazz, P, and Stingray. Very Fenderish if you ask me.
  8. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Gotta agree with Big String. One of the nicest "Fender-style" basses I ever touched was a Lakland Joe O. 4 string. Did I buy it? No. Can't justify it for my use. Would I have liked to own it? You bet!
  9. You're right. We can include Laklands on this if we're talking JO or BG. However, the 94's are more on the MM line if you ask me.

    It looks as if most everyone so far has voted for a 60's Fender. I'm rather suprised.

    BTW, this is a bass to GIG with not to OWN and put under the bed for those wondering.
  10. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I've got a saweet '66J (I'm the second owner), but I gots to have 5 strings. BTW, I'll take my 55-94 over any of them!
  11. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Last I checked, a good 60's Fender that is all original in beat up shape is about $4000-5000. Of course there are great deals to be had but they're few & far between. Then, if you're not able to tell the difference, you have to make sure what you're buying is the real thing.

    I'd rather play my Sadowsky (insert other Botique name) at a gig anyday over a old Fender. I'd alse rather record with my Sad's also.

    About losing money, out of the 3 used Sadowsky's I bought & sold, I made a profit on all 3.
  12. I really love 60s Fenders, but I'd say the Sadowsky or whatever would be a better choice to play, because there's less risk involved. Sadowsky's are great, often cheaper than original 60s Fenders, and you wouldn't be too afraid of playing out with them, live. That said, I'd much rather play at home with a good 60s Fender just because of the mojo associated with it. I think investing in one is good money spent, as the value will increase (forever?). But playing out with one of those is too risky.
  13. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I've played a number of truly vintage Fenders and didn't like about 90% of them. I remember seeing a beautifully worn '59 P bass that played and sounded horrible. But, every Lakland Bob Glaub I've played, Skyline OR US has been nothing short of amazing. Same with the Joe Osbornes... :D
  14. RLT


    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    Man, how the times change back in the 70's we all thought Fenders were throw aways. Buy them cheap and pawn them off and not look back. I'd love to have some of the ones I went through from '76 to 84.
    But in answer to the question, the Sadowsky et al wins for me with out a second thought. :bag:
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md

    In that case... neither. I've found that it's not necessary to have a bass based heavily on a Fender design to get that vibe.

    I didn't vote. Throw a new Fender Jazz into the mix and that would be my choice.
  16. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I voted for the boutique bass because I really prefer 5 strings. Being an owner of a Sadowsky Metro and a Skyline JO5, I really like what they bring to the table when I want the Fender vibe.

    Best Wishes,
  17. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    For recording I love the sound of my 66-P-bass.
    But for live playing I take my Lakland Bod Glaub.
    Old Fenders have that magic, that comes with age.
    But I'am sure a good Lakland or Sadowski well sound even better in 30 years.
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    My six cents (not to be confused with sixth sense :p )

    One of the nicest Fenders I've ever played was the 1964 P-bass I once owned. This is not nostalgia talking: this bass is now owned by my brother, so I get to play it regularly when I visit him. That bass is beat up to hell (it was that way when I bought it in the early 80's), but 20 years later it still blows me away. There's something about those old Fenders... maybe it's the nice light alder that was available back then (FWIW, I don't believe the tone of a bass changes significantly over time).

    That said, I voted boutique. Reasons:
    1) I play five stringers now
    2a) Vintage Fenders are insanely overpriced collectors items...
    2b) ...and because of this, they are thief magnets
    3) Boutique/non-vintage ones are much easier to replace

    But I do envy those of you who own and play Fenders from the 60's and earlier. :)
  19. jb64


    May 4, 2003
    Connecticut, USA!
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel/Carvin Basses
    I'm with Nino! I'd much rather play out and/or record with my Sadowsky than with my old Fenders. With the Sadowsky, I can get a variety of great jazz bass tones.
  20. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    I sold my '68 Jazz Bass to get the money for a Sadowsky... I must admit I felt somewhat strange the day I went home without my '68 and $2500,00 in my pocket, but I took the right way! I couldn't be more happy ... I play every day THE BEST JAZZ BASS on the planet!!! Anyone who ever put his hands on a Sadowsky knows what I mean!!!