Fender...what's up?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by angrydad, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. angrydad


    Jul 31, 2004
    I know that there have been plenty of threads regarding Fender basses and quality...so...I figure I'll throw in my two cents.
    I rent a teaching studio at the local Fender dealer. Yesterday morning they got in a batch O' basses, all Fender : Americans,MIM's,3 Highway One basses, and a Geddy Lee. They've had a Marcus on the floor for a while now. Anyway, they were all terribly unplayable. Granted, none of them had been set up...but, the Geddy Lee was AMAZING right out of the box! GIG READY! Same for the Marcus, the day it came in, without an in store set up.
    I'm not bashing Fender basses. I want to be buried with a Fender J bass when i die. But...what gives ? Why do the 2 signature basses arrive in PERFECT condtion, and the rest (the bulk of the order) are literally unplayable. Do they ship from different locations?
    P.S. I didn't bother to ask the salesmen there because I'm not sure they'd know a P bass from a banjo.
  2. Kael

    Kael Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Aren't the Marcus and Geddy basses MIJ? Perhaps that could account for it.
  3. Dub56


    May 28, 2005
    I have to agree..

    The Geddy (I own it) and the MM sig are the only 2 Jazz basses I've found in a store that impressed me right then and there with feel and tone. I'd take them over any MIA I've played.
  4. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I own 9 Fender bass that I bought new, All were in there cases or original shipping cartons. None needed any type of setup out the box! 9 of 9 were 100% playable from jump with no issues! These included MIA, MIM, and MIJ-CIJ basses.
  5. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I also own both of these basses and while they both are nice basses I own a bunch of MIA basses I would keep before these two basses should I decide to sell some basses!
  6. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    That's the issue with Fender. You don't know what you get until you open the box. Fender does a disservice to their instruments and it is one of the reasons so many people are bashing their instruments.

    Overall, the build of the instruments are not horrible, but with a little attention to detail they could be great instruments. Like most, I don't want to get an instrument I have to work on to make playable. In most cases, the playability issue can be solved immediately.

    If you look at a custom shop instrument, the quality is on par with anything out there including Sadowsky, Lull, Celinder etc. However, you are paying the premium that you would be paying for any of those instruments.

    I think we sometimes hold Fender to a higher standard than other instruments in the price range, because we really expect it to be alot better... the Holy Grail for $800. On the other hand, a Lakland skyline in the same price range has better quality from instrument to instrument as does an Ernie Ball.

    Real flaws with fender basses.... the B string
  7. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    According to Fender, allot of these "out-of-the-box" issues have to do with where these instruments were stored before they get to the store (hot, humid, dry, cold). For example, here in Florida it is rare one comes out of the box playable. But who knows how long they sat in a hot humid truck or warehouse. A good example, I bought a Standard Jazz here in Florida at a Sam Ash. Almost all of them I tried out-of-the-box were badly setup. I finally found one that was close and set it up myself....now a great playing bass. So who knows how long these basses were "in storage".

    Now on the flip side...I recently order another Standard Jazz and a Classic 60's Jazz from Music123.com and Musiciansfriend.com. Both basses arrived with very good setups. I forget where these two companies have their warehouses, but I am sure they are not as hot and humid as here in Florida.

    I also think were the bass is made had something to do with it. The sig basses mentioned in this thread are both from Japan.

    About two weeks I got a new '62 Jazz RI Fretless ordered from GuitarJapan.com (yea I know, I have too many jazz basses). After its journey from Japan to Florida, I pulled it out of the box and it was perfect! The setup was low and buzz free! Again, a Japanese instrument.

    After playing this bass for a few weeks now, I am truly won over that Fender Japan instruments are built way better then its MIA and MIM counterparts. No wonder Fender does not sell these basses here in the US, it would hurt the MIA and MIM sales!
  8. jz0h4d


    Apr 26, 2005
    I'm sorry but this entire thread is a Joke. The factory cannot do a set up for you . Every player needs a different set up, one that suits his playing style.
    Let's start with the fact that you probally don't even use the same type of strings that are on the instrument from the factory.
    Every Fender bass i have ever bought has come with a set up that is to low for my style.

    When i buy a new bass i take it home, change the strings, and do a set up, it takes about 1/2 hour. Big deal!
  9. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Great post! :)
  10. JZ hits the mark. It is foolish to expect a bass set up for "everyman" to be appropriate for almost anybody. You spend 25 minutes setting it up and then you evaluate the bass.

    And Fender still falls flat on its face. The heart of any bass is the fret job, folks. The overwhelming majority of other issues are quick fixes, or cases of a bassist buying a bass that was ill suited to her or his needs. An indifferent fret job, on the other hand, is a very big repair (not setup) job. Fenders, far more than Music Mans, Ibanez', and many other basses in the same price range, are notorius for humps and ramps in the upper positions and indifferent fret leveling and dressing. Players who use a high action won't care much about this, which is fine for them, but a majority of players want a bass in this price range to play with a medium height or lower action. Fender doesn't put enough hand work into the fret jobs and hence all the dissatisfaction.
  11. zac2944

    zac2944 Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I don't understand why music stores don't keep their instruments in at least playable condition? It is true that some basses go through a lot from the time they leave the factory untill they reach the store. However, a bassic setup is so easy to do. It should be done when the bass reaches the store. I think stores would sell a lot more basses if they did. Imagine is an auto dealer didn't balance the wheels on a car before a test drive? No one would buy it. It's the same thing.

    We have all picked up a bass (fender and others) at a music store only to find the strings an inch off the fretboard, or buzzing like crazy. This is unexceptable. I'm not talking about low action, or high action, but unplayable action.
  12. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    This is probably true, and unfortunately Fender dealers aggravate the problem by failing to set up and maintain their instruments properly. I've gone to decent mom and pop shops, and played MIA P-basses with the strings a half inch off the fretboard -- never mind the horrors to be found at GC and Sam Ash. When instruments sit for a long time, they'll get even worse. I think this contributes to the bad rap Fender gets on this score, which I don't think reflects the underlying quality of the instruments at all.

    I've bought four American Series instruments new, and apart from an A string intonation issue on my 2004 Am. Ser. P, all were playable immediately, and my 2001 Double Fat Strat had been shipped from Louisiana to Philly -- in 2005! And they're all built like tanks. (Well, okay, the knobs on my 2003 Am. Ser. J come loose once in a while. ;) ) Sure, I wanted the action a little lower on my 2003 Strat, but that's a preference issue, not a quality lapse. And when they are properly set up, they hold it for a long time. For example, I brought my J in for a setup after about a year and a half, and I was charged only half price because practically nothing needed adjustment.
  13. Good points. Also IMO the strings Fender uses do not do the instruments justice, especially when they're old and dead.
  14. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    Not really. . . there's a difference between an instrument that just isn't set up the way you like it, versus some of the basses I've run across in shops (Fender and others) that have never seen a setup in their lives.

    I'm sure that 9 times out of 10, you can pick up an instrument set up differently than you would set up your own and still find it completely playable. This is clearly not the case when you can walk into a shop and check the relief and string height with a yard stick.
  15. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Every bass I've ever bought, from cheapies to Modulus and pre-Gibson Tobias, has ALWAYS needed a complete setup when brought home, whether new or used. Many of them also greatly benefitted from a fret-levelling and recrowning, which I learned to do myself on a hack-cheapie bass.

    A good fret levelling and recrowning can be the single best thing you can do to make almost ANY bass play like a million bucks - and I won't even mention neck shims . . .
  16. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
  17. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    Setup or no setup, it's still interesting that the Japanese basses were in a more 'playable' state upon arrival.
  18. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    A setup I can understand, but NO 'new' bass should EVER need a fret leveling/crowning or neck shims.

    So you guys don't think the Fender factory should set them up at least according to their setup specs?

    It's also likely that they were set up properly but then they changed in transit, but they shouldn't change a whole lot IMO.
  19. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    My store here must Rock then every Fender bass they have had in has rocked..I have notice that the newer ones have had a better neck pocket than mine... The one I bought from there about three years ago had higher action then I liked. I lowered the action tweeked the neck a little...the thang playes like butter...And the best part for this po'boy is it didn't cost me over $700 to get a great USA made product...
  20. angrydad


    Jul 31, 2004
    While I definitely agree with JZ regarding setting up your own bass to your liking, I disagree with the opinion that this thread is pointless. Jz is at an advantage because he's obviously done his homework and has experience/knowledge regarding the mechanics of the instrument. He can see past a poorly adjusted bass and realize the potential that the instrument may truly have.
    Unfortunately, there are many bassist (and guitarist, I teach both) who don't have a clue as to what a set up is ! I've met many bassist in my 30 years of playing who:
    - didn't know what kind of woods thier basses were made out of
    -didn't know how to adjust a truss rod (or even knew that there was one).
    -weren't aware that the string hieght could be changed.
    Sounds crazy to those of us in the know, but it's true. I think Fender basses are AWESOME! Leo Fender's creations have made my world a MUCH better place...Unfortunately, I've seen potential Fender players ( who obviously aren't set-up savvy)put an instrument back on the rack after playing 5 notes because it didn't play as easy as another lesser (in my opinion)brand in the store.