Fodera and f-Clef Basses The Real Deal

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Just Thumpin', Jan 23, 2009.

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  1. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (10/14/09 - 12/16/19)
    There has been a lot of confusion on TB for some time about the relationship between f-Clef Basses and Fodera, so, when I was at the Fodera shop this past Wednesday (getting one of my Monarch's adjusted) I asked Joey what the real deal is...

    This is all directly from him and hopefully will clear up some of the misinformation that crops up from time to time.

    1. Presently the ONLY relationship between Fodera and f-Clef is that f-Clef is a distributor of Fodera basses (I bought a Yin Yang through f-Clef in early 2008).

    2. The Fodera NYC basses and the f-Clef basses are NOT the same instruments and are not manufactured by the same people. The NYC bass is Fodera's own design and Vinny and Joey have been working on and refining it for 15 years.

    3. There was a period of time where Fodera was assembling the f-Clef basses for f-Clef because at that time f-Clef did not have their own shop...this is no longer going on.

    Hope this helps!
  2. I think #3 bothers me the most because I believe George from F Clef recently stated that FClef has always made their basses in their own shop (F Clef shop). It was in the most recent thread that came up. I could be wrong about that statement. I need to look that thread back up and see exactly how it was stated.
  3. +1... something still funny here.

    So, FClef and Fodera are separately making identical (as far I as I can tell) basses? Very strange:confused: I played a new FClef last night (the wonderful Detroit bassist and FClef Endorser Michael Harrington was over to my house, and had a new FClef 70's style J.. and man, it looked like the Fodera NYC in every possible way... same headstock, Pope pre, pickups, neck profile and neck heel design, etc., etc., etc.).

    Thumpin'... did you see a number of Fodera NYC's in production when you were there?
  4. I was incorrect in my statement. For clarification here is a quote from George from the previous thread. The sentence in bold is what I was referring to and I had thought it contained the words "have always" in there somewhere, but apparently not.

    Originally Posted by traviani
    Actually the website is quite clear. The basses are built my me in the United States from beginning to end.I do have assistance from master luthiers that choose to remain private.I will not disclose my employee list if that is what you are asking.
    Coppolas and Sadowsky are clear according to you, but I do wonder how can Fclef be unclear if you have not been to the shop and it is clearly an experience you have not had.Is that the confusion?

    All of us classic Jbass builders from coast to coast function in the same manner. Just because you have experienced two local companies in the industry should have no reflection on your opinion of Fclef.

    In addition the players on our roster lineup it speaks for itself as to our commitment to our clients and our integrity.
    The top names in the music industry play our basses.Look at the facts and stop assuming.The fruits of our labor is a clear reflection of who we are.

    The bottom line is in all businesses there are some levels of privacy due to the vast competition in the market, that is the normal course of business as you must know.

    Yes one of our facilities is in Florida
    We Build cut glue inlay design route our basses in the USA!

    In response to your earlier post,you stated"there is no reason to contact me".I totally disagree, after you have taken the time to post your concerns and inquiries and in a way question our integrity I would assume that if you are that concerned and you would want your questions addressed.You went to the others shops the least you can do is call me.
    I hope this clears things up for you and again feel free to contact me anytime.

    To all the guys: Please accept my apologies but I am a busy person and truly do not have the time for these posts, if any of you have any questions I am always reachable via phone.I build basses and cannot take time away from my business. So call me with questions I do not normally read the threads unless someone in the shop tells me about it.I am always available and happy to hear from players.

  5. That clears things up like a bucket full of mud:D

    I guess I don't really care, since I don't dig them much anyway:D

    It still seems like all these guys are dancin' around the truth a bit. I guess if you dig the basses, who cares. It personally leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.
  6. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    There could also be the fact the sometimes the paradigms shift before the information can catch up. Things change, manufacturers change, businesses change.
  7. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    I had a NYC, and had a Fclef to check out...................sorry, I'm not buying it.
    They are almost EXACTLY the same.
    I'm sure if someone copied Fodera's shape THAT much, Fodera wouldn't like it too much.
    Unless they are licensing some of the styling to fClef.
  8. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    They do look awfully similar....:eyebrow:
  9. When I was talking about clarification, I was referring to clearing up my previous statement.

    +1 on the "bucket of mud" comment
  10. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    So are we to understand that F-Clef and Fodera at one time had a relationship that had shared design concepts and now does not mike?
  11. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (10/14/09 - 12/16/19)
    I did not see any NYC's in production on this trip, but on previous visits I have often seen NYC's getting assembled, electronics installed, set-ups, etc.

    There is no question in my mind that Fodera NYC's are 100% as advertised...built from their wood by guys they (Joey and Vinny) have trained that work for Fodera's Japanese distributor and then shipped back to Fodera for final assembly and set-up.

    BTW, at NAMM I had a five minute conversation with the gentleman that works for Fodera's Japanese distributor that does the inlay of the butterfly on the headstock...his description of the Fodera NYC process is identical to that of Joey's.

    In my mind, if there is anything strange going on here, it isn't coming from Fodera....
  12. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    So far we have this:

    1 - Fodera NYC basses are NOT made by Vinnie and Joey in NYC, but in Japan.
    2 - Fodera NYC basses were developed many years ago, then the design was copied by other manufacturers, just like so many builders copy Fender.
    3 - FClef sells Fodera, just like Bass Central or The Groove Shop sells them.
    4 - If you like it and have the cash, go for it, if not, buy something else.

    Very simple, actually...
  13. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    You left out on simple thing.....
    FClef sells the EXACT same design, down to some of the smallest details, just like so many who copy Fender, but yet sells NYC's as well..........conflict of interest??? Fodera doesn't think so- But Fender does when their design was copied.

    I suspect there is some licensing thing going on.
    You don't copy a body EXACTLY like the company you are selling and have them be OK with it.
  14. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    I think there is licensing going on also but maybe part of the deal is not talking about it but i think it's funny if they thought nobody would notice
  15. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Nah, not even that...

    I could swear that it's more like:

    George: "Hey Vinnie, hey Joe. What's up?"
    Vinnie: "Not much, we're having some dudes in Japan build a few bolt-ons for us. We're calling it NYC basses, here's the prototype."
    George: "Cool design, can I have some shipped to me and put my logo on them?"
    Vinnie: "Yeah, who cares... Wanna a beer?"
    jonno1707 likes this.
  16. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    You know it seems to me that most of this mess is because of Fclef. But because of a commonly accepted opinion that Fodera is running that show in some way, Fodera is getting dragged through the mud. So I'll tell you what I know, candidly.

    NYC basses are made in Japan in a small shop by two guys who have been trained by Joey and Vinny. I know one of them personally. I met him at the shop in NY once when I was there. The basses are hand built. There's no CNC. The top woods, neck woods/fingerboards, and I THINK the body woods are shipped over from Fodera's aged stock. The fingerboards are even slotted by Fodera first. This shop never made Fclef basses. The Fclef bass and the NYC bass were never made side by side except possibly for a few prototype 5's that were discontinued. They are NOT the same design. The NYC is a Vinny Fodera design and has NEVER BEEN REBRANDED UNDER ANY NAME BY ANYONE WITH FODERA'S AUTHORIZATION. Any of you who have played or seen NYC's that were exactly like Fclefs were either playing unauthorized NYC's or unauthorized Fclefs...counterfeits. I don't know why that would be, but people have done stupider things. i.e. picking Sarah Palin as a running mate.

    The guys in the shop in Japan use many of the same machines to build the basses that Fodera uses and they are built by the same processes that Vinny and Joey use. They are real craftsmen. Japan is NOT CHINA. You guys need to understand that. Japan is much more like the US than China from the standpoint of craftsmanship. This is not cookie cutter crap. These are nice basses. The preamps in a lot of them are based on my design, but they are not my products. I'm building a new preamp for the NYC's that will show up shortly which will vastly improve their performance sonically.

    I believe there was some relationship between Fclef and BW at some point but that's most definitely over. Fclef is on their own. I do know of some people who told me that Fclef was telling people my preamp was in them when in fact that was not true. I don't know if that's accurate or not, but I heard it from multiple sources. Not making a conclusion on that one.

    Guys...this is fact. Please don't argue with me. I went to Joey and told him what was going on here and he authorized me to lay it on the line for everyone who wants to know the real poop. I have a reputation in the industry as a player and as a designer. I seriously know my stuff in both areas. I've worked REALLY, REALLY hard to get the skills I have to do the gigs I have and design the stuff I've designed and to earn the respect of the people who respect me. I don't take it lightly and I certainly don't want to taint that by bu!!sh!ting my peers/fans/mentors.

    If you're one of the ones who has had an experience that you feel somehow debunks what I've said then I'm sorry. In the world of custom, hand made basses things just don't always happen the same way every time, all the time. There could be an exception or two. I may not be able to explain every possible permutation of the NYC bass, but I can tell you without a doubt how things have been being run over the course of the last couple years, and how they're being run now. You'd probably be better served to question the validity of your personal source (which I believe is often just popular opinion, the source of which is vague and circumstantial at best) than to question me.

    Please, for God's sake, just let this go. Fodera is NOT trying to screw or mislead anyone. They're just two aging meatballs building basses on 34th St. and IMO they make the best basses in the world, hands down. Believe me, I'd have an easier time with my career as a Yamaha endorser. But that'll never happen.
  17. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    Thanks Mike... that certainly clears it up and stop people from speculating. :smug:
  18. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (10/14/09 - 12/16/19)
    Thanks Mike. I was hoping to set the record straight with my initial post, but your reputation carries a heck of a lot more weight! Cheers.
    MSIMSBASS likes this.
  19. funkometer

    funkometer Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Birmingham AL
    Yes,very muddy. Why is fclef telling their endorsers that their basses have the pope pre?

  20. black.rose1402


    Jan 10, 2007
    One thing comes in y mind.
    why all this mess about fodera??
    everybody seems to try to find that they are screwing their consumers and stuff.
    I f you wanna buy a fodera nyc and you like it, go for it. simple as that.
    same if you wanna buy a fclef bass, do it and give us your opinion about your instruments and that's it.
    I t seems that since fodera is an expensive bass maker, a lot of guys are now trying to break their rep with some stories.
    when , you buy a bass, you buy it because you like it sonically and aesthetically.period.
    if you have the money, fine. if not, do what I did, sell stuff and save money and buy the bass you want.
    but al these stories are in my opinion meaningless.
    especially since a lot of guys who talk about fodera nyc basses and fclef don't even own one or them.
    MSIMSBASS likes this.

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