Fodera and f-Clef Basses The Real Deal

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

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  1. mstott25


    Aug 26, 2005
    Guntersville, AL
    Whoa. Why doesn't god ever show up like this?
  2. Even though Mike's information is somewhat different from what Joey just told you at the shop :smug::ninja::bag: (no offense to Mike... I'm convinced he is communicating information that he believes is true, or is actually true.. who knows).

    I agree though... dead horse. If someone likes one of these, then buy one and be happy. It still smells to me, but I would agree that the smell seems to be coming from the FClef 'shop'.

    I don't think anyone is picking on Fodera. If all of a sudden, the Sadowsky owners saw another brand of bass that looked identical to the Sadowsky bass, with the same hardware, design, look, etc., and Roger never came out and said anything about it, and the pricing was quite different, I would guess that would also generate some 'interesting' discussion (much less the three brands that seem virtually identical here)!
  3. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    I would say that is dead on!

    Are these guys that Vinny has trained in Japan his distributor / assembler the same guys making BW basses? I am sorry I didn't quite connect the dots.

    We do know that these BW guys were making F clef basses at one point, evidence in a previous thread where a TB has pictures of his F Clef stamped BW on the neck heel.
  4. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I don't really understand why this is an issue at all. I haven't been following it closely, so maybe I'm missing something. What I do know is that if Mike Pope puts his rep on the line, and says it's on the up and up---then it's on the up and up.

  5. :smug:

    Again, I have no dog in this hunt, but as some know, I enjoy not only discussing instruments and amps, but also manufacturing techniques, business strategy, business transparency, and brand execution. This is one for the textbooks IMO!
  6. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Thank you for clearing that up.
    I've owned a few Fodera basses and I would agree, they are pretty much the top of the "heap" if you will!

    I didn't get the impression from this thread that anyone was knocking Fodera at all.
    Just that if something was going on, no one mentioned it. And to be honest, IF there was (and you say there isn't) it's really no one's business what arrangements are made.

    All we have to go on is your word, and word of others.
    Your reputation as a player and designer was never brought up- neither was your status in this industry. But thank you for clearing that up in case anyone did.

    I'll question the "validity" of my personal source- I've questioned myself in the past, this will be no different!;).

    I owned a NYC 5- nice bass. Real nice bass.
    I also had a chance to play an FClef endorsee's bass.

    So, one of these is true:
    1- I'm a liar, they were not similar and I'm just bu!!$hitting- which if I am, that means anyone who posted in this thread could be as well.
    I have a pretty good reputation- albeit, not like yours, but none-the-less, I wouldn't want the small little bit I have tainted either. Reputation doesn't make someone exempt from that club.
    2- One of them was a "copy"- which I highly doubt.
    3- it was a very early example of NYC, or the same with the FClef- which could explain why the bodies were frighteningly similar, as was the neck- minus the headstock (I'll give the neck- I've played too many basses where the necks were so close, it would be hard to tell the difference sometimes)

    I'll take door #3. I do believe this was one of the first NYC's to come rolling out at the time. So, maybe there was a little "cross pollination" between the two at first.

    I'll take you for your word. Fodera has zip to do with FClef.
    That pretty much ends this whole debate for me.
  7. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Ken, I didn't contradict anything in the original post as far as I can tell.

    The BW guys never made the NYC's except possibly for a few prototype 5's that never went to production. They're not the same instruments. I thought I was clear on that. "Seems like" doesn't mean a whole lot. I could show you a CNC knock off of any hand made bass and you may say it seems like it's an original. I know it's a cliche, but things just aren't always as they seem. I think we need to wax simple instead of continuing to embrace some convoluted conspiracy theory. In my life I've found that the simple explanation is almost always the right one.
  8. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    I was just driving home the fact that I don't take what I say here lightly.

    Dude, I would never accuse anyone here of lying. I'm just suggesting that some sources are more reliable than others and I think my information is good. Joey and I have a long relationship. We've shared personal information...he and Vinny were at my wedding. I don't believe he's lying to me.

  9. Again, if a buyer digs the bass (Bottomwave, Fclef, Fodera NYC, whatever), then it's all good. This obviously has nothing to do with the quality of the instruments, etc.

    I guess all I can say is I again just played a new Fclef, and recently played a relatively recent Fodera NYC, and I couldn't tell any difference between the two myself. I agree, that doesn't mean there aren't any, or that the same person or shop made them or didn't make them. It just seems totally strange to me!
  10. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Okay, this is the part that doesn't make sense. I've seen numerous Fclefs, and numerous NYC's. They are without a doubt the same design. For anyone out there that hasn't seen both of these basses and is thinking that we are all crazy because "they are all jazz basses, so of course it's the same design" it goes much further than that. I'm talking about EVERY small detail - the neck profile, headstock shape, heel carving, electronics layout, body detailing, hardware, and preamp. They also sound exactly the same. So, according to Mike Pope, if this is the case, then the several examples of Fclefs that I've played must be counterfeits, or the several examples of NYC's must be counterfeits. (As well as all the other guys that have played both.) I would HAVE to think that at some point the Fodera and Fclef guys have seen each other's basses at a NAMM show or something and would know that this is the same design. Even if they didn't, you can just look at pics and be able to tell that these basses look very similar - enough so that if I was the builder of one of them I would want to find out why there's someone out there copying my design. However, there doesn't seem to be any beef between Fodera and Fclef at all - Fclef is an authorized Fodera dealer, and at some point in the past there was an Fclef and NYC prototype built side by side.

    Here's my theory on what happened, based purely on my opinion and what I've seen when checking out these basses and what I've read from both Fclef and Mike Pope here on TB. I think Fodera designed these basses, and then licensed that design to Fclef and/or BW, but didn't license the use of the Fodera name. Maybe at some point, the licensing agreement expired so there is no financial connection between the companies anymore. Maybe Fclef made a slight change to the design so it would legally be their own, but everything else is still the same.
  11. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Sorry about that Mike, my point was that there are guys here who have never heard of you and would take Nikki Sixx's word on basses and amps over yours any day of the week and would think Chick Corea is a female rapper from the far East.

    Not a slam, but just the reality of the relative vastness of the music industry, and the chosen genre that you have made such a dent in.

    Never doubted that the information you placed out here is not valid at all.
    Right from Vinny's mouth through you is pretty much as good as it gets on all things Fodera.
    Never meant to imply that Vinny is lying.
    My personal apology if I did.

    All I can do is trust my personal experience, about as good of a source as I can find.
  12. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Just let this go guys...

    At least now we know for sure where the NYC's are made.
    It doesn't seem that we're getting more info than it's already posted here, and I don't think the FClef guy will be any helpful on this, so...
  13. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    Ken, I can dig what you're saying about business strategies, but the best craftsmen don't always make the best businessmen. As for me, the normal expectations go out the window when dealing with high end, hand made instruments. I've had a lot of little snags when going custom---missed deadlines, accidental router slips, missed price points, etc--but in the end, I'm glad that the builder was focused more on what he was building than how it fit into his business model. A more business minded person would have rushed the basses out the door, used wood filler to cover the route and skimped on the hardware to meet the price point.

    I know some people have problems with the way Fodera operates, but, generally, those who put aside these differences, are very pleased in the end. Plus, I doubt that Fodera intentionally lies to customers or otherwise tries to take advantage of them. There are other builders who have long delays and other problems, but it seems that people accept it since they aren't as high priced--or aren't as well known.

    Roger Sadowsky said, in the past, that the day that he lets the bean counters come in and tell him how to run his business, is the day he stops building instruments (or something like that). I'd take that a step further and say that the day that my favorite builders allow the bean counters to influence their decisions is the day that I stop buying their instruments. One reason that I like dealing with smaller builders is that they are...welll, small builders. For my money, I'd rather support an absent minded artisan who is constantly trying to refine their vision than a publically traded, faceless corporation....with a good business plan.

    I guess I got a bit off topic......

  14. +1, and a totally different issue, I agree:D To me, very little of the above matters. I play basses that speak to me, and that are well made and honestly marketed. If a bass is great, who cares (although business honesty is important to me, and there are companies I choose to not do business with, even though I like their products).

    I guess I would just say that I wouldn't confuse good customer service, accurate delivery times, consistent product, honest marketing and advertizing, etc. with 'the bean counters taking over'. IMO!
  15. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I admit that I have never seen an Fclef bass in person and only two Fodera NYC basses, but going by what I see on the Fclef and Fodera websites, Fclef and Fodera NYC do not look alike to me. The NYC basses have a 3+2 headstock and they do not have their controls going in 60 degree straight line like most jazz basses while the Fclefs either go at that straight angle throughm the wood or they are arranged at that angle in a control plate like a Fender or an RV or UV series Sadowsky. The Fclefs also have a 4+1 headstock which looks closer to a Lull or Sadowsky than a NYC Fodera. From what see, I would have no problem picking which is which.
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Here is an F Clef demo clip:

    They do not look alike to me.
  17. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    The early ones did.
    Especially the FClef without the pick guards.

    Now, thy look a bit different
  18. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Just to give this whole discussion some symmetry, are there any pictures out there that anyone knows of in which we can see, side by side, the Fclef and NYC's in question? I'm not "challenging" here. There's clearly a credible reason why guys like Ken are saying that these basses are the same and I'd like to get to the bottom of it as much as anyone else. I'm not a gear hound so I don't stay way ahead of this kind of stuff. Hell, I only own one bass. Been that way for years.

    Off the subject, my partner David Yates just bought a fretless Emperor 5 at NAMM. Ash and Ebony. The best fretless I've ever played. Stunning! Even as all heck, as little or as much mwah as you want just from your touch...punch for days...growl if you want it too. Everything you want a fretless to do and only when you ask for it. For me, the perfect fretless. I'm totally jealous. I rarely play fretless, but I think I will on the next project...if I can get away from preamps long enough to do one....
  19. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    The relationship may be over now but my Fclef was a Bottom Wave MB5. I took pictures of the neck pocket in which was stamped BW MB5. I received this bass somewhere around Feb.-March of '08. Also, George at Fclef did indeed tell me that the pre-amp in the bass was a 2 band Pope pre-amp. This was advertised on his website for some time as well.
  20. funkometer

    funkometer Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Birmingham AL
    Sean Ray,an Fclef endorser also states his fclefs have a 'pope' pre as well.......
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 27, 2021

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