Fodera and f-Clef Basses The Real Deal

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

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  1. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    No, of course not. I'm rereading my post, and trying to see if I in some way implied that. I don't see it. Different topic for a different day, I guess.

  2. +1 Again, not dumping on the Fodera boys (although the FClef guy is 'interesting':eek:). It's kind of a 'tempest in a teapot', and per my earlier posts, if you dig any of these basses, they seem to all be quality instruments, similarities and minor differences aside!

    The topic you raised is an interesting one (i.e., can you be an artist and true to your craft and still run a business as a business should be run?), and I agree is a different discussion:)
  3. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    I never said Fclef and BW weren't the same. I posted regarding NYC and Fclef. There were some Fclefs with my preamp, and there were some without. To my knowledge there was no point made of telling people when mine ceased to be used and the other came into the picture. To be fair, I'm not sure George knew when it happened. So I GUARANTEE you that there are some Fclef owners out there that don't have a Pope preamp even though they think they do. My understanding was, and let me tell you the language barrier with the Japanese can grossly confuse things, that ALL the BW basses have always had Pope preamps. They just ordered some more from me, so I think this is true. Anyone who has a question is welcome to send a picture of their cavity (the bass's cavity only, thank you) to me and I'll verify which it is. First clue is that the ones without don't sound as good...that's according to me as well as all the people who called me complaining about the sound of the preamp, only to find out what the real deal was.

    I've made some preamps for the BW guys. I've build a lot of them. At least 200 pieces over the last few years. Maybe more...I'd have to look it up and the exact number isn't that important. So there are plenty of them out there and I know they were going in both the BW's and Fclefs for some time. I don't know when the Fclef thing changed but I think it had to do with the manufacturers having cash flow issues (i.e. not enough coming in fast enough to pay for what was being shipped) and wanting to reduce financial liability because mine was a lot more money. Didn't work out very well for me, but that's the way it goes. You can't expect the cream of the crop if you don't pay for it. My time goes into these and time is the one asset you can NEVER get back. There's always money out there.

    I wasn't in on these decisions and it took me some time to get to the bottom of what was going on myself. I don't spend time worrying about this stuff. I always have something pressing for my time, so not having to deal with building a bunch of preamps is just another opportunity for me to get something else done that I don't have time to do, because there is not enough time for me to do everything I do and I'm always behind with something. I'd have a clearer picture of this whole thing if I stayed right on top of it, but other people's business practices aren't my concern. If I find out someone's a shyster, I just stop doing business with them. I don't have room for bad energy in my life. I need a good reputation so I can keep moving forward instead of doing damage control for the past. Best way to have a good reputation is simply to earn it. This is a concept marketing people all over the world have been trying to find ways to reject for years now. There's a prevailing attitude that image and reality don't have to be the same and it seems to almost always prove to be a mistake. Not that I'm a conservative guy, I'm definitely socially very liberal, but conservative values like running your business so you make enough to run it without borrowing every month...being honest with your customers and selling quality products at fair price...never selling anyone something they don't want or need...recognizing that the your relationships with your customers is your greatest asset... hmmm..... interesting concepts. Increasingly rare.

    Anyway, to reiterate, Fclef and Bottom Wave were related for some period of time and are NOT all!!!!!!!!!

    NYC is a unique design built by hand NOT by the BW guys or in their factory.

    My preamps are in some of the Fclefs and all of the BW's.

    This is what I know. I'm not saying I know everything because this is obviously a multi-faceted issue. But this is about the best I think I can do.
  4. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Hey Mike thanks for all the info it is very interesting and helps debunk some of the myth here.

    I have a specific question for you or someone else who may know the answer.

    Are the guys you reference above who do the rough work on the Fodera NYC basses related to the guys building BW basses?
  5. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    I'm told no.
  6. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    Mike,thanks for the transparency and effort to communicate accurate info. For someone with your rep as a player and designer to stick his neck out on a public forum is proof enough for me that your info is correct. I have played F-clef and NYC bass's before (not side by side) and felt that there were some very minor differences but they were in the same family so to speak.
    thanks for the info again
  7. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Mike I don't mean to challenge you here but I am even more confused.....

    You stated in an earlier post of the guys who build the stuff in Japan for Fodera NYC "I know one of them personally".

    You have also said "I've made some preamps for the BW guys".

    Now you say that your "told no"

    They are either the same person or they are not why would you have to rely on what someone else is telling you?

    With respect - :DPete
  8. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    I bet there are more than a few guys in Japan. I've seen video.

    Seriously, why do you guys want to be the **** out of this issue? If you haven't purchased either bass, and have no intention of doing so, why do you care? There are certainly more important issues that you can devote this amount of energy to.
  9. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Regarding this issue, I don't think any question has even come up that really didn't regard George more than anything else. I've done buisness with him, cool guy for me but I can completely understand how we have this crazy situation that unfolded into this.

    Yet, I can't understand why the 'info' at the front of the topic isn't taken at face value and used to lug in other holes. There was obviously a coninciding period up front. There is obviously one other brand that REALLY makes it into the mix when you purchase the 'other' brand. Yet in between there is quite a bit and some peeps are calling into question the OPs and Popes statement? Hell, one said they were slightly different (the statements), and I didn't see that at all.

    One of the TB issues that has obviously made too much of an impression?
  10. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Sounds a little like a challenge, to be honest, :D but I take no offense. I want to be clear.

    I'm sorry, I didn't read this right the first time.

    There are two guys in a shop in Japan that build the NYC's. They use wood supplied by Fodera and have been trained by Joey and Vinny.

    There is another facility, and I don't know if it's a factory or a shop or what, in which the BW (and I think for a while the Fclef) basses are made. As I said before, there might have been some prototype NYC's made there at some point long ago, but they aren't now and haven't been recently.

    Fodera has a long standing relationship with Ven corporation and they are involved in all of this stuff. But they are not the entity that builds them. They are a distributor/retailer and in part manage the products. I guess if you want to say they "manufacture all of these instruments" you could, but it's like saying that GE produces Saturday Night Live and The Office just because some of their money is involved. So now it's just the same show with a different cast even though it's a different production company and studio, yada yada.

    I've sold preamps to Ven, and they've used them in various ways that I've not monitored. Maybe I should have, but they've never treated anyone wrong so far as I know, so I don't have reason to be anything other than accommodating.

  11. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Thanks Mike! I think it is very clear as to where Fodera fits in this puzzle and maybe as clear as it will ever be on the others.

    For others who just seemed to question my intent I say this:

    1. I was asking a simple question that is "what if any relation is there between BW and the guys that build for Fodera?". Mike answered that question to the best of his ability. Same type of info I want to know about Sadowsky Metro and Lakland Skyline. Basic stuff IMO...

    2. In this particular discussion are 3 instruments: Fodera NYC, BW & FClef. Each of these instruments retail in the neighborhood of $3000 if not more, to most that's real money and warrants research. I believe as an informed consumer I have every right to ask these types of questions and purchase or not a bass partly based on what I believe is important.

    I have played and considered purchasing two different Fodera NYC basses through the Groove Shop in the past. I recently
    purchased an Alleva-Coppolo which I love and before I spent $3000+ I did allot of research on Jimmy his philosophy on how and why he builds basses, where and how he aquires his materials and of course how other players feel about the basses and the builder.

    I don't want to open a can of worms but others have not been as up front as Mike has been on the Fodera NYC basses, if they were these discusions would never surface.
  12. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Absolutely right IMO.
  13. 78bass

    78bass Guest

    Jan 20, 2007
    Good job everyone!
    Sounds like we might be done here.
    Thank god.
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I really appreciate Mike Pope taking the time to talk to us. When you think about what a great player he is, and the work he has done on preamps, The Pontiff is pretty close to being the Les Paul of bass guitars. The fact that he takes the time to discuss with us is really an honor.
  15. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Thanks, I appreciate that. BTW, I meant to point out that all of the NYC basses get finished (not painted...but final assembly) in the Fodera shop in Brooklyn by Joey and Vinny et al. So they start there (wood selection) and they end there (final setup/assembly). It's not a marriage of economy as much as it's a marriage of efficiency in production.

    Also, a lot of what I know about Fclef and BW is NOT first hand so take that for what it is.
  16. 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
    This all makes sense now, thanks Mike for taking the time to clarify everything!
  17. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    To clarify this statement, I don't think the rate of production was up to my minimum order quantities. They were winding up sitting on my more expensive preamps too long, so they went to something they could get locally in smaller quantities based on my design. I don't believe they sound as good. Some agree with me and some don't. Maybe it's my sour grapes. :meh:
  18. thepontif


    Apr 24, 2004
    Designer Fodera Guitars/Michael Pope Design, Inc., Trickfish Amplification
    Oh...and to be totally fair, George and Fclef are no longer involved in any of this. They do have their own shop now and they make their own stuff as far as I know. I don't make the preamps for them and I don't think they say I do. I haven't played an Fclef bass recently so I don't have an opinion about them. I know George is a really great player and knows what a great bass is, so I imagine they're great. My intention isn't to slam George or Fclef here. His business is his own and he can run it how he wants to. The products are definitely strong...the older ones that I've played, that is.
  19. so what are these pres that are based on your design? are they made overseas or something? all the bottomwaves and fclefs ive seen advertise that they have pope pres in them.

    warning-thread hijack:D
    btw, i emailed you a couple weeks ago about the pope pre in my fodera finally taking a dump (makes a clicking sound that sounds like it cycles every 10 seconds are so in addition to demolishing 9 volts). should i call up fodera instead? im in cali so the price of shipping that bass fully insured to ny makes my head spin! thanks
  20. funkometer

    funkometer Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Birmingham AL
    Im curious on the pre too. From this thread Ive gathered 2 endorsers who have 'new' fclef's that supposedly have a 'pope' pre........
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