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Fodera vs other high end basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lotusland9663, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. lotusland9663

    lotusland9663 Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Vancouver BC Canada
    I've been a semi-pro/amateur bassist for decades. As I near the end of my playing career I wonder what it would be like to own a really high end bass like a Fodera.

    For those of you who have owned or own a Fodera and have had other high end basses , Sadowsky, Lull, AC, Kinal, Elrick, Fender Custom etc. etc. is the price difference worth it?

    I'm more interested in your opinion regarding playability, sound, tonal variety, reliability - the day to day practical aspects of the instrument rather than resale value, collectibility, status or other considerations not related to a working instrument.

    I've been looking at some instruments on TB. It seem I can get a used Emperor Standard or Elite 5 for under $5K. Worth it vs the Sadowsky MV5 or Kinal 5 MK21 or Fender American Standard 5 or Elrick Platinum 6 I currently own??

    Thanks in advance for your input.
  2. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    I've owned Sadowsky and Fodera, and currently use Roscoe.

    For me the bottom line is playability and the overall user experience, which is something you just have to experience first-hand. No words will convey that experience. Had I never played any of these makes I'd probably be obliviously content with my Fenders...
  3. SRFSterling5


    Sep 24, 2011
    My first venture into high end instruments came about 3 years ago after doing the parts bass thing. I must admit, I am no guitar maker and could never get the fit and finish. The closest I came to a Fender was a Music Man Sterling 5 HS. For me the fit and finish was incredible but the sound was not what I was looking for. Got a Smith after that. Incredible construction, again not the tone that I really liked. Right now I have an FBass BN5 and a Fodera Emperor 5 Standard. Both feel entirely different and are tonally different but the Fodera just feels right, a little more so than the Fbass. Tonally I like both of them and quality wise both are excellent. I must say that the Standard Foderas fit a wide variety of musical genres. One thing is for sure, I still love everything about it, so much so that I ordered a custom. IMO, I think they are worth every penny. Plus, customer service is great too. What you get more of when going to a high end instrument are options and more attention to detail.
  4. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    I have owned dozens of high end basses including Sadowsky USA, Spector USA, MTD USA, Dingwall, Benavente, etc, etc. I have also played (not owned) Nordy, Alleva Coppolo, Smith, FBass, Pavel, Elrick, etc...

    In any case, the Emperor 5 Standard changed things for me and I now have 2 custom Foderas on order and have no real interest in acquiring other basses. Why? Playability/ergonomics, versatility, insane attention to detail and construction, ability to customize basically everything, incredible customer service and of course, amazing tone.

    Are they for everyone? Nope. High cost aside, some people will prefer the old school Jazz tone of a vintage Fender or AC, the modern tone of a Sadowsky, the growl of a Spector, the uniqueness of a Smith, Wal, Stingray or RIC, the familiar tone/feel of a Precision, etc.

    In any case, I think "worth" is a subjective term also. Is having a $8000 bass worth more to me than having 4 $2000 basses and constant GAS? Yup.

    Y'MMV but I would never buy a high end bass like a Fodera without doing my research and playing a few of them.
  5. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    If you can afford to treat yourself to a custom made Fodera..do it. Just be sure to order what you love. I made the mistake of ordering a 5 string for my 50th birthday..I realized after receiving it that I am a 4 stringer and could not get comfortable with the 5. I have since sold it. With that said..the bass was a work of art from top to bottom and sounded amazing. I do have a 4 string Monarch and it is an amazing instrument. My main go to bass is a Nash Precision bass with Dimarzio pickups...
  6. I think you would be equally happy or maybe more than happy with something thousands cheaper than a Fodera. Its been discussed at length..those that can rationalize the insanity that is a Fodera bass do...Im in the othet group that thinks they are overly inflated . If having a pretty butterfly with folks to gawk at is your thing..have at it...but again you can get equal performance for thousands cheaper.
  7. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    I think if you stuck with it this many years, and you can afford it, you deserve a custom built guitar to your exacting specs. You deserve to drive a Mercedes.
  8. SRFSterling5


    Sep 24, 2011
    Never tried a Fodera before I got mine. Did a lot of research and when I actually got it my hands it just
    felt right. Funny thing is I have small hands and it has the widest neck of all my basses, but is the most
    comfortable to play. Go figure. GAS only goes into remission but is never curable.
  9. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    They're really nice! I don't have one but I've played a lot of them. You have some nice high end basses (Kinal, Sadowsky, Elrick) and that may be all you need, but if you would like to try one, why not?:bassist:
  10. wellso74

    wellso74 Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2010
    Bucksport, Maine
    I really like my Fbasses I have a BN6 and a VF5- I can depend on them to sit in the mix well- both in the studio or live- and they feel awesome!! I'm not a modern sounding player- Pbass and Jazz basses are my tonal foundation- and both the Fbass give a variety of shades of classic! I highly recommend trying one out! If I was to have only one it would be a BN model. but if you are strictly OLD SCHOOL the VF5 is wonderful
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    ... define "worth it."

    I own Foderas, Sadowskys, Laklands, a Drozd, an F Bass, a LeCompte and have owned Roscoe, Pedulla, MTD and Zon basses. One of my Foderas cost about double what most of the other basses cost, but the build quality, playability, and sound quality of them are approximately the same (they sound different from each other, but it's a matter of tone character, not quality). When you reach into that price range, the quality has to be there or the company will go out of business.

    With few exceptions, one of the things that comes with basses of that quality is superb customer service. Most of the luthiers I mentioned will take care of any problems that may arise out of something other than misuse.

    Only you can say whether a high-end bass is worth it to you. If you have the financial wherewithal, there is a certain type of pleasure that comes with playing a high-end bass. How much do you want to pay for that? It's up to you.
  12. scubaduba

    scubaduba Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Never owned a Fodera... but I've played several. For me they weren't enough to justify the price tag. Again, that is for me. Only you can decide what's best for you. My perspective on comparing the Foderas to others comes from the vast array of high end basses I've owned in the past including:
    Two Smiths
    3 Tobias Basses
    3 MTD Basses
    Two Pedulla's
    Three Roscoes
    One Sadowsky
    Two FBasses
  13. pbass6811

    pbass6811 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Indy, IN
    I'd agree with this...

    I've owned USA MTD's, USA Spectors(& Euro Spectors), Roscoes, a Pedulla PentaBuzz, Modulus, and German Warwicks(Thumbs & Streamers). For me, it was about playability and the user experience. They were all fantastic basses and I'm glad I had the chance to own them and gig them. I was able to discover that although they were all awesome instruments, they didn't always lend themselves to the music I was playing at the time, so I didn't keep them. Some I miss more than others, but there was no denying that, in the correct setting, each of those basses would be perfect!

    I do also believe that each of those basses was better constructed than my current USA Fender and my Stingray, not that the Jazz and the 'Ray are crap, but some of the details were just better on the high end stuff. Having said all that, it is also time for me to move on to the two manufacturers that I've been GASsing on for years, Sadowsky & Fodera!

    If you want a Fodera and you have the means to get one, go for it...:bassist:
  14. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    Fair comment, but to put it in perspective, the vast majority of Timex customers likely can't "rationalize the insanity" of buying a Rolex any more than most Kia customers can understand someone buying a Bentley. There are many very wealthy people happily wearing Timex watches and driving Kias. To each their own.

    I think your "gawking" comment is funny as is thinking a Fodera or other similarly priced boutique basses are status symbols out in the real world. Beyond TB and a small handful of musicians, NOBODY knows what a Fodera is. I have played dozens of gigs with a Fodera and beyond comments about how good it sounded and the rare comment about how it looks kinda cool, not one other musician or audience member knew what brand it was or had a clue to how much it cost. Generally the same deal when I had my Roscoes, MTD USA, Sadowskys, Spector, etc. My 70's Fenders generate more interest by far.

    Again, to each their own.
    Suatie likes this.
  15. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Interesting, we're 15 posts into the thread and every top end bass has been mentioned except Alembic. That's the brand that I associate most with Fodera. I don't own a Fodera but have always wanted one. I say go for it. You might want to buy used at first to kind of see what it's all about the move on to a custom build if you really like it.
  16. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.

    I bought (and sold) my Fodera years before Talkbass existed. Played it for a year or so, on gigs several times a week. Only 3 or 4 people ever remarked about or noticed it, and of those that noticed, 2 of them asked where my Fender was. :ninja:
  17. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    Middletown, NY
    I ordered a custom because I wanted to be cool. I should have it in a few months.
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  18. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Sorry to be such a quibbler, but I just don't regard all those makes as "high end". They're all definitely on the high side of middle quality, at least. But IMO, Sadowsky, Mike Lull and Fender Custom Shop simply don't make it to the elite level - despite their often hefty price tags.

    High end: Alembic, Fodera, Smith, F Bass, MTD, Elrick, Ritter, Bordwell, Roscoe, Skjold, Zon, etc.

  19. pnchad

    pnchad Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2005
    you really can't lose much - if you keep it for 20 yrs you'll make a profit

    if you sell it in a year you might lose $500 and consider it a rental haha

    I'm 58 and own about 18 high-end basses & 3 DBs + EUBs etc etc

    for 30 yrs played pro with 1 maybe 2 basses at one time - all worth under $500

    we deserve it
  20. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    If a Fodera is what you think you want and it will not cause financial heartache I would do as suggested play them as much as possible before do the research and go for it. We only live once and it could give you the everyday inspiration to take your enjoyment, practicing, gigging to the next level and maybe you will regret if you never do it. I can get anywhere I need to in a Chevy but I absolutely love every time I turn the key of my Mercedes it’s a thrill every time I came from humble beginnings and I worked hard for it. It’s worth it in every sense, reliability, customer service, thrill of driving, safety for my family I do not regret it ever.

    That being said I have played only one Fodera and was truly blown away by the attention to detail and construction but the tone or voice did not speak to me in any way I felt pretty flat about that part. I wanted one terribly but that has gone for me. I cannot think of one tone of any bass players that I absolutely love that is a Fodera. That school of players even the well-known like Victor and Anthony Wellington I admire so much in their dedication to the craft and their musical knowledge but again I never heard them once play a Fodera and thought wow man I need to cop that tone they just sound flat to me without much character but of course this is my opinion and I see no wrong in anyone thinking the complete opposite. I’ll take my Mike Lull, Modulus, Lakland, Warwicks and Spectors any day but that’s just me. All this of course could change I always remain open minded and will keep my ears and hands open to try another or listen to one that does it for me but it’s not likely. I just heard Pino play an old P bass with Nine Inch Nails the other day and his tone and where it sat in the mix did more for my head than all the Foderas I have ever heard combined it truly is the wizard not so much the wand.

    One thing I do suggest is go to a high end shop where you can in the same day on the same amps play as many high end basses as possible to compare. For me a USA Fender doesn’t do it for me I am not a headstock snob I owned many of them but moved them all. I have in general had to or at least up until now had to spend as much as needed to get the basses I own to get “that tone and feel” I think I deserve and have earned. FWIW