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Godin Freeway 4 vs. Fender MIM Standard P

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by debaser, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. debaser


    Jun 11, 2005

    I've been reading up on this forum to help me in my hunt for a first bass (I play some guitar as well, strictly a bedroom player). There's lots of very helpful info on this site that's really been great in leading me to not have to rely 100% on the salespeople that I deal with.

    I went and played a bunch of basses this weekend (including a MIM Jazz and some Ibanez's), limiting myself pricewise, and the two that stuck out the most were the Mexican P-Bass and the Godin Freeway, which while not a direct clone of a P/J bass, has pickups in the P/J style.

    My feelings were that I preferred the sound of the Godin in general, primarily the crisp sound of the lower notes that sounded a bit muddy on the Mexican P (was this due to a sub-par pickup?). However, the P was more comfortable mainly due to familiarity with the neck (which feels a lot like my Strat's neck).

    So my question - which seems like a better option? I've seen very little discussion of Godin's on here, mainly due to it being a smaller company I suppose. Build quality seemed immaculate and the action was great on the Godin, a little less so on the P-Bass. Both were priced the same.

    Thanks for any advice!

    (Step 2 - what size amp for mainly bedroom playing with the occasional need to play over drums? Finances and portability are issues, so smallest size with good tone at a good price is what I seek)
  2. kazuhank


    Nov 12, 2002
    Portland, OR
    I would generally take feel over sound in this case since you could easily upgrade the pickup (an SD 1/4 pounder would add lots of crisp to the p). It sounds like you found a good feeling Mexi P, with which most people end up upgrading the p/us.

    I agree that Godin is a great company with excellent consistency. I used to work at a shop that sold both basses, and both are viable options. On one hand, the Godin is made in US/Canada and the Fender is an import. On the other, the Fender will have a better resale down the road.

    if upgrading the p/u is out of your option, go for the Godin, if not grab the Fender. I think you'll be happy with either option. Good Luck!
  3. I seriously dislike Fender and have been boycotting their products for 6 years now..............but I'm gonna have to tell ya that the MIM P is probably the better choice.

    I dinked around with the Godin Freeway for about 20 minutes when I was debating on grabbing a nice Tigerburst Peavey Millenium at a local store. There was also a MIM Jazz bass on hand with which I also compared to.

    The Godin was a very nice bass, it looked great and was light, but it didn't feel solid. You know how you pick up certain instruments, and they just feel like they were carved out of petrified wood, and no matter how hard you picked, plucked, or thrashed, it would only growl harder and always stay in tune? To me, the Godin felt like a temperamental beast whose truss rod would go out of whack by looking at it.

    Plus the output of the pickups couldn't compare to either the Jazz or the Millenium. I was expecting a bright edgy tone, what with all the maple on board. Didn't happen. Very dull, shapless tone. But that's my opinion, from what I see, you dug the tone of the Godin.

    Go for feel man. Tone is variable and ever-changing, but when an instrument feels right, you will always create, dispite of tone.
  4. Paul182


    May 18, 2005
    I've only played a couple of Godins and I'm not sure if I played the Freeway. They're all right but don't compare to Fenders. :cool:
  5. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Well, now that the Freeways come active, I'd go for one of those. They are very balanced and have flammed tops and solid color options. The sound is very warm. Thinkin' of getting a five. :)
  6. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm with kazuhank on this one. Though personally I'm partial to Godin (the little Canadian company that could--and did!) if you dig the feel of the Mex P bass; then that's the one for you. Pickups are always upgradeable (bridges as well). I suppose the only hitch is that to really get some tonal versatility, you'd want to have that J pickup in the bridge and to get that with the P-bass, you'd have to do some routing which really isn't worth it. And agreed, even if Godin makes a superior bass, the Mex P will have better resale value (but hey, that's not what yr buying it for, right?).

    As for yr bedroom/drummer friendly amp inquiry, if yr going new, I'd say the Behringer BX 1200 (just under $200) has pretty good bang for the buck. If yr going used, any of the old Carvin PB series combos. Good luck!

  7. CetiAlphaVI


    May 27, 2005
    I have had a Godin SD4 p/j Actives for the past 4 years, and the action is still scary low, and after initial setup, I have never had to adjust the truss rod again. I also own 2 Godin guitars, and think very highly of Godin build quality.

    If you ever want to get sell it, more people would buy a Fender, so you will either have a harder time getting rid of the Freeway, or sell it cheaper than you would like.

    You mention this is your first bass. Go with the one that feels better. - the Mex P-bass
  8. I would go with the Godin, they are superb and are way better than fenders in the long run.

    Also, godin makes some mean guitars if you ever wanna upgrade your strat.
  9. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    Contrary to what has been said, I find the Freeway to have very high output, especially my J pup thats blows stuff trough walls (ok I admit that this means that the P pickup is unbalanced, sounds weaker), but anyway, strung trough-body (another bonus, goodbye grouding problems) with the right strings this bass smokes, I wont say it smokes Fenders, because I've caught some good stuff from them even from Squier lately! But definitily a valid alternative option. Personally I've found slinkies to give this bass a very good sound, currently I'm trying Fender nickelplated strings and I'm underwhelmed. Still the bass has an uncommon voice, ppl have asked from time to time if it was active.
  10. debaser


    Jun 11, 2005
    Thanks for the tips guys!

    It's hard to find people with experience on Godin's, even around here (I live minutes from their HQ). Guess that speaks to their prevalence as compared with Fender's.

    I did find that I really liked the Godin J pickup, particularly after trying the MIM Jazz which had a comparatively "empty" sounding tone (at least with a pick). However, good resale may be a good backup given that my tastes might change once I learn to play, so perhaps I should shy away from the Godin.

    Given the cost of upgrading a P-Bass's pickup, would I possibly be better off trying to save the extra cash for a Deluxe P-Bass Special? (that's the MIM P-Bass with a J-shaped neck and a J pickup in the bridge, both pickups being vintage noiseless pickups) It's about $150 more than a standard, but upgrading the standard pickup would cost at least half that difference to begin with. Of course, at that price difference, the Godin with the same pickup configuration looks more appealing...

    I guess that I still have some thinking to do...a part of me worries about the restrictiveness of only one pickup, which may be partly due to the fact that I certainly use all 3 pickups on my Strat, so 1 just sounds weird.
  11. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    godin > fender.

    Mainly the Sd's though, not fond of the freeways.
  12. CetiAlphaVI


    May 27, 2005
    Well, have you played the P-Bass with the J-shaped neck? It's different than a P neck. If you've played the J-neck, decide which one feels better. If you like the standard P but want to tweak tone, you can always buy an eq pedal later. (Used TE SM7 Eq's give you three different tone options, and are less than the price of a new pickup.)
  13. philthygeezer


    May 22, 2002
    The Godins are better - made.
  14. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I like my Freeway. Nice tone, light, and very playable. It is very well constructed and makes for a great backup bass. I used it a punk gig a short while ago and the band loved it. I played it through an old Sunn amp and boy did it sound warm and big!
  15. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    You know, I had thought of suggesting checking out the New Mex P-Bass Special especially now that they have those noiseless PJ pickups (old US Deluxe line leftovers, basically). However, I thought $$$ might be an issue. It had not occurred to me that there would only be a $150 price difference¬ónot bad at all, actually. I've tried out the older ones and thought they were fine. With the pickup upgrade, the new P-Specials are probably pretty good. Hunt one down and see what you think.

  16. Paul182


    May 18, 2005
    Yeah Godins are good backups to Fenders :spit: :D
  17. I have a freeway five and the quality is far superior to the Fender. neck feels great. i replaced pups with barts but not sure I had to.

    I say go Godin. Canada is cool.
  18. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    My first bass was a Freeway 4. I bought it instead of a MIM Jazz.

    I traded it for a MIA American Precision which I love, but I kinda miss the Freeway.

    One thing on playability is that the Godin has a narrower neck (1.5" nut vs. the Fender's 1.625"). The bridge also has narrower spacing than the Fender.

    If you slap a lot, you may like the extra room that the Fender affords. If you're mainly a fingerstyle player, I think the Godin is a terrific choice.

    It definitely has more tonal variations because of the two pickups than the Precision.

    If you're going to keep it for a while and do upgrades etc., there are more aftermarket parts for the Fender than the Godin.

    The Godin has a bit of exclusivity going for it. Precision basses are like belly-buttons, everybody has one.

    String choice is key with the Godin. It comes stock with D'Addarios med-lights (which I don't like) giving it a tone full of harmonics, but sort of indistinct and moaning sound.

    You can get more fundamentals in the notes if you were to put Fender strings on it, or as I did, Dean Markleys.

    Anyway I'm biased towards the Godin. I have a BG-5 which is a terrific active five-string. It's a one-axe does all sort of guitar. I think the Freeway 4 is a bit like that too. It gives you more options than the Precision.
  19. debaser


    Jun 11, 2005
    I have been going to various music stores, playing a large variety of basses, and this is what it has come down to:

    1) Don't like the feel of the MIM Fender P-Bass as much now as I did on first contact. This is partially due to their inconsistency - I liked that first one I tried, but none since.

    2) The other (non-"standard") MIM Fenders that I tried felt great (the Deluxe P Special and the Zone) - their necks were much better finished than the standard series. The Zone sounded wonderful to my ears, just pricey. The P Special wasn't working properly (don't know what it was, but it had been in demo for 2 years at the store). I suspect that the P Special would sound quite similar to the Zone if working - and I prefer the P's heavier weight.

    3) Every Godin that I pick up seems immaculately constructed compared to the Fenders. The passive Freeways just don't have that deep, rich P-Bass sound out of their P pickup though. The active Freeways both feel and sound wonderful.

    4) I tried a Highway 1 P-Bass as a point of reference. That American neck felt fantastic, and the whole instrument just felt far more solid than the MIM P-Bass.

    5) Comments on some other brands - Shecter's seem more aggressive than I'd like; G&L's that I tried had construction issues which seemed alarming given their pricepoints; loved the Laklands, but couldn't find one used (even the 44-01 is pricey new in Canada); didn't like the feel of an Epi Goth Thunderbird; played some low-end Peavey that was hard to play due to loads of fret buzz if my fingers weren't in the perfect spot. None of these comments are necessarily relevent, they were just my feelings based on the specific instruments I tried - in particular, I'm sure there are many good G&L's out there.

    FWIW, I'll probably get whichever comes out cheapest between the Godin Freeway 4 Active, MIM P Bass Special and Highway One P-Bass (which will depend on who has what in stock and who wants to clear out which model, if any). All 3 seem like great instruments, and whichever I get, I'll wish I had all 3! :bassist:
  20. Fender > Godin

    Depends though, you're always likely to find a lemon.

    My thing with Fender, is that it has the "Fender" sound.

    If that's what you're looking for, there's only one place to find it.

    Other than that... try before you by, or at least make sure there's a good return policy.

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