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Got my F Bass (Quick Review -- no camera, so no pics)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dave Metts, Aug 22, 2002.

  1. After about a week and a half, I finally got my hands on my F Bass BN5 today. My first impressions are as follows:

    Fit and Finish: Truthfully, I'd have to say that I'm not completely happy with the workmanship on this bass. It's actually quite a bit worse than the BN5 I checked out at a local music store (that bass was as close to perfect as I've ever seen). First off, there is a gap of approximately 1/16" on the treble side of the neck pickup. Next, the grain on the pickup covers doesn't really match that on the body. In fact, the same is true of the control cavity cover. It's not horrible, but it's very far from perfect. Furthermore, I can almost see into the control cavity from outside of the bass due to a gap around the cavity cover. When the bass arrived it had a few scratches and sketchy spots in the finish. Also, there is quite a bit of glue that squeezed out around the 22nd fret. All of these things are fairly minor, but disappointing nonetheless (to me, anyway).

    Playability: After I let the bass settle in for a few hours, I tuned it to pitch only to find it completely unplayable. Due to the humidity, the bass seemed to develop a slight back-bow. A quick truss rod adjustment got the neck back into shape, and the bass plays beautifully now. We'll see if it needs any more work once the adjustment has fully settled. I have to hand it to the crew at F Bass here: The bass is ridiculously easy to play. It feels to be roughly the same weight as my Zon, which is certainly a pretty light bass.

    Sound: This is where the F Bass really shines. No matter what I do, I cannot make this bass sound bad (even though my playing is pretty bad). With passive tone, a 3-band eq (defeatable, boost only), and a coil tap it's easy to coax tons of usable sounds from this bass. I would say that the versatility rivals that of my G&L L-2500. The BN5 is certainly more responsive to changes in playing style and right hand positioning than anything else I've played. Oh yeah...The slap sound rules, too!

    Conclusion: Despite being far from perfect in the fit/finish category, this bass certainly has it where it counts. It's a joy to play and has great tone with tons of versatility. If I ever buy another F Bass, I'll definitely go the used route. It's probably worth the new price, but just barely. Given that this is only the second F Bass I've gotten a chance to play, I can't make any concrete statements about overall consistency. I'll keep this bass unless I find a way to do a straight up trade on one that's a little better. There's no way I'll sell it with the used market in the shape it is right now. Though it may appear that I'm bad-mouthing F Bass a little, I would still recommend that everybody try one! :D

    I'm sorry if this seems a little hackneyed. I just figured it would be a good idea to get my thoughts down before I head off to bed. With any luck, I may get a digital camera in a month or two so I can take some pictures.

    **Here's an update on the whole situation**:

    George F., Rock City Guitars, and I have all reached a wonderful compromise, and I'm definitely a happy customer! I just want to thank everyone involved here for their support as well.

    I really don't think I can praise George and the staff of Rock City (both of you) enough for the excellent customer service. As you all already know, George Furlanetto does amazing work and does absolutely *everything* he can to make customers happy.

    The same things can be said of the guys at Rock City Guitars. I've dealt with quite a few stores, and Rock City is easily one of the best I've encountered. As long as they keep great basses in stock and I can make some cash, they can expect my business for sure!

    So, this story indeed will indeed have a happy ending.

    I'm so relieved!
  2. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    Nice honest review. Garcias!
  3. mcdonap


    Sep 25, 2001
    Congratulations on the new F Bass!

    I must admit, I'm a little surprised by some of your comments. I've never seen an F with the fit and finish problems you mentioned. (Gaps and glue...)
    A couple observations -

    I don't think George F can get the pickup and control cavity covers to exactly match, but he does try hard! Mine are close, but it's not the exact piece, so it's not "perfect". (I still think it looks great compared to a "regular" pickup.)

    I too find that the neck needs more adjustment than a "typical" neck. It just seems a little more flexable. I look at it as a relatively small price to pay for the sound and feel of an F Bass.

    It sounds like you bought this bass new - have you discussed these issues with George?

  4. I totally understand that it's hard to get the pickup covers and everything to exactly match the grain, but the first F Bass I tried had them almost perfect.

    I do somewhat agree with you on the neck. However, mine came from Rock City Guitars in MA (great people, btw) to Missouri, so I expected the humidity to affect it a bit. Just a quick truss rod adjustment, and it plays great! As I said in the original review -- the feel and sound are definitely to die for as well!

    I did indeed buy the bass new but haven't really thought about bringing up any of the issues with George since they're purely cosmetic (and pretty nit-picky). The bass plays and sounds great, and that's what I'm really after anyway. I may include a little letter when I send in my registration, but I'm not sure that it would achieve much.
  5. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Inactive

    Jun 10, 2001
    Congrats on the new bass. I've owned many F's and have played many more and have never seen flaws that you describe. I hate that for you. I know for a fact that if you let George no about your complaints, he will either try to fix it for you or he'll build you a new one. I have a friend that bought one and he wasn't crazy about the sound. The body was quite a bit lighter than the F's he had played before thus having a low end that wasn't as deep as he was expecting. He complained to George, George without hestitation built him a new one. It was exactly what he wanted.
    As far as the neck, every F I've owned, I set the neck once and never had to again. I've never had a more stable neck with the exception of the Zon's I used to own.
  6. BenF


    Mar 29, 2001
    Boston area
    David - I have to agree on the fit and finish of F basses. For the money, my BN6 wasn't nearly as well made as I'd thought it would be, but it does play and sound fine. The neck is quite thin and is unreinforced, so it's whippy and I have to keep an eye on it. One other thing that was immediately apparent was the very low ouput of the bass, even with a fresh battery, but that just means I have to crank up the gain on the amp (though i would like to see if the preamp could be modified to 18v.)

    I'm going to second Pat here, George is quite responsive and pleasent to deal with, an e-mail explaining the issues with the bass couldn't hurt.

  7. I'm glad you finally got your new bass. The cavity cover fit problem and fret glue seepage sound unusual to me, and George will definitely want to hear about them. He guarantees workmanship and materials on all of his instruments, and I'm sure he will offer to do you right. I'm wondering in particular if the glue seepage happened somehow after shipping to the dealer?

    To elaborate on what others have said, matching the cavity and PUP cover grain is awkward because of how the thinner covers age vs the bass body after the cutouts are made, and some work out better than others. In the case of my new F Bass, it was started in August of last year and only finished a month ago - one edge of the cavity cover matches perfectly, the other is slightly off.

    Glad to hear that you are still happy with the sound and playability. Up in our part of the world, we don't have any real issues with humidity/heat. I've never had to do any serious neck work on any of my instruments of any make due to humidity variations. Just curious, is your neck a slab or a 3-piece?

    And let us know again how you feel about it after a few months of playing....
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    And I'd echo Peter Parker's sentiments. Sorry to hear about your problems... in this price range nits deserved to be picked. I'd contact George, from everything I've heard he's aces as far as customer service goes.

    I bought my Studio 5 used and the only flaws are ones associated with the previous owner(s). Otherwise, a very rock solid bass. I adjusted the trussrod when I got it and it's maintained the same "plays itself" low action ever since. I'm on the East coast where temperature and humidity swings can be an issue. Not one for the F.

    Hope it all works out for you.
  9. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    interestin.. i have seen a couple of F basses and they have been very fine- no problems as you described. You should contact George- i have been discussing becoming a dealer with him- he is understandably concerned about doing biz with an "online" store- we will see what happens, but in the meanwhile, i found a great deal on a used one- it should arrive tomorrow.
  10. I certainly plan on at least sending an email to George and crew, but I'm pretty nervous about putting my bass back in the hands of evil delivery people. Plus, the prospect of spending even more money on this bass (due to shipping) really leaves a pretty sour taste in my mouth. I also don't think I could wait 6 months or so for a new one to be built.

    I guess I'll just have to see what happens....
  11. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Didn't they ever tell you that you have to sell more than you buy to make a profit?

    My F bass came last Friday and I got to play her for a grand total off 10 minutes so far as I went on a business trip (what really pays for my GAS) until late last night. I'm going to go home a few hours early but I did notice some slight finish irregularity near the tone knobs but really didn't have time to thoroughly examine the fit to finish.

    The neck seemed to be adjusted correctly but it was shipped tuned a little flat, so 5 days later I'll be able to let you know. It seemed to have a little more versatility using my practice amp than my Lakland, but the Lakland did not sound bad at all. I liked the F's single coil tone the best but haven't yet played it through my gig rig which is certainly a lot higher quality than my 12 year old, yorkville block 80.

    I'll check into the pickup covers, control cavity cover, and fretwork today and report back to you. Considering the stress I went through with FedEx, I'm not sure whether I'd return the bass to George for a finish problem but if there was substantial "fit" issues in the fit to finish equation, I'll call him directly.

    My first gig with the bass is this Saturday and I'll be able to give a review of the bass on sunday.

  12. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Well- it looks my my F bass deal may have gone kaput- a matter of " who pays who first?" and both parties being burned before- i was not willing to send $ out to a private seller- he was not willing to send it out and have me pay when i got it- i dont blame him. Though i do have my biz and i would be an idiot to rip anyone off.. i guess that didnt carry enough weight. So it was a Mexican standoff of sorts- we decided not to do the deal. So i am still looking for an F bass. I know im going crazy buying stuff, but believe me, what doesnt stay gets sold, i was kinda looking for a different color- the price was right, but too much mistrust. we have the crooks off the world to thanks for that.
  13. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Why not do COD with a USPS money order? I've found that cashiers checks can be stopped so I don't fool with them.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    If you paid a new price for a new bass and aren't happy, why keep it? Were any of the problems disclosed to you by the dealer or was it drop shipped?

    Is there a grace period on the purchase?
  15. Well, the dealer listed it in brand new condition. I would certainly say that the condition is consistent with it being a new bass that was on the floor at a small music store. So basically, I feel like the dealer represented it pretty accurately. Maybe I'm making too big of a deal about the things I see, though I tried to be as quantitative as possible when describing the problems.

    The credit card was charged when I purchased the bass, and it arrived a week and a half later. I would assume that the dealer won't take it back unless there is something seriously wrong with it, but I haven't explored that possibility yet. I did, however, send an email to F Bass with the fit/finish section of my "review" quoted.

    I'm with you, Brad, in the sense that I don't think I should keep a bass I'm not completely happy with. I'll keep looking into what my options are.
  16. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    well, Brad- you know, you ever get the feeling something isnt meant to be? i kinda got that. I am not one to try to push the square peg into the round hole. So i let it go- there will be others.. i have to control my GAS and be smart about things.
    Also, i spent some 20 minutes speaking with George, and i may still become a dealer, its undecided right now-- but one thing i got out of it, it certainly seems that George will stand behind his basses, so Da5id HeX, i would call him if i were you- but i would call the store before that to discuss the problem
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Most grace periods with dealers cover just not being happy with an instrument. As far as scratches and such, it would seem the dealer would've QC'd the bass before it left.

    Then again, stuff happens. If yours is anywhere near as cool as mine in sound and playbility I'd keep it. Puts some pics up so we can criticize you ;)j/k... it's your money, you should be as picky as you

    My Ceruse' Studio's pickups' grain isn't a 100% match... it's close and they look cool. I have no idea how far off yours may be.
  18. pd_5string

    pd_5string Admin: Accnt Disabled

    Jan 23, 2002
    At last, here we agree :)
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I know what you mean... IME it's best to go with your feeling too.

    I just talked to George about an issue with mine (totally not a build issue) and got help immediately. I agree that Da5id should contact the dealer first.
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    You probably agree more often that you let on;)


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