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Is there such a thing a a signature Fodera Sound?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gimmeagig, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. I love the sound of a J Bass. You can always tell a Jazz or a P Bass and a Musicman of course.I suppose a Ken Smith is easily recognizable as well.
    These instruments have been sort of the standard of the industry.
    Engineers like them too because they know what to do with them.
    But how about Foderas? They are crazy expensive and in spite of that I've been seeing more and more bassists playing them.
    I have never checked one out but I can imagine they are great playing instruments. But what is it that they do soundwise that justifies the expense? Or is it just that a lot of players these days have more money than they know what to do with?
    What are some recordings where you could immediately say "That's a Fodera"?
  2. seescottrock


    Apr 13, 2011
    Utica, NY
    I think a lot of people like them because you can't say that. You say, "that's a good sounding bass", or "that's how a bass should sound". Maybe I've got the wrong idea, but that's how i've seen it.
  3. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (as of 10/14/09)
    If you have 5 minutes to watch this YouTube video we speak about the "Fodera Sound." In essence our job is to get out of the way and deliver your tone...

    Have a look. This short was done by a Hunter College Film student...it captures the essence of this place.




  4. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011

    I love you man.
  5. You are pretty much spot on. The Ken Smith, MM, J, P, etc. are pretty standard designs... strict pickup position, in some cases proprietary components. They have a sound.

    More 'custom' instruments like Stambaugh, Fodera, etc. have an almost infinite number of options, pickups, pickup placement, etc. that results in a way for the user to (at least attempt to) customize an instrument to his/her tone goals.

    So, I would say (as a former Fodera owner and one who has played dozens of them) that there is not one 'Fodera tone'.
  6. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    Sweet! At 2 minutes in we learn that Aragorn has given up the crown to go to New York and make Fodera guitars!! :D

  7. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (as of 10/14/09)
    I did not initially get the reference, but yes, Joe definitely does look like he could be Aragorn. That was a good laugh!!!


  8. Thanks Jason. Great video, I get it. A bunch of soulful Italian guys in New York just passionate about what they are doing.
    I just thought that an inevitable part of that was that you get the instruments to sound a certain way. The electronics, the placement of the pickups etc doesn't get changed for each customer or does it? Next time I'm in Seattle I'm going to see if they have one at Bass Northwest.
    Now if I bought a bass, could I get a suit to go with that? :)
    BTW Is that Anthony Jackson filing the bridge saddles on one of those basses? If that was him, he sure looks like he's been laying off the pasta and hitting the Gym a couple of times.
    Still if anyone here can post some clips that feature Fodera players that might showcase the sound/character of those basses....
  9. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (as of 10/14/09)
    Actually we do modify the pickup spacing for customers depending on their tonal needs. Just yesterday we routed basses with four different pickup spacings. In terms of the preamp, we worked incredibly hard with Mike Pope to ensure that the preamp is as neutral sounding as possible so that whatever design decisions were made can be heard (i.e. woods, PUPs, PUP placement, etc.).

    Think about the differences between a bass like AJ's Presentation II and Janek Gwizdala's signature instrument.



    The only things that they really have in common are that we make them and they have a butterfly on the headstock, every other thing is different -- size, scale length, bridge spacing, shape, woods for every part of the build (except for both using Ebony for the FB's), the metal used to make the bridge and truss rod, electronics...So, if they don't sound very significantly different we are doing something very, very wrong.

    I do not believe that Bass Northwest has any Foderas available to demo. They were a Dealer of ours quite some time ago and they got tired of how long the wait times here used to be (39 months back in 2008, before I became involved as a partner -- currently they are down to 12-13 months).

    Hope this all makes sense.

    Kindest regards,


  10. El Spearo

    El Spearo

    Jun 12, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    I saw Janek last week on a clinic he did at a music shop, and I can tell you his bass sounds like nothing I've heard before... In a very good way. I want one. Maybe if I save for a few years... :)

  11. I would suggest listening to somewhat recent recordings by:

    Anthony Jackson (passive chambered single soapbar... PBass on steroids). Check out his work with Michele Camillo, or the fusion section of the Lee Ritenour Retrospective DVD... amazing. Captain Fingers! Also, his solo on Michele's tune on the Calle 54 DVD is something to see and hear.

    Victor Wooten (EMG PJ.. almost the definition of 'modern... active, snappy, alive) Live Art by the Flecktones is a good place to start or the 'Live at the Quick' (I think that is the name) DVD.

    Tommy Kennedy (Dual Soaps set close to the bridge... burpy mega articulation). His solo CD's and his recent work with Mike Stern will give you a good idea of his tone, or the later Dave Weckl discs.

    Mike Pope (J position soaps movable to 60's/70's position, with a 21-24 fret adjustment system... pretty cool.. just really good in every way... he is amazing all the way around IMO). Not sure what the best source for hearing Mike at this point. I've heard him live, but amazingly don't have any recordings.

    Matt Garrison (short scale E-C with lots of frets, and a special knob placement to get them out of the way for his unusual technique! Bass meets flamenco meets classical guitar meets jazz guitar... amazingly innovative). The Herbie Hancock live DVD or Matt's solo CD's.

    Lincoln Goines (unusual wood combinations (koa, ash neck) with I think a single pickup and 'fixed' preamp setting) His playing and tone on Bill Connor's CD 'Return' is probably my gold standard for both bass tone and playing!

    Richard Bona (relatively standard Imperial spec with I believe old school Bart soaps (warm, round, relaxed). Bona Makes you Sweat live CD is a good summary.

    I think the descriptions are relatively accurate above, but Jason can fix it up if anything is grossly wrong.

    All Fodera, all completely amazing, and all about as different as night and day (coming both from their fingers and bass spec).

    Edit: I love that video!
  12. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    To me they all sound like the immensely talented, dedicated world-class players who are committed enough to their art, and the artistry of the Fodera crew, to make such an investment.
  13. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
  14. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Regardless of the pickup locations, I associate Fodera with lots of sustain and a somewhat compressed sound, and mostly humbuckers, which yield that thicker bridge pickup sound. A lot of Fodera players opt for humbuckers and use the balance favoring the bridge pickup, so it results in that super punchy and thick Jazz-bridge-pickup sound on steroids. Compare the sound of Victor Wooten, Janek, and Richard Bona, for example. . . three very different sound, but "I think" they all have that extra sustain and compression in them. . . maybe a result of the bridge material and the neck-through or dovetail construction.

    I had a Monarch Deluxe with Bartolini P/Js and I recall it having those characteristics.
  15. Here is a clip of the model that would probably appeal to me most

    I guess that's not your typical Fodera.
  16. :D Yeah, a true Jazz Bass or P style instrument often 'wins' for many styles of playing. A buddy of mine as an Emperor bolt on 5 with single coils in 70's J position, and it is KILLER!

    If that is the vibe you like, there are quite a few WONDERFUL builders of high end J's that would most likely make you happy. Carey Nordstrand is my current favorite, as is Roger Sadowsky. The NYC Fodera's are, as far as I know, no longer being made.
  17. 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
    The short answer to the question is "no." On the other hand, you could say that the Fodera sound is "good."
  18. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    Fodera sound = the sound of $$$$$$$
  19. I know, once you get a certain sound in your head it's hard to get past that.And there are lots of souped up Jazz basses out there.
    I have a couple. A Moon JB5 (60s position) and an Atelier Z 5 string Jazz(70s). Both Maple/Ash active. I suppose I'm set for what I like, but it's always fun to look.
    Here's a comparison of a Fodera jazz and an Exotic

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