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NBD, Fender Custom Shop Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MKA, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. MKA


    Apr 14, 2012
    Northern Europe
    Last couple of years I've been diggin the whole "boutique fender copies"-thing, sandberg, sadowsky, nordstrand etc. I've had fenders come and go, both new and old, but I've always ended up selling them. But always when my stable has been empty of that "started it all" thing, I get this creeping urge to own at least one real, original, made in usa fender. Since I haven't been too impressed by the ones I've had in recent past (2011 Am std P, 2009 am std jazz, 1975 jazz, am vintage 62 jazz) I thought I'd give the custom shop a go. I have played a few cs fender at shops and they have all seemed like really good ones.

    So, while at it I thought I wanted a fender like I like them the most: vintage specs, vintage custom color and all. And here it is,


    in my all time favourite fender color, sonic blue. I got this from a dealer in UK, didn't have a chance to try it first but the people at the shop were very helpful at providing me with all the info I wanted.

    I got the bass two days ago, first impressions? WOWZA! :hyper: This is easily the best fender I've ever had, and propably even the best I've ever played. Relatively lightweight for a full sized jazz at 4,1kg. Perfect balance. No dead spots at all, really surprised by this since even the best vintage ones I've played have had them. Really resonant acoustically. The color is gorgeous, really deep and rich but also very hard to photograph.

    And the sound! I absolutely love it. Beautiful smooth but punchy, full bodied sound full of character. Like the best vintage jazz bass sound I could have ever imagined. Sound is also perfectly balanced, and while I could say that this is more a mellow type of jazz tone, it is still very very punchy and defined in best passive type of way imaginable. I had american vintage 62 jazz for abouth month a while ago and while it was a nice instrument, this one is just so much better in every way. I haven't gigged this one yet so these are just the first impressions.

    Some minor things to nag about: there is a small dent in the finish under the bridge cover, totally expectable since nitro takes a while to really harden and the covers were mounted before the bass left the factory. Also the neck pocket is tight but not super tight. This I consider to be a good thing because you have to remove the neck to adjust the truss rod. In the am vintage 62 jazz I had the finish cracked around the neck pocket when my luthier removed the neck for the first time, it was too tight.

    So while there are many boutique fender-inspired builders out there, if you want that classic passive fender sound and feel, custom shop is definately worth trying out. Here in (northern) Europe this costs roughly what a sadowsky metro is, this one was actually even less.

    More photos here: http://s1185.beta.photobucket.com/user/spleendeparis/library/Jazz Bass

    Attached Files:

    h2otorched and Tbone76 like this.
  2. jay tay

    jay tay

    Aug 12, 2009
    Manchester UK
    Sweet Bass Congrats!
  3. That is a serious instrument, enjoy!
  4. MKA


    Apr 14, 2012
    Northern Europe
    Thanks guys!

    Also worth mentioning is that the bass arrived with the lowest action I've ever seen and still no fretbuzz. First thing I did was put on a set of my favourite flats (TI) and raise the action a bit.

    The dynamics of this one are also great, really responds to your touch.
    h2otorched likes this.
  5. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston

    Can't go wrong with Sonic Blue!

    Congrats and enjoy!
  6. bubinga5


    Jun 6, 2006
    stunning jazz bass dude... awsome color.....
  7. Deaky


    Oct 24, 2006
    That s very beautiful.

    I recently acquired a 1961 Custom Shop Jazz bass in black with tort guard. It's gorgeous.

    Enjoy your new baby.
  8. SherwoodGreen

    SherwoodGreen Inactive

    Dec 25, 2012
    Now you're talkin'!:D

    I've never played a FCS that didn't impress the heck outta me!
    And even though there are several fine boutique builds of Fender-style basses, only FENDER can produce something from their custom shop, and they are the deal.

    I have my eye on this one, and had a thread about it closed because some genius FCS bashers needed to tell me that it wasn't worth beans!:rolleyes:

    Dig your Sonic Blue Jazz, it's a keeper, and holds it's value very well, being a FCS!

    Attached Files:

  9. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    Very, very nice - I'd love to have one of those!!!

    - georgestrings
  10. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    That looks great! Congrats!
  11. MKA


    Apr 14, 2012
    Northern Europe
    Thank you guys, appreciate it! :)

    All I can can say is that this bass looks so much better in person than what you see in my crappy pics. I'll tell you more about the sound once I've had a couple of band rehearsals and gigs. Sure feels like a keeper at this point, I'm extremely happy with it! :cool:
  12. Nice looking basses...but what sets the FCS apart from an American Standard??? Is it just more labour going into hand carving things instead of using the accuracy of a CNC machine & then finishing by hand?
  13. SherwoodGreen

    SherwoodGreen Inactive

    Dec 25, 2012
    Fender has a crew in Corona that works independently as The Fender Custom Shop.
    They do team builds of "stock" and store-ordered instruments, and have Master Builders who are either commissioned to do a spec'd build or are free to create whatever they want.
    Let me tell, you, (Unfortunately:D) there are more guitars built than basses- But it is hard to IMAGINE what those master luthiers can do given free rein.
    At the 2013 Winter NAMM, I'm still geting over seeing a $17K FCS bass with lipstick pups- Don't even know what the details were, but O M G.!

    Anyway-back to topic- The FCS hand selects the woods used, for tone, weight, purpose of build, etc.
    All assembly and finish is done with exacting attention to detail throughout the build.

    That's why they cost considerably more than the other builds, even the higher-priced MIA/Vintage etc. series.

    To MANY (myself included) and the OP according to his statement- There are in fact a lot of high-end boutique builders making great basses.
    But like Harley-Davidson, or Caterpillar, or John Deere, FENDER is an American legend name, and even though it may be a Superb P or J model, nothing else can lay claim to being a FENDER except- a Fender!
    And the FCS are the best of what Fender does.
    WELL worth it IMO and a player's bass for life.

    I'm waiting for a VERY special model to become available myself!:D
  14. awesome bass, love the color!
  15. bass32


    Jan 30, 2012
    Congrats to MKA on a great bass. I'm sure you will enjoy it for years to come.

    I purchased my FCS over a year ago. Fantastic bass. I asked some people who I respect about FCS before I bought it. Here's one response I received that should answer your question.

    The thing with CS basses is the ratio of hits to misses. With a production line instrument 1 in 10 will be VERY ok and 1 in a 100 to sometimes 1 in 1000 will be totally remarkable. With CS basses it is like 1 in 1000 is a dud for some reason or another. So even buying sight unseen your chances of getting an outstanding instrument are 1000 to 1 or better.

    Master Builders either do everything themselves or supervise what they don't do personally, such as the finish application. The MAIN things that matter to me is the wood, hardware and electronics selection processes which is each done personally by the builder. CS builders get the pick of all wood blanks each time a new shipment of blanks arrives. This is crucial. The hardware is either higher quality ordered specifically for the CS or is cherry picked by the master builder from regular production inventory when a new shipment comes in, just as they do with the wood blanks. As for the electronics, the values are DOUBLE CHECKED one at a time on all electronic components going into a CS instrument. Caps and pots can have up to a 10% or greater variance from stated value and work fine in regular production instruments, but CS parts are held to a tighter standard and each one checked out in advance which isn't done in regular production. Then the pickups are the icing on the cake being hand wound. More often than not pickup winding is either done by Abigail Yberra herself (she has been hand winding Fender pups since the late 1950's) and now she only winds CS pups. At the VERY least Ms. Yberra supervises the winding of practically all CS pickups. She is a treasure of experience and knowledge and everyone at Fender knows it.

    The most select wood, the hand picked electronics components, choice hardware, and the chance of getting actual Yberra hand wound pickups are three things you will never get in any regular production Fender instrument.

    Even taking the hand finishing and fitting of the master builder out of the equation you are getting something you frankly can not get any other way.

    My FCS isn't a masterbuilt, but rather a team built. It doesn't have the handwound CS pups, but it's still a great bass. It's a Custom Classic Special. It's basically an upgrade of the discontinued Custom Classic Line. The upgrades include a AA flamed maple neck, black block pearl inlays with black binding which covers the fret ends. Also the upgraded electronics mentioned above with SD Quarterpounder pups and a custom Violin Burst finish.
  16. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    A favorite color! Congrats on a nice looking bass! Would look good with a white or parched PG too.
  17. Beammeup


    Oct 7, 2002
    Hi MKA,
    Congrats a one H... of a good looking bass and judging by your description it sounds fantastic.

    Any chance of a a couple of sound clips?
  18. MKA


    Apr 14, 2012
    Northern Europe
    Thanks! Yea I've been thinking of getting a parchment and maybe a mint guard, just in case I get bored at some point. Right now I'm totally diggin the sonic blue tort combo.

    Thanks! I don't have recording equipment at home, but next time I visit our little rehearsal studio I'll try to make some clips!
  19. Thanks for the input, guys. Very appreciated.
  20. SherwoodGreen

    SherwoodGreen Inactive

    Dec 25, 2012
    May be easier said than done, but the only way for one to determine if an FCS is worth the additional $$ is to play both standard production Fender Basses, and then a similar model from the Custom Shop.

    I've done so (I own an awesome '69 P-Bass) with both P and J basses.
    First thing I noticed right away is the weight, and as I spent more time with the instrument, the overall feel became very apparent to my hands- FCS all the way!

    Plus, if you're not looking at a Masterbuilt, there is not a radical price difference between stock MIA and FCS.

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