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NBD: Fender Geddy Lee Sunburst

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Johnny Crab, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    First time for a NEW bass(usually buy used) in a LONG time, LAST TIME FOR A NEW FENDER.
    Got it shipped to work so it arrived at lunch.

    First Impressions:
    Finish: excellent
    Frets: some sharp ends
    Setup: absolutely the worst ever, there was none. SX's and Brice's from Rondo Music(i.e. 5 string Jazz bass clone) KILL this Fender "new" and are normally setup perfect right out of the box. This GL looks like the truss rod was never even tightened, nice bow in neck, a ski jump for fleas and ants. Great job "MIM" folks.

    I put it in the gigbag at 12:45 today. It's still there and can stay there for a bit until I calm down(like by tomorrow). It REALLY SUX to pay $900 for a bass and have it arrive unplayable. Even the new cheapos off of eBay(MM clones, etc.) played better than this right out of the box. Even USED basses off of eBay arrive setup and playable, some perfectly. The last new bass here was a 2006 Gibson Thunderbird. It arrived setup perfectly. The finish was tacky and had imperfections BUT it was immediately playable without having to do a complete setup or...in case of a GL....take the neck off already.

    Fender: your setups for this bass are garbage
    Mr. Geddy Lee: Fender is making YOUR SIGNATURE BASS appear to be junk(except the neck feel) to first-time buyers.

    More later.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  2. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    Lame. Thank goodness you didn't need it for a gig right away.
  3. I was expecting great reviews but well, I was surprised.

    You got a dud, for sure. Send it back if you can. You deserve way better for your money.

    I have a CIJ 1994 Geddy in black that is great except the BAII bridge saddle slots were cut at the wrong areas so the strings are unevenly spaced. PITA but my local tech fixed it up for me and now it sounds beautiful. I only wish it had some sort of truss rod access on the pickguard.
  4. XXL

    XXL calm seas dont make skilled sailors

    Jun 14, 2007
    Nothing worse than sharp frets! Makes any bass instant garbage.
    Nick303 likes this.
  5. Harldly.
    But a neck bow that can't be adjusted through a normal setup (i.e. not having to resort to wedges), is a deal breaker. I was actually gassing for a Geddy; now, not so sure.
    I'm pretty sure I've heard enough horror stories here (da great TB), to never buy a bass unless I've just finished playing it.
  6. XXL

    XXL calm seas dont make skilled sailors

    Jun 14, 2007
    I'll rephrase: In my opinion sharp frets is a deal breaker.
    MattyH and Nick303 like this.
  7. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves website- ggbassplayer.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Arcadia, Ca
    Sharp frets are a bad deal, like the others said. Truss rod adjustments are end user deals, and should not be a deal breaker. In other words- the end user- the musician who knows his tools, makes the basic adjustments. They adjust the bass somewhat on their bench to test, but when it leaves Ensenada Mexico, the wood might react to the changes in environment it experiences. I just don't get the bother over a "ski Jump fretboard" when that is expected to be changed by the musician that owns the instrument. Sharp fret ends- now that is a real issue for a new out of the box bass.
  8. Don't you dare go changing because of me:woot:!
    I thought maybe you were being sarcastic because a simple metal file can cure what ails ya! Still, most pro musicians don't want to deal with that, especially a brand new factory order.
    Good Idea by OP to deep breathe it out for a 1/2 planetary cycle:whistle:
    Could be a simple twist of the truss will make things happy again:rolleyes:
    Not sure what strings ship with GL?
    I'd, of course,demand ROTO 77 flats; when I put them on my j 5, I had to tighten truss multiple times over several days. Everytime you change strings this will come up :atoz:
    hope it works out for OP
    Garret Graves likes this.
  9. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Once I paid $3,000 and the bass arrived unplayable according to my standards, that is why the first thing I do to every bass I buy is: Put new strings and do a set up.

    If the bass cant hold a set up then that is another story.

    I don't like sharp frets neither but fret spruce is also a common issue, even if you bass does not have sharp frets now it may have them in the future when the weather change.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  10. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Shipping a bass exposes it to a lot of extremes that most of us would certainly avoid. If you're going to save the money by ordering a bass, I think you need to expect that it will need to be set up. Truss rod adjustment, setting action, etc. are part of it.

    Fret sprout can occur due to changes in humidity and/or temperature. This last winter, my VM Jaguar and my early '90s Pedulla ThunderBass developed fret sprout at the same time during a period of low humidity. The Jag is a couple years old, but I've had the Pedulla for over 20 years (in the same location) and it has never done this before. FWIW, it went away when the humidity came back up.

    I don't have a GL bass, but I have others with thinner necks and I will say that I have to adjust the truss rod at least a couple of times per year. They just seem more susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity than basses with thicker necks.

    I'm not saying that temperature and humidity exposure explains everything that is going on with the GL bass, but my suggestion would be to let it acclimate, give it a decent set up, and don't judge it by the condition in which it arrived. Don't let your unmet initial expectation ruin your enjoyment of what could be a very nice instrument.
    Laurie Bass and bluesdogblues like this.
  11. I've got a GL MIM, and I bought it used. AFAIK, the first owner hadn't really touched it, and it was as it came to him, complete with the original strings.

    No problems with it at all. I tweaked the truss rod just once (probably as it's been hot here of late).

    Previously, I've had 2 MIJ GL basses - I personally can't tell the difference between them, so don't be put off by the change in build location. They are still great basses. Those necks needed the regular odd tweak as well.

    In fact, the only big difference I've noticed is the pickups - the tone is more powerful on the MIM. I've heard others complain about the MIJ pickup output on the GL's (in fact, one of the ones I sold originally, that was the one problem the buyer had). Perhaps this was changed, like the battery compartment on the Marcus Miller's when they switched those to Mexico.

    You can adjust the rod without removing the neck - just take off the pickguard, and the right sized tool will allow you to tweak the rod easily.

    As has been said above, basses (for me) rarely come right, even at twice the price. Get it right, and then see what happens. Lovely bass, BTW!
  12. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    I'll just throw out that where you bought it can have an impact. There are benefits from buying from a really good shop that is going to make sure your bass is setup properly and doesn't have any issues before it is shipped to you. Online retailers that get the box from Fender then ship to you have now gone through 2 stages of shipping, climate changes, storage in a warehouse, etc. That is a lot that can go out in a setup in the box in that time. To me, the value of purchasing from a dealer like Bass Central or Guitar House of Tulsa (2 dealers I got basses from in the last year or two) is that they are going to go over them with a fine tooth comb before it ships. I remember getting a used bass a few years back from Bass NW in Seattle. Over the phone, the salesman went over the bass and told me about a scratch on it. When I got it, I could barely even find what he mentioned. Just goes to show that sometimes you get what you pay for. A good reason I like to support the independents.
  13. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    I'll get around to fooling with it this week(working on 4 hours of sleep, yes we gig on week nights!). I understand the "drop ship" game but it is still rather irritating that a bass from FENDER comes in this poor shape but a clone from China(SX) or south Korea(early Brices) goes through Kurt's place(Rondo) and then gets here set up very nicely. I'll try to document the process of setup done here in pictures so others with this situation can reference them.

    NOLA Bass: my first REAL bass(Gibson EBOL) came from Sound City(1970's) in New Orleans and John(salesman) made sure it was set up nicely and Melvin(C&M Music) doesn't let stuff out in poor shape. I understand.
    NOLA Bass likes this.
  14. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    I just received a Squier VM Tele Special last week that had a similar deal with the truss rod. I simply tightened it up and it made the bass playable. Over the weekend I was able to do a proper setup ie: filing the nut, setting intonation, lowering action and final truss rod adjustments. I accepted long ago that if I receive a bass in the mail, these adjustments are part of the deal. For me, there's value in doing that stuff myself.

    Now, with that being said: sharp frets? Oh hell no, send that f***er back. For a $900 bass I'll do a set up, but fretwork is a big no no. That's a QC issue for sure.
  15. You seem to have this perception that FENDER MUST have good QC all around or it's a ding on their reputation or something. Correct me if I'm wrong. What you have to realize is that Fender is KNOWN for inconsistency in ALL their lines. Yes, other companies have bad QC sometimes too, but you'll hear a lot more people complaining about Fender's than Gibsons or Musicmans.

    Heck, even their American Standard or even Custom Shop lines have occasional bad QC as well. It'd be hard for you to believe, but yeah. it happens. Maybe it's not their fault; probably climate change, shipping companies' mishandling, etc., but nonetheless, it happens.
  16. KingKrabb


    May 9, 2014
    Puerto Rico
    Btw, I'm not sure where you ordered it from, but my last few instrument purchases have been from Sweetwater. They've always performed setups on the instruments before sending them (Event sending out the specs).

    Don't have any complaints yet!

    (But yeah, sharp frets are a meh) Sorry to hear about your experience, man.
  17. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    I do really hate sharp frets. I have had more than one bass that it was the first thing I did after getting it. I like a really nice roll to the fretboard.
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I agree but some of that has to do with the very large number of Fenders on the market and I'll give you Musicman's but I've seen plenty of Gibson QC threads on their basses and guitars.
  19. Hmmm I'll agree with you on that. My Standard Fender jazz sounds louder than my CIJ Geddy Leee bass.
  20. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    After getting the R40 DVD set as a gift, inspiration to fool with this NBD-still-in-gigbag was found. Strings had already been changed to my 40-60-80-95 rounds months ago.

    1) Take off neck, tension it to slight reverse bow(wife helps with this on her kitchen island aka bass workbench)
    2) Turn LOOSE truss rod screw about 1/3 turn, slight pressure felt, turn another 1/4 turn
    3) Re-attach neck, re-string, set in bag for 2 more days

    Played today at lunch for 40 minutes, adjusted pickups a bit closer to strings. YAY, it's fixed!!!
    Played hard and like Geddy does, it sounds almost exactly like the isolated bass on Tom Sawyer including fret buzz.

    With the SansAmp at home, it would be identical.

    Playing "The Pass" gives the exact sound as heard on the Live In Rio recording....fingernoise and all.

    It gets Strap Locs tonight and gig-tested Saturday.
    And the Stew Mac tool to fix the sharps will get ordered since I can use it on other basses here
    ( Fret End Dressing File | stewmac.com ).

    Wife said "That one is beautiful, are you getting my brother one for Christmas?"(a tradition, he's my age and plays bass) and I said "No, he already has a Fender Jazz Bass".

    Have not tested the output vs. my other basses but if it's too weak, possibly Fender Custom Shop pickups will be added.

    PS: Peavey Foundations sound, feel, and play a LOT like this bass.
    More later. :bassist: :D
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015

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