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New Highway One P-Bass ordered online: worth fighting through the quality lapses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Troph, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    I had been eyeballing the Highway One P-bass for a while after playing one in a local music store last year. Unfortunately by the time I pulled the trigger, no local stores had them anymore. So I ordered online, which I understood was a bit of a gamble.

    When I opened the box, I discovered three issues off the bat. First, the G string was broken, unraveled near the bridge. There was no visible damage to the box or guitar, so I guess it happened due to overtension. Not a big deal, but still a bit disappointing.

    Second, I noticed that the neck is significantly bowed, and the strings are sitting so high in the saddles that the action is the highest I've seen. I can't believe this setup made it past any quality control whatsoever. I'm pretty sure it can all be adjusted, but again the quality control seems low.

    Third (and this one I'm worried about), when running my hand up and down the neck I discovered that about 80% of the frets have extremely sharp edges which literally scratched up my fingers as I played. The only other bass I'd seen in a store with this problem was a $150 Dean, so I was quite surprised. I never imagined the neck from a "made in USA" Fender instrument would have a similar issue.

    Since I'm primarily worried about the frets, the big question is: Is it worth it to pay my local luthier (Mike Lull) to sand down the fret edges to keep the bass? Or is this the kind of problem where you cut your losses and ship the bass back to the online retailer?

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    Id ship the bass back and demand a new one or a refund. That is unacceptable from fender. Sure the bass will need a setup but not fret work.
  3. Emilym80


    Sep 15, 2011
    +1. There's no way you should have to pay for it to get fixed when it's in such poor condition and shouldn't have left the factory. Get your money back (I wouldn't order another one, personally) and wait for them to come in stock or buy another bass of the same/better quality (unless your heart's set on a Highway One). You should not have to put up with this kind of poor QC from anyone, least of all a company like Fender :scowl:
  4. I got a Highway One P-bass online two months ago, no defects whatsoever and brand-new. Send that one back.
  5. BillyIVbass


    Sep 24, 2008
    Gear Reviews Guitar World Online
    Ship it back! I purchased a Scratch and Dent Fender US P-bass Special from AMS and it showed up in incredible playing, looking and sounding shape. I remember as of last month they also had a few Highway Ones left
  6. Did you buy from an authorized Fender reseller?
    Are you sure it's not a forgery?
  7. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    +1 This is completely unacceptable. From anyone, actually, not just Fender. Send it back, get another. These are great basses.

    I did, too, at about the same time. I got mine from Music123, and it was nearly perfect, right out of the box. A slight tweak of the truss rod, and it was good to go.
  8. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    I ordered from Zzounds.com, who I believe is a legit dealer. I've ordered several things from them in the past and never had issues.

    I'm pretty sure it's the real deal. Everything else about the bass looks good, except for the things I mentioned. It's a 2011 model with the special neckplate on the rear.

    Maybe the fingerboard just got too dry in storage and shrank, leading to overhanging fret edges?

    Anyway, I think you all have convinced me to send it back. Thanks for the advice!
  9. lowendrv


    Dec 12, 2007
    I know it's a pain in #ss but are any of these guys near you ?
    Have you call Fender CS yet ?
    FenderĀ® Dealers
  10. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    zZounds.com is a very reputable dealer, so that isn't the issue.
  11. i recently got a Highway One Precision from zzounds and its a fantastic bass. Send it back.
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Send it back. Keep trying. I am not a P bass guy - I may be one day - but there's a Hwy 1 P at a local store that is a great bass. Sounds great, it's super light (which has my attention these days) and plays great. I think the tag on it is $749 or something. I am very tempted to give up my heavy jazz bass and try a light P bass.
  13. My guess -- and it's a guess only -- is that this Highway One has been out on the retail floor for a longer time, maybe in an environment with but amateurs banging on it as well as the humidity playing games with the frets. I did a little bit adjustments on the truss rod on mine, mostly as Fender seems to like to ship their bass guitars with somewhat higher action, otherwise I could not find any problems with the 2011 I got.
  14. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Send it back NOW!!! :smug:
  15. Troph, congrats on your new bass. I hear nothing but good stuff from people who have those basses, dial them in, and play them regularly.

    I'm going to go against the grain here. Don't take anything I'm about to say personally. I understand this is your new baby, and in a perfect world, our basses come out of the box set up perfectly to our taste and needs and we can drive straight to the gig or studio and start laying it down.

    But, IME over 30 years buying basses, this is not a perfect world, and basses rarely come out of the box that way. I've owned literally hundreds of basses and guitars, and the vast majority of them have needed set-up work similar to what your new bass needs.

    Sometimes it's a QC issue and you should send the instrument back. Sometimes, it's a set-up issue, and you or a good tech can make the instrument right as rain. What I see with your bass is the latter.

    Let's break it down:

    1. Strings break, and there is no way for anyone to say with any substantial degree of certainty how or why it broke. I once received a Peavey USA Cirrus with 3 dead strings, right out of the box. I thought it was the bass. I couldn't believe a set of strings could have three bad ones. There is a lot of weirdness with strings, but I would not put too much emphasis on a broken string or equate it with a bad instrument or poor QC with the instrument. Bad strings pass through QC all the time, it's very hard to avoid.

    2. Until a qualified tech tells us otherwise, it sounds like the neck needs a twist of the truss rod, a very common adjustment. Play it safe and stick to the 1/4 turn per day max rule. Indeed, if you're not 100% sure about what you're doing, it's best to have this bass set up by a qualified tech. The high action you are seeing could be a combination of the saddle height, neck relief, and string nut slot depth.

    3. Fret sprout. Many causes, most common denominator being wood changes, metal doesn't. I can almost guarantee that neck did not have fret sprout when it left the factory. The wood dried and shrunk ever-so-slightly, like wood does over time. I've experienced it on basses from every price point made on every continent on the planet. My tech files them nice and smooth for $50.00. Is it fair that you have to immediately invest an additional $50.00 to have the fret edges filed smooth? Maybe, maybe not, it depends on your perspective and how much you like the bass and want it to play well.

    For that matter, is it fair that you have to pay a tech to give your bass a thorough, professional set-up? Same answer. All I know is, I have to do it A LOT. I do most of it myself and get the satisfaction that goes with that.

    The good news: Once you get those fret edges taken care of, you'll never have to deal with it again.

    Your choice. Send it back is certainly the easy way, assuming you get something better as a result. But it's pretty rare that I pull any bass out of the box and it requires nothing to play well.
  16. jimmydean


    Mar 14, 2009
    Call them and get an RA# and return that piece of crap back as fast as you can .
  17. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Yeah send it back it should of never left the comapny you bought it from in that shape. FWIW.. buy local.
  18. fuzzychaos


    Mar 17, 2008
    My Highway One Jazz I bought from them was factory sealed, so they may not have seen any issue.

    I would certainly work with Zzounds.com Customer Service and get an RA or they may offer to knock some money off to make it right instead of shipping it back they (AMS, same company) did that for me when I bought a BTB that had a little chip out and you could use that to get it up to snuff.

    I have never had a bad experience with their customer service so far.
  19. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Banned Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    Send it back for a refund. Call a shop called Monmouth Music in Red Bank NJ, he has lots of stock and I believe several Highway Ones. Tell him Tom Richards recommended you. Also tell him the horror story you had.
  20. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    Thanks everyone for the advice. The package was indeed factory-sealed, so this is definitely not a floor model. I'm betting it has to do with wood humidification and warehouse conditions more than anything else.

    I did notice that there was one of those silica "dry-packs" tucked under the strings on the fretboard when I unboxed the bass. I'm sure it was placed there to prevent metal corrosion encountered when shipping overseas. So I guess it's possible that after sitting there for 6-12 months in the warehouse that the dry-pack caused the fretboard to shrink enough to cause the frets to sprout. I would just think that Fender would file the frets down enough to account for this possibility.

    Anyway, I contacted zZounds customer service, and they were very courteous. The rep agreed that the frets edges shouldn't be that bad on a new factory-sealed Fender, and he sent me instructions with a return shipping label, at their expense (because they consider the product defective). Very easy.

    So I'll try this again and see what the replacement looks like. He said that after this replacement, they're basically out of stock and the model is now discontinued. So if the next one also has issues, then I'll be either choosing a different model or taking my refund money to a local store where I try before I buy. ;)

    In any case, I'll be sure to update the thread next week with the results.

    And electracoyote: if the 2nd one comes with a similar problem, I will certainly consider taking it to Mike Lull to see what he thinks. He's always done excellent work for me.

    And thanks all for the feedback! I love this place. :)

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