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Roscoe vs Fodera

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jason Wilson, Aug 13, 2012.


  1. Hi all,
    I have been trying to sus out which would be the next awesome bass to own. Unfortunately being in New Zealand, there is a real lack of top end bass brands so I am confined to looking on the internet & youtube. So I have got a pretty good idea of what most basses sound like, well as good as possible over the internet, but now I need help.

    I know Fodera have a great name, have really good atists playing them and are good basses. But I think due to peole like Victor playing them, their prices have also ridden up there. I have been listening to a few Roscoes and these basses also sound awesome, I love their growl & tight low B sound.

    So my question it, which is the better bass. I know it is all personal choice etc, but if anyone has any thoughts, suggestions, reviews on the 2 makes I would be appreciative.

    I haven't nailed down the Roscoe I am looking at, so open there, and have been looking at the Fodera Yin-yang 5 string.

    So, any comments, suggestions, opinions are welcome. Would be really helpful if you have either heard or played both....

    Cheers :bag:
     
  2. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Ct.
    Can't say which is better. Can say I believe you get more "bang for your buck" with a Roscoe. Just opinion..
     
  3. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Blonds vs Brunettes

    The fun is in the deciding for yourself. That is why there are so many choices.
    Both wonderful instruments, completely different design philosophies. I believe that the Roscoe is a better value, not necessarily a better instrument.
     
  4. Groovin

    Groovin

    May 25, 2006
    Wash, D.C.
    I'm a Roscoe fan and I'll never let go of my LG3005.

    That said, I've played Fodera's, and while I hardly feel qualified to play a $10k+ USD instrument :bag:, they do feel and sound very, very special. I'd say the closest comparison to me would be to compare it to an exotic car. Go to youtube and listen to Victor, Lincoln Goines, and the other guys that play them. Is that the tone you're looking for or in the ballpark? Are you a virtuoso artist?

    For my money, I can take my Roscoe into a gig and play the hell out of it, knowing the tone and feeling like it's an old friend. It is literally the tone in MY head.

    My Roscoe works for me in a meat and potatoes kind of way, but in a very luxurious way at the same time. It just feels and sounds right to me.
     
    dutchwife likes this.
  5. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    MEXICANADAMERICA
    buy both and sell the one that comes in 2nd place.
     
  6. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    You do realize that you're comparing a $13K instrument with a $3-5K one, right?

    I've owned/played both. Roscoe is great bang for the buck. In fact I think that the standard series, at just a bit over $2K, is probably the best boutique bargain out there.

    The law of diminishing returns is a fact of life, and once you get north of $2K on an electric bass it is in full effect. If you want to compare a less fancy Fodera 5-string, the "equivalent" would be the Emperor Standard 5. It is a bolt-on (like the Roscoe) and goes for $5750. A Roscoe spec'd out roughly similar would be $1-2K less depending on the details. So leaving the Yin Yang Deluxe out of the discussion for now, the question is whether or not that extra couple of $K is worth it for the Fodera. That is up to the individual. Since I sold my Roscoes and now own 3 Foderas it is pretty obvious where my bias is, but Roscoes are great basses. The Bart pup/pre on the Roscoe sounds different than the Fodera/Pope setup. The Bart is a bit more punch and growl while the Fodera is a tad more flexible (imho). Workmanship is excellent on both. I find the Fodera neck to be more comfortable but that is a personal thing. Also Roscoe 5s are 35" scale (though you can order 34"), while the Emperor 5 Std is 34" scale (but you can order whatever you want. Also the Std is standard - no customizations. The Roscoe you can get whatever you want (though it could push the price up). In the end I decided that I didn't like 35" scale (my Roscoes were that length), and I also don't like 19mm bridge spacing (the E5S has that) so I don't have either.

    All that said, my first Foderas was the Yin Yang Standard, which is a bolt-on. I wanted to hate it, but once I tried it I had to have it. Then I started down a slippery slope and discovered the joy of the Fodera dovetail neck, and now the neck-through. I'm not really interested in a bolt-on at this point - but again, a personal thing. I gladly spent a stupid amount of money for my Yin Yang Deluxe, but I truly love that bass. And I gig it constantly and play the crap out of it. If you've seen Victor's basses, you know that he does not baby his instruments. I'm not saving my Fodera for the next guy.

    So it really comes down to what you want and where your priorities lie. If you only have $3K, then your choice is pretty clear. Get the Roscoe and be very happy. If you have $6K (or look used), now you have a choice and there is no right or wrong answer. Plenty of threads here taking shots at Fodera based on price. But they cost what they cost, and value is in the eyes, head, heart, and wallet of the buyer. No one else's opinion frankly matters at that point. Once you're looking at this level of bass the differences can be subtle but imho they are there. Just depends on whether or not you care. But if you in fact want a Yin Yang Deluxe, then there is only one place to get that. And you have to pay the price of admission.
     
    Arthur U. Poon, Tbone76 and Randyt like this.
  7. hands5

    hands5

    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    none
    both are over priced as far as I'm concerned,but buy what you like !
     
  8. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    If you are considering purchasing a $3,000-4,000 bass (or to the more extreme) $10,000- 13,000 bass, why not invest $1,000 in a plane ticket overnight hotel and car rental so you can try them side by side. Perhaps I am spoiled, living two hours from Bass Central here in Florida. But when I purchased my Roscoes (fretted and fretless), I tried Foderas, Laklands, MTDs, FBasses, Modulus, Elrick, Alembics, Zons, Music Mans, Spectors and other basses side by side before I decided on the Roscoes.

    I think, but may be wrong, that it may be more difficult to find a Fodera in a music store now since many are custom made. But a couple of phone calls to the main bass stores would answer that.

    Just an idea.
     
    Arthur U. Poon and MobileHolmes like this.
  9. fuzzychaos

    fuzzychaos

    Mar 17, 2008
    Ohio
    A Roscoe standard is overpriced? You can get a hand made USA bass for around $2k and you see that as overpriced? I played a Fender Select jazz and a Roscoe LG recently, the LG was actually $200 cheaper and the difference was laughable, the Roscoe was better everything. (and I really like Fender). Needless to say, I found a used Roscoe for a good price and now am in the process of getting one built for me.

    Never played a Fodera, but have worn a fedora :)
     
  10. Richard_P_Harve

    Richard_P_Harve

    May 19, 2011
    "Never played a Fodera, but have worn a fedora ", now that's funny.
     
  11. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    Not sure I agree as you can buy an AMAZING Roscoe for $1700-2200 used. Fairly pricy vs. Fender, but not crazy.

    In any case, the 2 Foderas I have played were works of art. The wood, the construction, the electronics, etc. WAY to expensive for me to justify though. I have yet to play one of the new standard bolt ons, but at $4000 new they are a bit more realistic.

    Bottom line, a new high end Fodera will cost you over $10k. Used, they are still $5500 minimum. VERY expensive IMO for a guitar of any kind.

    Personally, i think Roscoes are amazing values vs. Fodera, Smith, Ritter, etc. But just IMO.

     
  12. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    I've played both but owned neither but will give my perspective on the two.

    The Roscoe has a characteristic sound. I've heard super P bass. And while there are variations, it's still the basic Roscoe sound.

    The Fodera does not have a characteristic sound. They prefer if you describe the tones you want and they'll work with different woods and construction techniques to deliver that tone. In addition to a superbly crafted instrument, with Fodera, you're paying for "your specific tone".

    And speaking of paying, while some Fodera's are north of $10k or $15k, their 2012 Price List has their five string bolt on bass (which is most similar to a Roscoe) lists for $7,350. That covers two different body shapes, four different body woods, different fretboard woods, four different scale lengths and four different pickups. While there are different woods and pickups that can drive the price up, considering what you get, the price difference might not be that great.
     
  13. jsbarber

    jsbarber

    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    You need to get your hands on some of these. Buying & selling to find what you like is a long process. And there is a lot of variation in what Fodera offers (body style, string length, fret type (I don't like large frets, e.g.) wood selection). Why don't you spring for a ticket and fly to the US for NAMM in January? Then you can see and play a bunch of Fodera's and Roscoes, and anything else you're interested in.

    Jim
     
  14. 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
    It really gets down to your favored sound and how much you want to pay. Nostatic's observation regarding the law of diminishing returns is spot-on. I owned a Roscoe LG3005, and it had a rich, throaty sound. The construction was top-notch. I have a Fodera Emperor Deluxe (with a Viceroy-shape in the works), and the build quality is also the best. The Fodera cost about triple what I paid for the Roscoe, but there really isn't much difference in the quality of the build.

    If I had the choice between the two and the financial means, I'd go with the Fodera because ... well, because it's a Fodera. If, for whatever reason, I didn't want to spend that much money, I'd go with the Roscoe and have zero regrets.
     
  15. Since they're entirely different beasts, doesn't sound like you know exactly what you want at this point and should really do some research before dropping some coin.
     
  16. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    I think this is it in a nutshell. When you buy a used bass you are buying someone else's bass, obviously, but the implications are bigger with a Fodera due to the customizations available and built in to the buying process. You really are buying SOMEONE ELSE'S bass when you get a used Fodera, and it may or may not be what you really want. Get a new one and it definitely could be, but get a used one and it's more possibly/maybe than definitely.

    And again, both are outstanding basses, good luck, I'm jealous ;)
     
  17. phishaholik

    phishaholik Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    I've owned a Roscoe LG-3000 and I currently own a Fodera Monarch. My Roscoe, while it was a great sounding bass, had several build quality issues that you would never find on a Fodera. My Roscoe had a large gap in the neck pocket. The neck pocket was also cut way too deep. I had to put four business cards underneath the neck to get the bass to have anything but high action.

    The Roscoe was a cool bass, even with the build issues, but it caused my left hand to cramp up badly and I had to sell it. The build quality on my Fodera is as close to perfect as I've ever seen. I owned my Roscoe several years ago, so quality may have improved over the years.


    Michael
     
  18. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I have played mtd, 2 roscoes and I own 1 fodera mg and a ken smith. I have to say fodera is a clear winner.
    If you leave money out of the equation I have yet to find a bass which plays as easy as a fodera and that sounds a good as it (also has the largest range of tones out of all my basses). All in all the one bass I am 100% sure I will keep I will be the fodera.
     
  19. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Why have you narrowed it down to those two brands?
     
  20. Thanks everyone
    I do know what I want, but I like the 2 different sounds which is all I can go on at the moment. I like the Growl of the Roscoe, but also love the Fodera sound, plus so many great players play Fodera I knew there had to be a reason why. So I just wanted to get some more information from peole that had played both.
     

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