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The Fender Custom Shop is a Joke

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Just Thumpin', Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (as of 10/14/09)
    Okay, before I get flamed, I do not mean that they do not make some very fine instruments. They do and I have owned one. However, has anyone ever tried to actually order a truly "custom" bass from the Fender "Custom Shop?" It's virtually impossible unless the bass falls within the specs they normally produce.

    When I asked for a quote on a truly custom bass -- kind of a mix between a Victor Bailey Jazz Bass (the neck and woods)and a 1964 (the body shape and electronics) with some easy custom finishing, they gave me a quote north of $12,000 and a build time of 8+ months.

    That is absurd and, I can only assume, designed to discourage people from actually ordering custom instruments. Why would anyone EVER buy a custom instrument form Fender rather than one of the boutique builders that make fender style instruments at 1/3 of the price and at least as good quality (if not better)?
  2. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    i think it is because it is their custom versions, not yours. just saying.
  3. I want to yell, "DUH!" but that would be rude ;p. Couldn't another custom shop make you a bass just like that for less? Maybe Sadowsky?
  4. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I agree. I love anything Fender and certainly Custom Shop instruments, but they are more an image thing than an actual practical shop.

    I assume they are up to capacity already just servicing their roster of artist, so their prices to the general public are simply ridiculous to keep people away.

    And close to what you said, I don't see a reason why anybody would ever order a new Custom Shop Fender is you can get, say, an Alleva-Coppolo for around $3000.

    Now, off-the-rack CS are decent, I guess, and more affordable, but I'll still put my money somewhere else. Used CS Fenders, though, is where the deals are.
  5. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I can see your point, but he's not looking for something extravagent. Just a few minor tweaks to what they already offer.

    I would rather that they said 'No' than quote that price.
  6. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (as of 10/14/09)
    Exactly. I obviously didn't go near it at that price (ended up with a gorgeous, used Sadowsky 4-string NYC for less than 1/3 the cost). It was a simple build with relatively basic woods and a simple finish. Basically a mix and match "greatest hits" (IMHO) Fender Bass...
  7. i played a jazz 5'er custom shop at a local store about 3 weeks ago....it was like butter and i was in pure heaven!
  8. Fender is what it is. If you want it to be something else, go somewhere else. Back in the day, I just wanted a H-S-H Floyd Rose Strat with a reversed headstock. I was quoted about 6 grand (and this was ~10 years ago).

    After dealing with some phenomenal luthiers l think their "Custom Shop" needs some work. There isn't a one-size-fits-all bass out there and I feel that they penalize people for questioning the original design. I'll gladly pay luthiers for the extra work they do and the cost of the extra options, but I will NOT pay for penalties for being different.
  9. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006

    +1. IMO it's like spitting in the customer's face. I don't fault them for producing only what they see fit, but that price quote is a joke that's not funny at all. It's worse than Epifani not changing the weights on their website to reflect increases due to new materials (I'm not sure if they ever corrected that).
  10. FenderP

    FenderP Supporting Member

    May 7, 2005
    $12k is, er, a bit much for what you were asking. You might as well try to find a real '64 for that!

    If I was spending $2k - $4k on a bass, there are any number of luthiers (Rob Allen, Sadowsky, Lakland, etc.) who all produce good if not great basses that may potentially be better. The RA Solid 4 I got is awesome, and well worth the scratch.
  11. funkometer

    funkometer Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Birmingham AL
    Its is a joke. Hell, even most of the boutique guys that do jazz style basses wont even attempt 24 fret versions......
  12. The word "custom" in my mind, means that the buyer has the vendor cook up something to the buyers specs, w/in reason of course. Like this:

    Some companies see it more like this I think:

  13. davec

    davec Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 4, 2006
    bartlett illinois
    Owner; Cody Electric Basses
    I would guess, now guess mind you that >12k is paying them for there time, and the time spent away from Sting, Geddy,Pino, Victor Bailey ect. whom they are catering to (so that they can then sell it) there custom shop basses to the masses as a signature bass.

    Get a Lull
  14. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    That is completely idiotic. (Not you, the price!;):D)

    $12k? Wow. Has anyone (besides Ritter) built a fairly normal guitar for $12k? Pri-cy!
  15. selfblessed


    Dec 29, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    12 grand? I like Fender, I could not see taking that thing out of the house.
  16. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    The more price points at which you can sell your company's product, the more opportunities. Fender's prices range from $200 Squiers to $12,000 Custom Shops. That is an amazing range of prices--can't think of another in the industry except maybe Gibson and Martin--and probably very healthy for the company to diversify their pricing. I think it is brilliant. :)

    I can't help but compare this thread to the recent thread about the Fodera waiting list. Lots of people were saying "they need to raise their prices so they don't have a 5 year waiting list." Well it sounds like the Fender Custom Shop has found a sweet spot if their wait list is 8 months, that seems just about right to me. If they sold completely custom basses for, say, $2,000, how quickly do you think they'd be completely swamped with orders?

    Sorry you didn't get the bass you wanted, though... good luck with the Sadowsky! ;)
  17. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    I'll consider myself warned, re: Custom shop.

    I agree with you, and I also like/play/own Fenders. I would like to have a custom Fender, but by MY definitions at something approaching a rational price, but per your message, that doesn't seem possible. At that price point, if they're going to ask for that amount of money, they're going to do it my way, period. For $12K I could buy the land for a tree, grow it, cut it, and pay someone else to turn it into a bass.

    Maybe it's just me but I fail to see that the mods you are interested in which are not significantly different from Fender std. models, that you should incur a $11,000 penalty to have those not-so-wildly different features, instead of buying an off-the-shelf Jazz bass.

    Gee, you'd think at the 12K quote, you mistakenly sent the email to Alembic instead... :meh:

    I'm sure there's luthiers out there who would love to make you a bass that fits your needs and meets your specs for less than that. And ironically, they could probably make it pretty Fender-ish-looking as well.


    Thanks for your thoughts. About every time I think of contacting the Fender Custom Shop, along comes a message like yours.

  18. Hamerguy


    Mar 29, 2008
    Well, fortunately I like much of the regular Fender stuff, so I can buy that. Otherwise I'd go Warmoth if I had the need of a custom Fender-style bass. Usually I get my instruments as used gear which is a lot cheaper for me than to buy new stuff.
  19. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of customizability Warmoth offered, particularly with their Fender-esque items. With Warmoth, the impression is here's our stuff, and here's how you can mix/match it. Very transparent and clear-cut, and you can get a sense of pricing, avoiding a 12K quote "surprise". Fender Custom Shop could learn a little something from this.
  20. fenders are good stuff, but (being a metal bassist) i would order a custom esp. and ive plugged in some things id like as a personalized bass, and the highest quote ive seen was under $6k

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