What's wrong with the Fender Dimension Basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tlite, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. tlite


    Aug 18, 2016
    Is there not love for Dimension Basses?


    I'm not trying to call out the Dimension fangirls and fanboys here to chime in about how awesome the Dimensions are (though if you like 'em tell us why), but more trying to get a reasonable viewpoint on why this bass seems ubiquitous in shops and online, but few seem to really champion them.

    This style (in its various forms) repeatedly comes up in closeout sales, deals of the day (for example- this one from a few days ago). Are they selling poorly? Are Dimensions the red-headed stepchild of the Fender lineup?

    I admittedly haven't played one through an amp (yet), but I've picked them up at the store, and watched some videos and they seem solid and versatile.

    I admit I'm not as drawn to its aesthetic as I am to some other models- the P, the J, and the Jaguar, but it's still not that radically different.

    One might postulate:
    1. The Dimension basses are not good, or not good enough?

    2. It's a bass that strays from its brand identity. Thus it competes with G&L, Ibanez, MM, etc. and the feeling is that if you want a bass other than a P or a Jazz variant, that Fender isn't the best manufacturer to consider?

    3. Marketing issue behind this model- information not getting to the right audience?

    4. I'm completely wrong and this is a super popular model despite the above (admittedly subjective) perceptions.

    What's the deally on these things?
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    My first thoughts when trying one was that it's Fender's answer to Music Man.
    If I were to buy another Fender, it would probably be the Dimension with the triple-bucker.


    IMHO, the reason they're not popular is:
    the players want the brand to stay the same, no new stuff
    I don't get it either, but it seems apparent to me after watching the market for a few years

    The Mexican Fender Blacktop was also discontinued, but I thought they were the best line Fender had at the time. (bang for buck-wise)
    Mili, Root 5, NoSlapForYou and 23 others like this.
  3. tlite


    Aug 18, 2016
    Never seen/heard the triple-bucker. Nifty.
    TolerancEJ and Killed_by_Death like this.
  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    People like precision basses and people like jazz basses. I think this place can give people the wrong idea that most bass players know or care about gear beyond the standard.
  5. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    Personally, I'm not a huge fan. The ones I have played have been nice and sounded good, but the controls don't feel very intuitive to me.
    Allatoona Rebel, Lownote38 and tlite like this.
  6. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    The right there. Building the two most popular basses of all time is a double edged sword. Nothing else they make really gets any traction in the market.
  7. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I was glad to give it a go as a departure from traditional Fender models, and was immediately turned off by the feel and tone. One of those "what were they thinking?" moments. But each to his own. I heard another player with one at the Treasure Island flea market and thought he made it sound good, but with his talent he probably could have made any bass sound good.
    MobileHolmes and tlite like this.
  8. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I tried one once and thought it was OK, but like many things when Fender tried to think outside their ancient box, they didn't quite get there.
    The large exposed pole pieces made a gnarly noise if you dig in too hard and the string touches them. Sort of the same design flaw in the Rickenbacker pickups or raised pole pieces on jazz pickups.
    The electronics were clunky. Position selector switches like the deluxe has are old school and limiting. A pair of smaller 2-3 position switches would have been better along with a pan knob.
    The Nike swoosh PG didn't do anything for me.
    The colors that were available at the time were the same old boring options Fender always has.
    I wanted to like it because I really wish Fender would get with the 21st century. It was comfortable to play, and sounded OK, but nothing about it was inspiring to me.
    dkelley likes this.
  9. tlite


    Aug 18, 2016
    Great detail. I can see why you give the Dimension a "meh" response with that description. And I know it's a stupid thing, but the pickguard doesn't do it for me either.

    That said, I liked the feel, but didn't play through an amp so many of those issues weren't apparent when I tried it. I want to support products from traditional brands thinking outside the box, which is part of the reason I posted the question originally. But the product should be compelling, and I get the sense the Dimension just isn't. For many.
  10. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    The two that I tried just felt cheap, and that's an instant turn off for me. The Squier VM Jazz I had felt like was made of better quality components. I wasn't impressed by how it sounded, either.
    tindrum likes this.
  11. 52hurtz


    May 8, 2007
    Just picked up an AmStd V and really enjoying it. Loved the look and feel previously, but was never a fan of the electronics until I saw the passive version with J-bass controls, decided to give it a try, and am quite pleased.

    I think they tried too hard at first and the full-on active with 5-way selector was the wrong way to launch a new bass series (not to mention no active/passive control). Also, they probably wouldn't have had as much backlash if they had just stuck with the dual p/u version. "OMG, Fender copied MM! They broke the agreement!" (So EVERYONE can copy Fender, but they can't take influence from other brands? For shame. And come to think of it, we probably wouldn't have excellent basses such as the MM Cutlass and Caprice if they hadn't made the Dimension - so thanks Fender - also, who designed the stingray?)

    My point is that, IMO, they would have been better off initially offering the simple, passive model to gain acceptance and judge reaction rather than going full bore with deluxe and elite versions. And maybe some would have said it was the second coming of the beloved Roscoe Beck rather than a MM ripoff.

    As to the sound? Judge yourself - here's the passive model:
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  12. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Still have my 2014 Deluxe 5. I still like it too. As it can be with some active basses, I am more comfortable with my Precision V but the Dimension has a modern sound and it works well with the Country band.

    I enjoy it more since I am going direct into the PA and not slaving off a rig into the PA. For some reason, it just works better w/o the amp.
    I use the Precision the same way with little troubles. Of course every show is different and so you're always adjusting + - to varying degrees of satisfaction.

    Overall though, I am glad I have it and enjoy the tone and vibe. It has both.
    Mili, eff-clef, tlite and 1 other person like this.
  13. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    Yolanda Charles uses it. I saw her at a Hans Zimmer concert. Her ability to play multiple styles of music with it was impressive. It sounded great in that huuuuuge band.

    TB24, Mili, dkelley and 15 others like this.
  14. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    The problem with the Dimension bass is that I don't have one or two.
    Mili, NoSlapForYou, eff-clef and 7 others like this.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    From your choices, OP, I'm gonna go with a combination of equal parts 1, 2 and 3.
    tlite likes this.
  16. It's a fender.
  17. ultra60

    ultra60 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2010
    Herndon/Chantilly Va.
    Never played one, but the pickguard makes it look cheap to me. Would probably look really cool without one.
  18. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I think it's because it's very difficult for an old line manufacturer to introduce new designs - EBMM has the same problem. People always complain that it's too different, or not different enough, or a derivative of <insert name here>, or...

    I have two AmDlx 5Hs and think they're great.
    NoSlapForYou, bozha, nateh415 and 2 others like this.
  19. techbass76

    techbass76 Guest

    Nov 15, 2011
    The pickups and electronics are not great and the American standard Jazz and p sound and play better. The Dimension looks cool to me but I have tried the USA deluxe models and was left unimpressed.
    AB Nate likes this.
  20. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I tried one and just wasn't impressed. Granted, it was the same day that I picked up a killer Brubaker, so that probably skewed my opinion.
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