Why do Fender Custom Shop often install the bridge cover on jazz basses slightly askew?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jmoss, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. Jmoss


    Mar 6, 2013
    London UK
    Dear all, I know this is a super nerdy, OCD type question, and maybe I do have OCD.... but it’s true, for all their attention to detail, Fender CS send out a high proportion of their jazz basses with the bridge cover mounted wonky. Why on earth would they fail to get this detail correct? It’s rare to see this defect on a real 60s bass. It bugs the hell out of me; I have a journeyman 64 Jazz and it’s perfect in every way - beautiful crazed surf green finish, awesome tone, best sustain I ever heard, really light at 8.5lb, matching headstock... I love it and it’s got that special magic, vibrates like crazy every note you pluck... but the holes for the bridge cover are way out of true - see pic! I’ve put a straight edge in lined up with the bridge to show the misalignment. And no, the bridge isn’t wonky. It’s mounted square with the pickup, and when the bridge cover is on THAT is misaligned with the pickup due to the holes being wonky.
    It’s minor in that most people won’t notice, but it’s also major in that those are irreparable holes drilled through that beautiful finish! Do they not have a template for where to drill the holes? Anyone else notice this? I’ve seen it on loads, maybe 50% of CS basses to a greater or lesser degree. But generally the AV64 line and the current 60th anniversary ones seem to have it mounted straight. Anyone got an explanation? Sorry for the long thread and hope this isn’t too trivial to warrant a response.

    Attached Files:

    HearNoStevil likes this.
  2. jeffb28451


    Aug 6, 2006
    Leland NC
    Maybe it’s an attempt to show how “handmade” they are? I’d like to know..God knows, for the price they charge, they ought to sweat details. To me, for the prices they charge, this is a major oversight.
    TrustRod, mouthmw, Jmoss and 2 others like this.
  3. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I'm looking at the J hanging on my wall right now, the bridge cover holes are spot on and the treble side pup cover placement is 1/8" off center from the bass side.

    So IMO this is a valid question. Fender has been making basses, including CS, in a factory environment for close to 70 years. I'm not going to believe it's a guy gunning a handheld drill. It's a press and they use templates. I don't know the answer but I agree that it's a question worth asking.
    Jmoss likes this.
  4. Fender4Me

    Fender4Me The Undertaker

    You might check the cheaply stamped pickup cover. It could be wonky. Ive seen them warped, egged, etc.
    Maybe swap one with another bass.
  5. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Are the holes on the bridge cover true? They might have drilled so it would be square with the bridge.
    rockdoc11 likes this.
  6. Well, if Rickenbacker can be sloppy aligning stuff, why can't Fender? :cautious:
    mikeswals and willy2763 like this.
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Ask them why - show those pics.
  8. It is Fender! On their most expensive production basses, the abandonned AVS-Series, the pickguards don't fit the control plate on the Jazz Basses. Not that I care a lot and it doesn't prevent them from being my favourite basses, but it is just that gut feeling: they are building basses for 70 years and they don't get these vulgar things right on a model they build since 60 years?
    The Bridges on the 3-5.000,- Custom Shop Bass VI are wrong and Fender asked Fender Japan to send them the correct ones or the specs of the correct ones and Fender Japan denied. They are correct on the 1.000,- MIJ Fender Bass VI. My > 2.000,- '63 P has taught me how much waste can be put between a body and a pickguard....
    Fender. Tssss....
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  9. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    Fender are like the honey badger
    They just don’t give a $$&&
    People are going to buy them anyway
    TrustRod, rojo412 and HearNoStevil like this.
  10. HearNoStevil

    HearNoStevil Inactive

    Jul 17, 2020
    Simple. It takes two minutes of time to make sure they are straight and true before mounting the holes. They don't use a template. They are done by hand, and it's easier to not worry about it knowing that most who pay multiple thousands of dollars for a pre-beat up bass probably won't care if the bridge cover isn't perfectly straight. I believe they call those kind of flaws, "mojo."

    And, they are more accurate that way. They were always a little crooked. Some more than others, some perfect. But they were never consistently perfectly mounted. If they were now, they wouldn't be period-correct.

    I'm waiting for a 70's Precision custom shop where the neck heel mounting surface is 1/8" wider than the neck heel, like my '74 is.
    TrustRod, Jmoss and BossOnBass like this.
  11. Hello Brother! My '74 Precision:
    It sounds great, it is ash and < 4 kg. Who cares...

    But how do you like the tuner backplate of the G-string in front view?

    Fender Precision 1975_IMG_3104.JPG

    At least, if you meet people, who play Fender, it is highly likely that they are not an*l and pedantic and not into unnecessary perfectionism that makes live unnecessary unhappy...
    HearNoStevil likes this.
  12. HearNoStevil

    HearNoStevil Inactive

    Jul 17, 2020

    Wow! Your overhang is even totally crooked like mine is! See? There is some consistency!

  13. Jmoss


    Mar 6, 2013
    London UK
    It’s strange because in my understanding some of the American Vintage reissues came with a paper template you could use to align the bridge cover if you wanted to mount it. So Fender have a template and understand that it might matter slightly - they just don’t use it at the custom shop!
    The screw holes are definitely out of alignment with the bridge and pickup - it’s not the cover that’s at fault. I’ve got another CS Jazz Bass and that one has the same misalignment but only subtly - much less out of true than the surf green one. It doesn’t matter all that much, and the surf green is my favourite anyway notwithstanding this flaw! But there’s definitely an inconsistency there. My guess is that these holes are not made by CNC as the bridge mounting holes probably are, because they’re meant to be drilled THROUGH the finish rather than in the body wood before the finish is applied. But it’s not hard to line it up properly, I’ve gotten it right on several refins I’ve done and I have no particular skill in this regard! Thanks all for your input. I may ask Fender some day! PS I can’t fault the neck pocket on either of mine, tight and neat as any bass I’ve seen. It would be funny if they made a super accurate late 70s reissue with a 1/8 inch gap either side of the neck heel...
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  14. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    The longer you wait to contact them, the less like Kelly they will be to do something (or give you a discount).
  15. Jmoss


    Mar 6, 2013
    London UK
    Also, I get that maybe they see it as more period-correct to mount the covers in a slightly casual way and not try to make them 100% perfect. I do feel they should be a little more careful and accurate on such expensive instruments though. If I ever order a custom build I’ll ask them to leave the covers off, and do it myself!
  16. Fender4Me

    Fender4Me The Undertaker

    What??? That's not normal ?? :)
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  17. HearNoStevil

    HearNoStevil Inactive

    Jul 17, 2020
    It is for a 70's Fender! Back in the 90's, the 70's instruments were shunned, discarded, and ridiculed. But, now that time has passed, they are for some reason considered better than they were back then. They aren't bad instruments, well, until you consider workmanship and attention to detail. Then, they are pretty bad. But that doesn't mean they can't be great basses!
  18. Judging by the OP's photos, the control plate or the pickguard (or both?:D) are misaligned too.

    I agree with other comments, nothing unusual for Fender, especially for 70's examples, I've done repairs since the 80's and handled a few Fenders over the years. The funny thing is that if faults like the ones commonly seen from Fender, (and which often don't affect playability to be fair) were seen on a copy, or a non legacy brand, or heaven forbid a custom makers instrument, I suspect that the general attitude might be far less forgiving?
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