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Why "Fender" sound on a boutique bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AudioDwebe, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. I've seen many threads over the past year or so where a member wants to achieve a Fender sound out of a boutique bass.


    Why not just get a Fender or go back to one?

    I was listening to Antonio Forcione's "Acoustic Revenge" and absolutely loved the sound of the fretless player. I was going to post a question here about what kind of bass the player might be using.

    Then, I decided maybe I should look up who the bassist was.

    Turns out the guy's name is Davide Mantovani. Great player, BTW. You should check him out. He's got a web page and I emailed him about the bass used for that session.

    Surprisingly, he responded back. The bass?

    Yep. A Fender Jazz with a Precision neck. What great sound!
  2. IPA


    May 5, 2010
    Some sort of perceived 'better quality' in build or parts.
  3. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    great question!
  4. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Valid question.

    I've got a custom build underway at the moment - it's not at the expensive end of the scale, so I don't know whether you'd call it boutique or not, but I'll have a go at answering...

    I had a MTD Kingston Heir 5. Loved the B string, loved the asymmetric neck, used the full range of the 24-fret board. Then I got a Squier P Special that, to my ears and taste, blew it away on tone. I happen to really love those classic passive P and J sounds. But... it's missing a string. And a few frets. And that MTD neck just suited me perfectly.

    So, Fender sound? Yes please. From a passive 5-string PJ with asymmetric 24-fret neck? Erm... I can't see that in Fender's current range!

    So, to answer the OP's question, it's to get an ideal blend of the sound, feel and range that I want, which is something that isn't avaialble in a stock Fender. It's to my great advantage to be living in the UK where I can get a handbuilt bass from ACG's Graft range and it be cheaper than a standard MIA Fender. :)
  5. ACNick

    ACNick Guest

    Oct 23, 2012
    South Florida
    Maybe they like the sound, but don't like the look or feel of Fender bass guitars. When I first started playing Bass, I disliked the look of Fenders, but after a few years I can't get enough of them!
  6. Options. How may strings, scale length(s), fretted or fretless options, number of strings, improved low B string, lighter body, different neck shapes, improved ergonomics, etc.
  7. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    More options like fretboard radius, colors, woods, neck width and depth, electronics, 24 fret necks, etc. I really like flamed koa and spalted maple. Fender doesn't offer those. Stuff like that, I guess. Although I wouldn't call my Carivins or Lakland exactly "boutique." Still, as many models and options as Fender does offer, there are a lot of things people are looking for that don't come on a stock Fender.

    Why go to Baskin Robbins when Dairy Queen is available? ;)
  8. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    I have a pile of Fenders after despising them and refusing to play them for years. I tried to hate them but no luck. They work in the mix and are all but idiot proof.

    With that said, I have recently fallen for Lakland's take on J's and P's. The necks are to-die-for and I can't explain why. I just slide in to my own personal Bass in Wonderland place. The DJ5 that I just got gives me chicken skin every single time that I play it.

    I am just grateful that we have so many choices today as bass players !

    Fender, Fender knock off, Boutique Fender knock-off, or Anti Fender. I want to play them all !

  9. Maybe they just want something unique, something handmade to their specifications or something that just feels a bit more 'special' than a Fender?

    I know, it's not something I would look for in a boutique bass but that end of the market is all about catering to the customer. And if they want to stump up the cash to have a bass made for them (or buy a high end bass with a Fender sound) then why not?
  10. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK

    For some, that classic Fender design, in whichever format you prefer, is perfection. For some, it's the complete opposite. And for others (like me) it's just a few degrees off being perfect. And there are basses out there to cater to everyone's wants and needs!
  11. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Yep, it's the options. I'd like to get a Clement made someday because he can do the asymmetrical neck. Until my brother got a Loar archtop with asymmetrical neck I had no idea how comfortable they are, now I'm jonesing for a bass with that kind of neck, but I want my classic Jazz tone.
  12. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Some people like nice things and have the cheese to pay for them.
  13. Jimmy Stump

    Jimmy Stump

    Jan 27, 2010
    Some of the "boutique" builders are offering improvements to the Fender experience, IMO. I love the Fender Jazz, but for some, it misses the mark.

    I have a Mike Lull jazz bass. Here's why I think it's better than a Fender Jazz.

    1. Hum cancelling pickups so I don't have to deal with the Fender Jazz hum.

    2. Weight: mine's about 2 -3 pounds lighter than a typical Fender Jazz.

    3. Smaller body: I prefer this one compared to the larger Fender Jazz body.

    4. Pickup blend control and single volume control: I'll never understand why Fender chose 1 volume control for each pickup. I greatly prefer a single volume control.

    5. 3 band EQ with sweepable mids: Sweepable mids is the most imporant EQ feature to me, and I don't think you can get that on a Fender.

    It sounds quite a bit like a Fender Jazz, and it has a few things that Fender does not do that I must have.
  14. Okay, I understand. I was thinking in terms of "sound" only, and not all the other aspects of the bass.

    Cheers, all.

    I guess it's sort of like being able to upgrade the girl with the "great personality" into the a model of your choosing WITH the great personality. Right?
  15. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    los angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    If someone else is playing my bass, then I can only worry about sound. Since that doesn't happen, playability is #1 as I can generally push tone around if I need to. Plus some sound guy is probably going to screw up my tone in FOH anyway. But my hands will always have to be on the bass.

    I love the sound of a P bass. But playability of a Fender P vs Fodera with PJ setup? Night and day...

    I don't like the JJ tone so that's a non-starter for me.
  16. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    You're welcome!

    (I'm a little shocked at the way this thread turned out. OP asks a question, receives some sensible replies that actually relate to the topic, and returns to thank those who replied... Is this the real TB? Is this just fantasy?) :D
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, probably pretty accurate ;)
  18. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I DO wish there was a Fender Jazz bass that weighed in at 7 to 7.5 Lbs. Mine gets heavier each year.
  19. Jimmy Stump

    Jimmy Stump

    Jan 27, 2010
    If you have a bass that's a keeper, maybe it would be worth it to have yours chambered to reduce the weight.
  20. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Because stock Fenders are not great playing instruments out the box. Spotty QC, little to zero setup and attention to detail is nil unless it's Custom Shop. And Custom Shop may as well be Boutique.