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Why is Fender so Popular?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ArpeggiFish, Mar 15, 2008.

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  1. ArpeggiFish


    Feb 24, 2008
    Is it because they are the first to make a commercially popular Electric bass? I don't get it. There are many other companies that should have the status that Fender has. I'm not dissing anyone who likes Fender, this is just how I think. Don't you see everyone switching to Lakland?! Tim Commerford and Juan Alderete used Fender's for years, and went to Lakland after! Yes, I do have a Fender, but I just mod the hell out of it (getting a new neck as a self-birthday present, the only things that are going to be stock by the end of spring will be the body).

  2. All those great records of yesteryear and today even. It's a great sound we all know. MAny people just expect it.

    The tradition. The headstock. The original.
  3. playibanez


    Apr 3, 2006
    they have been around forever.

    and ive never experienced it but alot of people say that in the studio a fender or a fender style/sounding bass is a must. so if you want work you at least need something that can cop a good fender tone. becasue thats the sound people want on albums.

    they are overrated, but once you get to some of the models they are damn good basses.

    also most people take things for face value. they see a fender headstock with the fender logo they are like oh alright i know this. for some people if you show up with a g and l they dont know if its a great bass or just a fender knock off
  4. cheapimitation


    Mar 23, 2007
    As far as the actual music-making goes, I believe that as long as you have a bass that is set up so that you can play it comfortably, expressively, and in tune, the make of the instrument is the absolute least important element involved in making a great recording (or playing live, for that matter). As far as engineers prefering Fenders, maybe they do, but I still think it's a red herring; if the engineer is competent, he or she should be able to get a perfectly fine sound from any bass.
  5. kickupthejam


    Feb 22, 2008
    I find fender make the easiest basses to play, for me anyway. Plus a genuine fender is kind of special, but that could be said for heaps of other makes as well.
  6. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    it's a matter of preference. some of us dig the old sound and massive necks. personally i'd take a 51 pbass over a lakland any day.(because of sound, look, and feel)
  7. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Here's a thread that can go in all directions but I'll chime in. I really think Fender has a great thing going these days and is serving their customers well. They offer products in all price ranges, from the MIM Standard line, to the Master Built Custom Shop pieces. I just picked up a Marcus Miller 5 (delivered yesterday), which I feel sits right in the middle of the price spectrum, and it is going to suit my needs very well. In general, the basses are very adjustable and with care and patience, all of their basses can be set up to fit the players needs. Once set up, they deliver classic tones that fit the gambit of many musical styles. Don't get me wrong, I really like what other companies have done with, and some would say, improved upon their template (Sadowsky, Lakland, etc.), but they deliver quality basses across all price points. If I found somebody just starting out, I would point them to a MIM Standard Jazz or Precision.

    Just my $0.02.

  8. dblbass

    dblbass Commercial User

    Mar 24, 2007
    Beacon, NY
    Owner of MBJ guitars, Maker of fine sawdust for Carl Thompson Guitars
    fenders suck. pretty much everything is wrong with them. yep.
  9. scarekrow


    Jan 27, 2007
    I've modded most of my Fenders, too, but I think their continued popularity has a lot to do with their history. And the personal histories of a LOT of players. They set the standard years ago and in many ways, especially with the signature and custom shop items, still do. Simple, ergonomic, tough, (mostly) passive, arguably good looking and they are still very usable, versatile and inspirational. They still sound great, or so I believe, in most styles of music. Maybe all styles. Or maybe, we're all simply conditioned to think and hear that way.
    A lot of great bass builders out there are building amazing beautiful basses that sound and play superb, but many, many players still dig a Fender.
    Why ask why anyway?
    It's OK.
  10. agreed. fender isnt great
  11. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    :rollno: Why is the sky blue, why do birds fly and why oh why can't I? :atoz:
  12. Some day I'll wish upon a star
    And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
    Where troubles melt like lemondrops
    Away above the chimney tops................:smug:
  13. IMO, Fender is popular by almost sheer force of numbers. When Fender started out, it was able to put out more reasonably good guitars than other companies, for less. Add to that the artists who help to make it popular, Fender and its headstock become historic icons. People who don't even play music know what Fender is.

    And since Fender hasn't stopped production, its iconic status propels it. When people think electric guitar, they think of the Stratocaster. When of bass, it's the P or J Bass. So if they're just starting out on music, what do you think they'll look at first?

    At least that's how I see it.
  14. Jim Roseberry

    Jim Roseberry

    May 24, 2007
    Leo invented the modern fretted bass guitar.

    Classics are classic for a reason. They work well...
    That's not to say that a Fender is the "end-all" in construction/quality/etc. But Fenders provide a good balance of cost/quality/sound/playability.
    A good P or J bass... in good working order... with a good player will just about always produce a tone that works well in a mix (with minimal fuss).
    When recording, it's always best to capture sounds that work well from the get-go. As an engineer and musician, I just don't see the point in spending lots of time tweaking an instrument that doesn't natually sit pretty well in the mix. EQ/processing are certainly helpful tools, but they're a poor substitute for a great (working) basic tone.
    Same can be said for microphones... and vocal performances.
    Sure... you can use EQ to lessen the "ice-pick" sound from a particular vocalist/mic combo... but you'd be far better off using a different mic/position that sounded good from the start. Better raw tracks definitely result in better finished mixes. Fender basses are a 'standard' because they've delivered good results for many years. Can the basic Fender design/vibe be improved? Absolutely...

    BTW, There are other basses that also sit well in a mix with minimal fuss. Currently, one of my favorites is an EBMM SR5-HS.

    Jim Roseberry
  15. Joey3313


    Nov 28, 2003

    Nike doesn't make the greatest shoes on the planet, but having that swoosh on the side gives it a sense of credibility.

    I suppose the history doesn't hurt either.
  16. It's all about consistency, when you pick up a fender bass, you know what to expect (ie the weight, the feel, the set-up etc.) It's like the standard, the universal, "the way." When looking at similar basses, it could be looked at as having a fender with different modifications. Then again, that's one of the great things about fender-the modifications. Countless companies make direct replacement parts for the p, j, p/j etc basses to suit the specific needs of the player. It's like the bass that could be applied to nearly any realm of music.
  17. dezspet


    Mar 21, 2007
    I am Musikmesse now in Frankfurt, FYI this is the biggest event in Europe, similar to NAMM.
    I am visiting all the European, mainly German manufacturers: Marleaux, Sandberg, Clover, Boerjes, Maruszscyk, etc. They all have actually jazzbasses in their portfolio. I own a MIA 62RI jazz, which is (was?) my main axe.
    Now, what I have realized, that even the less expensive jazz bass of this European manufacturer society is significantly better than any Fender I ever played. Including playability, hardware, SOUND. Actually some of them are better than a Sadowsky IMO.
    Maybe the original look (which is just the matter of taste) is what they don`t have (and the logo).
    The funny thing is, that I know myself, I will not sell my 62RI, which is a kind of nightmare except the sound and the look (OK, I know it was made based on the original spec, so I´m not complaining). And I don´t know why, but Fender has a position in my head, and it´s hard to change it, if you know what I mean.
  18. Dude, you make it your task to say something doofy in every threat you visit, don't you?

    In the name of typing domething that adds to this discussion: Fender didn't make the first bass guitar, but they made it work first., in terms to getting the thing to the mass market. Which got the Fender sound onto a *lot* of discs. Which makes them the guys to beat, I guess.
  19. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Aside from Gretches or similar hollowbodys, if its not a Fender I feel less inclined to want to own one. I will never own an Ernie Ball style bass or Warwick etc. The odd time I will pick one up in a music store just for grins, but nope not something I want to own.

    The classic style of a Fender P just speaks to me.
  20. aviador


    Feb 9, 2008
    They are fame because Fender is the greatest American music instrument company. The word "American" says it all.
    I mean that Americans rules the world trade.
    So, it is so easy to be the No1 famous name all over the world, but in fact its quality isn't equal to its size name! Fender is a legend but there are so many companies all over the world that make better instruments than Fender! I believe that Germans make better quality bass than Fender, but never will be over than Fender's legend name.
    So if you are "opened-eye" don't stuck with Fender's name but search for what is better for you.
    thabassmon likes this.

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