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Why should or shouldn't I buy an F Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Larry Kaye, Jul 26, 2002.

  1. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Earlier this week we were trying to justify a new, beautiful blue Sadowsky and couldn't pull the trigger on one for $3600+ in spite of Nino Brown and many other of your encouraging words of praise and glory.

    I got a decent deal on a new F Bass today (blue of course) and the only "bad" thing I've heard is that they tend to lose their value real pronto like. No one, again, similar to the feedback and opinions about Sadowsky, had anything negative to say about F Bass's playability, tone, action, reliability, service of the builder, etc. In comparing the two, the tone is obviously not quite the same, but some have said that it better "bridges the gap" between a Lakland/more of a hyper Music Man and a Jazz bass.

    Also the F Bass preamp includes a mid boost along with a dual coil/single coil switch, two volume controls, plus the tone control which works both like the one on a basic jazz bass and doubles as the passive/active switch is available for use in both the passive and active mode.

    It seems like, from a tonal adjustability, tweaking side, that this bass is possibly more adjustable than a Sadowsky, even moreso than my Lakland, which I find attractive. The question is how these basses sound flat...in otherwords what is the basic sound I'm going to be adjusting or tweaking to my taste and to the room's acoustics? Is it's voice so unique that I won't like it? Anyone comment on how these basses sound? Please keep in mind that I'm not a total Jazz bass fan as the one I owned, a newer Jazz Deluxe American 4 string, never cut through the mix in my band.

    Just the basic bottom line is I'm more inclined to try this F Bass approach, if I'm going to buy anything new at all. Someone today suggested Mike Lull basses as an alternative. Although I've not heard bad things about Lull, I think here we're dealing with a hyper Jazz Bass type of sound which is not what I'm necessarily looking for.

    In the meantime, I've decided to take in my Modulus Q5 for an preamp upgrade to include a midrange control with frequency. That might solve the tonal adjustability issue with that bass but who knows?

    HELP. I need some F Bass feedback + and minus. OK?


    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    The F Bass is indeed a very good Bass but if your interested in a Bas that is similar in feel to a Lakland,Mike Lull,Sadowski,etc.but would like more versatilitie and a more modern sound.check out this co. in Puerto Rico called
    Fabregues at http://fabregues.com/ I own a one of a kind fretless and Im waiting on a 5 string. see if you can get some info on them and the nearest dealer.
  3. i'm afraid i don't have any comments regarding the F bass, but i do own a mike lull modern 5V, and i wouldn't exactly say that it is a 'hyper' jazz bass. if anything, i feel that it comes closer to the vintage jazz bass sound and overall vibe than all of the sadowskies i've tried, which is why i got the lull instead. i'm not sure i'm sold on the duncan pickups, as they sound a little aggressive to me with an upper midrange bite when the bart preamp is kicked in, but in passive its smooth sailing...<br>
    keep in mind, i'm not speaking about the regular modern 5, as that bass may be more of a 'hyper' jazz... sorry for raining on the F bass parade, but i had to put my 2 cents in... :D
  4. Hman


    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Just for retaining the value, nothing can beats a Sadowsky. Resale value for a Sadowsky is about 70-80% of the original price. It is the highest demand on the used market. I made a trade with another Talkbass member in France. My MTD 535 to his Sadowsky 24F. On the other hand, Lull, F, Lakland (not Skyline)- they are all around 55-60%. I have owned all the above, they are all wonderful basses. I think you should look for a used one and go from there. I made many trades just from one to another without losing alot of $$.
  5. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Looked up the reviews of F Basses on Harmony Central. Some of them said that the F was really close to a J bass sound but possessing many more useable sounds.

    Again, I'm more interested in versatility from being able to tweak one good, solid, cutting sound to fit the gig acoustics with only an occasional changing that solid foundational sound for a particular song...Like Dance to the Music where I push the midrange and bottom up or Last Dance where I tend to cut down the bottom a little and add some mids to emulate the recording a little closer.

    Otherwise, I try to keep it simple because in one room the settings used trying to imitate a player's tone can be totally different in the next room. I can't be bothered with a song to song, or style to style tone change live and just want to cut through anywhere, and sound like me (obviously I wish I played like the best) not be the best carbon copy of Jaco's, Miller's, or Jamerson's tone on every tune.

    To my new Chicago friend Mr. Jauqo with the Farbreques bass ordered, did you hear one played or play one somewhere?

    To the Lull Advocate Mr. Cephus, I got a great Lull sales pitch from Club Bass where I've bought some gear from in the past. I do trust Mr Freeman (and Gard/Beaver/Grasshopper at BC) more than any other dealers I've worked with. Club Bass has a couple Lull 5's coming in with the control knobs in a row like a Jazz/Jazz Deluxe. Certainly he doesn't add different lines of basses that sound crappy!!! Everything I've tried at his store always sounds good.

    The Lull will probably cost me about $700 less than the F Bass which is $900 less than the Sadowsky. The Lull isn't "hand made" and is still more of a parts bass similar to a Lakland from that aspect, but the reviews are excellent that I've seen. Tell me more!! How does it sound in different rooms? What type of music do you play? Amp you use/general volume/PA support y or n?

    Thanks for answering.

  6. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Get a used F bass, one of the others you mentioned, a used Sadowsky? Obviously holding it's value is important, but if I don't like the adjustability or the foundational sound of the bass, I'd obviously rather not buy it in the first place. Problem with buying used, as was the case with a Roscoe and a Modulus I recently bought, is the unreturnability of the bass should I not like/love it.

    This may be the one (and only) advantage of buying new except from Roger Sadowsky directly who offers a 7 day trial even on pre-owned stuff. You've played most of the stuff I'm interested in or have also owned. What's your end all or most favorite in the group and why if you don't mind pontificating a little?

  7. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    I have not actually owned an F bass but I have played a couple and I think that they are some of the best sounding basses I have ever played. The sound was rich and warm but it also had prescense and high end detail. Check out Alain Caron if you want to hear what an F bass can sound like.
  8. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    i cant think of a single negative thing to say about f basses. the resale on them isnt that bad either. id say with looking at what the street price on them is rather than retail that the resale is about the same as a sadowsky.

    youve never heard anything negative about about lull's? well here you go. the modern 5 sucks! i hated the one i owned. the balance was for caca, the neck shape and profile made my thumb hurt, and the tone was horrible. to quote funkyc. it sounded like a man repeatedly slapping his own ass. really ugly harsh upper midrange. very shy on the lows, and unnatural sounding highs. imo, the f bass is worlds beyond a lull.

    did i mention i dont like lulls?
  9. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Hi Larry,

    I've played both, and I think it's a little bit of apples to oranges. The "F" bass is a more original design, and it is ergonomically one of the best. (Whew -what a sentence I done made! : )

    What I mean is that the "F" won't neckdive on you, and really fits like a glove. Soundwise, also I think Furlanetto is in his own territory, a bit Jazz-like but different. The Lull I played was great as well, but it's really just a super Jazz Bass. He uses great electronics and does great work, so you can't go wrong with his stuff.

    I don't know if that clears it up for you. . . For me, I'd pick the Lull for gigs where I needed a good solid Fender type sound. For example, for recording and corporate casual gigs. I'd choose the "F" bass for situations where I could play something with a bit more original personality, like original jazz gigs or singer/songwriter gigs.

    By the way, I'm a big Club Bass Fan as well!
    Laurence Mollerup
  10. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    oh, yeah. i owned both a lull and f at the same time so ive had quite a bit of experience with the two. funkycarnivore owned both an f bass and lull modern 5 at the same time too and he might chime in with some experience

    i still say the modern 5 blows
  11. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I can get "close" to a jazz sound now with my Lakland using the coil switch. I know...it's not quite that, panned to the bridge PU is not quite a music man, panned forward isn't quite a P bass. OK, you know what, I don't do any "extreme" dial in's!!! The bass sounds decent flat, and I cut and boost or slightly pan to the bridge pu in a real bassy room. I just get the feeling that the Lakland and the Lull are more like cousins: slightly different Vibes - one more an adjustable MM type and one an adjustable Jazz bass type. Narud and fc are two guys who "hate" the Lull. Are there any more of you who either love or hate your Lull?

    Who out there Hates their experience with an F bass or Sadowsky? My guess isn't many. How many Haters are there in Foderaland? Not many is my guess. There really aren't that many Lakland haters that I've noticed, but there are quite a few bassists that just don't like Barts or want a little closer to some other more vintage bass's sound than a Lakland produces.

    Thanks for your feedback along with anyone else. I'm officially hittin the sack tonight!!

  12. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    i hate the lull. i cant speak for funky.
    ive also owned a lakland 5594. i thought that bass kind of stunk too. although it did play very well. overall i liked it a bit more than the lull, but keep in mind i really didnt like the lull.
  13. Hman


    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    The F bass is my latest addition to my collection of basses. You can get more tones from it than the other basses. I really like how the neck feels. It is very similar to the Lakland. I think the neck of the Sadowsky is little wider and the Lull is really too big for my test. The quality of construction, Sadowsky is the best. If you must buy a new one, go for the F bass. I don't think you can go wrong with it.

  14. Hman


    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Pics of the MTD 535 and the Lull....I really miss my MTD, someday I'll have another one!


  15. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    GHS Strings
    I just got a used F bass and I'm incredibly happy with it. It's easily the most comfortable 6 I've played and it sounds incredible. Note that this is an older one with the two P-bass pickups and an old pre-amp. I'll bet the newer ones sound and play even better. I would definitely get another if I had the money.
  16. Hey Larry:

    From my posts on your last thread, you can guess my answer - F Bass is the way to go. Both from a versatility and playability standpoint. You will be happy with this decision.

    Dave at Club Bass gave me the same pitch on the Lull's, he is a good guy but also knows where his bread is buttered - he's got the Lull's coming in, so obviously he wants to move them. If you haven't already, have a chat with him on the effect of demographics on the high-end bass market - he and I both think that the demand for high-end instruments will drop dramatically as more boomers fulfill their fantasies as they age and move out of the acquisition market. Therefore, ANY high-end investment should be for the musical value and personal delight of the buyer. All those large collections we see today valued at thousands are going to lose their apparent value as boomers retire.

    For myself, going through the breakup of a long-term marriage has put me in the buying mode for instruments, but I'm going in with eyes (and ears, ofcourse) wide open. If I can feel and hear appreciable differences in instruments, that is what I will use to make my buying decision. I will assume most of the asset value is lost, then have a pleasant surprise at some time in the future if more value than expected was retained.

    That is why I plan to order at least one more F-Bass. George still treats them as his babies, and I am happy to give them a good home.:cool:

    (Plus they are pretty - and I think George is the only high-end luthier I know still winding his own pickups, which is one major reason why the F Bass sound is so unique, IMHO). :)
  17. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    As background, I'll say that I used to own a Lakland 55-94 Deluxe with Barts. It was a great playing bass. It had a nice tone which was pretty much its own; it was kind of like a vintage Fender tone, but a little more modern. I could not get a true Marcus Miller tone or a Musicman tone no matter what I did. It just had a great Lakland tone.

    I bought an F Bass BN5 a year ago. Like the Lakland, this bass has its own voice too - it has a certain quickness to it's tonal response and has a very Hi-Fi tone. Check the Alain Caron site or MP3.com and listen to the Alain Caron sound clips with slapping. That's pretty close to what my bass sounds like with tone set flat, but with both pick ups maxed out in single coil mode.

    Like Mr. Miller, a lot of Alain's tone is in his hands, but still, a lot of it comes from the bass. One common denominator, as far as my bass goes, is a maple neck on an ash body.

    With a little tweaking of the on-board EQ, you can nail both the Jaco and Marcus Miller tones if you want to.

    I tend to agree with most of the comments on this thread from people who have played the F Bass. You've got pretty good info here. Enough to make a buy decision.

    One other comment, I personally took a few months to get used to the "look" of the bass. When I bought it, I loved the tone and playability. I wasn't at all in love with the look and design of the headstock and body cutaways. And that upper horn... it is long. After a few months I got used to it. I couldn't be happier with the F Bass acquistion. For the first three months, my poor MTD sat in the corner neglected!
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I've played lots of all of the basses mentioned and I honestly can't even come close to finding any faults with my F Bass. While you can indeed get the Alain Caron sound, the Jaco and Marcus sounds, there are so many more that are just a knob tweak or RH position change away it's not funny. As great as they sound at home, live is where mine really blew me away. It was so easy to dial in, at the bass, anything I wanted. One of my top two preamp choices, the other being the Bart 3 band with mid taps on my Brubaker, another tone beast. The cool thing about the F preamp is that once you have the functionality under your belt, it's very intuitive. I've never found myself fighting with it to find a good sound or fix a bad one... so far I haven't found one.

    The other area where the F really shines is ergonomics. It's just damned comfortable to play and hangs well. I'd buy one again in a heartbeat. Of course, that's me...

    BTW I still own a 55-94, only because of market conditions. It's a great bass but for me, it's no F.
  19. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Ditto on Brad's comments on how it hangs. From the moment I strapped it on, the bass really felt comfortable and very playable - more so than many other basses.
  20. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Unless you know you're buying the bass as a temporary investment and you KNOW you're going to sell it, then why worry about resale value? If you like the bass, you shouldn't be concerned with resale value. It means nothing. Just buy it for your contentment and that's all.

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