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Old 01-04-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
Spaz91
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Are Fender basses still relevant?

[I will flesh this out later but I'd like to get the ball rolling.]

Are Fenders still relevant? Thinking about the recent high end Squiers, the boutique equivalents such as Sandberg, G&L and Lakland all offering the same (if not better) features for competitive prices; is there really any point in buying a Fender?
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:51 PM   #2
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Sure why not?
Fender still makes a nice product. There has been a surge lately to put guitars and Bass at every price point imaginable. This bennefits the buyer of having a vast selection too choose from. Besides not every one likes every brand (for what ever reason)
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:19 PM   #3
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Fender is a classic company that has millions of diehard fans that like the ways thing were in back in the day. They're still relevant in this day and age but in their own way.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:57 PM   #4
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Ibanez basses at about the SR-300 price seem to get good reviews. Some better than others, and not necessarily in line with price only, but with respect to PuPs and active or passive electronics.

I don't play the bass, I have no idea what I'm talking about. I was looking for lefty basses once upon a time

So, if somebody that is knowledgeable about then wants to ring, here's your opportunity.

As for for TS's question, I watched "The Concert for Sandy" the other night, and both Fender guitars and basses, were the most abundant. (Of course, they were all most likely Fender USA).
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #5
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Relevant for posterity, but not as a product. The competitors have raised their game so much that both Fender and Gibson are only relative as a template to be improved upon (case in point Sandberg etc.).

For me however, Fenders feel quite barbaric and dark-agey. I get the feeling that they took the maxim of: "If it ain't broken don't fix it" too far. I ain't no fan of Squier either, but at least they charge you less to flog a dead horse......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captaincranky
Ibanez basses at about the SR-300 price seem to get good reviews. Some better than others, and not necessarily in line with price only, but with respect to PuPs and active or passive electronics.



The SR300 is the opitimy of bassy goodness in that price range as far as specifications go. Maybe the Peavey Millenium AC comes close (has similar specs). As for the best in that price range, it's completely subjective.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:05 PM   #6
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I feel that Fender basses got a lot of rep from the fact that when they started there were not as many alternatives for professional instruments. For the longest time the only basses pro's played were Fenders, Ricks and the occasional Gibson.

Now days there's so many high end boutique basses as well as lots of high end production models (Ibanez, Warwick etc.) that Fender is just another name on the market.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrda00
Now days there's so many high end boutique basses as well as lots of high end production models (Ibanez, Warwick etc.) that Fender is just another name on the market.


Yes, but it's a huge variety of looks, feels and sounds.

Of course there are many that copy the classic P or J and loads of them are great - some people just like knowing that theirs is the original or 'the real deal' you know?

I'd take the Fender Custom Shop over the Warwick or Ibanez custom shop.

Fender gives a you certain thing, just like Dingwall or Mayones does.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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Fender makes a good product, if they didn't they would go out of business.
Theres a certain "classic" appeal to fenders as well, sure you can grab a boutique bass, but Fender also does custom orders as well. It all really boils down to what the buyer finds most appealing, whether it be an Ibanez, Carvin, Sandberg, or a Fender.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
I'd take the Fender Custom Shop over the Warwick or Ibanez custom shop.

Fender gives a you certain thing, just like Dingwall or Mayones does.


And there is the miracle of subjectivity and whilst I respect your opinion, I think the exact opposite here.

I'd be much more inclined to buy an Ibanez custom, as I'd know that a lot could be done to make it "custom" or unique for want of a better term. A custom fender is just a fender like any other, but with fancy paint and a hefty pricetag
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanner93
A custom fender is just a fender like any other, but with fancy paint and a hefty pricetag


Except it's built to your exact specifications by some of the world's greatest luthiers... That's not the same as buying a USA Standard.

And sure, that's the same with Ibanez. But why would you have Ibanez build you a jazz bass?

Just like you probably wouldn't want Fender to make you a multiscale scale, 6 string with 24 frets and active humbuckers right?
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
Just like you probably wouldn't want Fender to make you a multiscale scale, 6 string with 24 frets and active humbuckers right?

If I wanted something as simple as a Fender then I certainly wouldn't pay Fender's prices.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
Yes, but it's a huge variety of looks, feels and sounds.

Of course there are many that copy the classic P or J and loads of them are great - some people just like knowing that theirs is the original or 'the real deal' you know?

I'd take the Fender Custom Shop over the Warwick or Ibanez custom shop.

Fender gives a you certain thing, just like Dingwall or Mayones does.

I think you said it just fine. After playing some ibanez, warwicks, and others (I still have a very long way to go about trying expensive instruments, though) I think i like more a Jazz Bass sound and feel, and also a Stingray's. I know you have Lakland, G&L, and stuff, but i can assure you that they won't come to Argentina, so Fender is the best classic style basses we can get. Fender has a fame, is known worldwide, and their products, that may be called antiques, are still a really joy to play and listen.

The only thing i have to say, is that I'm not 100% certain that any other brand making J or P basses are better than fender for the same price... And that is the point here. Are, say, Laklands unarguably better than MIAs and costs the same or less??? I think not. And that's why Fender still exists and makes good instruments... Am Special series sucks heavily, though...
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:50 PM   #13
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Definition of relevant
adjective

closely connected or appropriate to the matter in hand


Well, the Oxford English Dictionary certainly seems to agree... after-all, what could be more relevant to the matter of bass playing than the company founded by the man who made near-enough all major game-changing innovations in the world of the bass guitar (not to mention designing the damn thing in the first place) that still produce the instruments which you're most likely to see in any professional players hands?

I don't really see how anyone can claim any other manufacter to be more relevant, so by default Fender remains relevant. I don't understand what it is that everyone thinks all these other brands bring to the table. I can understand them being considered equal, but superior? In what way?

Lakland, I saw mentioned. WHAT? They make some great products, but seriously... better _ value_ for _ money? Are you completely insane? The company producing instruments in an Asian sweatshop factory charging the same amount of money as a Fender (with a sodding gig-bag rather than a proper case & candy)? The company who not the other week I read a thread on another forum about someone receiving a new guitar from them which had had the pick-ups botched on after the original routing job had been messed up and sloppily covered up? That represents better value for money than an American-made instrument that comes with a hard-case (anyone who sells a £1k plus instrument without a hard-case these days is frankly taking the piss). This is just brand-bashing because it's cool to hate. There's no sense behind it.

Sandberg are another I see mentioned a lot. I love what Sandberg are doing, but are they really offering anything extra? Sure, you can have it custom made (pick what colour it is) if you're prepared to wait a few months for it to ship, but that doesn't offer anything practical above the stock model which costs up to 30-50% more than a Fender standard model and still comes with a patronising piece of cloth to protect it rather than a real case. Hell, GuitarGuitar (the only UK retailer other than PMT I know of who stock Sandbergs) have the standard models in for around the £1500 mark. You can get an American Special for about £800 (basically an AM standard without a case). So really, the Sandberg is effectively DOUBLE the cost of the American made Fender, so why are they treated so often as if they're in the same price point? Pay twice as much, you'd expect more (but I don't even see that you get that... other than active electronics or something, but for half as much money get yourself a John East pre, or better yet, buy a P bass AND a J bass and you'll have more tonal diversity than you can shake a stick at).

I simply don't understand why they receive so much hate... I always see this airy-fairy shite about them being out-dated or offering less than other brands, but never supported by anything quantifiable, logical, or otherwise worth anyones time. What does my Fender lack that no other bass in the price point does (other than a shitty gig-bag)? How can you say they haven't kept up to the times? From some of the stuff you read you'd think they've never revisited the design and tweaked/improved upon it, which can really make a person look uneducated. They now have graphite reinforced necks, modern/practical finishes, quieter electronics, modern fingerboard dimensions, revised hardware which is lighter/more efficient. What else do you want? What does your Ibanez, your Sandberg or whatever else have that this doesn't? I'm not trying to knock these other brands, just trying to see what on earth it is that Fender are apparently not getting (and apparently neither am I).

I've owned a hell of a lot of basses; Fenders, Spectors, Gibsons, Warwicks, Ibanez EBMM's and so on, and I've played a hell of a lot more. I always end up back to the Fender. Does that mean the other brands are shit? Of course it doesn't. It just means the Fender works for me... ergo, it's still relevant. It hits some spots that other brands don't for some players (and a lot of players for that matter, you really think the likes of Geddy Lee, Flea, Timmy C, Marcus Miller, and how ever many other countless names we could list can't afford to try out/haven't tried out all these other brands? Rubbish... but they stick with what works for them).

Anyway, I could go on forever, but I'll bring my rant to an end now...
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:10 PM   #14
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Ziphoblat: I briefly considered asking you to look up, "obsolete", for us. In light of your possible response involving a massive dumping of excess information, (notice I didn't dare breath the word, irrelevant), I thought the better of it
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:32 PM   #15
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thank you Ziphoblat for typing out what I couldn't quite put into words.

Fender isn't doing the same shit as Gibson, they're still making workhorse instruments at good price points and you get the classic look and sound. Seriously 95% of my favourite bass tones were recorded on a Fender, so why the hell wouldn't I get one if that's the sound I know and love?

Anyway, I think we've explained pretty well why Fender are still relevant and still a good company... And if all that's not enough, it doesn't matter simply because the P and J are still the two most popular basses in the world (with the Stingray close behind, also designed by Leo.)
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:43 PM   #16
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I get a couple of points.

This certainly is brand bashing but I picked Fender simply because Fenders are more popular among bass players than brands like Gibson, Boss, Apple, Razer, James Cameron, Sennheiser, blah blah blah. Things I consider overrated and overpriced but sell due to the name.

As for Lakland, I'll amend the original post. I mean Lakland Skyline. With G&L I was thinking more of the Tribute series but the US series are not that much more expensive than American Vintage Fenders, etc. Sandbergs, however are cheaper than American Fenders, look on Thomann; a passive Sandberg will go for about £200 cheaper than the Fender alternative.

I like US Fenders, I don't like how much they cost but they have a nice look, sound and feel, not to mention silent pickups and neck reinforcement like you said.

My biggest beef is with the Mexican Fenders, they're like an evil trap for beginner - intermediate players. They don't offer a single improvement on basses hundreds of pounds cheaper yet they still get this mystical prestige of being a Fender. For the price of a Mexican Fender Standard you could get a Sandberg Electra, a G&L Tribute, a Schecter Diamond J/Model T, etc etc. Basically a Fender style bass with all the benefits of the last 60 years of design, good pickups, high mass bridges, reinforced necks, etc. As I keep saying, even Squier have overtaken Mexican Fenders, Fender's Chinese lines (Pawn Shop, Modern Player, Blacktop) are all so much better yet cheaper.

Geddy Lee has ****ing awful taste in basses (Steinberger and Rickenbacker, yuck), Flea always reverts to his own Modulus, Timmy C plays Lakland (when he played Fenders the only stock part was a the body) and Marcus Miller had a bass made entirely to his specs and he changes the preamp after all that. I struggle to think of any famous virtuosos that play any of Fender's current lineup without mods (probably because its so late, I understand your point completely.)
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:53 PM   #17
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Well, Spaz91, it depends. (And I am kind of surprised hearing this question from you, but I know it is for discussion purposes.)

Listeners do not care.

Sound Engineers and Producers do not care, but do ask where the Bass is if they do not see a Fender in the Room.

MD's who see them as required props, that will not conider the look of another modern bass, demand the Fender look. care and believe that they are relevant.

Now Leo on the otherhand...he was always doing different things according to Fernando Villareal (my former luthier, and guy who let me slum at his house when my parents ran me off for quitting college and joining a Christian Rock Band) who worked with him at G&L.

Leo made changes with the Jazz Bass, but then addressed the problem of the G string being unstable in the inline 4 confuguration with the StingRay and Sabre Basses.

That was something that did not seem to bother Jaco Pastorious much.
Still it is an admission to a prior design flaw, later resolved by Graphite renforcement and you see the InLine 4 back on the G&L's.

Fenders did not last around Entwistle, but his protege from Canada Geddy Lee has held fast (he once played a Berger, so much for that). Patatucci, Wooten, Nitti (wait he keeps his 65 Jazz handy for the conservatives), Sixx, Levin... so many have moved on.

For me, P to J to StingRay to G&L, I am just not inspired. I think it is the necks for me.

So, is the In-Line 4 cylinder engine still Relevant?

To most of the People in the world it sure is.

To guys flying a Bugatti Veyron, absolutely NOT. (Google James May and Bugatti)

I suppsoe if my humble workingman's bass (Ibanez BTB), the Poor Man's Ken Smith, were a car, it would be a Ford GT400. These puppies be so fast, and faster than the $5000 instrument that they shoved aside.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:18 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Sliide90027
Well, Spaz91, it depends. (And I am kind of surprised hearing this question from you, but I know it is for discussion purposes.)

I surprise myself. I lost my faith in Fender when I realized my bitsa precision (The only Fender parts being the decal, which I removed, and the neck plate which no one sees anyway.
Quote:
Listeners do not care.

Sound Engineers and Producers do not care, but do ask where the Bass is if they do not see a Fender in the Room.

MD's who see them as required props, that will not conider the look of another modern bass, demand the Fender look. care and believe that they are relevant.

This bugs me to no end. You even hear it from endorsers, I think it was Frank Bello who said something like "you've got to grow up and get a Fender." Or some bull along those lines.
Quote:
Now Leo on the otherhand...he was always doing different things according to Fernando Villareal (my former luthier, and guy who let me slum at his house when my parents ran me off for quitting college and joining a Christian Rock Band) who worked with him at G&L.

Leo made changes with the Jazz Bass, but then addressed the problem of the G string being unstable in the inline 4 confuguration with the StingRay and Sabre Basses.

That was something that did not seem to bother Jaco Pastorious much.
Still it is an admission to a prior design flaw, later resolved by Graphite renforcement and you see the InLine 4 back on the G&L's.

Fender was a great guy and its always nice to point out that Fender stopped making Fenders himself (I'm sure the wad of cash from CBS was a coincidence. ) I'm sure the tuners on G&L basses were more to do with look and familiarity; I must admit that, despite it's drawbacks, I prefer having tuners in line, even on extended range basses.
Quote:
Fenders did not last around Entwistle, but his protege from Canada Geddy Lee has held fast (he once played a Berger, so much for that). Patatucci, Wooten, Nitti (wait he keeps his 65 Jazz handy for the conservatives), Sixx, Levin... so many have moved on.

Case in point, really, innovators needed innovation.
Quote:
For me, P to J to StingRay to G&L, I am just not inspired. I think it is the necks for me.

So, is the In-Line 4 cylinder engine still Relevant?

To most of the People in the world it sure is.

To guys flying a Bugatti Veyron, absolutely NOT. (Google James May and Bugatti)

I suppsoe if my humble workingman's bass (Ibanez BTB), the Poor Man's Ken Smith, were a car, it would be a Ford GT400. These puppies be so fast, and faster than the $5000 instrument that they shoved aside.

I can certainly understand and appreciate the relevance of Fender's first designs, every decent bass owes them everything but I'm surprised that they even bother putting 4 saddles on Mexican Fenders, it seems like too modern a touch for such a backwards and overpriced instrument.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:27 PM   #19
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Personally, I have played plenty of Fenders that I have liked, hell, even some Squiers, but for the prices these days, I would only buy used Fenders; I actually bought an American made G&L SB-2 that I paid basically the same for as a brand new Mexican Fender goes, and it came with Schaller tuning heads and a hard shell case. I haven't really looked into used American made Fenders lately, so I guess I don't know what they go for on average anymore.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:29 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Captaincranky
Ziphoblat: I briefly considered asking you to look up, "obsolete", for us. In light of your possible response involving a massive dumping of excess information, (notice I didn't dare breath the word, irrelevant), I thought the better of it


You "thought the better of it" but did it anyway? I think I might request that you look up the definition of "thought the better of", but it seems a bit extreme, even for the more challenged among us, given none of the words in that sentence actually exceed 2 syllables... but hey, whatever. Tak of irrelevance, your post didn't really contribute anything to the discussion, did it? Anyway, obsolete?

Quote:
Adjective
No longer produced or used; out of date.


The longest running bass company in the world still as successful now as ever, used by more bassists than any other brand out there? I think you picked the wrong word mate.

Spaz, Thomann is an interesting one. They're in the same country as Sandberg, so I don't consider it fair to compare prices with them to Fenders, which have been imported and had all the tax build-ups and such. It would be more sensible to compare Thomann pricing for Sandberg with Fender USA pricing in the USA. I tried to order a Sandberg a while ago, and my local music shop couldn't price match Thomann for this reason (indeed, they couldn't do any better than price-match the cheapest UK retailer, GuitarGuitar, who I cited in my previous post).

I think Geddy has played some awful basses too (definitely not a Rick fan myself, and all that headless stuff just offends the eyes as well as the ears). He always gets bloody good tone though (in my opinion, this is obviously subjective, but relevant as it's still an extremely influencial and sought after tone). On RATM's most recent performance I've seen Timmy C had his old white/maple Fender J as far as I remember... wasn't stock, of course, but I don't think that the hardware is the thing up for discussion really, the Fender USA hardware is as solid as anything else, that just comes down to taste, but he wouldn't play one if he didn't enjoy the build of the instrument itself. Marcus Miller's Fender is basically just a 70's Fender (with that ugly abortion of a pickguard covering up the pre-amp) as far as I understand.

I don't know of any examples of people who use the current AM standards professionally, but I suppose at that level if you can justify getting a custom instrument made, why wouldn't you? I know I'd love a 70's jazz bass without the shitty three-bolt neck if money was of no object. I don't doubt that it's uncommon to find a professional player who uses a stock instrument regardless of the brand anyway. They all have endorsements with different pick-up companies and whatever.

Despite all this I still don't see what it is that Fenders are apparently lacking. Nobody is suggesting (or at least I'm not) that they're some sort of king-of-all-basses, but I don't see any other manufacturer that you could consider more relevant, so I think that to suggest Fender are irrelevant just because there are other viable options is a very unusual viewpoint. As the consumer, more options is only a good thing (well, unless you're not very good at settling with one instrument).
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