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why some (mainly Fenders) & not others?

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I'm happy to say that I seem to have beaten the curse that is GAS, however I do like to occasionally look at what's about.
One thing I've noticed is how many basses get modified and just how many are Fenders.
I mean, you see so many for sale with upgraded pickups and a bling bridge but then go look at a Musicman for example and folk just seem to leave them alone. Is this because of the availability of replacement parts for Fenders or is there another reason for it? I remember seeing a USA Jazz for sale not too long ago, less than twelve months old and the owner had switched to di'marzio pickups. Was this because the bass that he'd bought new & paid a considerable amount for wasn't floating his boat? Why buy it then? Maybe it's just that Fenders have become to bassists what Vauxhall Nova's were to boy racers! I dunno, just senseless ramblings on my part.

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Parts are easy to get for Fenders, also Leo Fender designed stuff to be replaced easily. I think these are the main reasons before people start going on about Q/C. WIthin about a year of owning a Squier (my 1st) I was changing the scratchplate and it just progresses from that. Also it is quite good fun, proven by the fact we regularly get posters on here saying they are buying a bass to mod it.

Typed as CamdenRob posted.

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I completely agree that modding is fun and it must be nice to make cheaper basses punch above their weight. Just seems to be real common with high end fenders. I don't think I've seen a Lackland or a G&L that's been changed. Just an observation anyway.

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[quote name='CamdenRob' timestamp='1383648368' post='2266913']
I think it's just that there are far more fenders out there than anything else...
[/quote]

+1. Same reason you see a lot of complaints about Behringer gear (for example) - because there's a lot of it about.

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A lot of people buy Fenders for the look and the general vibe but they are easy to mod and some of the parts are not that great. I have a Am Std Jazz with upgraded pickups, bridge and an active circuit - it sounds great but importantly, it is still an American Fender, which is unfortunately is still much more of an important factor than it should be for many band leaders and members of the audience!

IMO most people buy a Musicman for a particular sound. The pickup is great and the bridge is fine and difficult to replace anyway, so although they have their limitations, their isn't really a reason to change things around on them...

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I have never been a huge Fender fanboy (but recently I'm really liking them) but I really do see the appeal of modding them easy to get parts and lots of fun to play with but if I had a grand or so to spend on a bass to be honest I would not really be wanting to change anything as the parts should be of a high quality any way on a bass that costs that much but if it was a MIM that I got cheap I could justify modding it but that is just my opinion but it really is up to the individual how much there bass costs and what they want to spend on it.

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There are so many Fenders about that if you didn't mod one, it would sound like every other Fender!

Nothing wrong (in my eyes) with a bit of customisation. It's your bass, make it yours! :D

The problem comes when people decide to sell their modded bass and want to get back all the cash they spent on modding it. That just doesn't work.

Edited by Conan

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Americans love to customise stuff. They started with their cars and bikes so the concept was easy to transfer to basses and guitars.

Then the replacement industry was given a kick start by CBS Fender in the late 60's. They were in charge when QC dropped so others saw an opportunity to offer what Fender wouldn't. Bridges, pickups and electrics all improved the basic Fender tone. This was finally taken on board by Fender, that's why they offer most of these in their ranges today.

And then the Hippies took customising to a whole new level.

Why Fender? Back then, everyone played a Fender bass.

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Think everyones hit it - there are many about, so people can customise/change/upgrade etc to their specific requirements. I went through that phase only to realise I prefer the sound of Fenders stock.

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Would it be fair to suggest that a quality fender and a cheap quality amp will not bring out the best of the bass, so you think you need a new pickup or bridge or something..? I have a genzbenz Benz streamliner and genz cab and my Chinese made jaguar sounds great through it but sounds like a fart in a dark corner through my smaller Roland 30watt amp. Without the genz to compare this to you would be tempted to upgrade pups.......maybe ?
No point buying a quality bass unless you are gonna play it through an equal quality amp, it just limits the potential before you even start.
IMHO I try to avoid over distorting the sound too with effects because it takes away from the quality and clarity you paid all the money for in the bass in the first place. IMHO of course. My Dingwall ABII was the clearest crispest sound I've ever heard through my genz gear, but nothing like it through the Roland cube.
Just a thought, is it your amp or is it really the bass needing a tweak.

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[quote name='bassman344' timestamp='1383726737' post='2268102']
Would it be fair to suggest that a quality fender and a cheap quality amp will not bring out the best of the bass, so you think you need a new pickup or bridge or something..? I have a genzbenz Benz streamliner and genz cab and my Chinese made jaguar sounds great through it but sounds like a fart in a dark corner through my smaller Roland 30watt amp. Without the genz to compare this to you would be tempted to upgrade pups.......maybe ?
No point buying a quality bass unless you are gonna play it through an equal quality amp, it just limits the potential before you even start.
IMHO I try to avoid over distorting the sound too with effects because it takes away from the quality and clarity you paid all the money for in the bass in the first place. IMHO of course. My Dingwall ABII was the clearest crispest sound I've ever heard through my genz gear, but nothing like it through the Roland cube.
Just a thought, is it your amp or is it really the bass needing a tweak.
[/quote]

There's a lot in this. A quality amp can make a cheap bass sound better, but a poor amp will rubbish the tone of everything you put through it.

Amp modding is a bit more challenging than axe modding, but there are those who do it, myself included.

Edited by JapanAxe

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[quote name='JapanAxe' timestamp='1383726994' post='2268109']


There's a lot in this. A quality amp can make a cheap bass sound better, but a poor amp will rubbish the tone of everything you put through it.

Amp modding is a bit more challenging than axe modding, but there are those who do it, myself included.
[/quote]

Now I'm intrigued, what might someone do to mod an amp?

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I've never really succeeded in modding a bass as I just buy a better one. My one attempt crashed and burned in a fireball.
So,,,,, how would I mod a genz streamliner without effecting the same mushroom cloud.

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A modified fender seems to sell ok and doesn't appear to effect value, the mod'ed stingrays ive seen for sale often struggle to find a buyer

????

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I must admit that I have never found the need to change anything on any of the Fenders that I own. I like the way they sound just fine. I wonder sometimes if impressionable players get caught up in a 'you need to mod your bass' mindset. I also agree that an amp plays such a vital part in the sound of the bass, a fact that can often be overlooked. However, if a player really feels that a different pup, bridge, etc will make their bass sound the way that they want it to sound then why not?

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[quote name='Adrenochrome' timestamp='1383738156' post='2268289']
Or you could buy the right bass in the first place :P
[/quote]

I Agree. With an amp that allows it to sound like it should.

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Sometimes though, people buy a bass because it just feels (and maybe looks) right. The neck is the major component in that. Buy a bass with a great neck and you can easily change the pickups, tuners, bridge, etc to get a better sounding bass. But if it doesn't play well, I'm not sure that swapping in a new neck is actually a "modification"? More like changing the entire bass! (IMO).

And while I agree with the point about the quality of your amp, sometimes upgrading your rig can expose weaknesses in your bass sound that you hadn't previously noticed. And in that case, a change of pickups (for example) might sort it out - especially if you don't have the funds to buy another bass as you've just spent them on the amp! :D

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My American Standard Fretless Jazz is exactly the same as the day it was purchased. Not changed a thing. And I hardly ever play it. My '79 Sabre is how it was given to me except I had the pickups rewound and modified the switches. That goes out with me every couple of months.

My 70s Jazz however is in fact a bitsa, it started out life as a Squier VM. I have replaced everything over time. First the pickups (Wizards), then the hardware (70s Gotoh tuners and Badass), then the body (1973) and finally the neck (1974). I could never have afforded this bass in one go and I don't believe in credit cards. So this was the only way I could get what is now my main bass, it's out with me 3-4 times a week.

Currently starting on a new bitsa build using the VM neck (which is great by the way), a Precision body from eBay and all the other bits I have aquired along the way trying to get my Jazz just right. Plus some very old EMG P pickups I found in the bottom of a box after I moved house.

For some people I think the availability of custom options is a real lure with Fenders. It's gotta be the cheapest way to get a custom built (ish) bass. I think the reason people are reluctant to modify something like a Lakland or a Sadowsky is that the upgrades have kind of been done already.

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cant under stand bass players who recommend a certain bass then tell you what they have done to make it right..just buy the right one first.....i got a Chinese squire cause i couldn't afford anything else and have moddied it ,and love it got all the bits from ebay and recon it plays really well has good as any mexican precision

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Isn't it actually getting hard to find a second-hand one for sale that's not been modded in any way? (That's if it's not a bitza with no Fender parts except the logo)

[quote name='peteb' timestamp='1383652146' post='2266969']
A lot of people buy Fenders for the look and the general vibe but they are easy to mod and some of the parts are not that great. I have a Am Std Jazz with upgraded pickups, bridge and an active circuit - it sounds great but importantly, it is still an American Fender, which is unfortunately is still much more of an important factor than it should be for many band leaders and members of the audience!
[/quote]

Isn't this part of the reason - bass players know this expectation and so they go and buy a Fender on a lemming style mission. They then try to get the sound they really wanted all along by modding. This happens because attempting to do it by changing the pups etc, is within the scope of their ability, and it's more glitzy to do this than to go all over the country trying to find amps to complete the sound.

Isn't it a bit sad really?

But then I may be wrong..

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I think the rise of artist signature models has a part to play too.

Many reputable artists have signature Fender guitars and each one will have a slightly different paint scheme, or pickup combination, etc, depending on their own personal tastes. I think people choose to mod their Fender to create their own personal signature model to some extent.

Maybe you've thought of a Jazz Bass like no other, with a humbucker in the neck position and a split-P in the bridge position? Well you can do that.

That is the beauty of Fender in my opinion. There's something so appealing about taking something so recognisable and putting your own spin on it. So extremely satisfying. It must hark back to the idea of signature model instruments.

Take a look at all the modded Fender basses on Basschat and I can guarantee no two will look alike.

Edited by ChickenKiev

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[quote name='Grangur' timestamp='1383949344' post='2271288']
Isn't it actually getting hard to find a second-hand one for sale that's not been modded in any way? (That's if it's not a bitza with no Fender parts except the logo)



Isn't this part of the reason - bass players know this expectation and so they go and buy a Fender on a lemming style mission. They then try to get the sound they really wanted all along by modding. This happens because attempting to do it by changing the pups etc, is within the scope of their ability, and it's more glitzy to do this than to go all over the country trying to find amps to complete the sound.

Isn't it a bit sad really?

But then I may be wrong..
[/quote]
Not sure why you think it is sad to mod a fender??

Bearing in mind that at many gigs you don't even get to use your amp, surely it makes sense to take a Fender and drop a set on Bartolinis in and put on a decent bridge! Job done...

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[quote name='peteb' timestamp='1384000025' post='2271696']
Not sure why you think it is sad to mod a fender??

Bearing in mind that at many gigs you don't even get to use your amp, surely it makes sense to take a Fender and drop a set on Bartolinis in and put on a decent bridge! Job done...
[/quote]
I don't think it's at all sad to mod a Fender. The great thing about Fenders is they are so very easy to mod.

What is sad is 2 things:

1 - folk buy a Fender whilst thinking as they pay over their money that they will change loads of things on it to try to get it to sound in some way different. If it's not what you want why not buy something that's nearer to what you want?

2 - So many people out there are creating bitza instruments and passing them off as true Fenders, when all that is from a Fender factory (if anything) is the logo.

What does bug me is the snobbery amongst some folk that to have a "real bass" it needs to be a Fender, while in truth many of the basses going about as Fenders are only Fender shaped. So what's that all about?

Edited by Grangur

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