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Fender, In trouble?

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[quote name='fumps' timestamp='1413791544' post='2581770']
Awww
this thread answers a lot of questions that I was confused about with Fender, over the last 5 years I've picked up a few Fenders in shops & have been less than impressed. Especially when you consider the other basses that had a lower price tag that played much better.

I often wondered what the fuss was all about because most I'd picked up was not great for the money.
[/quote]

Judging from the responses so far the answer to the the question is Yes they are in trouble bigtime

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[quote name='flyfisher' timestamp='1413745739' post='2581517']
I agree with all that as far as specifications are concerned but I wouldn't include build quality under that heading. Thus, cheaper machine heads, less expensive wood, lower spec pickups etc etc can all contribute to a 'lower quality' bass without it being a badly built bass. Paint finishes might be another example. Single colour, one coat plus a lacquer or three colour sunburst with each colour having two coats before another two coats of lacquer. A clear reason for different pricing but no excuse for the cheaper option to have runs in the paintwork - that would be poor quality and would be unacceptable regardless of the price point.
[/quote]

Yes, I think you have a point there. The Squier basses aren't so much badly built as lower specification. The (e.g.) Affinity basses I've seen don't have any obvious flaws. But when A/B'ing against a USA Fender, my personal experience is that the USA bass has something extra. Part of that would be the quality of the fretwork, so perhaps someone could argue that if the frets aren't as well finished, that the bass isn't as well made. Same for the nut being cut less carefully (often left high on cheaper basses). A minor point of finish, but one which has quite an effect on playability.

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[quote name='LukeFRC' timestamp='1413754872' post='2581641']
If I were looking for a great 5 string Jazz I probably wouldn't even look at anything that said Fender on it. Overwater/Valenti/Sadowsky/Lakland/whatever ....
[/quote]
If I were looking for a great 5 string Jazz I'd get a Lakland DJ5 and bung a J Retro in it -- and definitely wouldn't even dream of looking at anything that said Fender on it. The last Fender Jazz 5 I tried was dreadful.
I agree that their product range is too sprawling and confusing, quality is average, and the management are bumbling. Bonio and wEdge on the board FFS? Why don't they just hire Cilla Black and Wayne Rooney too? It'd make about as much sense.

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Even though I'm fairly sure the fender B string isn't going to do it for me something still makes me want to go and (triple by now) check, so even as a taker or leaver of fender something still makes me want that badge? I'd only want either another squier as a project or a full on USA, stuff in the middle doesn't appeal to my snob side :(

Edited by stingrayPete1977

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To be fair, I really like my Fender Jazz Deluxe 5 (Mexican). It plays and sounds great, and i got it for a bargain price.. I think a lot of the negativity towards Fenders five strings is unfair.

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It was pretty much all the rave reviews of the 5 string Squier Deluxe Jazz Active that tempted me to buy the 4 string version (several threads over at Talkbass plus a few YouTube videos too) and I'm really pleased with it... might be worth checking a couple out.

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People say that but mine is from personal experience Doddy rather than repeating what I've heard in the play ground :) I'm hoping I will find one for myself as I like the idea of it, opposite of my stingrays, I might even go for a rosewood finger board :o

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[quote name='skankdelvar' timestamp='1413752617' post='2581612']
It's not just leadership within the company, though pressurising dealers, setting up a direct sales arm, making endorsement deals 'Fender Exclusive' when the artist is performing and letting some top people go from the custom shop are symptomatic of such.

Many of Fender's travails lie outside the company and with its ownership.

For example, did we know that VC Western Presidio at one time owned a majority of Fender and a large chunk of Guitar Center, the idea being to own both ends of the manufacturer / retailer chain? That Guitar Center has been in trouble for a while and owing money to Fender. That following the postponement of the Fender IPO a chastened WP sold out last year to TPG Growth and Servco, the two companies who now own the majority of Fender?

Did we know that TPG and Servco believe that the future lies in internet sales and Fender-branded headphones; and that it was a friend of the CEO of one of the afore-mentioned VC's who brokered the deal to get Bono and Edge onto the board?

Fact is, we've got a (sort of) repeat of the CBS situation. New spods on the block. Meetings behind closed doors. 'Stunt' board appointments. Newcomers who 'know best'.

It will get worse before it gets better and it will have f**k-all to do with whether one can get a particular instrument in Candy Apple Red.
[/quote]

From a previous insider this hits the nail so firmly on the head the nail now needs time to recover in the bahamas.

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[quote name='skankdelvar' timestamp='1413752617' post='2581612']


It will get worse before it gets better and it will have f**k-all to do with whether one can get a particular instrument in Candy Apple Red.
[/quote]

......and this is why Mark is making a Limelight for me at this very moment...........

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The filings (from 2012 at least) are here:
[url="http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/ipos/company/fender-musical-instruments-corp-97528-69355?tab=financials"]http://www.nasdaq.co...?tab=financials[/url]

The amount of debt is eye watering.

The IPO was originally pulled because a number of investors thought the shares were over valued.
[url="http://fortune.com/2012/07/20/why-fender-pulled-its-ipo/"]http://fortune.com/2...pulled-its-ipo/[/url]

[quote name='skankdelvar' timestamp='1413752617' post='2581612']
For example, did we know that VC Western Presidio at one time owned a majority of Fender and a large chunk of Guitar Center, the idea being to own both ends of the manufacturer / retailer chain? That Guitar Center has been in trouble for a while and owing money to Fender. That following the postponement of the Fender IPO a chastened WP sold out last year to TPG Growth and Servco, the two companies who now own the majority of Fender?
[/quote]
One source suggests the CEO of Fender previously sold Guitar Centre to a VC for 2.1 billion. That's just nuts.

[url="http://voxcaliber.com/fender-in-financial-trouble/"]http://voxcaliber.co...ancial-trouble/[/url]

It looks like a total mess.

Edited by Kiwi
extra stuff

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More background:

[u][u][url="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/business/fender-aims-to-stay-plugged-in-amid-changing-music-trends.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0"]http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/business/fender-aims-to-stay-plugged-in-amid-changing-music-trends.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0[/url][/u][/u]

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[quote name='stingrayPete1977' timestamp='1413796333' post='2581857']
Even though I'm fairly sure the fender B string isn't going to do it for me something still makes me want to go and (triple by now) check, so even as a taker or leaver of fender something still makes me want that badge? I'd only want either another squier as a project or a full on USA, stuff in the middle doesn't appeal to my snob side :(
[/quote]

Not sure the B string is a Fender problem altho the older 5's weren't good, IMO.
I've recently tried an American US Deluxe 5 and that was good, but then they are also getting into
VERY competitive territory and I'd think £1000-1200 SH brings better basses into the equation....
Overwater, Sei and Sadowsky, for example.
I'd price a SH U.S J5 Deluxe at around £1000 ...

Whichever 5er you pick up the B is going to have to be very good... and altho the general standard is better,
it isn't a given, IMO. I wouldn't buy blind... altho, as it happens, I did with a Sei, but I knew I'd be on pretty
safe ground there, tbh.

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[quote name='JTUK' timestamp='1413811285' post='2582146']

I'd price a SH U.S J5 Deluxe at around £1000 ...

[/quote]

So would I although I never see them listed for that price... I think they are the most over priced second hand bass I've ever seen, I regularly see them going up for £50 less than the new price plus shipping, then remaining unsold for months before being withdrawn...

Edited by CamdenRob

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The Stingray 5's B is already a tough act to follow :yarr: especially unless I go up to 35" A tight B is one thing but I do like the little bit of flap a stingray gives, I mostly play on the fretted E just because I like that sound now, shopping trip is order I think, but I'm determined not to buy another bloody stingray :lol:

Edited by stingrayPete1977

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[quote name='Kiwi' timestamp='1413808499' post='2582096']
The filings (from 2012 at least) are here:
[url="http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/ipos/company/fender-musical-instruments-corp-97528-69355?tab=financials"]http://www.nasdaq.co...?tab=financials[/url]

The amount of debt is eye watering.

The IPO was originally pulled because a number of investors thought the shares were over valued.
[url="http://fortune.com/2012/07/20/why-fender-pulled-its-ipo/"]http://fortune.com/2...pulled-its-ipo/[/url]


One source suggests the CEO of Fender previously sold Guitar Centre to a VC for 2.1 billion. That's just nuts.

[url="http://voxcaliber.com/fender-in-financial-trouble/"]http://voxcaliber.co...ancial-trouble/[/url]

It looks like a total mess. More background:

[u][u][url="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/business/fender-aims-to-stay-plugged-in-amid-changing-music-trends.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0"]http://www.nytimes.c...wanted=all&_r=0[/url][/u][/u]
[/quote]

Outstanding desk research there, Kiwi. Each one of those is an illuminating read.

Seems to me that Fender's new regime is trying to throw their oil-tanker into a U-turn. Years spent trying to build a chain end up with Fender $11m out of pocket to their biggest customer. Now what?

Hey, it's time to rearrange the deck-chairs and change the strategy to brand-extension. Here's Bono! Buy Fender-branded cream cheese! 300 mins free per month on your Leo-phone [size=2](e&oe)[/size]

If anyone wants to know why Fender are in trouble they need only click on the second [url="http://fortune.com/2012/07/20/why-fender-pulled-its-ipo/"]link[/url] from the top.
[color=#ffffff].[/color]

Edited by skankdelvar

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[quote name='skankdelvar' timestamp='1413831164' post='2582543']


Outstanding desk research there, Kiwi. Each one of those is an illuminating read.

Seems to me that Fender's new regime is trying to throw their oil-tanker into a U-turn. Years spent trying to build a chain end up with Fender $11m out of pocket to their biggest customer. Now what?

Hey, it's time to rearrange the deck-chairs and change the strategy to brand-extension. Here's Bono! Buy Fender-branded cream cheese! 300 mins free per month on your Leo-phone [size=2](e&oe)[/size]


If anyone wants to know why Fender are in trouble they need only click on the second [url="http://fortune.com/2012/07/20/why-fender-pulled-its-ipo/"]link[/url] from the top.
[color=#ffffff].[/color]
[/quote]
I'm working this weekend but I think I might go and check out some Jazz Vs sooner rather than later, I'm not even joking.

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There are several Roscoe Beck V basses for sale used at the moment, and I would say that the two I have owned were as good if not better than a lot of the high end 5 string Jazz type basses being mentioned here.

My two have been significantly better to play than most Laklands I have played, and the B string had a lovely tone. My current is better than the two Sadowsky Metro's I have played and the B string was as good as the Alleva I played and no worse build wise. Same for the Overwater J5 I owned, great bass but no better than the Fender. I am no Fender fan boy, some I have owned have been awful but the recent basses have been very good and the Roscoe Beck is well worth a look.

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Im not too keen on the pickguard or pickups personally, just a fairly regular Jazz is what I need (want), I like the idea of having a proper Fender but I also really like the Lakland 95-14 which could mean selling one if not two Stingray 5s. Hhmm.

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[quote name='stingrayPete1977' timestamp='1413796333' post='2581857']
Even though I'm fairly sure the fender B string isn't going to do it for me something still makes me want to go and (triple by now) check, so even as a taker or leaver of fender something still makes me want that badge? I'd only want either another squier as a project or a full on USA, stuff in the middle doesn't appeal to my snob side :(
[/quote]

I can recommend giving a Squier P5 a go.

My VM Precision V has a great B string although the Fender strings were very flubby and I wasn't so impressed on first play.
Sent it for a decent pro setup and had it restrung with DR nickel Lowriders and boom! The B was there. Sounds massive, even acoustically, plus it is now in perfect balance with the other strings.
A cheap American Standard P5 pup bought here on BC, and a KiOgan wiring harness has left me thinking I'd be a fool to throw a grand or so more at the Fender version.

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Yes I wont rule out a Squier, whenever I have a P I dont get on with them even though all my favourite albums are recorded using one, I know people here who have the opposite with Rays.
:( Which 5 string Squier Jazz should I be trying?

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A very common way to rescuea failing business is to "return the business to its core values". Fender was founded on the principal of marketing instruments that are affordable to the masses. (Fast food for musicians).
It would be interesting if Fender did this strategy. To do it they'd probably scrap the Fender manufacturing and re-brand Squier as Fender.
But how would this go down in the market? If they did I recon it would be dangerous for Fender.

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[quote name='stingrayPete1977' timestamp='1413834885' post='2582625']
Yes I wont rule out a Squier, whenever I have a P I dont get on with them even though all my favourite albums are recorded using one, I know people here who have the opposite with Rays.
:( Which 5 string Squier Jazz should I be trying?
[/quote]

I'm very much a Stingray fan and still wake up with night terrors every now and then because I idiotically sold my trans red late '80s stingray years ago :/

As I feel the same way about Jazzes as you feel about Precisions, I'm probably not the best to advise other than the Squier Deluxe active Jazz (in black) does intrigue me. It's got a much wider neck than any Fender 5, 51mm at the nut which I really like the idea of myself.
I guess it's just down to what you're after.
As long as you factor in a pro set up to tweak them to your preferences, I Don't think you could really go wrong with either the Deluxe J or VM passive J.

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Bleh. Fenders are cool aren't they. I really like my Thumb bass and it's the nicest bass I've got, but it'll never be cool like a Fender. Can't believe a business that owns so many cool and iconic, timeless designs is struggling. Maybe the era of the electric guitar is finally over.

Funnily enough I've bought a Maschine and a synth this year, and no bass gear at all.

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[quote name='miles'tone' timestamp='1413836845' post='2582658']


I'm very much a Stingray fan and still wake up with night terrors every now and then because I idiotically sold my trans red late '80s stingray years ago :/

As I feel the same way about Jazzes as you feel about Precisions, I'm probably not the best to advise other than the Squier Deluxe active Jazz (in black) does intrigue me. It's got a much wider neck than any Fender 5, 51mm at the nut which I really like the idea of myself.
I guess it's just down to what you're after.
As long as you factor in a pro set up to tweak them to your preferences, I Don't think you could really go wrong with either the Deluxe J or VM passive J.
[/quote]
Thanks for the info the vm and deluxe keeps getting a good mention on here, bit more home work online then a shopping trip I think, white fender deluxe V blocks and bound rosewood finger board is top of my list right now, I've got gigs in the diary to pay for it too which is the main thing :)

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[quote name='stingrayPete1977' timestamp='1413883691' post='2583013']

Thanks for the info the vm and deluxe keeps getting a good mention on here, bit more home work online then a shopping trip I think, white fender deluxe V blocks and bound rosewood finger board is top of my list right now, I've got gigs in the diary to pay for it too which is the main thing :)
[/quote]

Hey if the money's there then hell yeah, get that! :)

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