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The59Sound

Fender CS - No magic?

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Went to GuitarGuitar today and played a CS Jazz relic by Master Builder someone or other...

Beautiful bass to look at - my favourite colour combo; candy apple red, tort pickguard and rosewood neck.

But upon playing and hearing it, it just feels and sounds like a normal Fender MIA Jazz in my humble opinion. It was priced at £3.2k... but in a blind test could have been any MIA Jazz to me.

I have played old Fenders that sound 'old' but this just looks old yet sounds modern.

Just me?

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I've only played one CS Fender ever, so it's hardly an indication.

But that particular one wasn't anything like as good as I'd expected. Then again my bro has had about 10 CS strats and teles over the years, and they've mostly been sublime.

Luckily I don't have £3k to worry about such things!

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Ultimately it's why I now play Fender-alike bitsas that I put together by trial and error. I've played £5k basses by Fender that were crap and £250 basses by Fender (well Squier) that were outstanding. In the grand scheme of things, the most reliable of all Fender lines appear to be the old MIJ models. I've now got four basses, two Precisions and two Jazzes (fretted and fretless of each, although all four with Precision width necks), that cost in total about £1200 to put together and which I'd happily put up against most top-end Fenders, even CS and vintage. OK, I've had to hunt around for used Allparts/Warmoth bodies and necks, and have done a lot of trial and error - some neck/body combinations work, some don't, some PUPs seem to work on some basses, some don't - but I've got four great instruments. The reality is I think that you can't predict how well a bass is going to play and sound until you play it, and I guess there's not many QC departments in mass market manufacturers that get into that level of detail.

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I'm not sure how CS the CS is these days. They just seem a bit 'production line' to me.

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1 hour ago, wateroftyne said:

I'm not sure how CS the CS is these days. They just seem a bit 'production line' to me.

 

2 hours ago, The59Sound said:

I have played old Fenders that sound 'old' but this just looks old yet sounds modern.

100%, they just aren't that special these days and always lean towards a modern bass.

I've previously owned a fair few CS Basses, and what I'll say is when they are great, they are seriosuly-f'ing-great. That said, my last 'modern' Fender was a lovely 2015 USA Std, in no way an inferior bass - and priced much more sensibly. 

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Posted (edited)

This is mine. A true “custom” with a one off neck.

its a thing of beauty.

I stupidly sold it and when the chap wasn’t quite ready to let it go, I bought a much more recent 64 CS Jazz to fill the gap.

it was a lovely bass, but not in the same league.

i also owned a 55 custom shop P which was brilliant. Again, shouldn’t have sold it.

573542BB-E30F-4A52-9C88-44BE6CAF3D33.jpeg

1C883C17-DF4B-482B-A921-10867BF2C0E6.jpeg

Edited by AndyTravis

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, The59Sound said:

If it was so great, why sell it? 

To pay for a wedding, if you must know 😉

it’s back now, that picture was taken last year.

 

The 55 was sold as I required a 5 string at the time...

 

so is the wedding ring actually...so, yeah, both linked 😂

Edited by AndyTravis
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Posted (edited)

I've got a CS pbass and when I play it along side my JV and 76 I actually think the CS has the more detailed complex woody tone closer to hallowed pre cbs, fret work is flawless ,balance and weight is best I've seen

I wouldn't argue they're worth the money but for me they are a cut above a standard one,not three times better but it's diminishing returns with these things isn't it

That said if I had 3k I'd be looking for a refin pre cbs over CS but 2nd hand at 2k think they're an okay deal, in that price bracket I tried a lull, not for me and I had a refin 66 which sounded great but had a slight twist in the neck , I had a sweet 72 jazz but the bridge pup died one day devaluing it a fair bit so I do see why people like new instruments, 3k does seem a bit OTT for any solid body bass guitar though

Edited by spencer.b

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Personally I couldn't justify spending that sort of money on an instrument however good really. 

I'm a regular working bassist and sometime acoustic guitarist, and the stuff I've held on to the longest has been some fairly modest gear which has given me years worth of trouble-free gigs. 

I don't find price necessarily equals quality, and a well made, good instrument can exist at any price point. 

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I do love the idea of CS instruments tho - aiming to have the vibe and hallowed quality of old instruments without any of the problems which can come with actual temperamental old kit. 

Maybe I would fall head over heels with the right one if it came along, who knows?

I briefly owned a £2.5k Lull which I found very ordinary indeed. Maybe I've got weird tastes. 

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My "dislike" of Fender is heavily influenced from an experience in GigGear Harlow some years ago.

They had a genuine Fender and a Squier, to the untrained eye, the same bass. Both natural finish four strings. I played both..

The Squier was actually superior in fit and finish, the neck joint on the Squier was tight, a very good fit - you would have been pushed to fit a cigarette paper. The "real" Fender, on the other hand suffered from a poor fitting neck with a gap of "several" mm. Frets on the Squier were well finished, the Fender less so.

What shocked me was that the difference in price was over £1k, and in effect you were paying extra for the "less well built" item.

BC Members' often quote how their current J or P is "the best XXX I've ever played"...I can believe this. The build quality on Fenders has been erratic over the years - my memories of  70s Fenders leave me shuddering...misaligned bridges/pick ups, poorly finished and fitted necks and frets...in fact you couldn't rely on any of the parts to be correctly installed. Fender's reputation suffered because of the genuinely poor build quality.

This left the door open for other, smaller companies to elbow their way into the Bass market. As market leaders, Fender should never have done this.

If they had kept their eye on the ball we wouldn't have Overwater, Sei, Sadowsky, et al....From our point of view, their poor performance is our blessing.

 

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I have a custom shop 62 Precision heavy relic in 3 colour sunburst, it is fantastic, it is nice and lightweight, the colours have real depth to them, it sounds fantastic and, in my view, is definitely worthy of that custom shop badge, I recorded Yodaclub's latest single with it, sent the bass recording back to the band, at mix stage the drummer / producer and singer both commented on how good the bass sounded, they had no idea it was recorded using that bass, other than the bass it was exactly the same amp / speaker / mic set up I had used for previous recordings....so there is certainly something in the sound that non bass players even noticed!

I paid £2400.00 secondhand, it is the most I have ever spent on a bass but, to me, it was worth it.

I would stick a picture up with the post but I don't appear to have one on my laptop!

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Just now, bassbiscuits said:

I do love the idea of CS instruments tho - aiming to have the vibe and hallowed quality of old instruments without any of the problems which can come with actual temperamental old kit. 

Maybe I would fall head over heels with the right one if it came along, who knows?

I briefly owned a £2.5k Lull which I found very ordinary indeed. Maybe I've got weird tastes. 

My lull was lovely, well made, light and playable...but like the PRS bass I had - just a bit soulless.

A sadowsky I played was very similar once, whereas the Celinder and Alleva Coppola basses I tried were a bit more rough around the edges - but were fantastic!

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16 minutes ago, AndyTravis said:

My lull was lovely, well made, light and playable...but like the PRS bass I had - just a bit soulless.

A sadowsky I played was very similar once, whereas the Celinder and Alleva Coppola basses I tried were a bit more rough around the edges - but were fantastic!

That's the word I was after - soulless. It played ok, it looked great, but it was just sterile and stiff and... unremarkable?

I sold two very good standard MIA Fenders to buy it, as they were too heavy after I knackered my shoulder at the time.

But they were way better basses for what I wanted. 

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2 minutes ago, bassbiscuits said:

That's the word I was after - soulless. It played ok, it looked great, but it was just sterile and stiff and... unremarkable?

I could level this criticism against 2 of the 3 MM Rays I've owned...so it isn't just Fender.

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3 hours ago, Beedster said:

The reality is I think that you can't predict how well a bass is going to play and sound until you play it....

I think there's truth in this. There's probably a reason why it's still sat in the shop i.e. it's not one of the the better ones.

46 minutes ago, Chiliwailer said:

I've previously owned a fair few CS Basses, and what I'll say is when they are great, they are seriosuly-f'ing-great.

Also true. These being three cases in point. The only reason I still don't have the Pino is that I didn't get on with the neck profile. Still a fantastically well put together bass though.

IMG_2085.jpg

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1 hour ago, AndyTravis said:

This is mine. A true “custom” with a one off neck.

its a thing of beauty.

I stupidly sold it and when the chap wasn’t quite ready to let it go, I bought a much more recent 64 CS Jazz to fill the gap.

it was a lovely bass, but not in the same league.

i also owned a 55 custom shop P which was brilliant. Again, shouldn’t have sold it.

573542BB-E30F-4A52-9C88-44BE6CAF3D33.jpeg

1C883C17-DF4B-482B-A921-10867BF2C0E6.jpeg

What made the neck unique? If you tell me it was a P neck on a Jazz my head might explode with jealousy 😄

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3 minutes ago, NJE said:

What made the neck unique? If you tell me it was a P neck on a Jazz my head might explode with jealousy 😄

It’s as wide as a 64 Jazz, but it’s U shaped and as deep as a 75 P Bass...and it’s AA Birdseye Maple. Never seen another like it. Half quilted, half Birdseye.

C115A047-1AAF-45D2-BC8A-C7BBDFB083C6.jpeg

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😲 Pictures of the back of the neck? 

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Back on topic.....I have played quite a lot of Fender CS Relic teles and strats, and all I can say is that if i got near a bass that felt like those it would be coming home with me.

They all had sublime necks and beautifully rolled fretboards with amazing smooth necks. That’s enough for me, it’s all about necks, everything else can be tweaked.

Are they worth it compared to other basses, probably not, but the 15 year old me that used to drool over Fender frontline magazine in science class and draw custom shop logos on school books still wants one more than any other bass. 

 

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3 minutes ago, AndyTravis said:

Apologies for the crap photos. And the crap dining table, in the mess of a play room 😂

Wow 🤤

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1 hour ago, TheGreek said:

I could level this criticism against 2 of the 3 MM Rays I've owned...so it isn't just Fender.

Indeed - this wasn't a Fender, it was a Mike Lull.

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