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cord.scott

The opposite of Fender is...

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Odd question...but what is "opposite" of the classic Fender passive bass (Jazz or Precision)?

Why do I ask? Well my Fenders just aren't doing it for me. I quiet playing from about 2006-2016 and when I got back into it I followed the herd and bought some J basses.

But to be honest, I just don't like the way they sound or feel. I've spent 1000's of dollars on pickups, amps, strings, external preamps, and I just just think that they, like most passive basses sound dull, thin, and lifeless. 

I know many people love them. I'm not trying to dunk on them, I just was wondering, what is the least fender like bass that isn't too "radical"?

Back in the day I played active Ibanez basses and I'm thinking of going back. Just don't know 100% what direction to go.

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I'm not sure if you would describe it as the opposite, but if passive P and J setups aren't doing it for you, then to something with active humbuckers. One of my basses has Seymour Duncan humbuckers and preamp and it's the nicest sounding bass I've ever played. Of course, it's all subjective. 

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I’d say maybe try a Spector (or by extension perhaps a Warwick) as I find the physical feel of them is still sufficiently conventional but quite noticeably different to a Fender, and they generally come with active humbuckers and/or preamps as suggested above. I do like an Ibanez SR, but for my money the Spector has a bit more ‘personality’, for want of a better word.

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1 hour ago, cord.scott said:

Odd question...but what is "opposite" of the classic Fender passive bass (Jazz or Precision)?

Why do I ask? Well my Fenders just aren't doing it for me. I quiet playing from about 2006-2016 and when I got back into it I followed the herd and bought some J basses.

But to be honest, I just don't like the way they sound or feel. I've spent 1000's of dollars on pickups, amps, strings, external preamps, and I just just think that they, like most passive basses sound dull, thin, and lifeless. 

I know many people love them. I'm not trying to dunk on them, I just was wondering, what is the least fender like bass that isn't too "radical"?

Back in the day I played active Ibanez basses and I'm thinking of going back. Just don't know 100% what direction to go.

If your passive J is 'dull thin and lifeless' to your ears, sounds like you need a P bass.

Or - and I mean this genuinely - some lessons. Find a new way of approaching it and fall back in love. 

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Sire V or P series would be like a Fender on steroids in terms of tone selection. Never had one but bespoke ranges like Fodera or Overwater might float your boat.  Overwater in particular are favoured by professionals in the West End show pits (US read Broadway).  That would be the bright active direction.  Or you  could go fretless, even unlined fretless:  if you like Ibanez, their SR705F Portamento might be different enough for you without going crazy. 

Edited by lownote12

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The old Ibanez Musician basses from the 80s still get plenty of love, not least of all for their tonal versatility.

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Maybe you should start with bass sounds you like and work from there. Obviously no Fender type bass is going to work if you don't like the feel but an idea of what sounds good to you would put you in the right area for what you might want to look at.

 

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Buy an Alembic, the non very expensive "standard" Series One or Two with AXY pickups can be found quite relatively cheap, especially in the USA where you're living.

This certainly is the opposite of a Fender.

That said a dull sounding passive bass is simply a very badly made bass as, to me, passive basses always sound better, but I only play luthiers basses and not mass production instruments which are a real lottery.

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Jazz basses do sound thin to me too. I have an Aerodyne that has both P and J pickups and the J is only used for practice. I should probably buy a P but the Aerodyne has a jazz neck and I love that.

I should add that it looks devine.

Edited by Chienmortbb

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Fodera. If that fails any modern bass that doesn't resemble a Fender in philosophy at all. Aries is a great example.

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Single cut,  exotic wood, 6 strings, enough electronics to sort out the next moon landing. You'll soon be falling back in love with Fender!

or this little beauty...

 

Edited by Mykesbass
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My anti-Fender Bass of choice would be a Steinberger XL, given the number of times I have been impressed by its tone over the years. I still want one, but prices are now in the silly money regime. To my ears the tone is characterised by a very strong fundamental but still snappy, thanks to a very stiff composite construction and EMG active pickups. Think Rush’s Distant Early Warning or Broken by Tears For Fears. It’s also been a favourite of reggae bassists e.g. it’s in your face on UB40’s Red Red Wine, and Robbie Shakespeare did some of his best-known work with one. 

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I've recently done pretty much the same thing as the OP.

Got bored with my old school Fenders & Rickenbacker.

Ended up with two Dingwall basses which I'm really loving,they have rekindled my love of playing bass & are definitely nothing like  a Fender.

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Dingwalls do feel like an evolution, with the fan frets, the composite neck profile, the banjo frets, the lightness, and mine is the most resonant, alive bass I've ever picked up.

I put a P-Tone pickup in it for the option of a less modern sound, and I also put a John East EQ in there, as I do with all my basses, because I love the way they sound.

I've had a lot of Fenders, but don't have one any more - between the Dingwall and my Shukers I have everything covered...I've got a Shuker Precision (a JJB Signature) on the way, which, while looking very like a P, is very different.

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It depends what you’re looking for and what you don’t like about Fenders. Have you tried a hollow body or a different scale length? I agree about the Spector suggestion above but if it’s a more old school classic you’re looking for what about a Thunderbird? 
Personally I like my Gibson EB 2013, light weight, passive and punchy humbucker with pull pots that change it to single coils. They’re a bit different from the herd.

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If a fender sounds thin & lifeless to you, it sounds like you need a wishbass - I’d consider that the opposite of a fender.

Alternatively you could try to fatten up your tone with a compressor and/or preamp

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Some form of Spector with two soap-bar humbuckers or a dual humbucker Stingray would be a good place to start.

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I think the OP needs to think more about exactly what it is about the Fender sound that for him doesn't deliver.  Sound and tone is a personal thing. We can make suggestions, but the exploration we have to make for ourselves.

I too am not a fan of Fender. To my ears the sound is mushey. The notes aren't as crisp and distinct as with a Warwick. I don't mean I'm after a crisp clang. To me that's too aggressive. So I'm not wanting a MM humbucker.

In short, to me the Warwick delivers a dark solid note that I like. All I can put it down to is Warwick neck/pocket joints are tight. Fender pockets are comparatively lose fitting. With a Warwick, I can remove the screws and pick up the neck and the body comes with it. This won't happen with a Fender. You can't shim a Warwick neck without damaging the body; there's no space for the neck to tilt.

I put this down to the needs of Fender's high volume production factories. When dealing with wood in a production line, Fender couldn't operate with tight tolerance necks. They simply don't have time to hand-pick, or hand shape and neck. That said I don't like new Warwick's as much as the old ones.

Fender do a great job at what they do: high volume production of affordable instruments. It's their business model and long may it last, as millions of musicians want exactly that and it works. I think I'm developing expensive tastes.

Edited by Grangur

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