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New Fender setup woes


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So I thought that I'd order one of the new Fender Professional ii P basses in the lovely Surf Green colour they've brought out. I got a good deal and it duly arrived this morning as arranged. 

Upon opening the case it looked absolutely stunning and when I picked it up it was a very comfortable weight. The action however was awful and the strings were way above the fingerboard. 

Now I've had new Fenders before and I know they generally set the actions high in the factory and usually after a bit of adjustment to the saddles and the truss rod gets it to whether I want it. This one however, already had quite low saddles but I duly took them down a bit lower to such an extent that they were pretty much bottoming out. The action was still pretty high.

I thought I'd check the truss rod out and when I went to give it a bit of a tweak, it felt like it had already been maxed out and I felt uncomfortable in trying to turn it any further. Usually when I've had new Fenders in the past the truss rod has been no more than half-way screwed in and there's plenty of play either way.

I contacted the retailer and there's no issue in returning it but I was really disappointed on how this arrived and was very surprised that a bass would have been set up this way at the factory. The retailer confirmed it hadn't been sent out to anyone prior to being sent to me and hadn't been looked at by any of their staff, so it all seems a bit strange to me. 

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Just now, mr4stringz said:

Man, that’s rough. Sorry to hear. Looking forward to a new bass arrival only to get that letdown would peeve me immensely. Are you having a replacement same model or refund out of interest?

I've asked for a refund and will then pop along to a guitar shop when I can rather than buy online.

I think if I'd tried it in a store I'd probably have assumed it was Fender's usual ropey setup and taken it home thinking I could tweak it to my liking.

Such irony, eh, Alanis?

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I tried one in store recently and the action was too high for my liking and the saddles couldn't go much lower. Didn't want to pay for the cost of a new Pro 2 knowing I would need to shim the neck. Shame because it was beautiful otherwise.

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Just now, Bix said:

I tried one in store recently and the action was too high for my liking and the saddles couldn't go much lower. Didn't want to pay for the cost of a new Pro 2 knowing I would need to shim the neck. Shame because it was beautiful otherwise.

Agreed. The bass was gorgeous and the neck felt really comfortable but it was not fit for purpose, well, fit for my special purpose anyway

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Disappointed but not surprised that there wasn’t a setup done. The Fender American Standard 5 string I waited several months after expected was a joke when it arrived from a well known shop. Despite a setup being promised because of the delay, the bass arrived with all the neck bolts loose and the neck literally moving several mm away from the body.

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Posted (edited)

Similar thing happened with a duff Custom Shop Fender P Bass my mate bought, it’s a shame some retailers don’t spot this.

Was obvious the neck was gone yet the shop didn’t spot, or give two hoots about,  the cr*p set up and had absolutely no idea - and even needed to take it to a tech to work it out 🙄

Same shop later sold him another duff used Custom Shop Jazz with a messed up neck, they tried to bulls*it us that it was fine and ‘typical Fender’, but for the next few months it was off the website but still in the shop for sale - I know that as a guy I sold a CS Jazz to had tried it there and was also surprised they had it up for sale.  Made my blood boil tbh. Anyway, they’re not trading anymore, but it’s a shame they didn’t get into learning how to set up basses or spot blatant issues.  

Edited by Chiliwailer
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I had a similar thing (I think) with a Fender Flea ‘61 (documented in full here somewhere). I adjusted the truss rod and came downstairs one day after playing the previous night and there had been catastrophic failure of the neck. I guess the rod must have given way and it wasn’t anywhere near lows it should have been. As it was out of warranty, I ended up sending just the neck back to Fender and after a lot of ar.sing about, they replaced it, although they refused to say exactly what the issue was.

You did right by sending it back.

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Fender QC is very variable - my first USA Precision - one of the old S1 models - had an asymmetrically cut nut and a loose neck! That one went back. I've also had the high action problem - took the neck off, slackened the nut right off and let it 'rest' for a few days. I use a 2002 version of the  Fender owners manual as my guide - usually manage a decent set up - with a few tweaks - for fingers but struggle to get the right 'balance' for pics. Obviously, if an instrument isn't 'fit for purpose' - as in stuck truss rods, dodgy electronics, faulty parts - then straight back to the dealer!! I later owned a Stingray 4 (sadly long gone) and the QC was a revelation - perfect set up right out of the box and a joy to play.

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It’s years since I bought a new a fender, it was a 5 string Jazz. It arrived barely playable and had to have a shim put in to get any reasonable adjustment on the bridge. That was in 1996 and I don’t think the QC has got any better.

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So anyway, from the ridiculous to the sublime....

The first P Bass was packed off from whence it came and the very next day I had a meeting in Cardiff and happened (ahem) to find myself arriving about an hour early, so a visit to PMT was in order. 

PMT isn't usually my first port of call, especially for online orders but I've always found the guys in Bristol particularly accommodating and have been on tot eh Cardiff store a few times. I always find the store a bit lacking in the Bass department but I knew they had another American Professional in stock in my favoured colour scheme. 

After playing on it for five minutes I really really liked it but was still very wary given the issues with the first bass. Fortunately, Gavin who was looking after me was game enough to see if the truss rod would adjust properly and was then kind enough to let me adjust the saddles to get closer to the sort of action I prefer. After 15 minutes or so of fettling I fell in love with it and decided it was coming home with me. 

I love  the colour (Mystic Surf Green), I love the neck and the dark rosewood fingerboard and it plays beautifully. What's more, it's very light too. It couldn't be more different to the first one I tried and really is in my opinion a vast step up from some of the more recent US Fenders over the last 10 years or so. 

My thanks to PMT too and especially Gavin who really went the extra mile for me. 
 

 

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Amazing how Sires can be shipped from the far East to Europe, stored for ages, shipped again and arrive perfectly set up... Yet a big retailer selling a Fender for nearly 2 grand doesn't bother to just check it and tweak it. 

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10 hours ago, Old Horse Murphy said:

So anyway, from the ridiculous to the sublime....

The first P Bass was packed off from whence it came and the very next day I had a meeting in Cardiff and happened (ahem) to find myself arriving about an hour early, so a visit to PMT was in order. 

PMT isn't usually my first port of call, especially for online orders but I've always found the guys in Bristol particularly accommodating and have been on tot eh Cardiff store a few times. I always find the store a bit lacking in the Bass department but I knew they had another American Professional in stock in my favoured colour scheme. 

After playing on it for five minutes I really really liked it but was still very wary given the issues with the first bass. Fortunately, Gavin who was looking after me was game enough to see if the truss rod would adjust properly and was then kind enough to let me adjust the saddles to get closer to the sort of action I prefer. After 15 minutes or so of fettling I fell in love with it and decided it was coming home with me. 

I love  the colour (Mystic Surf Green), I love the neck and the dark rosewood fingerboard and it plays beautifully. What's more, it's very light too. It couldn't be more different to the first one I tried and really is in my opinion a vast step up from some of the more recent US Fenders over the last 10 years or so. 

My thanks to PMT too and especially Gavin who really went the extra mile for me. 
 

 

E3DFB787-919C-4394-A472-D4BA8837A8CA.jpeg

54F6AE0E-9348-4153-AA73-AE85D3E95F03.jpeg

Looks great Nick, the Professional range is very good imo, though clearly it can still be a bit hit & miss with the old Fender QC which I`m still at a loss to understand in this day & age, with all the machinery that goes to making instruments. 

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Given how ridiculously easy it is build a P bass it’s frankly shocking that their QC remains so hit-and-miss. I briefly owned a US Pro P bass 5 (which was a replacement itself for a Mex P bass special that had loads of issues and went back), all good except for the double business card gap on the bass side of the neck pocket. I’m aware a bit of expansion space on a painted finish may prevent lacquer cracks but how that passed quality control beats me!

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11 hours ago, Old Horse Murphy said:

So anyway, from the ridiculous to the sublime....

The first P Bass was packed off from whence it came and the very next day I had a meeting in Cardiff and happened (ahem) to find myself arriving about an hour early, so a visit to PMT was in order. 

PMT isn't usually my first port of call, especially for online orders but I've always found the guys in Bristol particularly accommodating and have been on tot eh Cardiff store a few times. I always find the store a bit lacking in the Bass department but I knew they had another American Professional in stock in my favoured colour scheme. 

After playing on it for five minutes I really really liked it but was still very wary given the issues with the first bass. Fortunately, Gavin who was looking after me was game enough to see if the truss rod would adjust properly and was then kind enough to let me adjust the saddles to get closer to the sort of action I prefer. After 15 minutes or so of fettling I fell in love with it and decided it was coming home with me. 

I love  the colour (Mystic Surf Green), I love the neck and the dark rosewood fingerboard and it plays beautifully. What's more, it's very light too. It couldn't be more different to the first one I tried and really is in my opinion a vast step up from some of the more recent US Fenders over the last 10 years or so. 

My thanks to PMT too and especially Gavin who really went the extra mile for me. 
 

 

E3DFB787-919C-4394-A472-D4BA8837A8CA.jpeg

54F6AE0E-9348-4153-AA73-AE85D3E95F03.jpeg

And the perfect resolution!

Enjoy

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I do wonder how many newcomers to bass/guitar buy gear that is so poorly set up that they just give up because it's too hard to get a note out of.

By way of backstory, my nephew (18) had guitar lessons at school, which I worked out pretty early on were frankly useless; I recall him sight-reading Mull Of Kintyre and making an acceptable fist of it - he didn't even know what the song actually sounded like.  He was 12 or 13, crying that it was too hard and saying he just wanted to stop 'learning', so he did.

To my surprise, on a visit to the family early last year, he'd bought a new Fender Jazz bass and a little Rumble combo from his savings; while he was making his own gravy here, the bass itself was unplayable and he was on the cusp of jacking it in again.  Action was well over a centimetre at the 12th fret, nasty neck front bow, the strings were just horrible (I'm assuming the dealer must have had this in the shop as a demo model, so god knows what was growing in the rounds).  I set the bass up and as there was nowhere to get new strings, I ordered some off Amazon for him and we boiled up the old ones (shudder) - could have made soup.

It played wonderfully despite the strings still being a bit yuck.  He was made up.

Point here being that manufacturers and retailers alike, it's all about shifting units.  I've never played a new bass from Gibson or Fender (or MusicMan, or Rickenbacker, or Spector for that matter), that didn't need a decent set up before it became properly usable.  Amazingly (as mentioned earlier in the thread), cheaper (let's just tar everyone with the same brush here and say 'Eastern') makers (viz. Sire) seem to have no issues sending out instruments that play straight out of the box.

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You would think that, with CNC machines etc, that all you had to do to make a left handed bass was press a button. Ha, ha!!

First Fender USA as described earlier - asymetrically cut nut and the neck had to be slackened, braced and retightened to align the strings properly - that's before we get on to truss rods, bridge heights, pick up adjustment and, oh yes, the loose pot. Have had better luck since - usually by buying through dealers who check everything before shipping it out to the customer - aware of what Fender sends them! Never had a problem with Musicman - possibly because their UK importer is staffed by music professionals. Rickenbacker... aaaggghhh as my old Dad used to say - the devilish double truss rod - plus you either love the sound... or you don't. As for Gibson - bought a leftie SG bass - right hand loom had been put in so the jack socket was where the tone control should have been. Best ever? Yamaha BB404L - cheap as chips, Indonesian (I think) played straight out of the box - wish I had kept it.

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Posted (edited)

What gets me is when you get a bass like this with a QC checklist tag and its all checked as passed.

Ok it is a much less expensive bass than the OP's but I remember trying to order a Squier CV Jag that didn't have issues and in the end I gave up,1st one had a bright red neck where someone had gone nuts with the spray tint and one of them had terrible fretwork which made it unplayable and the people in the factory obviously knew this as they had jacked the action sky high to hide the fret buzz and both had QC inspection tags and had passed QC, I was less than pleased at that price point and if I was paying US Fender money like the OP I would expect nothing less than perfection as there is really no excuse at that price point

Edited by shoulderpet
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The new bass looks beautiful. Glad you found a good one. I still have my eye on one, but stock locally is low and I definitely want to try before I buy.

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