Fodera Emporer: My new bass

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by Brian Scherzer, Feb 1, 2008.


  1. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    I had been looking far and wide for a nice Fodera 4 stringer, but they're mighty tough to find new, so I found a used one from a guy in the Toronto area. Just got it today and I have to say that my initial impression is that the Fodera basses are as nice as I had heard they were. Exceptionally low action without string buzz, very touch sensitive, and lots of ability to shape the tone from the active electronics on the bass. It is a Fodera Emporer bolt-on.

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  2. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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  3. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    Seriously...

    Wow. I keep looking at that thing...

    Talk to me about that onboard EQ...
     
  4. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    I'll be able to respond better to this after a few days. My initial impression is that most of what you would ever need is on the bass. I doubt that there is much tweaking of the bass amp needed. Even small changes on any of the knobs seems to produce an audible difference in the tone. The 2 switches are a standby and an active/passive switch. There are 3 tone knobs for the active preamp, with cut and boost for treble, midrange and bass (center indent). In the passive section there is a stacked volume and tone knob, plus a knob for pickup selection. Except when pushing the treble, there is no audible noise from the onboard electronics. Very nice!
     
  5. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I've been thinking about the whole active preamp thing for my Jazz.

    I love the active circuit in my G&L, but I think the whole electronics of the bass was designed with the active circuit in mind and the passive circuit was a complete afterthought.

    Something like that circuit looks like it gives you so many options-

    How's the passive tone of the bass?
     
  6. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    The passive tone is fine, but it's difficult to want to use it after playing with the active circuit on. Again, because I haven't had more than an hour playing the bass, any opinions expressed so far are subject to change. Having given that disclaimer, I'd have to say that the bass, in passive mode, sounds more modern than "vintage". I'd say that in passive mode, it is closer to the Marcus Miller Fender model than to a 60s jazz sound. Then again, I just realized that I have been playing the bass in the active input on my amp, even when using it passive. I'll respond tomorrow with a better concept of what this bass does and doesn't do. Remember, I'm in the honeymoon phase of a new "toy", so emotion can leak into any description I give on the first day!
     
  7. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Member

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    Damn, Brian. Nice score!
     
  8. 2 Loud 4 You

    2 Loud 4 You Member

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    Fodera sure can make nice basses. Your pre-amp description reminds me of my Roscoe's pre-amp. Slight changes make a noticable difference. Do you know who makes the pups and pre-amp? Are they a Fodera design or other? Either way, looks like you've got a hella fine bass there and will have fun with it. If it were only a 6 string. ;) LOL
     
  9. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    The pickups are Seymour Duncan and the preamp is a Mike Pope 18 volt.

    I'm a confirmed 4 stringer! Five strings means that you're a guitarist with a broken string. Six strings and you're a guitarist just trying to show up SRV's 13 gauge strings!

    Yes, said in jest. :D
     
  10. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    No it wasn't.

    Who do you think you're trying to kid...


    :D
     
  11. Butterfly

    Butterfly Gold Supporting Member

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    Beautiful! Congrats on the sucessful quest!
     
  12. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    Brian,
    That bass is a beauty!
    Welcome to the club, bro.

    :cool:

    S.
    j
     
  13. Thor

    Thor Member

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    Congratuations on a scorring a great bass! My bass teacher has the first Bolt-on that Fodera did (it was actually done because of his pleading for one, as they had only been doing neck-throughs al-la Smith at that time). It's the only Fodera I have had to the opportunity to play, but it is really a stellar instrument. I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I was reading your posts. Those cats really know how to make a great bass!

    Enjoy it in the best of health!

    Cheers,

    Edward
     
  14. ghoti

    ghoti Member

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    Riight...

    And using frets means you're a guitarist...because REAL bassists don't need them...:rolleyes:
     
  15. FredW

    FredW Member

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    That is sweet Brian, Congrats
     
  16. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    Having now played the Fodera for quite a few hours, I feel more able to give a realistic/non-emotional review of it. Everything I said in the previous posts remains valid. Here is what I can add to that.........

    The construction of the bass is flawless, as one would expect from a bass costing big bucks. The neck has a slight C-carve, which I find to be easier for me to play than the flatter necks that some other "fast" basses have. I was asked about the sound of the bass in passive mode. My answer now is that the tone is fine in passive mode, but not "special". It is the ability to shape the tone with the active controls that (to me) help make this a bass I really want to play! This is the first bass I've owned where I set the amp tone section to flat, using the onboard Fodera controls to do everything I need.

    It is difficult for me to compare an active bass because I have only owned 2 others in my lifetime....a Modulus Q4 and a Ken Smith CR4J. The Modulus was a great playing and sounding bass, but that graphite neck made it tough to get the truly warm tone I was looking for. The Ken Smith was voiced differently and it was really tough to get an appropriate "blues" tone out if it. From my memory of those two basses, the Fodera has a warmer sound (even with the maple fretboard) and more tone versatility. Compared to passive basses.......well, that isn't fair. There are many passive basses that I really like, but they can't do some of the things that the Fodera can.

    I'm trying to figure out how to describe something that I think is personal to each bass player. You pick up a bass, strap it on, and you somehow know that it just feels "right". You hope that the bass sounds as good as it looks and feels. In my case, the Fodera totally fit the bill! Whether just looking at it, holding it or playing it, the bass just has that something special about it.

    The biggest difference between this bass and any other that I have owned is how easily it lets me do things. What's the fun of owning a bass like this without watching some Victor Wooten videos? Besides a Bella Fleck DVD that shows a lot of Wooten, I purchased a couple of DVDs that were more instructional. I had tried a couple of the techniques he uses when I was playing other basses, but I never got close to being able to replicate what he was doing when it came to tapping and using his left fingers to hammer notes. When I did try that on other basses I would get a lot of partial notes, with very few notes ringing out as "true". That wasn't the case with the Fodera! From the first time trying, I was getting clear sounding notes with no fret buzz. It was literally the first time I was able to play nice sounding notes without picking or plucking strings with my right hand. Those notes came out with authority and a warmth that I didn't expect from active electronics. I'm guessing that this is due to a combination of the electronics and the construction of the bass.

    In summary, the Fodera requires far less strength to make it sound good, and the tone shaping sets it apart from other basses I've played. Being able to be more relaxed with both hands makes a big difference in my playing. My task now is to learn to control my right hand fingers to get a more even sound from string to string and from note to note. The bass is VERY sensitive, so it's easy to have uneven notes coming out, especially between the E string and the others. The best endorsement I can give any instrument is that it makes me enthusiastic about playing it. The Fodera Emporer is THAT kind of instrument....and I'm now putting my home recording studio back together after several years of non-use. For me, that's a heck of an accomplishment for an instrument!
     
  17. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    Everything you said, I've experienced with my Wooten sig. 4 Monarch.
    Fantastic build quality, with components and eq that were designed and tested by both master luthiers and master artists.

    Best of both worlds, and it clearly shows in Fodera basses.
    Tip of the top in my book.

    :cool:

    S.
    j
     
  18. Bass Viking

    Bass Viking Member

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    Holy cow, your description of the Fodera make me want one! The wood selection on that one is just fabulous too.

    Hope you don't mind but I guess the question on everyone's mind is how much did it cost?
     

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