What's your opinions on buying Fender?

As many of you know, I recently purchased a SBMM Ray 34 and after much consideration (and playing), I’m just not feeling it. I can’t “connect” with this guitar. It is awesome in almost every way but it’s just not for me. For one, I just can’t get past the unbalanced look of the maple fretboard against the neptune blue body & headstock. I rarely play it because of this. Purely cosmetic, yes, but it’s a mental block for me. Therefore, it will go up for sale.
I am seriously considering a more “passive” route and diving into the world of Fender, so my question is (without revealing my total budget :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:) what do you guys recommend (Fender only) in a budget of $800 or less?
As many of you know, a matching headstock was always a requirement of mine but I have since moved on from that and am now open to the best product for the money.
What do you guys think?


I am terribly enjoying my Vintera MIM 50s Precision Bass and recently it became my only bass…

However if I ever get a second bass I thought I would go for the RAY 34 since for me it is kinda other end of the spectrum with such powerfull pick-up towards the bridge and an active circuit…

I know the color you have mentioned and I guess it is only for certain people…


a solution to get a (almost) matching headstock with a Fender is choosing a natural ash body or a butterscotch finish :grin: there are some real matching headstock, but that’s not common at all.


Why not look at other brands too? There are so much beautiful basses out there. But this is a bit rich coming from a guy who owns 4 expensive Fender guitars :see_no_evil:

For your budget of $800 or less I would actually look at Squier by Fender. Those are top notch and really good value. There are so much options tbh. Why not make a shortlist first of basses that you think that look amazing and go from there?


I’ve got an MIM Fender P bass and would heartedly recommend them but I would also agree with @Paul regarding the Squiers. Definitely worth a look at and certainly good value for money


I agree with what @Paul and @Mac said above, @Steve73 . . . :slight_smile:

You get a Fender bass that’s made in Asia so the price is in the $400 range. I have a Squier Jazz and an Fender American Ultra Jazz and they feel almost identical.


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If you’re not 100% set on a Fender I would recommend checking out Sire. I have a V7 Jazz Bass and like it a lot. And it can be played active or passive. Mine also has a matching headstock. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m a big Fender fan, I love their sound and playability. There are a few options for you in your price range.

First is the Aerodyne, a Jazz/body neck with PJ pickups. Sublime instrument, has a matching headstock and is MIJ.

Next you have the Player series, which comes in a Precision, Jazz, or Jaguar (PJ). Good instruments, They also make a Mustang, which does not seem to be up to the same standards .

For a bit less is Squier. They have some interesting vintage designs. One that is available right now is the Paranormal, a Jazz bass with a P body, Jazz neck and pickups. One of the neat features is it has separate tone and volume for each pickup.

These are available in limited quantities and will sell out, but are availabl now. I am waiting for FedEx to bring me mine. Some reviewers call this the highest quality instrument Squier makes. It’s in the $400 range, and is reportedly the same quality as the Player series.

I also have a Squier Classic Vibe 70s P-Bass. They also have a 50s and 60s model. I really like this bass, classic body, really playable neck. I put in a EMG Geezer Butler pickup and it’s a great bass for not a lot of money.

With Squier you can afford the bass and do an upgrade if you like. I also did that with my Paranormal, I put Seymor Duncanc pickups in it.

I also have a Player Jazz which I will be selling, great instrument but too many basses. And a Jaguar Limited Edition which comes with all black hardware, ebony fretboard, and matching headstock.


Going the Fender route, I can’t recommend finding a used MIJ (made in Japan) model.
Either P or Jazz etc… Go for MIJ models. Fit, finish, components surpass MIA models in my opinion. And you save yourself a few hundred versus new other foreign made models, and a grand versus the MIA models.

I have a 2013 MIJ Jazz that I bought used directly from a Japanese shop on Reverb (less than 800$ shipped), and I couldn’t be happier. Beautiful bass.

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speaking about Fender, I have currently :

  • 3 MIA (Precision Bass, Telecaster, Stratocaster)
  • 1 MIM (Telecaster Cabronita)
  • 1 MIJ (F-65)
  • 1 Squier (Telecaster)

both are good instruments considering their price tag. it depends on how much you want to spend, and I’d say that for $800 you can find a used MIA or a new (or used but like new) MIM or MIJ.

even if Squier are good, I don’t see why you would’nt buy a Fender with $800.

That said, other brands have a way better quality/price ratio.


I can also vouch for the fender mim precision 50’s bass. It’s such a lovely bass. I’d be interested to hear what you think once you’ve had a go.

And it comes in sea foam green with a gold anodised pickguard!

Nuff said! :smiley:


One word. Resale.
There are certain brands that hold their value for resale on platforms such as Reverb. Fender is one of those brands. Agree / disagree with the price point all you want. But year on year certain brands hold their value.


Then get rid of it :slightly_smiling_face:

I realize you only want to consider Fender but my Yamaha TRBX504 is easily in that price range and is active and passive with alnico pickups and I could not be happier with it.

The problem here is that selecting a Bass is such a personal thing.
If you had 3 Basses sitting in front of you and one of them jumped out at you then in my opinion that is the one for you should get, assuming that it feels and sounds good to you, but even that can be corrected with upgrades.

Good Luck!!!


Seconded. If you were looking for a sign that it was time to visit your local store ‘to just look around’, this is it. :slight_smile:


Fenders do hold their value.

Another thought which may or may not apply to you is parts. If you ever want to mod your bass, it’s easy to find parts.

I wanted to change the nut on my Jaguar for example. It’s white, everything else on the bass is black. I didn’t have to measure, just googled fender jazz nut black, and you can do that for any part.


This is precisely why I love Bass Buzz people!!! All great and informative perspectives!!
(Not to mention I’m 6 weeks away from finishing my BTB course with Josh!)
Anywho, let me respond to the comments so far by saying that I am in the market for a Fender because I already own a Schecter Stiletto, an Ibanez SR300 (and of course the SBMM Ray34…which I want to sell), so I really want a Fender. I am drawn to that classic look of a Fender on stage. As I responded on another forum, I am very much a beginner bassist (played drums for 30 years) and I do a lot of research, but I also rely on what more seasoned bassist have to share in their experiences/opinions as well because I believe that certain brands and styles have a “cult” following for a reason. Taking into consideration celebrity endorsements, fan loyalty, & traditional values, there’s obviously a reason Fender is so heavily relied upon by so many. I admit, as shallow as it is, that I would gain some satisfaction from seeing that “Fender” logo just beyond my left hand each time I play but in the year that I’ve been playing and researching, I’m starting to understand why people gravitate to certain things. I have been blessed with the budget to spend on a quality bass and Fender is what I “prefer” over everything I have seen. Yes, for me, it is equally as much owning the “logo” as it is owning a quality instrument. I’m sure some will disagree with that seemingly shallow perspective but the bottom line, I believe, is you love to play an instrument because you “connect” with that particular instrument. That is what Fender is for me. If I’m wrong, I will learn as I grow.


Yes!! Another VERY good point!! Thank You!


Ha!! I agree! I cringe at the thought of going to my local stores because I have a music store salespeople phobia. They won’t leave me alone long enough to seriously “try out” multiple basses. Even when I tell them…“I’m good, I’m just checking out basses”.

Yes, I get the whole commission thing and I am respectful of that, just wish I could spend hours in there undistracted without sales pressure.

I also wish margaritas were cheaper but I digress. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Yes! I spent a lot of time looking at all of the Yamahas before I purchased the SBMM.
Visually, I just prefer the classic look of the Fenders, although the Yamahas are top notch to say the least. Just not what I’m looking for.


Go to a guitar center if you have a local one. You’ll never be bothered by salespeople. Even if you want it.