Phil Maneri’s
BASS
LAB

This Article Was Originally Published On: July 1st, 2014 #Issue 14.

Sooner or later, every great builder takes a poke at the Fender Precision design. Why not? It’s probably the most-copied, most-used electric bass in history. For good reason; it works. F Bass’ shot at it has some great choices. First off, the alder body mated to a maple neck with maple cap is great hybrid choice. Usually, alder is paired with rosewood and ash with maple, but on occasion, Fender matched alder and maple with great, underrated results.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id="103621"]

The joinery on the neck/fingerboard is particularly good, as is the body billet. The bolt-on structure and its carve are very well executed; what you should expect from a great bass builder. The bass, overall, is very light, yet still balances well. The finish is a nice, simple unshaded satin that feels great and shows off the wood.

Continuing with the vintage sensibilities, they use a traditional P-bass pickup (from Aguilar) in its usual position. The shielding is perfect, and really overkill for a passive P-bass, but quite good. They use the Hipshot version of a vintage bridge to retain that original tone and use F Bass-branded Gotoh 720 keys. They depart from the usual P-bass by using a Jazz-sized neck and spacing. The body is very F Bass, but with a pickguard. A very nice, 4-ply tortoise shell pickguard, to be exact. The bass plays great, sounds like it should and is built well, as one would expect from F Bass.

bass test
F Bass BN5

F Bass VF4-P

CONFIGURATION

Strings:4
Style:Double cutaway
Overall Length:44.5”
Body Dimension:20.5” long x 14.75" wide at lower bout
Body Contouring: Moderate
Weight:8.10 lbs

NECK

Scale length:34”
Neck width at nut:1.52"
Neck width at 12th fret:2.226"
Neck width at joint:2.433"
Neck thickness at nut:1.016"
Neck thickness at 1st fret:.812"
Neck thickness at 12th fret: .949"
Neck thickness at joint:1.036"
String spacing at nut:.364"
String spacing at saddle:.790"
Fingerboard radius:10-12", compound
Descriptor for neck shape: D shape
Peghead break angle:18 deg
Bridge break angle:5-10 deg
Afterlength at nut:2.22" to 5.275"
Afterlength at saddle:1.1"
Attachment:Bolt-on
Pocket gap:none
Truss rod type/access:Double-action / body end
Fret count:21
Fretwire:106 x 45

ELECTRONICS

Pickups:Aguilar AG 4P-60
Pickup location(s), from the 12th fret:11 1/2”
Electronics:Passive
Controls:Volume, tone
Shielding:Foil
Preamp circuit voltage:N/A

CONSTRUCTION

Body Woods:Alder
Neck WoodsMaple
Fingerboard:Maple
Body Finish:Satin
Neck Finish:Satin

HARDWARE

Strings:DR Nickel Lo-Riders (roundwound, with hex core)
Gauge:.045”, .065”, .085”, .105”
Attachment:At bridge
Bridge/color:Hipshot L plate steel / chrome
Nut:Bone
Tuners/color:Gotoh / chrome
Knobs/color:Plastic / black
Pickguard:Tortoise shell (4-ply)
Control cavity cover:Body wood (ash)

GENERAL

Company:F Bass, Inc.
16 McKinstry Street
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada L8L 6C1
ph (905) 522.1582
www.fbass.com
County of origin:Canada
Warranty:Limited Lifetime
List Price:$3,500, USD (standard/as tested)
Street Price: $3,000, USD (standard/as tested)
Test Bass Options:Passive electronics
Options: Too numerous to list; see webpage
Accessories:Ballistic gig bag, strap
Available colors:Multiple solid, transparent and burst color options
Acquired from:F Bass, Inc.
Dates:December, 2013 to March, 2014
Locals:Ohio
Test gear:GK MB115, GK MB Fusion 800, Mesa/Boogie Titan V-12, Ampeg SVT-7Pro, Bergantino NV215, Bergantino 15/6, TecAmp Puma 900, TecAmp S212, Carvin PB5, Lakland Skyline 44-64 Custom

TEST RESULTS

1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)

In-hand

Features: 3.5
Tonal Flexibility:4
Ease of Use: 5
Aesthetics:4.5
Ergonomics: 4.5
Tone: 4.5
Value:4

In-hand Score 4.29average

On-bench Score 4.71average

On-bench

Overall construction5
Wood choice5
Materials choice4
Joinery5
Fretwork4
Fit and Finish of adornments5
Quality of finish work5
Ease of repair 5
Potential range of setup5
Balance on knee4
Balance on strap4
Overall electronic quality5
Solder joints, wire runs5
Clarity5
Noise5
Shielding5
Quality for Price Range4

SONIC PROFILE:
Low: On the warm side, but not too fat
Mids: Very responsive to right hand technique; smooth and clear to barky
Highs: More extended than the typical P-bass


TONE-O-METER:

The VF4-P is undoubtedly a P-bass at heart, but with enhanced clarity and playability. It goes from clean and clear to split-coil bark with ease. Smooth when you want it to be, but aggressive when you dig in.

Eastwood Bass
author avatar
Phil Maneri