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Friday, December 7, 2012

Fodera Emperor 4 Deluxe Chestnut Top #42644D,... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $11,300.00  USD with case + shipping

Fodera Guitars is a manufacturer of handcrafted, custom boutique, American-built electric bass guitars by master luthier Vinny Fodera in Brooklyn, NY.

This Emperor 4 Deluxe model #42644D has a 34" scale length, a 24 fret, five-piece maple with bubinga stringers neck dressed in a birdseye maple fingerboard. The fretboard contains abalone dot inlay fret markers with a bone nut ending in a ash body with an chestnut top; the bass weighs in at just 9 lbs. 

Gold Gotoh machine heads, Fodera machined brass bridge.

Neck and Bridge Aero Dual Coil matching active set featuring Fodera/Pope Custom Shop 3 Band Active EQ with  with an active/passive, coil tap, and mid range switches.


Amp used:
Fender Rumble 30 120V

Action, Fit & Finish:
The finish is a beautiful natural wood grain with a satin finish; the action was low without any fret buzz and the intonation was dead on. 

Reliability & Durability:
The guitar is well made. It is solid through and through. There was no hum or crackles from
the electronics, all knobs and hardware were installed snug and proper.  

Fondera Emperor 4 Deluxe Chestnut Top 

It's not everyday that I get to play a guitar that is the same price as a good used car, so I took my belt off for this one. With a street price of $11,300 USD I went into this review a little different then others I have done before. I normally look for the best qualities that an instrument has such as the quality of tone-woods and materials used or the craftsmanship that went in to build -- but with this guitar that was obvious. I was going to look at her like I was spending my $11,300 USD  to take her home. That's more then I spent on my ex-wife's engagement ring so I could take her home. 

If you were to ask people that know me -- I am not a "name brand" kinda guy. If the Gibson or Fender guitar company stopped making guitars today, I would have a smile from ear to ear for about a month. Not just because I care about the independent luthier, but I think it is BS that you are paying just for the name and the brand and not the brand's quality. I believe that a guitar company or luthier is only as good as their last build. So in my opinion the Gibson guitar company stopped producing great guitars in the 70's, and Fender in the early 90's. Today you are buying an instrument that should be selling for much less than it does when it bears either of their company names. 

With that said I spent a good ten minutes just looking at her (I even put on my old man reading glasses). I looked for imperfections in the wood, joint lines, dried glue, unmatched hardware, etc., and she was in tip top shape. So I kicked her tries -- looked her hood and she was good and very aesthetically appealing, but Tyra Banks is aesthetically appealing, and I wouldn't want to bring her home because her voice makes me want to rip my ears off. 

Once I plugged her in and heard her voice I got it. The warm round full rich tones that I was hearing was like nothing else I had heard for a fretted bass before. I was able to dial in every tone I could think of with the the on board EQ and switchable functions. I could get that vintage passive to the hard rock active, from smooth jazz to a loud and clear funk pop. If I had a bow I bet she would sing like a cello. 

Her body fits the player and her neck is as smooth as polished stone. I was able to glide up and down her neck without any hesitation making sure I checked every note and she was perfect in every way.  

If I was an active studio/touring musician and my livelihood depended on the versatility of my sound, I would sell all of my bass guitars and buy this one and a backup. In my option, she is the Rolls Royce of the modern electric bass guitar. 

What I would change: 
Nothing, I want to change my bass to play and sound like this one. 

My advice:
You need to play this if you play bass--and if it is in your budget, buy it then invite me over to jam! If it is not quite in your budget Fodera does have other models that are amazing as well. 

Buy the guitar in this review

Fodera Guitars
68 34th Street, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(P) 718 832-3455
(F) 718 832-3458

Posted 12/2012