When you think of the top bass models that people buy or copy two offerings from Fender come to mind, the Precision bass and the Jazz bass. While Fender does have other models, they aren’t as popular (or seem to be taken as seriously) as these two mainstays. One could argue that Fender has done little, but offer a rehash of previous models and ideas, in their bass line up for the past several years. Possibly Fender could change that with the latest addition to their bass line by the introduction of the Dimension bass to their line up earlier this year.
The official title is the ‘Fender Modern Player Dimension Bass’, and is promoted as a new bass for the modern player. Not only does it look different from previous models but comes with an active 3 band eq control system and a single or dual humbucker. Gone are the flowing curved body and horns associated with Fender basses. The Dimension has shallower cut horns and a more rectangular looking body, with slight bevels on the sides. The bottom of the body is an asymmetrical shape, similar to the Jazz, but with a more angular look.
The bridge is a Fender stamped Badass II style, and the pick guard is shaped so it leaves most of the body exposed instead of hidden beneath it. The pickup, (or pickups, depending on which model you choose) has two rows of non adjustable blades, and is placed closer to the bridge rather than the neck. The active eq system is Bass, Middle, and Treble boost (or cut) with notched volume pots to let you easily reset the eq to zero. There is also an option 5 position switch if you choose to get a model with their ‘triple bucker’, and the batteries are easily accessible through compartments in the back of the bass. That is right, it is ‘batteries’ as the Dimension’s electronics are an 18v system. While Fender doesn’t offer any comment as to why, at a guess it could be due to how much they’ve packed into their system, and it’s to avoid batteries dying too quickly.
The neck appears to be pure Fender. Maple or rosewood board, nut countersunk into the top of the fretboard, skunk stripe on the back, classic looking Fender head and logo on the top and elephant ear tuners with round string trees guiding the strings in a straight line across the nut to the tuning keys. However, unlike most Fender bases the Dimension has a compound radius fretboard which Fender advertises as giving the bass a fast action and attack.
Here are the technical spec’s of the Dimension:
Body Material: Alder, Body Finish: Gloss Polyester, Neck Material: Maple, Neck Finish: Gloss Polyester, Neck Shape: “C” Shape, Scale Length: 34″ (864 mm), Fingerboard: Rosewood, Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″ (241 mm), Number of Frets: 21, Fret Size: Jumbo, String Nut: Synthetic Bone, Nut Width: 1.5″ (38.1 mm), Position Inlays: Black or White Pearloid Dot, Truss Rod Nut: Heel-Mounted Spoke Wheel Adjustment, Neck Plate: 5-Bolt, Bridge Pickup: Fender® Triplebucker™ Bass, Controls: Master Volume, Pickup Switching: 5-Position Rotary: 1. Front Coil of Triplebucker, 2. Front and Middle Coil of Triplebucker, 3. Full Triplebucker, 4. Middle and Rear Coils of Triplebucker, 5. Rear Coil of, Bridge: 4-Saddle Fender® Hi-Mass, Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome, Tuning Machines: Standard Open-Gear, Pickguard: 1-Ply Black
So all the technical details and promotion aside, the truly important question is ‘How does it play and sound?’
The reality is that this is a comfortable, balanced, well playing instrument. The neck has a smooth even feel and all the frets are easy to access across the board without any strain or extra effort. Seated the bass is very comfortable and standing it’s not any heavier on a strap than a standard Precision. The bass is even balanced, (hold it in your hand at the heel cut and it doesn’t fall one way or the other) so it doesn’t slide around a lot. The Dimension is available in 4 or 5 string, and the 5 string neck is equally comfortable without the strings being placed too close together.
The eq is okay, sorry Fender, but it’s just okay. It does alter the sound as you adjust it, but it’s not as sensitive as you may expect an 18volt system to be. But given that the Dimension is similar in cost to a Precision or Jazz bass the ‘okay’ electronics don’t really have much of a negative impact. It’s an initial ‘oh well’ feeling, then you quickly forget it and enjoy the overall playability of the instrument. But realistically, how many people constantly play with the setting of the on board controls of their bass while they’re playing anyway?
While billed as an instrument for the ‘modern’ player, the Dimension’s play and sound range would make it right at home in any style of music and type of player. With the Dimension Fender set out to create a bass for the ‘modern’ player, but what they have really created is another solid instrument for players to choose from in the Fender line up. Hopefully the Dimension will be well received by players and be available for many years to come.
Read about the about The Dimension Bass by Fender on Fenders official site
John Goodale is the author of Johnny Gora and writes the Indy Comics Spotlight blog. His articles and monthly ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ column appear here on TMRZoo.com.