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Bass Review: Fender American Standard Dimension Bass IV HH

Fender took a leap last year by introducing a new model apart from their genre-defining Precision and Jazz basses. The Dimension Bass started as a model in their Modern Player Series before branching into their Deluxe and American Deluxe series. But now the double humbucker model has been cemented into the brand’s lineup with an American Standard version. We got our hands on a Fender American Standard Dimension IV HH in tobacco sunburst to see how it holds up.

Fender American Standard Dimension Bass IV HH

The American Standard Dimension is built with an alder body that comes in Black, Ocean Blue, Olympic White, and 3-Color Sunburst finishes. Each variation has a maple neck while the Black and Burst models add a rosewood fingerboard, but it’s the sculpting that makes the neck an important factor to the bass. Fender took a more modern approach with the bass’s neck by employing an asymmetrical “C” shape profile matched with a 9.5″-14″ compound radius fingerboard.

On Fender’s standard P and J basses, the necks and fingerboards have set profiles. The Dimension’s neck puts more beef on the bass side of the neck while the fingerboard flattens out as you go for higher notes. This instills a feeling of a familiar rounded touch in the “money” zone with a flatter, more comfortable approach in the higher register. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept and this sounds like something you’d have to adjust to – it’s not. The effect is one of those subtle feels that will have you wondering why this bass plays so nicely until you read the specs. Even more, an asymmetrical neck joint gives your thumb more clearance to reach the notes at the top of the fretboard. Fans of 24-fret basses may gripe at the Dimension’s 21-fret board, but the combination of these features make for a smooth-playing neck with access to every note.

The bass balances nicely sitting or standing and at about 9.3 pounds, it won’t break your back. While the American Standard version of the Dimension doesn’t have the graphite reinforcements enjoyed by the American Deluxe, it does have a heel-mounted spoke wheel truss rod adjuster. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it makes setting the bass up a heck of a lot quicker and easier with on less tool to worry about. Other hardware includes a hefty hi-mass bridge with chrome-plated brass saddles and Fender’s tried and true vintage-paddle tuning keys.

Of all the previous models introduced, the American Standard Dimension carries many of the same features of the American Deluxe with the most notable difference being a lack of active electronics. The Standard comes in a dual humbucker format with a pair of Fender’s Dimension pickups that are matched up with a volume/volume/tone control layout. The setup will be familiar to J-Bass players and easy to pick up for everyone else.

Tonal diversity is this bass’s forte and even as a passive bass it has a lot of presence and definition to rival an active sound. Its tone is somewhat complex and unique to itself but not totally out of Fender’s wheelhouse. Favoring the front pickup and rolling off the tone a bit will get you a warm, round sound to rival a P-bass while favoring the bridge pickup will get you closer to a J-bass growl.

It’s not hard to coax anything from fat dubby tones to to a clear, bright mid-rangy vibe. The bass’s humbuckers are also fantastic for slap and recreate that classic sound tinged with modern clarity. No matter what you set your tone to, the pickups offer balanced sound across the instrument even to the top of the fretboard.

The American Standard Dimension IV HH ships in a beautiful hardshell case complete with a cable and strap. The strap isn’t much to look at in my opinion, but if you’re buying based on the strap that’s included you may want to rethink your playing. It carries a street price of $1,399 so it may take a little saving up, but it’s a good price for a sturdy, American-made bass that should last a lifetime.

Fender has been typecast to the P and J-basses for over fifty years. The Dimension is a thoughtfully designed workhorse of a bass with its own that can stand side by side with its predecessors. The American Standard version will be perfect for any busy bassist looking for an axe to handle several gigs. Only time will tell if the D-bass will become an industry standard, but Fender definitely put in their work to get it there.

American Standard Dimension Bass IV HH Photos:

American Standard Dimension Bass IV HH Details:

Color:3-Color Sunburst
Body Material:Alder
Body Finish:Gloss Polyurethane
Body Shape:Dimension Bass
Neck Material:Maple
Neck Finish:Hand-Rubbed Oil Finish with Gloss Urethane Headstock Face
Neck Shape:Asymmetrical “C”
Scale Length:34″ (864 mm)
Fingerboard:Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius:9.5″ to 14″ Compound Radius (241 mm-355.6 mm)
Number of Frets:21
Fret Size:Medium Jumbo
String Nut:Synthetic Bone
Nut Width:1.625″ (41.3 mm)
Position Inlays:Black or White Dot
Truss Rod Nut:Heel-Mounted Spoke Wheel Adjustment
Neck Plate:5-Bolt Asymmetrical
Bridge Pickup:Dimension Humbucking
Middle Pickup:Dimension Humbucking
Controls:Volume 1. (Middle Pickup), Volume 2. (Bridge Pickup), Master Tone
Pickup Configuration:HH
Bridge:Fender Hi-Mass with Chrome-Plated Brass Saddles
Hardware Finish:Chrome
Tuning Machines:Fender “F” Light Weight Vintage Paddle Keys with Tapered Shafts
Pickguard:3 Ply Black
Control Knobs:Knurled Flat-Top
Strings:Fender USA Bass 7250M, NPS (.045-.105 Gauges)
Unique Features:Asymmetrical Neck Heel, Stealth String Retainer, Heel-Mounted Spoke Wheel Truss Rod Adjustment, Vintage-Style Knurled Control Knobs, 5-Bolt Neckplate

For more information:
Fender

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Share your thoughts

Ruben DLR (@rubendlr)

So I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Fender needs to keep moving forward. I really think they should have P and J designs that stick to tradition and then have P and J models that are a more modern take – more frets, different and active pickup configurations, things like the truss rod adjustment wheel, and compound radius necks, etc. Fender are better with the guitar lines about geting a good mix of old and new design features, but they need to do it with the bass lines too. They were on the right track with the 22 fret deluxe models a few years back, now they’re back to infinite variations on the same 60 and 50 years old designs. Blacktop and player lines are a step in right direction, but come on guys, please stop with the sub 21 fret necks unless you’re going for a total vintage reissue and even then you shoul have the option for more frets. The Coronado bass is 30″ scale with 21 frets, so why does the Mustang have 19? And please for the love all that is good, stop with shared saddle bridges, which I think is dumbest thing ever to come out Fender designs. I know I am going to get some people who say that the 2 string saddles have more sustain, tone, blah, blah, blah. Great, but make it an option and not the only choice. I have a love hate relationship with Fender, but I’m obviously not the only one when Sadowsky, Lull, and almost everyone other OEM to boutique brand have their on take on P and J designs, with some trying to address the shortcomings more than others. Any way bravo to Fender for coming up with a new design in the Dimension. I just hope they leverage design elements across the product line. I bet I’m not the only one thinking about a Dimension, but with a PJ pickp config, or how about Jazz with a J neck pick up and Dimension pickup at the bridge with coil spliting. Am I right?

Steve

Steve

My question is….does this model come in a lefty option?

Al Moghadam

I like the sound of the neck on this beast – interesting stuff indeed, not sure if I’ve ever played a bass with that kind of asymmetrical design. The nut width is the same as a J, so should feel silky and effortless all the way home…

I see some people saying Fender need to get with the times. I’d argue that they don’t. They don’t make that kind of stuff. Others do. If you want modern, made of carbon/diamonds/alu/the rarest tree on earth, it’s out there, go find it. Don’t expect a multi-million dollar corporation to do you any favours, right?!

And I’m sure our advice falls on deaf ears. I’ve been yammering on about neck options for ages – Precision Basses with Jazz Bass necks, for example. I mean how simple is that? Would make for some very easy customisation as standard. Wouldn’t cost them any more. But no.

But I personally like the vibe and sound of Fender basses. Of all I have played, they are the nicest to my hands and ears. Plus they look neat.

Kelly

Kelly

I have to say the American is very nice. It and the deluxe are the only real options on this bass. The Mexi has a bum issue with its pick ups. I would stay away from it. Is there any truth that Fender is going online only and not continuing approved dealers any longer? I would be sorely disappointed if that were the case. Being able to walk into a store and pick one up to play before purchase has seen Fender through times that crushed competitors.

Lewis K

Lewis K

The olympic white version looks really good…