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.
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:
|Body Finish:||Gloss Polyurethane|
|Body Shape:||Dimension Bass|
|Neck Finish:||Hand-Rubbed Oil Finish with Gloss Urethane Headstock Face|
|Neck Shape:||Asymmetrical “C”|
|Scale Length:||34″ (864 mm)|
|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|
|Bridge:||Fender Hi-Mass with Chrome-Plated Brass Saddles|
|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|
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