_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ GEAR
fDDERA AMBDYNA BURL MONARCH 4 ELBE PRiCE £11,000 APPROX
A m b o y n a
B u a r c
ИЛЕ
e
Repeating the mantra "don't drop it, don't drop it", Duff Battye gets to grips
with an exnuisite - and eve-w aterinnlv pricey - custom Fodera
Bass Gear
w w w .b a ssg e a r.c o .u k
T
his review will contain a lot of facts, but one will overshadow all
the rest. It's the ultimate elephant in the room - the number you're
thinking about right now: £11,000. That's for a bass guitar, mind, not
a family car. The Amboyna Burl Monarch Elite is by some way the
most expensive bass we've ever reviewed in this magazine's 13-year
history, and in these financially straitened times, can a five-figure
price tag be justified?
You know the history. Fodera have been making amazing guitars since
1983. Set up by the luthier Vinny Fodera and pro player Joey Lauricella,
the Brooklyn-based company aims to deliver hand-built instruments
with the ability to deliver “tonal nuances unavailable from any other
instrument on the market”
. They have a more affordable Standard range
made in small batches without additional customisation, artist Signature
basses and full custom models with a whole range of options and
personalised touches. The instrument on test here is a Monarch 4 Elite
through-neck design, made specifically for the NAMM show and then
"IF yOU HAVE THAT MUCH MONET TO
SPEND ON A BASS, PERHAPS THAT SUM
DOESN'T MEAN TO TOU WHAT IT MEANS
TO MOST PEOPLE"
brought into the UK as a display model by our esteemed colleagues at Bass
Gear of Twyford. So what's it like?
BUILD DUALITT
At first glance the Monarch shape looks classical. There's no obtrusive
headstock or weird and wonderful body shape. The look is simple and, up
close, it's a lovely looking instrument. You would expect a handcrafted
bass guitar to have a great build quality but, as you'd also expect, this
instrument takes that finesse to an entirely new level. The body is, in
the main, ash, with an alder tone block for warmth and fronted by the
distinctive amboyna burl topwood. It's a distinctive look - and not to
everyone's tastes, I would imagine. The neck is five-piece maple with
bubinga stringers and flame maple core and a rosewood fretboard: simple
mother-of-pearl fret markers with tulips identify the 12th and 24th frets.
The headstock is distinctly Fodera, with a steep break angle and the
trademark butterfly crafted from handpicked abalone. Fodera makes the
pickups in conjunction with Seymour Duncan. Crucially, because this is
BASS GUITAR MAGAZINE
0 5 3
previous page 52 Bass Guitar 2015 Issue 116 April read online next page 54 Bass Guitar 2015 Issue 116 April read online Home Toggle text on/off