This week I had the chance to meet with the crew from J Ferro Basses, and this was really neat experience as this company’s team has a lot of energy and they offer up quality instruments at reasonable prices. This company is based out of sunny Southern California, and it is headed up by Jose Ferro, a long-time music industry executive with decades of guitar and bass experience.
Well, everybody and their brother is building basses, so what sets the J Ferro products apart from the rest of the crowd? First, they understand what players are looking for, and they offer basses that are playable and that are capable of a wide range of available tones. Second, they use amazing woods with solid tops and distinctive body shapes that provide a unique identity. Third, the craftsmanship of these imported instruments is very good. And lastly, they are able to offer all of this at a price that is very competitive in the market.
I want start out by telling you what you can expect from each of their four models: Arcadia, Avalon, Denair, and Escalon. All of these neck-through basses have 24 frets and 5-piece maple/mahogany necks with a thin U shape. Also, these basses can be strung conventionally or through the bridge, which provides totally different feel and tone. And lastly, the electronics package for all of them is a pair of hand-wound pickups that are wired through an active preamplifier with a 3-band EQ, along with usual volume and balance pots.
After considering the standard features , there is a staggering amount of variations within these models. There are 4, 5, and 6 strings basses with 34 and 35-inch scales, and you will find different combinations of body and top woods that include mahogany, birdseye poplar, spalted maple, ash, and ebony. And most interestingly, you can even get conventional or multi-scale (fanned) frets on the Denair models. There are not many builders that offer this kind of versatility.
You might be saying to yourself: ”well, what about lefty basses and fretless models?” J. Ferro is a new company and they started out with the types of basses that most players actually use, but for 2017 they are adding 3 fretless models (Arcadia 5-string, Escalon 4-string, and Denair 5-string), as well as multi-scale lefty 4 and 5-sting Denair models. A little something for everyone I guess!
All of these good parts and materials would be meaningless if they are not put together well, and their factory does a great job of building the J Ferro basses. The frets are level and well finished on the edges, and the factory set-up on the basses I saw was spot-on. Also, the woodworking is clean, with tight fretboard inlays and flawless finishes. And lastly, the basses deliver a killer array of sound, from bluesy thump to edgy and aggressive. I think they are pretty awesome, and they would be terrific instruments for gigging or the studio.
The last thing to cover is how buying one of these will affect your finances. There is no middleman here, as J Ferro sells their basses factory direct, so you will find prices that range from $999 to $1199 (padded soft case included). These are custom feature neck-through basses for the price of the bolt-on mass production models that others sell, making these instruments a killer value.
For more details and ordering information, see the J Ferro website at: jferrobass.com, and while you are there check out my favorite model, the Kilian Duarte Signature Model which is new for 2017-- it is to die for! And as Jose Ferro says, “It’s Your World, Play it!”