Fernandes frb-40 review

Fernandes basses

Hello everyone and welcome to my quiet and warm bass guitar swamp. There’s already a whole section of articles about bass guitars on the site. There I already wrote about classic Fender for all bass players, and about glamorous expensive Mayones, and about affordable Sire Marcus Miller bass guitars… Today I decided to step aside from canonical brands a little bit, and all because I was visited by quite simple, but no less good Fernandes FRB-40 bass guitar. I figured it was a sin not to take advantage of it and sat down for an article. Let’s talk a little bit about this instrument and take a look at the Fernandes Guitars brand as a whole. I hope it will be useful to someone.

General overview of the Fernandes FRB-40 bass guitar

So, what we have. The bass is only three years younger than me, 1989, made in Japan, externally preserved just fine. The reason is that the previous owner, or rather the mistress, for many years did not play at all, kept the bass more for decoration.

general overview of fernandes bass guitar

The shape of a bass guitar is like a girl’s figure – everyone has their own preferences. There is a clear desire to please both fans of the classics and those who are already tired of the canons of Jazz Bass Fender. I personally like this instrument visually a lot. Now this shape is inherited by the Fernandes Gravity line, by the way this bass guitar is played by none other than Robert Trujillo from Metallica himself.

robert truhillo plays fernandes gravity

The fingerboard is really good. It’s very comfortable to play, my hand doesn’t get tired. On the back side the coating is matte, very pleasant to the touch, not sticky.


  • Body wood is basswood.
  • Maple fretboard with rosewood overlay. Bolted.
  • 24 fret. All the frets are perfect, there is nothing to complain about.
  • The tuners are closed type, they are reminiscent of GOTOH but without the label.
  • The usual classic bridge.
  • The retainer is for all four strings.

I know for a fact that some might crinkle their nose reading about the basswood body, but I think that is more of a prejudice than anything else. Unless you’re an obsessive by brands and techy person, you won’t suffer much. Music Man Bongo, also made of basswood, by the way. Yes, a little shorter sustain, but that’s all. Especially if you take into account that it is a Japanese instrument, but it is an entry level one. This instrument was bought slightly used for 200 euros. In my opinion, the Fernandes bass FRB-40 is the only Japanese instrument available for this money. There are also some used Ibanez basses for that amount of money, but I know many people are personally allergic to them.

Electronics of Fernandes FRB-40

Exactly this model is fully passive, which for me personally is more of a plus. The configuration of the sensors P/J, proprietary cartridges. From the knobs there are two volumes and tone, everything is very simple. All the electrics are done very decently even though the bass is thirty years old, nothing phoned or rustled. According to my information no manipulations have been done with the potentiometers and the sound pickups. On the inside it all looks like yesterday when the Japanese guys soldered everything together. I will give an A+ for the quality of the electronics assembly.

electronics of fernandes basses

As for the configuration. Attempts to combine Jazz Bass and Precision in one bottle will never end. How well it is done it’s hard for me to say. I simply have nothing to compare it with. And in general the sound of pickups is a subjective thing.

A neck pickup gives you quite a deep, fat sound. Me personally, for the most part, play it with the tone turned all the way down. This is probably due to the fact that I used to play it with a precision bass and it’s a matter of habit.

I honestly don’t like clean bridge pickup, but not only on this guitar, but in general. Which is strange, given my love for Pastorius’ work. But I basically like to listen to one thing and play another…

Trying to describe the sound in words is a thankless task, as soon as I get a sound card I’ll post samples here.

Who wants a Fernandes bass guitar?

I got this bass spontaneously, for a while, but made an exceptionally good impression. The price to quality ratio tends to be ideal.

As someone who started out with a cheap no name bass, I would have been insanely happy with such a bass in my youth. This bass guitar has the most important quality for an entry level instrument – it doesn’t discourage playing. I work at my laptop all the time, and there’s a guitar stand next to it. Often unknowingly I take that bass and start playing something. And so dozens of times a day, which is a very good sign.

If you are looking for an affordable instrument, I would definitely recommend Fernandes. They’re not expensive instruments that aren’t made cheaply, if you know what I mean. Even if you’re not considering buying a used bass at all, the new Fernandes Guitars are affordable too.

I got this guitar as a temporary replacement, but I’m in no hurry to get rid of it, even though I don’t need it anymore.))

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