Fender Starcaster Bass review

The characterful bass makes its debut

  • £898
  • €755
  • $999
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Our Verdict

An excellent and viable alternative to Fender's solidbodies, this comfortable and stylish bass will turn heads.


  • Distinctive tone that's all of its own. Very playable.


  • Headstock may deter.

Fender released the Starcaster guitar in 1976, but a bass version didn't follow. Until now. This is one stylish fully bound offset semi-hollowbody with f-holes, and along with the distinctive upswept headstock it's more assertive-looking than the Coronado bass.

It features long shank open-gear tuners, and although it's slightly headstock-heavy, this is easily countered. The bolt-on neck has familiar Fender proportions, but the body has a feel of its own.

The Starcaster sports a pair of fat Fender humbuckers and a new-generation solid Fender bridge. It's light and comes in natural and aged cherry burst at this price, and in black at £862, all with maple fingerboards.


"From the moment we plug in, we're instantly aware that this sounds like no other Fender bass"

From the moment we plug in, we're instantly aware that this sounds like no other Fender bass. It's big and fat-sounding, as those humbuckers are extremely powerful. And with individual tone and volume controls for each one, plus a three-way selector switch, the range of tones is fantastic.

Either pickup produces a solid, beefy sound; mixing the two adds texture and superior clarity. Like any hollow-bodied bass, at high volume the sound can run away with you - and with this level of output you need to be aware of that - but tonally it's sublime.

Well conceived and typically well made, the Starcaster bass is not only a delightful playing experience, but offers a full and rich sound that is a whole new tool in the Fender bass collection. Just when you thought that you didn't need another bass...

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