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Stonefield F-Series Classic review

Like the look and sound of Stonefield basses, but can’t afford one? Your prayers have been answered...

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

A break from the norm for many players – is that a bad thing? Not when you can get a Stonefield at this price.

For

  • Great passive tones.
  • Very playable.
  • Pocket-friendly price.
  • Inventive use of timber.

Against

  • None.

We’ve covered Stonefield’s basses since day one, and for many players, these high-performance instruments’ cost has always been a stumbling block. 

The company founder Tomm Stanley has responded by creating this new F-Series to cater for those on a regular budget. The fundamentals of the Stonefield design are obviously in place – so let’s see how the new iteration stands up against its costlier siblings.

Build Quality

The familiar Stonefield body style has been retained – and instantly, the smooth, rounded body edges of the alder and maple body appear very welcoming. Cedar and walnut variants are also available, and the whole instrument feels characteristically organic, just as previous Stonefield basses did. 

Flipping the bass over, a cutaway channel down the center of the body removes some excess weight and facilitates a reduced neck heel to improve comfort for the player. The whole instrument sports a satin finish which completes the ‘natural’ feel and benefits the three-piece maple neck. 

(Image credit: Future)

It’s a nice touch that the controls are inlaid into the body lumber rather than sitting on top of the body

With an angled headstock and through-body stringing, the strings are tightly tensioned but if anything, this should give the notes greater definition. The D-shaped neck profile gives the player a substantially rounded chunk of wood to work with, while the four-bolt neck joint is tight with no visible gaps.

This Classic model sports a 45mm nut width (42mm on the Slimline model) so for those bassists who prefer the bulk of a Precision-style neck, this will definitely appeal to you. The volume/volume/tone control layout is familiar, and it’s a nice touch that the controls are inlaid into the body lumber rather than sitting on top of the body.

The Stonefield logo has been engraved into the body lumber front and back, while the jack socket protrudes at an angle out of the lower body bout. The machine heads are sturdily fitted and turn smoothly, with the actual tuners made from ebony, as is the floating bridge... That’s a lot of lumber!

Sounds and Playability

This bass has a very clear, woody voice that combines warmth with a clear, resonant clarity. Thankfully, there is no harshness or clanky midrange, allowing the notes to ring and sustain without sounding overly aggressive. 

Some may find this a bit too refined for their taste, so if you want to add some aggression to the tone, employing a pick will get you into that territory. Soloing each pickup produces the exact tones that you would expect of them, considering their location on the bass. 

The OEM humbuckers deliver a lively response but there’s always a focused bottom end that never seems to muddy up the signal, which happens with some passive basses. 

Bringing the tone control into play gives some tonal color and variation, and although the hardness of the ebony fingerboard gives the notes a lively attack, the tonal response is useable. One thing the player doesn’t have to worry about is a harsh tone that they have to fight against – always a relief. 

Even without front or rear contouring, the bass is a joy to wear and play. The extended upper horn works beneficially for the instrument’s overall balance

This F-Series bass shares the playability of its more expensive siblings, so don’t assume that it has been a victim of any financial cutbacks: Its playability and overall comfort are right up there. The fingerboard has rolled edges while the 19mm string spacing (16mm can also be ordered) and the low action work very well together.

Even without front or rear contouring, the bass is a joy to wear and play. The extended upper horn works beneficially for the instrument’s overall balance, although there is minor headstock bias, and the lower cutaway gives the player spacious access to the upper neck area.

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Conclusion

At $1,100, there is much to applaud here, considering the price points of the brand’s more expensive models. Stanley has listened to the opinions of players far and wide and come up with the goods. At this price, the F-Series should strike a chord with many players looking for something a little different – and passive bass lovers will no doubt be happy to get one at a pocket-friendlier price.

Specs

  • Price: $1,100
  • Made In: India
  • Colour: Natural, satin finish
  • Body: Alder core with 10mm-thick North American maple top
  • Neck: Maple (three-piece laminate), satin finish
  • Scale: 34"
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment
  • Nut Width: 45mm
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: Passive OEM humbucking pickups x 2
  • Electronics: Passive
  • Controls: Volume, volume, tone
  • Hardware: Floating ebony bridge, OEM-geared machine heads with ebony tuners
  • Weight: 3.8 kg / 8.37 lbs
  • Case/gig bag included: No
  • Left-handed: Yes
  • Contact: Stonefield