When Fender dropped the Dimension Bass last year, you may have been taken aback by the 18v preamp or the large, humbucking pickup. But for me, it came down to that 21st fret. Fenders had been known for their 20-fret designs for ages now, so that extra half-step you could climb seemed almost metaphorical as a foothold into more modern design.

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But symbolism aside, of course the main concern is “how do they play,” or perhaps “how do they sound?” So I got my hands on one, a regular Deluxe V model and not one of the higher-end American Deluxe ones, to take it for a test run.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.