DR-4/5/6(C)

 

 

The DR basses were one of two lines of basses produced by Heartfield. DR-xC variations were neck-through models made in the Hirooka factory, the others were made in the Matsumoto plant (both in Nagano). There were various 'lesser' custom options as well, of which custom colour and gold hardware have also been seen in 'regular' DR models. The DR-4 had 4 strings with 22 frets, the DR-4C had 4 strings with 24 frets, the DR-5(C) had 5 strings with 24 frets and the DR-6(C) had 6 strings with 24 frets. They all had active electronics and additional "Low Z Output". The Heartfield pickups were made by EMG and also used in Ibanez 886 basses. They are called IBZ LO-J6. They are split pole pickups and thus, like a Precision bass, hum-cancelling.

The DR-4 had an alder body with a tri-lam maple/graphite/rosewood (graphite on headstock and beneath fretboard) bolt-on neck. It had sealed/cast Gotoh tuners, 33.858" (860 mm) scale length, 12" (305 mm) neck radius, chrome hardware and 2 single-coil pickups.
The DR-5 was basically the same as the DR-4, with a different neck radius of 19.685" (500 mm) and 24 frets. And 5 strings, obviously.
The DR-6 offered 6 strings, gold-plated hardware, hum-cancelling pickups and a 12" radius fretboard.
The DR-xC versions of these basses had neck-through body design, gold hardware, hardwood bodies, fancy laminated tops and different available colours.
'DR', incidentally, stands for 'DiRector'. Currently, Fujigen still produces EDR basses (Expert DiRector).

The DR-4 used to sell at $999.99 (110,000 Yen), the DR-5 at $1099.99 (120,000 Yen), the DR-4C at $1699.99 (160,000 Yen), the DR-5C at $1799.99 (170,000 Yen) and the DR-6C at $2099.99 (180,000 Yen).

DR-4 first documented month of manufacture: December 1988 (serial number L88096, not pictured on this site). Last documented month of manufacture: October 1991 (serial number J10969, not pictured on this site).
DR-4C first documented month of manufacture: December 1989 (serial number L89501, not pictured on this site). Last documented month of manufacture: October 1992 (serial number J92301, not pictured on this site).
DR-5 first documented month of manufacture: March 1988 (serial number C88122, not pictured on this site). Last documented month of manufacture: April 1991 (serial number L10437, not pictured on this site).
DR-5C first documented month of manufacture: December 1989 (serial number L89526, see bass below). Last documented month of manufacture: February 1992 (serial number B92051, not pictured on this site).
DR-6 first documented month of manufacture: August 1990 (serial number H90511, see bass below). Last documented month of manufacture: October 1991 (serial number J10054, not pictured on this site).
DR-6C first documented month of manufacture: Somewhere in 1988 (serial number ?88001, see bass below). Last documented month of manufacture: October 1992 (serial number J92004, not pictured on this site).

All DR and DRC basses appeared in Fender Frontline first in spring 1990 and last in summer 1993, with the exception of the DR-6 which didn't appear until winter (i.e. early) 1992.

Heartfield colour codes available for the regular DR basses: MYW-Mystic White (589), BPB-Blue Pearl Burst (590), BKB-Black Pearl Burst (591) and RPB-Red Pearl Burst (592).
Heartfield colour codes available for the custom DR-C basses: NAT-Natural (521), ATB-Antique Burst (537), CRS-Crimson Stain (538) and EBS-Ebony Stain (539).

A note on fretless DR-XC instruments: The regular public was not able to order factory fretless instruments. Only people who worked for Fender, or who endorsed Heartfields, could get them. The endorsees were Steve Bailey and John "Fleetwood Mac" McVie. All fretless basses were made without fretlines, except for F92217 (shown below), for which a special deal had to be made. Also, the fingerboards were not finished over, and they were most likely all made of ebony.

Click on a serial number to view an instrument's known history.

 

 

Type: 1988 DR-6C
Serial #: ?88001
Remarks: A natural finish beauty of a bass with burled maple top. This is the oldest DR ever seen, though unfortunately the initial character of the serial number isn't known at the moment.
Above photo credits: A 'for sale (sold)' page somewhere. John Simmons found it.

Type: 1989 DR-6C
Serial #: F89090
Remarks: Steve Bailey's first custom bass, used with the Rippingtons and David Benoit on most albums and tours, as well as with T. Lavitz. It has faded a lot due to having been kept in a sunny room for 15 years, where he played it often as a practice instrument. The back of the neck was shaved (for feel) and the fingerboard covered with Kevlar tape by John Carruthers in Venice CA. This bass was used in the "Win Steve's Rig" advert, though it's barely recognisable due to the fading (see the "Adverts" section).
Above photo credits: The current owner, Steve Bailey.

Type: 1989 DR-6C
Serial #: G89507
Remarks: Magnificent burled maple on this bass.
Above photo credits: The owner, Bob Willocks.

Type: 1989 DR-5
Serial #: H89028
Remarks: Blue Burst finish.
Above photo credits: The owner, John Simmons.

Type: 1989 DR-5
Serial #: J89021
Remarks: Red Pearl Burst.
Above photo credits: The owner, Bob Willocks.

Type: 1989 DR-5
Serial #: J89054
Remarks: The colour is Red Pearl Burst.
Above photo credits: The owner, Alan.

Type: 1989 DR-4C
Serial #: L89501
Remarks: Nice canary top!
Above current owner, Ugo Poltronieri from Italy.

Type: 1989 DR-5C
Serial #: L89526
Remarks: Look at the burled maple top on this bass! One truss rod. Click here for a shot of the rear, showing the dark burled maple is just a top. It is not a factory fretless, as the fingerboard was finished over and made of rosewood, plus it shows signs of frets having been pulled.
Above photo credits: An Ebay auction.

Type: 1989 DR-5C
Serial #: L89531
Remarks: Very nice bass with pretty unique wood grain. One truss rod, Heartfield brand, neck-through construction.
Above photo credits: An Ebay auction.

Type: 1990 DR-6C
Serial #: A90133
Remarks: See A90134, below.
Above photo credits: The current owner, Steve Bailey.

Type: 1990 DR-6C
Serial #: A90134
Remarks: A90133 and A90134 are fraternal twins, delivered to Steve Bailey in the summer of 1990 in Japan while playing with David Benoit. He used the red fretless a lot, and the blue fretted one during LA recording sessions. The pair also went with him everywhere he needed two basses.
Above photo credits: The current owner, Steve Bailey.

Type: 1990 DR-6C
Serial #: C90525
Remarks: Natural Bees Wing Bubinga Top. It was originally returned to Fender with a broken truss rod and lay in storage for years as they thought it too beautiful to toss away. In 2007 it was bought by Bob Willocks. After three more years, the bass had been repaired, fingerboard milled off and replaced to replace the truss rod (now 34" scale and 15" radius ebony fingerboard), extra steel support rods added, new graphite nut.
Above photo credits: The owner, Bob Willocks.

Type: 1990 DR-5C
Serial #: E90502
Remarks: An Antique Burst finish instrument.
Above photo credits: The owner, John Simmons.

Type: 1990 DR-4C
Serial #: E90511
Remarks: A nice natural top on this one.
Above photo credits: The owner, John Sheehan.

Type: 1990 DR-6C
Serial #: H90506
Remarks: The colour is Antique Burst. John (the owner) noticed that this one has one truss rod in the neck, as opposed to two truss rods in bass B92024, below. This would seem to indicate that early versions of this bass have one truss rod, which Fender ultimate believed wasn't good enough so they improved it in later models.
Click here for a picture of the rear of this bass.
Above photo credits: The owner, John Simmons.

Type: 1990 DR-6C
Serial #: H90511
Remarks: The colour is Antique Burst.
Above photo credits: The owner, Alain Leneutre.

Type: 1990 DR-6C
Serial #: K90520
Remarks: Another one of those natural finish beauties. Controls and pickups are no longer original.
Above photo credits: The owner, Jeff Wonsook.

Type: 1990 DR-5C
Serial #: K90596
Remarks: Very nice body wood on this one.
Above photo credits: An Ebay auction.

Type: 1990 DR-6C
Serial #: K90600
Remarks: Very nice bass, which the owners says has never needed to be adjusted. One truss rod.
Above photo credits: The owner, Myron Harris.

Type: 1990 DR-6C
Serial #: K90610
Remarks: This antique burst bass has been defretted.
Above photo credits: Its current owner, a bassist from Italy.

Type: 1991 DR-6C
Serial #: A91719
Remarks: A natural finish bass with Bertolini replacement pickups installed. Also note the absence of dot markers on the fretboard. Also, it has got a brass nut instead of the normal graphite, and brass position markers on the side of the neck instead of the normal white dots.
Above photo credits: The owner, John Simmons.

Type: 1991 DR-5C
Serial #: A91739
Remarks: A natural finish bass with Bertolini replacement pickups installed.
Above photo credits: The owner, Pedro Rivera.

Type: 1991 DR-6C
Serial #: B10229
Remarks: Refinished in satin mandarin orange transparent with gold hardware, replacement red copper Q tuner pickups.
Above photo credits: The owner, David Holbrook.

Type: 1991 DR-4
Serial #: B91407
Remarks: The colour is Red Pearl Burst.
Above photo credits: The owner, John Simmons.

Type: 1991 DR-6
Serial #: D10346
Remarks: It has a non-standard colour (black) and gold hardware. Click here for a detail of the headstock or here for a detail of the body.
Above photo credits: The previous and current owner, Scott Harper and John Simmons respectively.

Type: 1991 DR-6
Serial #: D10371
Remarks: It has a non-standard colour (midnight blue) and gold hardware.
Above photo credits: The current owner, Paul Abrams.

Type: 1991 DR-6C
Serial #: D91873
Remarks: Light Natural finish.
Above photo credits: The owner, Jose Medina.

Type: 1991 DR-6C
Serial #: D91891
Remarks: Antique Burst DR6C with nice through neck.
Above photo credits: The current owner, Slawomir Sobczyk.

Type: 1991 DR-6C
Serial #: F91966
Remarks: Probably a canary top. Even the rear looks beautiful!
Above photo credits: The owner, Alvaro L. Torres.

Type: 1991 DR-6C
Serial #: I91742
Remarks: One of the later, if not the latest ones Steve Bailey got from the custom shop. Delivered just in time for him to play it at the August 1991 Playboy Jazz Fest at Tokyo Dome with the Larry Carlton Band (click here to see it in action). Note the mother-of-pearl around the pickups (click here to view detail). This bass was used on a photo shoot for the August 1991 Steve Bailey promo poster (check out the adverts section).
Above photo credits: The current owner, Steve Bailey.

Type: 1991 DR-4
Serial #: I91786
Remarks: Ebony Stain bass. Beautiful-looking, IMO.
Above photo credits: The current owner, Mad Madhouse.

Type: 1991 DR-5
Serial #: J10001
Remarks: Might be factory fretless, but not likely.
Above photo credits: An Ebay auction.

Type: 1991 DR-4
Serial #: J10044
Remarks: This is a Black Pearl Burst DR-4 bass. Fender-labelled.
Above photo credits: An Ebay auction.

Type: 1991 DR-5C
Serial #: J91700
Remarks: Spectacular top on this one. Anyone care to mention what type of wood?
Above photo credits: An Ebay auction.

Type: 1991 DR-6C
Serial #: J91953
Remarks: The last production model Heartfield sent Steve Bailey and the only production model he still owns. The case has been opened a handful of times, manuals, stickum stuff on electronics cover, "mint in case". This is the bass that was used in the Fender Frontline Summer 1993 Steve Bailey back cover ad (see adverts section).
Above photo credits: The current owner, Steve Bailey.

Type: 1991 DR-5C
Serial #: J91963
Remarks: Aged Cherry Sunburst.
Above photo credits: The owner, Bob Willocks.

Type: 1989 DR-5
Serial #: J10988
Remarks: The colour is Black Pearl Burst. This bass was bought for US$ 40 in a yard sale in 1999...
Above photo credits: The owner, Johnny Demonic.

Type: 1992 DR-6C
Serial #: B92024
Remarks: This colour is Crimson Transparent. Click here for a picture of the back.
Above photo credits: The Guitar Base and the owner, John Simmons.

Type: 1992 DR-6C
Serial #: B92039
Remarks: Crimson Stain. The preamp was upgraded to a Bartolini 2 band.
Above photo credits: The owner, Ray Dieneman.

Type: 1992 DR-4C
Serial #: D92202
Remarks: This colour is Ebony Stain.
Above photo credits: The owner, Lee-Ping Jiang.

Type: 1992 DR-6C
Serial #: F92217
Remarks: Fretless Aged Natural Figured Maple Top (special ordered fretless from the factory). It has a 7-piece(!) neck with wide walnut stringers. Amazing instrument.
Above photo credits: The owner, Bob Willocks.

Type: DR-6C
Serial #: Unknown
Remarks: The colour is champagne. Probably a refinish.
Above photo credits: Thomas Wagner told me about this bass, which was available at www.cricketscorner.com at the time. Took the picture from there.

Type: DR-6C
Serial #: Unknown
Remarks: Bought by its original owner (Ebay user goldmind27) in 1992. In 1994 the pickups were replaced by Bartolinis. There are five controls. This is a solid body one piece of wood and not overly heavy. Burl maple top.
Above photo credits: An Ebay auction.

 

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