The Fender Precision Bass – Review and Overview
Toward the end of 1951, Fender introduced a new electric bass guitar. This bass was a hybrid and at first, confused many people. The guitar resembled Fender’s Telecaster electric guitar, only with a longer neck. This new guitar was called the Fender Precision Bass. It was tuned like an upright bass with four strings on its long neck. The guitar was tuned to E-A-D-G in fourths. This is an octave lower than the bottom four strings on a guitar. This new guitar had a radical design and was viewed as something of an oddity until people heard it.
Launch Of A New Precision Bass
Fender launched the original Fender Precision Bass at the end of 1951. The guitar was available in October but wasn’t shown at the trade shows until July of 1952. Fender presented their new bass at the National Association of Music Merchants show which was held in New York City.
The new bass shared many similarities in construction with the Telecaster, Fender’s electric guitar. The new Precision Bass boasted a twenty-fret maple neck with a solid ash body. The guitar also had four Kluson tuners, each of which was the big-key style. These were placed on the narrow headstock. The body, which was a pale yellow, had a finger rest and pickguard, and originally came with a 4-pole single-coil pickup. The tone and volume control were chromed and there was a chrome cover for each pickup. There was also a rubber mute for the bridge built-in. The body also featured two cutaways and was the first Fender guitar with this design.
A Bit Of History
When Fender brought the Precision Bass to the market, no one was offering anything like it. This guitar was designed to address an issue that was facing rockabilly and R&B bands. These musicians were becoming increasingly louder as they used more amplified guitars and acoustic bassists were getting lost in the noise. When Fender introduced the Precision Bass and the Fender Bassman amp, standup bassists could once again be heard.
The design of the Precision Bass complemented Fender’s Telecaster and the pair looked great together. In 1957, Fender modified the Precision by changing to a split-coil pickup and adding beveled edges that made the guitar much more comfortable to play.
Since its initial launch in 1951, Fender has produced many models of the Precision Bass. These mostly involved different woods and electronics and cosmetic changes. The Precision Bass has remained consistent with its superior sound and bassists still love its punchy tone.
Enter The American Elite Precision
This is the most recent iteration of the Fender Precision Bass. The Elite P weighs only 9 pounds and is a balanced and comfortable guitar. The neck is constructed of satin-finished maple and the guitar has a super tight neck pocket.
The controls are a bit different on the Elite P which may be a challenge at first for a traditional Precision player. Once familiarized, they are easy to use. The Elite Precision offers a lot of punch and sustain due to the high-mass bridge and the 5-bolt neck.
The neck on the Elite P is refined and not at all bulky. The design is a compound neck. At the bone nut, it is C shape and gradually becomes a D by the 12th fret. This design provides a bit more mass where it counts and offers a very solid foundation. This design also makes it easier to access the higher notes.
Whether you’re playing a traditional Precision Bass or the new Elite Precision, you are playing an incredible instrument.