Fender Custom Shop basses sound great
While I am fairly new to bass collecting, I've ascended the learning curve pretty quickly. I've bought and mostly sold 60+ basses in the past 18 months. A few Rickenbackers, a few Stingrays and a few Jazz basses, but over 50 Precisions. A few from Japan which are very nice instruments and a few modern American Standards which are, frankly, probably all the bass anyone needs.
I've owned a lot of 1970s Precisions, and some very nice 1960's Ps. I am emotionally and aesthetically attracted to 1951-1966 Ps. I love custom color 1960's Precisions the most.
But the point of this post is just how uniformally great Custom Shop Precisions sound. And, while I am a hack player, we all have to acknowledge that the tone of a bass - how it sounds - should be the paramount consideration in choosing our instruments.
I bought a Pino bass last summer because I wanted an original finish fiesta red Precision . I'm not crazy about the relic'd treatment, but it just sounds awesome. More recently, I discovered sparkle finish Precisions. The originals are impossible to find. However, at a local GC I found and played a red sparkle finish Precision and it just sounded tremendous. This week, I discovered the Adam Clayton signature Precision with its gold sparkle finish. I purchased one today and with its Abby Ybarra pickups, it just sounds killer.
For me, as more a collector than player (but I love playing at home), the aesthetic is paramount in my selection process.
My post is really just to say that the Custom Shop instruments while being admittedly expensive, really do consistently provide The Sound.
I had the chance to visit the Fender factory this past year. I highly encourage you guys and gals to make the trip. These instruments are still mostly hand made. The Custom Shop has its own area, tools etc.. I've concluded there really is a superior and discernible qualitative difference between the CS basses and everything else in the Fender product range, with the only exception being the pre-CBS instruments (which with original finish are even more expensive than the CS basses).
Now, if only I hadn't missed out on the Dale Wilson master built sonic blue CS Precision that was in the classifieds here recently :-0. The next one I won't let get away!
I hope my post helps anyone considering a CS Fender bass feel better informed.