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Fender california series basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Andybart, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. I recently just picked up a '97-'98 Fender Precision Bass Special. It is the made in USA California Series model. I can't seem to find a whole lot of information on these but it was cheap and still made in USA. I think it plays and sounds just as good as the American series ones that are super over priced in my opinion. Anybody know anything about them? I did find that they were painted and finished in Mexico but all the parts and assembly were done in Corona, California.
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  3. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    The CA Series (included the P Bass Specail, a couple of Strats and a couple of Tele guitars) were made with some work done in Corona and some done in Mexico. Way to keep the price down but use good parts, etc.

    I bought a P Bass Special in January '99. GREAT bass, and the first Precision I even looked at since I got my VS '62 Precsion way back in '83. The CA P Special had a vintage style bridge, anodized guiard, P/J pickup (but I never paid attention to the location of the J PUP, don't know if it was the original spacing or '70s spacing), a neck that was narrower than a P, but not a toothpick at all. Mine had great sounding pickups, they used good pots and jack on it, and the only thing I felt weren't up to gigging standards were the tuning machines. I replace mine with a set of Hipshots tweo weeks after I got it (I've had Bass Xtenders since they first came out) and it was a great bass. In fact, it's one of the very few I've had and sold over the years that I wish I'd kept and would kind of like to get back.

    The only reason I don't have it is that when I went in to the store to pick up my Hipshots, they had a bass they wanted to show me... It was the Lakland Deluxe 4-94 that has been my #1 go-to bass ever since. I eventually traded the P Bass Special for a Geddy Lee (yuck- skinny little neck that was just about unplayable it was so tiny), and the guy I traded with eventually traded the P off...

    These were discontinued and replaced with the MIM P Bass Special. Some say they were identical, but every MIM P Bass Special I ever played had a MUCH less refined feel- sloppy fretwork, mediocre fit & finish, etc. The MIM (at least before they made them active- I never played one of those) weren't bad, but not as good as the California.

    I don't see them pop up often.

  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think the main thing done in Mexico was the painting of the bodies.
  5. Thanks for the info! Yeah I actually really dig the thing. Found it on Craigslist for 400 bucks and ended up getting it for 360 bucks. Not a bad price for what it seems to be.
  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Don't just TalkBASS - PlayBASS! Supporting Member

    I used to have a '97 Cal. Prec. Spec. Nice bass but the G string was always thinner sounding than the other 3 strings, even with changing to different kinds of strings or even changing out the pickups to S/D Vintage P and Classic Stack J pickups. I eventually sold the bass to a drummer, what would he know about bass, anyway? :D
  7. JimB52

    JimB52 User Gold Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I had a black one, maple neck, made in 1997, that I got about 10 years ago for around $400. Very good bass for the price, lots of features I found desirable. Similar to JTE, I sold it to partially fund a '95 Lakland 4-94. I would probably buy another one someday.
  8. KrisHayes


    Sep 30, 2012
    These are a fantastic value. Love these. Very disappointing that they're no longer made.

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