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Visual Differences Between Precisions Models

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Quaff1, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Quaff1

    Quaff1 Supporting Member

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    Hi All - I am interested in picking up a used Standard Precision and in a lot of ads I have noticed the seller doesn't make it clear whether the bass is a Standard or Special.

    When asked - they will say Standard - but the price seems too low - indicating a Special

    I haven't had a chance to compare these models side-by-side in a long time so I was wondering if there were any easy visual queues so that I can spot the different models.

    On the Fender site it appears that the Special has a slightly different logo - but it is the same logo as the Deluxe - and I have no idea whether this is consistent over the years. The logo does not appear to say Standard or Special anywhere. Does it?

    I understand the technical differences so any help on the visual side would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Jason
  2. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz

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    Do you mean an American Special P bass being sold as an American Standard?

    With the American Specials (Highway 1s with a poly finish) the strings are anchored at the bridge, whereas American Standard Precisions have thru-body stringing as standard. With the American Specials there will be a decal on the back of the headstock. The decal on the face of the headstock is also a larger '70s style logo. The white and red American Specials come with black pickguards, and the sunburst comes with a white pickguard. On an American Standard the pickguard would be tort on the sunburst and white models and white on the red model. The black model in both ranges comes with a white pickguard, so you are back to checking out the headstock decals.

    Of course you could swap out pickguards fairly easily, and the onus would be on the seller to tell you this.


    I hope this helps. The only other Special models I can think of have an extra Jazz pickup at the bridge and active electronics, and are a lot easier to spot!
  3. NYCbassist

    NYCbassist Supporting Member

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    You'll also notice a difference in the tuners. American special basses have the Highway 1/MIM tuners and the Am Standards have the newer deluxe tuners. That's how I quickly tell them apart.
  4. Quaff1

    Quaff1 Supporting Member

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    Thanks - too bad it didn't just say 'Standard' or 'Special' on the headstock logo!
  5. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz

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    You have to check the back of the headstock. :p If the seller is unwilling to snap a few more pics, walk away!
  6. NYCbassist

    NYCbassist Supporting Member

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    The American Specials are worth every penny even new at the 15% off Big box store prices. They have the reinforcement rods and a beautiful smooth neck. I actually prefer them to the American Standards.
  7. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    When you say "Standard" I assume you're talking about an American Standard?
  8. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz

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    I think people remember them when they were Highway Ones and cheaper. :meh: I didn't like the satin finish on those, but I understand that they are the same bass under there.
  9. NYCbassist

    NYCbassist Supporting Member

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    Correct sir. I fixed my post. It is possible the OP is referring to MIM models. Now I'm not sure. If we start talking MIM Specials, It's a whole different ball game. Some have The J pickup and even active electronics. such as this! http://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass/fender-deluxe-p-bass-special-4-string-bass
  10. Quaff1

    Quaff1 Supporting Member

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    Thanks all - actually I don't know much about the MIM models and just assumed they all were at this point. I will have to look into this - unless someone has the easy answer to save me some time?

    Much appreciated
    Jason
  11. rootsnfifths

    rootsnfifths Supporting Member

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    This might help: There are the Mexican made "Standard" and the US made "American Standard". Usually if the price is on the low side, it is most likely a made in Mexico "Standard".
    Not an exact science here but it is what I usually see.
  12. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User Supporting Member

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    One of the biggest telltales is MIM Standard has the truss rod access at the headstock with a black plastic liner. All recent US Standards and Specials adjust at the heel.

    Ask for the first few digits of the serial. If it begins with M, it's Mexican Made.

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