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Fender American Elite Precision Bass

5/5, 5 from 2 reviews
switchable active/passive PJ bass

Recent Reviews

  1. Gianni "Orlandez" Orlati
    Fender American Elite Precision Bass
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 25, 2016
    Build Quality:
    • + The bass is super versatile in terms of tonal palette and the 18V onboard preamp is very powerful
    • - Maybe a little heavy but in general no cons to highlight
    i own four Fender basses, two jazz abd two precision.
    One is an Am. Std. Jazz bass.
    Well this Am. Elite precision bass destroys, yes literally destroys them all to such an extent I now want to sell the others to buy an Am. Elite jazz bass.
    The bass tone is a very warm precision tone with the actual possibility of buzzing it a little bit using the bridge pickup.
    The passive tone is fantastic and in fact I play the bass mainly passive since the preamp is so powerful that you have to get well used to it in order to achieve a good control of the instrument when played active.
    The bridge pickup is also powerful although not very suitable for a biting Jacoesque tone in my opinion.
    The neck is very comfortable especially in the high range improving the bass use in the high register.
    Guys give this bass a try!!
    Injunrider likes this.
  2. 55Hurts
    Extremely versatile, great sounding beautiful bass
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Aug 22, 2016
    Build Quality:
    • + Extremely versatile, active or passive operation, PJ configuration, superb fit and finish, sounds great, plays great
    • - Somewhat heavy
    This is a terrific and versatile bass. A very good P-bass in its own right, it also can get into Jazz Bass territory by blending in the bridge pickup. I don't view it as a full-on Jazz bass replacement, but as P-bass+ with enhanced tonal versatility. In my own playing I tend to favor either the Precision pickup on it's own for classic p-bass sound, or else blended with the Jazz pickup (providing a host of great sounds). The Jazz bridge pickup on it's own gets the classic J-bass bark and growl, but the bridge-only sound is not one that I tend to use a lot (even on a regular J-bass). However, slappers and Jaco-philes should find it quite useful.

    The active preamp adds considerable punch and clarity, while a convincing classic vintage sound can be had when switched to passive mode. Both modes sound great, and it's easy to set the controls so that switching between active/passive does not sound jarring. Although I was specifically looking for good active capabilities, I've been surprised just how great the Elite Precision sounds in passive mode; I'm finding that I probably spend about 70% of the time in passive, and only switch to active when I want some extra oomph or clarity.

    Active mode sounds great to me and is very useful for getting more modern sounds; it is definitely on the brighter, highly articulate side. I've found it most effective at boosting eq bands; the active treble eq rolloff still leaves a relatively bright tone. If you want a more classic pillowy rolled-off p-bass thump you'll probably want to flip the switch to passive mode.

    [BTW, I've seen some internet comments saying that the American Elite's tone control works in either passive or active mode. It does not; the tone control only works in passive mode, while the on-board 3-band eq controls only have effect in active mode.]

    I had been looking for a good all-around PJ bass for some time. I had tried a couple of passive-only PJs and found that the pickups tended to be unbalanced; the powerful P-pickup tending to overwhelm the J-pickup. The passive-only PJ models often seem to have weak-sounding Jazz pickups... that's *not* the case with the American Elite. The Jazz pickup has considerable punch, even in passive mode.

    It's become my #1 bass. Overall fit and finish were outstanding, and in particular the neck is beautifully finished and is a joy to play. A great all-around player with endless tonal options.
    Price Paid:
    Thumper0202 likes this.

Bass Details

  1. No. of Frets:
    Scale Length:
    No. of Strings:
    Body Material:
    Neck Material:
    Nut Width:
    Fingerboard Material:
    Fender Hi-Mass Vintage bridge
    Fender Elite Precision (middle), Fender 4th Generation Noiseless Jazz (bridge)
    9.6 lbs
    EQ / Controls:
    master volume, pickup blend, stacked 3-band active eq (bass, mids, treble) + passive tone control, active/passive switch
    Other Specs:
    18V preamp, active/passive switch, Posiflex™ graphite support rods, 9.5-14" compound radius fingerboard, bone nut, new truss-rod adjustment wheel at the butt-end of the neck