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1980 Precision Bass Special

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bobalu, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. bobalu


    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    Other than gold hardware and a matching coloured headstock, could anyone tell me what is so "special" about a 1980 Fender Precision Bass Special? :confused: (maybe thats all there was to it?). Was it just a limited run coloured headstock model?
  2. rdhbass


    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
    The special thing about it, it was fenders first active bass guitar, and are pretty rare to find. I had one, but it was wired passive because the preamp was broken. I sold it and got my money back out of it. Like all fenders, the value will continue to rise.
  3. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Jazz pickup in the bridge position...
  4. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    Nope, the 1980 Fender Precision Special had no Jazz pickup, only an active P pickup.

    They were very heavy, but sounded good, with active treble and bass. They also had painted headstocks. The main colors I've seen were red, blue, and white (I think).

    The gold hardware, especially gold tug bar, was especially cool.
  5. scottyg11


    Mar 12, 2006
    And they were wired stereo. Not that I ever used that function First real bass I ever had Paid $475 for it. Candy apple red. Brand new with hard shell case. Got it from Kennally Keys in Mountlake Terrace Wash. I wrote Fender for the scematic and they sent it. I folded it up and stuffed it under the pickgard. Man I wish I never sold that bass.
  6. Hmm - I don't think they were...

    I had a Walnut one... I loved it and it was my #1 for a long time. The active circuit in these is very transparent, and it had the best low E I've ever heard.

    The weight got to me after a while, so I sold it to a friend. I miss it. :crying:

  7. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    I found the treble in mine very harsh (had to really roll it back). Also they weigh a TON! otherwise pretty good bass.
  8. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    a friend of mine used to have 3 of them, one was a refined blue to black, weighed on the + side of 12 lbs. It was a monster weight wise, but it sounded massive....
  9. lonotes

    lonotes A place for everything, & everything out of place

    Oct 15, 2003
    Port Richey,FL
    I had one (in CAR), I also thought the treble was harsh. Turned me off from active electronics for years. Mine also ate batteries at an astounding rate. It had an amazing ability to go dead just after the nearest drug store closed, with two more sets to play. Yeah, I know, back up batteries, but back in those days, batteries required major financial planning on my part. I traded that bass for a 72 Jazz that I still have, and probably will never part with.
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  10. bobalu


    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    Ahhh...active pick-up then. I see. Also seems to be a general consensus that they were rather heavy as well (but sounded good!). I saw a photo of one for sale (CAR), and loved the gold hardware & headstock. It just seems rather expensive at $1399.00 Can. Haven't seen it in person yet.

    Thanks for the great info. all!

    Attached Files:

  11. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    I have a 1982 Walnut version that isn't heavy at all (9.5 lbs.). Yes, the battery can die, but you still have the passive option to fall back on. Awesome bass, one I probably never will part with!
    Ace Of Bass likes this.
  12. bobalu


    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    Now I'm really interested! I have a new Am. Deluxe Jazz that I love, but the active circuitry does not have a passive option, no battery - no sound. I think I'm off to check the Special out in person!:bassist:
  13. I've got a 1983....finished in Blue which I've had for the past 15 years!!!!


    It's switchable too, in in which case the volume acts as normal, and the treble pot becomes a regular tone pot.....so you got straight P-bass if your battery dies!!!

    The pickup is a standard passive P pup, it's the pre-amp bit that makes it active!!!

    I've picked up a couple of spare pre-amps off ebay to make sure mine keeps going!:bassist:
  14. RudeMood


    Nov 7, 2004
    Austin, TX
    I had the same issue - seemed to have way too much treble and not enough low end. I didn't keep it very long.
  15. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002

    I've got one of those, too. It doesn't see as much action since I got my Precision Special.
  16. REMBO

    REMBO Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2011
    I own Two of them!! I like Them A lot!! they sound massive!!
  17. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    Lol, now I'm back to using a Jazz Deluxe again 7 years later!
  18. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    I just picked one up last week!

    Weighs a freakin ton! Mine has been modified heavily.


    Body has been stripped (not by me) and a bridge J pickup added (again, not by me).

    The original guts are long gone, came to me with EMG actives that I swapped for passive EMG GZR's.

    Oh, and there's the Kahler tremelo.

    Bugeyed Earl likes this.
  19. Dec1975


    Aug 30, 2006
    Cedar Park, TX
    I had one (still have the hardshell case for it), but gave it away about 15 years ago. I remember it being really heavy- painfully so. I also remember the CAR finish being very delicate. I'd wager about 25% of the finish was chipped or worn-through on mine- the top was highly pock-marked. Sometimes, I wish I had kept it. I hope the college kid I gave it to got more out of it than I did.
  20. acebase62


    Jun 29, 2010
    Not an active pickup, but a pre-amp (the pickup was passive).

    The bass had a small toggle switch by the input jack which allowed you to bypass the pre-amp and play the bass passive.

    When active, you had volume, and 2 active tone pots.

    When passive, you had volume, and passive tone.

    In the 80s I played a friend's Precision Special a few times, and he used the bass in passive mode all the time (he had some issue with the pre-amp).

    The bass looked like the one in the ad below, but was light blue.

    It played as well as any P Bass I ever touched.

    Somebody stole it from his car after he moved to CA.

    fender precision bass special 1980.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015

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