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1996 American P-Bass vs. 2016 American P-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FACbass, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. FACbass


    Dec 15, 2009

    I'm just getting back into basses after a hiatus so I am not as well versed in bass versions as I should be. I play left handed so there is not much stock out there that I can play in person.

    I have a line on a 1996 American P bass that I can demo vs. ordering a new one. Any thoughts on the 1996 vs. new? I'm inclined to go with the 1996 if I like it after I play it, but are the new ones demonstrably superior (different components, etc.)?

  2. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I have a 2010 Precision V & Dimension Deluxe V. Both are USA made (both bought new) with the Dimension being a 2015. Personally, I like the newer basses Fender makes as they seem to be lighter, set up & stay adjusted easily and are much more playable off the rack. FWIW, I play about 35-40 shows a year so, for myself, it's about getting at the notes and having a solid reliable player. I'm not much into classics or vintage stuff.

    The '96 may however, have it all. It also depends upon your budget and what your playing goals are too.
    FACbass likes this.
  3. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    American Fender basses from 2008 on are very reliable and well built. You can't go wrong with a 2016. I say go for the new one!
  4. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    The 95-98 basses are fantastic. Rock solid. Play it and buy it if it feels right.
    Fletz, jallenbass, wvbass and 3 others like this.
  5. Since 1995 GraphicRods. String through bridge. I like my '98 and '99.
    FACbass likes this.
  6. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    I agree.
    Post 2008 Fender basses are very good
    : HMB bridge, lighter and more accurate tuners, thinner coating, new pickups.

    Mid 90's are also very good ones but I'd personally go with the 2016.
  7. 1994, Fender did overwork their entire bass line, interviewed a lot of players and came out with a complete reworking of the entire bass line.
    They started an advertising campaign: Daddy's Home. It was the first time after the new management bought Fender from CBS that the standard basses were very close in looks to the original vintage designs, but had a few innovations like the tuners, the possibility to let the strings go through the body and the graphit inlays in the neck. The basses of that area I've seen back then played and looked great.

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
    meatwad, Eikari, drummer5359 and 2 others like this.
  8. I'd go with a new one. I've owned basses from this line made in '97 and '99. They were just OK, not very resonant, and too heavy IMO. The new ones they have in the local store is way better instruments. I think we're pretty close to a "second Golden Era", when it comes to musical instruments in the guitar and bass realms. Lots of great stuff being made these days, thanks to the detailed attention that's been put into figuring out what made the instruments from the past good. Light weight and thin finish goes a long way; whether it's scalloped bracing or a solid body. I love my own Fenders; from 2013 (AV '63 P) and 2015 (CS '55 P). I've played current Mexican Fenders that I'd pick above the American Standards I used to own. I'm only interested in what works and what's good. IMO and all of that.
    P. Aaron and HMZ like this.
  9. Planespotter


    Oct 11, 2015
    The mid 90s American Standards are great instruments and great bang for the buck.
    pbass2 likes this.
  10. meatwad


    Apr 9, 2008
    Smallville, USA
    2008+ USA Fender is the way to go, whenever possible. My 2011 Am St Precision was the greatest P I ever owned. My 2013 American Deluxe Jazz V is the greatest Fender anything I've ever owned. I've owned lots of Fenders, btw.

    I had a '96 Roadhouse Stratocaster (based on the American Standard back then, now MIM), and the truss rod was stuck. Sunbursts from that era greatly upset me, because of the laminated tops over 4-6 piece bodies, resulting in blacked out tummy cuts. Proud owners of these basses will defend them, but I'll never buy one. Possibly the darkest time in FMIC history, IMO.

    edit to add image -

    1996 USA Precision SB

    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  11. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    The mid to late 1990's Fenders are good instruments, and are usually a very good value. I've owned a few from this period, and still have one.

    I have a flock of newer Fenders, built since 2008. I've said it before, I truly believe that we are in a golden period for Fender instruments right now. If you can afford the 2016 it would be the way to go in my mind.
  12. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    The 96 will become vintage sooner than the 2016 :whistle:
  13. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    My 2015 wife is much better than the 1996 ex wife!!
  14. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    What's the price difference? If it's only a couple hundred I'd probably go for a new one. If it's significant, I'd go for used.
  15. As stated above , the 2008 and later basses are pretty stable as far as fit , finish , and sound go. Most of the earlier ones were pretty good too but the chances of getting one that was not so good was a bit higher. I got lucky with my 1998 and 2000 model P's. I've also played a couple from that era that I didn't like at all. If you can try the older one and like it , by all means , go for it. If you don't like it , go for a newer one. As to one being better than the other , for the most part , it's a matter of personal taste.
  16. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I have a 1996 American Standard Precision bass. I also have a 1997 Jazz V and a 1998 Jazz bass. For me, I will pick a Fender from this era every time. But really, it comes down to price and condition. The new ones are fine; however, if you like the '96, there is no reason to look further. The newer ones have some design tweaks, but I wouldn't call them "superior." At the end of the day, they are both Precisions.
    Eikari likes this.
  17. When I bought my brand new AS Precision last year (2014 model), I only wish that they were like this decades ago as I would have never bought another bass. I can't say enough nice things about the newer Fender Precision basses everything from the great neck & tuners, to the Custom Shop pickups and the dual hi-mass bridge, and the comfortable body make this a brilliant bass to own & play.
    If I was looking into getting another bass I would buy another AS Precision from 2008 onwards secondhand, & have it fitted with roundwounds and have the best of both sounds :thumbsup::cool:.
  18. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    Quite like the 96 I have. Was #1 for hundreds of shows. Not one problem and sounded great

    Can't speak for new ones but agree probably comes to price based on feedback here
  19. aaronious

    aaronious Supporting Member

    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    I don't know if your joking, but it's true. Everyone knows once a Fender reaches 30, people just can't get enough of them and the price skyrockets. Doesn't matter how awful they were when they came out. All this 90's bashing will turn into vintage praising. Just you wait and see ;)
    davedblyoo and pedroims like this.
  20. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    I have owned many Fender American Jazz And P basses over the years. My two favorites are my 2008 MIA P bass and My 2012 MIA Jazz bass.

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