32” scale P basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Supplej, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. Supplej

    Supplej Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2020
    Hey there everyone. I’m looking into buying an “E Series” medium scale fender or squier p bass. For those who know about them they are a 32” scale and we’re made for a few years in the early 80’s. To my knowledge they have a silver serial number that starts with the letter “E”. They are made in Japan. I’m not sure if the ones made in Korea are 32” but I basically just want a medium scale p bass, if anyone has any info of where to find one please let me know! Thanks!
    BassHappy likes this.
  2. ZedLepp


    May 12, 2013
    My Squier 32" is an "A" series punched on the neck plate. I believe they actual start in the second year of Fender Japan with the "SQ" series.

    -Edit - Good luck finding one. It's not easy.
    canuckshort likes this.
  3. Supplej

    Supplej Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2020
    Are the sq series also medium scale? I’m really looking to buy either a fender or squier 32” scale p bass if anyone has any leads!
  4. ZedLepp


    May 12, 2013
    They made both the 34 and 32 starting the 2nd year of the Squiers made in Japan or at least that's what I read.
    They might have made some Fender JV's but I can't really say for sure.
  5. @Supplej

    If you can consider non FMIC goodies then Chowny Bass announced 32" scale slab bodies this morning :thumbsup:
    Be a few months before release.

    dmt, yodedude2, Clipped and 2 others like this.
  6. Yeah, they used to come up at a very reasonable price, but they have become much more scarce, especially since medium scalers have become so much more popular. After all, these basses are over 30 years old now. Technically I believe the P Bases are known as PB331 and searching on the model number on some of the Japan sites might bear fruit.

    What I did was create a search on ebay that said "Fender MIJ Medium Scale 32" Basses". I saved the search and any time one comes up i get an email notification. It works well but there are other searches at other places you should check out, like Craig's List national. It's best to find one in the US because the shipping costs from Japan are brutal.

    It's important to realize in the 1980's Fender Japan WAS Fender. They had shut down the manufacturing in the US to re-tool:


    "Back at Fender headquarters in the United States, the early ’80s was a busy time. Most significantly, CBS appointed former Yamaha executive William Schultz as president of Fender in 1981. Passionate about the brand and eager to reverse its ailing fortunes, Schultz immediately recommended modernizing Fender’s U.S. manufacturing facilities, which largely meant halting production while machinery was updated and staff was re-trained. Concurrently, he suggested building Fender instruments in Japan for the large Japanese market. This would keep Fender instruments in production and combat the cheap copies that were voraciously eating away at Fender’s Far East sales. Accordingly, Fender Japan was established in March 1982 and began building quality Fender instruments while U.S production was reorganized."

    So after this went down the Japanese asked permission for Fender US to allow them to make a medium scale version of the Fender P Bass. Fender declined for reasons not really clear - but they DID allow Fender Japan to make the medium scale basses under the Squier name. This went on for several months, and when the delegation from Fender US finally arrived in Japan a few months later to check things out - they were blown away by the quality of these Squiers. As the story goes, the delegation was so moved by the quality, some of them were reduced to tears. They then gave Fender Japan the permission at that time to go ahead and use the Fender name on the medium scale models, but only for Japan.

    The interesting thing is - both the Squier and Fender medium scale P Basses rolled off the exact same assembly line, created by the same crafts people using the same wood, hardware and electronics. The only difference was that the Fender basses had a few more options such as an ash body in addition to the basswood bodies that the majority of the Squiers were being made from. The other difference is that the more highly figured maple neck blanks were put in the Fender stack while the more plain ones went in the Squier stack. There were also a few custom colors on the Fender side that Squier did not offer as things moved along.

    What I am basically telling you is that there is virtually no difference in quality in the 1980's medium scale P Basses between the Fenders and the Squiers. I have both and they are amazing instruments. One of the hallmarks of these instruments is that the Japanese reduced the entire instrument - body and all - around 6% to keep the ergonomics perfect. It makes their medium scalers among the most unique ever crafted - and the comfort and playability is nothing less than extraordinary. If you are patient, it is not hard to eventually find a nice one.
  7. SgtHulka

    SgtHulka Inactive

    Mar 29, 2019
    Why would you want to buy a basses old as the 80s?

    Are there no other options for 32 scale P Bass?
    Garret Graves likes this.
  8. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Rosemead, Ca
    Read the post above yours for a detailed explanation of the remarkable and collectible limited run from Fender and Squier. Some people want things like that- unique, limited run instruments for whatever reason.
    yodedude2 likes this.
  9. SgtHulka

    SgtHulka Inactive

    Mar 29, 2019
    Thanks for white knighting him but the original poster said that he's basically just looking for a 32 scale P Bass...
    JRA likes this.
  10. Sorry BeefPie, he is obviously very specifically looking for the real deal Fender or Squier E Series, not a replica. Here is what mine looked like originally:


    And what it looks like after the facelift, yep over 30 years old:


    Designed it to match my hot rod:


    And here is my medium scale '51 P:

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
    dmt, JRA, BassmanM and 5 others like this.
  11. canuckshort


    Apr 16, 2011
    Because they are awesome. I've had mine for about 5 years. Never getting rid of it.
    yodedude2 and BassHappy like this.
  12. fermata

    fermata Guest

    Nov 10, 2015
    Let's all pile on in defense of the '80s! Actually, that might present some challenges, current pop culture nostalgia trends notwithstanding. ;)

    But I can say my 1981 Japanese bass (medium scale Aria Pro II) smokes pretty much anything new below $1000, maybe more. No matter that it was the lowest/budget model of the line back in the day. So the formula Bass + 1980s + Japan can be very good indeed.
  13. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    excellent point here. the reason i eventually sold mine (which was a terrifically constructed bass) was due to the down-scaling of the entire instrument. i prefer a standard sized body and neck profile/thickness. my gig bass for the last few years is a carvin body/lowe conversion neck 32". some adaptation was required for a fit, but this is a terrific bass, and it has the body size and neck profile (and scale length) i prefer.

    o.p., if you like the standard fender p-bass size body and neck profile, a lowe 32" conversion neck on a fender p-bass body could be a good option for you.
    BeeTL and canuckshort like this.
  14. canuckshort


    Apr 16, 2011
    Love those Lowe conversion necks. I have two of them and I am seriously considering a fretless for my third.
    yodedude2 and rllefebv like this.
  15. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    The 32" Lowe conversion necks are a GREAT option for getting the your medium scale buzz going!! Somewhat like the OP, I was in the market for an early Japanese Squier, found one locally, blinked and it was gone!

    This Lowe neck is from pretty much the last run of knock-off headstocks, and it is seriously one of the best bass necks I have ever held! If you can find a used Lowe neck, or don't mind the current headstock design, you can put together your medium P fairly simply!


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  16. reddog


    Mar 5, 2013
    Philly burbs
    The SX P/J Gypsy Rose derivatives are about the same dimensions as an MIJ Fender medium scale, but with a thinner neck.
  17. 77stingray

    77stingray Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    Skjold Artist
  18. BeeTL

    BeeTL Commercial User

    Sep 26, 2006
    Oldsmar, FL
    Brad Lowe, Lowe Custom Guitars
    Thanks for the kind words, guys!
    the baint likes this.