'63 Fender Precision AVRI first impressions / In depth review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by E S Anderson, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. E S Anderson

    E S Anderson

    Dec 26, 2016
    Los Angeles
    My two cents: (FYI Talk Bass automatically changed some of my adjectives to "poopie")
    I've been searching for a '63 Precision AVRI for a good 6 or 7 months, kind of trigger shy more than anything because I see these for sale all the time. Was going to buy from Sweetwater with their 0% option, but they were sold out. But then on Reverb up popped a used one, the best price I've seen on it, and wouldn't you know, it was at the Sam Ash store I walk my dog to, they give him treats, he remembers all the places that give him treats and takes me there. I considered this to be the work of fate.

    Anyway, on to the bass. I got the Faded Sonic Blue model. When I went to pick it up, I noticed it had all the protective plastic still on the pick guard and over the pickups. It's a 2015 model. So it either was dead stock or who ever bought it never took it out of the case, it still had all the paper work, etc. The first thing I noticed was how beautiful the thing looked in the case. Holy poopie! The fit and finish were immaculate. As soon as I picked it up I liked the weight, not too light, but not heavy whatsoever, it just felt weighted, perfectly balanced and had this authority about it. I built a P-bass from a super light '74 Fender body, Nordstrand PUPs, and an MIJ neck. This bass felt like an entirely different monster. I plucked on it un-amplified and couldn't wait to get it in the studio.

    The Neck:

    I've read so much about it. My initial impression was whoa; this is a substantial neck, it felt different in my hand, almost like my early 70's Telecaster Bass neck. The size of the neck didn't throw me; it was the spacing of the strings. (I know the two are related) I had no issue with the neck in my hand, but after playing my Triumph and Mustang for an entire month, I was missing notes with my pinky finger. My technique got a little lazy with those tiny basses. After about 15 minutes of playing it, that spacing all came back to me. It's not a hard neck to get around at all. I had absolutely no difficulty whatsoever playing bass lines I wrote on a short scale bass. But I bet this bass is hard for people with poor technique. If you hang your bass low and wrap your thumb around the neck, unless you're a giant, you'll probably complain about the playability. This bass was much MUCH, night and day easier to play than the La Bella Olinto Bass I auditioned a couple of months back. In short, within a couple of hours, I grew to love the feel of the neck and its playability. I think it adds to its unique sound.

    The sound:

    I have always loved a Precision bass sound. The one I assembled sounds amazing. Those Nordstrand PUPs are truly excellent. But this 63 AVRI has a different voicing altogether. Still unmistakably Precision bass, but the power in the lower mids and the representation of the high mids of the string was immediately apparent. It still has that slightly "dumb bumble" sound I dig about a P-bass, but with a different kind of clarity, authority, and power. It came with rounds on it, I bought it to string with a set of 1954 La Bella flats, but man, I love this sound of this so much that I may not change it for a while. I opened up a song I've been tracking, and without changing my channel strip settings, this thing just fits into the mix perfectly. I typically mix the bass too hot… duh, a hot bass mix RULES! But I noticed that not only could I have the bass sit back in the mix, but I could hear every single aspect of it. It simultaneously sat back and stuck out. In my mind, the perfect situation. The other thing I noticed is that the tone control was actually useful. I could get a number of different sounds out of rolling off the tone control, something I rarely do because most tone controls just suck. I have to say; this one gave me 3 to 4 pretty distinct and USABLE sounds. I have a 62 Jazz Bass AVRI and the tone controls on that are laughably poopie, on and off switch no variation, I hate the bass because of it. But the tone control on the 63 Precision AVRI was surprisingly useful. (note) I want to add, that the tone control seemed to focus the lower mids, not just muffle the sound, but brought out a different characteristic in the sound. A found myself playing closer to the bridge with the tone control rolled off and loving it.

    The Conclusion so far:

    I know it's only been a number of days, but those have been full of nonstop playing. This bass has been one of the best purchases I have ever made. Not only does it sound amazing, but it inspires me to raise to a different level of playing. My parts sound more relaxed and effortless because of how the tone of this bass just works in a mix. I have no trouble with the neck whatsoever. The craftsmanship is incredible. It's a beautiful instrument that I will have for the rest of my life. I'm looking forward to hearing this through a big ass amp loud as all hell!
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
    Tad, Steffen Thrana, ajkula66 and 7 others like this.
  2. jobbermania

    jobbermania Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    Philadelphia PA
    E S A,
    I bought a sonic blue '63 reissue Precision in March. It is a fantastic bass. I concur with everything you like about the bass. The neck is the C width but I love the way it fits my hand. I had a '66 Precision and though I liked the C width, the slots in the nut were spaced such that the E string and especially the G were too close to the edge of the fretboard.
    The pickups sound awesome, they are just right in the mix and yes, I love the range of tones available. I find that using 9/10 on the volume knob knocks down the highs to a very smooth tone and leaves me with a bit of extra volume in reserve.
    Interesting that I found my barely used bass on Reverb at a Sam Ash as well.
    My band guys love the sound of the "blue goo" Precision just as much as my much loved great playing '73 Precision. Fender hit a home run with the '63 reissue.
    Yeah, you WILL like it thru a big rig.
    Steffen Thrana and E S Anderson like this.
  3. E S Anderson

    E S Anderson

    Dec 26, 2016
    Los Angeles
  4. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008

    Love the faded sonic blue
  5. thepapercut


    Aug 6, 2019
    I wish I could find one of these for sale somewhere. Getting back into bass playing and want to buy a solid p bass.
  6. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    A two year old thread, eh? Oh well, I’ll jump in. My 2013 model in Oly White is, simply put, my favorite bass of all time. It has the “sound in my head” on stage, in the studio, and in practice. It’s extremely comfortable and lightweight. It’s just beautiful to look at. I’ve played just about every model and most years of Fender basses....my opinion is that the ‘63 AV P is the end-all Fender.

    Yahboy, Tad and thepapercut like this.
  7. thepapercut


    Aug 6, 2019
    Sounds like the dream. It’s because of people posting this kind of stuff that got me searching for one.
    Tad likes this.