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American Vintage 57 Fender Precision - any opinions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Yegor P., Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Yegor P.

    Yegor P.

    Jan 13, 2008
    Hey guys,

    Lately I have been craving for something new in my arsenal, and Christmas is coming up soon enough, so GAS has been quite strong.

    What caught my eye was the Fender Precision Vintage 57 bass.


    I dig the way it looks, and I have heard one youtube clip of the bass - and it sounded pretty darn good.

    Now... to be honest I was thinking of treating myself to a Musicman Stingray 5 bass for Christmas (and birthday which is in the beginning of February), but when I saw this Precision, something about it just called to me. At this point, I am not sure anymore if I will get the Stingray or not.

    One problem, I can't find a store here that would have this bass (I am in Paris, France) to try out - so I wanted your opinions. Anyone has this bass? If yes, are you happy with it? Is it much different from a Standard American Fender Precision?

    I play everything - from metal (though I have 2 basses for that already) to disco, to fusion.
  2. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Hey Yegor,
    I had this very bass for a few years. If you love the classic P sound, you will LOVE it. Obviously, it's very different from a Stingray 5... which is also a fantastic instrument. But, as I said, if you want a killer passive P-bass, you're certain to love the '57 RI. I actually sold mine to get a Stingray(4 string). Love my Stingray, but missed having a P in the arsenal. I ended up with a Lakland Bob Glaub P, but you truly can't go wrong with the Fender.

    Honestly, these come up now and then in the classifieds here for some pretty great prices. Definetly keep your eyes 'peeled'.
  3. Yegor P.

    Yegor P.

    Jan 13, 2008
    Rayzak, thanks a lot for the input. It's good to know that it has the classic Precision vibe to it. I like the P sound, as I think it holds its place nicely in any musical situation. I will need to try to find one in a store to try it out.

    Yeah, will surely keep an eye out for the classifieds.

    Also, for that price, I take it that the craftsmanship is of an exceptionally high level, as expected from any American bass?
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I would not make any assumptions about American craftsmanship in general, but the AV 57 that I owned for a while was one of the best-made Fenders I've seen. Truly a sweet bass.
  5. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Funny this came up. I had a 2008 AS P nass stolen from me at the end of August, and quickly went out and bought another, a 2010. It was fine, but I thought the 30-day return policy would make a good opportunity to shop around for something different. I found this exact same model (trans white, ash) here on TB Classifieds and bought it, returning the 2010 AS the day this one arrived, just under the 30 day limit, so I could not spend much time directly comparing them.

    With all the discussion around tonewoods, I was concerned about what I'd be giving up going from alder to ash, and had heard a lot of folks say I'd find the ash to be "snappier" and couldn't imagine what that meant - but I am not disappointed, the '57AVRI delivers classic P bass tone. If anything, the AS sounded brighter, perhaps more wimpy - not the best choice of words, they're both P basses after all, but the 2010 did seem to have less "girth" to the tone, less aggressiveness at the low end than the '57AVRI.

    Mind you the 2010AS had brand new Chrome flatwounds on it and the '57AVRI had older roundwounds on it. Strings can make a huge difference.

    I love the feel of the neck; I had already developed a crush on one of the Mexican Road Worn P basses and would have bought it as it was on sale (used) for much less than new, but it had the Fiesta Red finish - call me superficial, but I didn't want to go there, I have always hated Fiesta Red. Anyway, the '57AVRI has the same type of neck, except not worn down. The feel is great, the look is superb. No noticeable deadspots yet!! Fretwork is excellent. The price I paid for it used and imported/shipped from the US to Canada was about the same as what I'd have paid for a new Mexican RW before our 15% sales tax, so it was a bargain and a half.

    The finish is beautiful, the way the ash grain stands out or disappears under different lighting is very nice, and I like the look of the gold on white. Zero flaws on mine.

    Looking forward to breaking in the nitro finish and making it "mine".

    The only thing that bugs me is the reverse tuners... you have to turn the tuners in the opposite direction. Not a big deal, just a little cognitive dissonance to pass through that's all. :)

    I really do still miss my stolen black/black with maple 2008 P bass, looks-wise that is my favorite and aside from one irritating deadspot, that bass delivered for me, all the time. If I could have a '57AVRI in Black with a black pickguard, that'd be the tops for me.
  6. Naked chunky maple neck, vintage frets, out of the box low action, that feels like you are playing a fretless with that tight and punchy P tone goodness we've all grown to love. So basically, Custom Shop quality at US standard pricing.

    Now with that being said, the only bass I would give this up for is a Stingray HH/HS model.
  7. Yegor P.

    Yegor P.

    Jan 13, 2008
    A naked and chunky maple neck - that's what I love. With a P split coil pickup, that's a tone that has withstood the test of time.

    At the same time, I really have to go try out the bass somewhere. The only other bass that I am considering to buy is a MM Stingray 5 (HH). The thing is I never played a SR5 HH, only tried a SR4. Precision, on the other hand, is a sound I am all well too familiar with and very comfortable with.

    So, hopefully, I will be in NYC after Christmas and I will try to find a good store to go try out both side by side to make my choice. Meanwhile, I will keep an eye out - maybe one will find its way to a store here in Paris :)
  8. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Not to muddy the waters too much, but...

    If you can find one of the first couple years of the American Vintage Series (1982-84, the "Fullerton era") for sale, these are some of the finest Fenders available, IMO. I have a '57 AVS from that era (made in '83) and it's just superb--really resonant and light. They're typically for sale on eBay and occasionally on TB.

    That's not to knock the new ones, they're really nice. But you can get one of the above for roughly the same price.
  9. muzikman7


    Sep 16, 2004
    I have one its a really nice bass the AV series are some of the best basses Fender produces.
  10. Hi Yegor.

    I just treated myself to a birthday present of one of these basses. As others have posted, they are really well made. Mine came out of the box with a near perfect set up (for me). I have a Custom Shop as well and I see little difference, if any, as far as build quality goes. They are really nice for sure.

    One thing I would mention is that this model has the period correct pick up with the raised A string magnet. Kind of strange and it makes it tough to get a perfect string balance. Can't imagine why Fender did this back in the day, but the split coil dual magnet was brand new and I guess there was a valid reason for it in 1957!

    This pick up, to my ear, is a bit mellower than typical P Bass pick ups. This is not a bad thing at all. It seems smoother and deeper with a very strong low end. If you are into the grindy aggressive P bass moan, you may want to consider the '62 version. That's just my opinion though.

    Anyway, these are really nice basses. Treat yourself to some fun!

    Here is a photo showing the pick up

  11. recreate.me


    Apr 2, 2010
    I think everyone here can agree that ordering an AVRI 57 without playing it will end up still being pretty fantastic. Personally i was going to just buy one on Ebay lol

    If you want to see how they will play and sound and cant get a hold of one, i would look for the Fender Road Worn basses, or to a lesser extent the MIM Classic 50s P. Although not the same craftsmanship, they are the same specs for the neck and body.

    The Road Worn is all nitro (neck and body) with i believe the same pickup. So it will feel pretty darn close (minus the relic'd feel) to the AVRI.

    If you like the RW you will love the AVRI.

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