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Diary of a 1951 Fender Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 2saddleslab, May 15, 2019.

  1. T-boneParish

    T-boneParish Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2016
    Austin, TX
    This journey reminds me that old instruments go through different phases of the their lives, just as people do. Great description of the timeline! Sounds like you were visiting some good shops in the 80s! Even back then I don't remember seeing old bodies and old necks being sold on their own. My favorite basses have been the ones that came into my life because of some twist or turn of fate. Your story describes twists and turns over 7 decades!
    Love it!!
    herndonbassist and 2saddleslab like this.
  2. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Well when I found the body 30 years ago the contours were already there from a previous owners mod. My choices were to paint over them (tried that and it never looked right), have a luthier add wood to the contours (way too much effort), or embrace the contours as part of the basses history. Jeff Beck's Esquire is a good example.
    The contours may look crude in the pics but in reality they were done pretty well, but not as pronounced than Fenders of later years. I prefer slab but these contours, like Eddie Miller's initials are all part of this basses history.
    sneha1965, design, porterbass and 5 others like this.
  3. Low84

    Low84 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    This just in... sightings of wet blankets north of the border. :smug:

    2saddleslab likes this.
  4. Very cool. Great story/background.

    One way to look at it is that you have an unmolested 51P and the bare contours represent the only divergence. Your have embraced it. I dig it.
  5. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Thanks, but hardly unmolested. Just nice it continues making music after all these years vs lost to oblivion.
    Low84 likes this.
  6. Understood. Lots of iterations but to the unacquainted they would not know any better.
    2saddleslab likes this.
  7. wow......
    You sir, are a serious hard-core, badass,
    I salute you......:thumbsup:
    2saddleslab likes this.
  8. This is so cool! Awesome thread, story and bass :drool:
    2saddleslab likes this.
  9. Ah! I didn't get that - thought the contours had been added in the last overhaul. Thanks for explaining.
    2saddleslab likes this.
  10. SkulliesBass

    SkulliesBass Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    Long Island N.Y.
    Good grief! What an amazing bass with an equally amazing story! I've thought for years about a slab bodied Precision with Jeff Beck contours. Your Precision is even nicer than I imagined one would be. You sir, are brilliant.
    2saddleslab likes this.
  11. Terrific story. IF I ever get around to a slab-bodied first-style P Bass, I would definitely prefer the contours front and back: 'Vintage' only goes so far for me. Congrats on being the current, dedicated owner of this piece of history.
    2saddleslab likes this.
  12. Energy


    Jun 20, 2006
    Great bas, great story, thanks for sharing!

    As much as I dig the bass itself, this is the part of the story I like best:
    2saddleslab likes this.
  13. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    USA, Phoenix, AZ
    2saddleslab likes this.
  14. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this thread. But then I don’t think I need to .... you and I are so simpatico in our taste, and our love and respect for these first and second gen Precision’s. It does my heart good to know that this amazing bass has been lovingly restored, but with its history embraced. The only way that this thread could make me happier is if it said “and when I pass away, I’ll be leaving this bass to Dark Horse”... :D

    Seriously..... just a fantastic piece if history that has found its way (and remained there !) into the hands of the person who it was born to own it.
  15. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I love that it still exists, and has been a serviceable instrument for all of these years. As a Fender guy I've always thought of my P-basses as a very utilitarian piece of gear, meant to get the job done and not be a museum piece. Great story behind this bass.
    Bill Whitehurst and 2saddleslab like this.
  16. Robert B

    Robert B Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Hampton, Va USA
    Wow! What a fabulous bass, and the most interesting Talkbass post I can recall in recent times! Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to share this fascinating story and delightful collection of photos! I'd love to have such as bass (I was born in '51) but alas, it seems it's fated that this dream shall never come true. Still, I'm happy that you are able to relish and cherish such a unique piece of Fender Precision Bass history!
    dangnewt, gregmon79 and 2saddleslab like this.
  17. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    So friggen cool!! One of the cooler bits of bass porn I've seen in a while.
    2saddleslab likes this.
  18. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    OP: can you link to a recording so we can hear how it sounds? Thank you.
    pbass888 likes this.
  19. pbass888

    pbass888 Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    New York, NY
    OP Amazing story and great job telling it. It's riveting to us old Fender owners.
    2saddleslab likes this.
  20. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Sorry, I don't. I didn't take notes on what basses were used on what tracks on the 90's recordings [4 CDs]. Plus, while they were strong efforts the results were mostly less than stellar.

    My latest project, recorded last year, didn't include the 51 cause it wasn't set up properly at the time. Should have a future session coming up and will be sure to get this bass recorded properly.
    sneha1965 and herndonbassist like this.

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