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Did the music industry change to fit the Fender Precision?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassBuzzRS, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Why does the Precision fit in so many musical contexts, even today?
    Maybe the sound in the engineers heads, the radio listeners minds, the drum sounds chosen on records, the guitarists amp and tone choices, and so on, adapted to the precision bass because it was the gold standard in bass tone so you had to learn to work with that?

    Maybe they all evolved around the bass sounds that were available? With this as a thesis, it makes sense why it still works, and works better than most.

    What are your thoughts?

    (Bass players are the sun and the other guys are the planets, I know hehehe)
  2. From the sound techs I've worked with, they prefer the P-bass because it's the industry standard and they're taught to work with that sound. I've met a few that will work outside the box, but most get miffy and only want a P-bass. The same guys are the ones who make every bass sound the same for every recording. -_-

    Drives me bonkers that they pigeon hole themselves & the artists.
  3. Just thinking to myself what if Les Paul would have made it to become the industry standard instead of Leo Fender?
  4. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I think it's exactly the other way around. You find P-basses in all possible different contexts and genres, from pop to death metal to blues to indie. They hardly sound the same but the P bass fits right in.

    Why is that? Not because the 'music industry' adapted to the p-bass. It's because a P is a chameleon.
  5. As much as I love the P bass, I think we're giving it a little too much credit if we're postulating that it actually changed an industry (recording) that was in it's infancy when the P was introduced.
  6. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    He did get the entire industry to switch from hi to lo impedance.
    That's something.
  7. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    Yes, I think the P bass had a warm tone that was generally very subtle and not spiky, and give the player enough room to change the tone through their playing. It has the ability to swell up and fill in whatever void there is in the music, and make it sound full. While it's not the best bass for all genres, 80% of the time, you can get close.
  8. Egg zackley.
  9. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    If you talk to seasoned engineers there are many "standards" that they intimately know how to tweak to get great sound.

    The Fender Deluxe is one. Vox AC.
    Shure SM57/58.
  10. Too many techs, in my experience, perceive "great sound" as a "specific sound".
  11. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I'd say yes. The p bass was the first widely available electric bass guitar. And it really is a bass GUITAR. It took what was until then an expensive, hard to record and hard to master instrument -- the upright bass -- and made it accessible to the masses and easy for recording engineers to understand. Think about it--any guitar player can fool around on a p bass, it costs a fraction of even an entry level URB, and it could not be simpler to record--plug it into the board and eq or compress to taste.

    So of course it became standard. Rarely perfect but always decent. Then once it did, the rest was inertia.
  12. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    A Precision is like a 350 Chevy Engine they are reliable simple and get the job done without frills......"and for some fun" a Stingray is like a 305 Chevy not bad and almost gets the job done he he Yee Haw sorry i couldnt resist.Strike the last comment.
  13. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    No, I don't think the music industry changed to fit the Precision. I think the electric guitar changed the music industry to a large extent, and the P-bass came along for the ride. Chuck Berry would have sounded great with an upright, a P, a J, or a modern double humbucker six-string. The Precision just happened to be the bass in the right place at the right time. Many of us love that good old Precision bass, because we grew up with it and it just sounds right. FWIW, IMO, etc. :)
  14. Nobody

    Nobody Banned

    Jul 14, 2004
    Fender Precision? This is the first I'm hearing of it.
  15. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I don't think P-basses are chameleons, at all. I think they sound one way. But sound techs expect the tone and know what to do with it, so they ask for it and require it where they have sufficient influence.

    I've recorded a couple albums where I brought in three basses and used them all, and the bass tone in final product was so dumbed down that I can't even tell which bass is on which track. These were techs that probably would have preferred a P on everything.

    Did the music industry change around the P? Sure. Compared to an upright, they were totally portable so they started showing up everywhere. The tone is a little more focused, with more fundamental than an upright, which brought the bass out a little more in the mix and probably helped rock & roll develop.
  16. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I agree. I also love the P (and play nothing else these days), but in the hands of a competent player, most basses will do the job. Sting wouldn't sound much different if he played an Ibanez, nor Geddy Lee if he played a StingRay. McCartney's bass playing was the same whether he was playing a Hofner, a Ric or a Jazz.

    It's fun to come to TB and talk gear, but we (including me) tend to give the gear too much credit for our overall sound. Usual disclaimers - this is my opinion, your opinion is probably different, etc. If you think your gear contributes greatly to your overall sound, then that is the truth - for you, but not for me. :)
  17. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    some historians will tell the tale exactly that way: Fender Precision Bass changed the industry!
    Instead of having to wrangle an upright and figure out where it fits in the mix and negotiate around it, for the first time you had a bass that always fit in the same place in the mix, every time! New engineers were taught where that bass sat and pretty much did EQ everything around it.
    Anecdotal, but indicative: For many years some music charts would specifically call for Fender Bass, and many bassists were credited as playing Fender Bass on many an album liner.
  18. therhodeo


    Feb 28, 2011
    Owasso OK
    The music industry changed to fit the electric band. The fact that the p-bass was at the time the most common bass in that context is just a conincidence.
  19. IMO: A lot of current genre of music feature a heavy kick drum. In this context the kick is providing the sub-lows and the bass role is more to provide the mid-lows. The PBass do that very well and brings punch and texture in this area of the frequency spectrum.
    Another explanation is that many bands prefer a bassist providing a heavy fondation as opposed to someone playing tons of notes with a bright and defined sound. Not that you couldn't overplay with a Pbass but most "overplayers" find it not articulate enough.
    If I audition for a rock project, I always show up with my Precision and always gets points for that.
    My third explanation is that a Pbass, same as a Jazz Bass cuts nicely in a live mix whereas some more scooped sounding basses tend to get lost in the mix
    Forth explanation: It is a cool looking bass especially a vintage one.

    I mostly play a Precision but in some situations (if I want more versatility, a 5er register, play reggae...) my Jazz Bass or my Yamaha TRB5 will work better. It is nice to have different options anyway.
  20. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    My point.:)

    Just as narrow minded as........;)