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Fender '51 RI Precision

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mike151, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Yeah. The one you cite has light modding. This is still a basic single coil instrument.

    Flats work, but this is a wide-frequency response single pickup instrument with all the attendant hum and limited tone shaping.

    What style of music are you wanting to pursue and what is your budget? IMHO, these single coil RI's are great for blues, classic rock, oldies, classic country, folk, and even Jazz or R&B, assuming you don't need to get a typical slap or ultra-dub R&B tone.

    The truth be told, I've played a single coil '55 P-bass for $$ in basically everything from Big Band Jazz to jug band music. That doesn't mean it is ideal!!!

    What are you trying to do??
  2. Mike151


    Dec 22, 2008
    Sherman Texas
    I play blues/rock but have a history of hard rock/metal so I use alot of trebel and play pretty heavy as that is just my style. My 98 P bass works fine and I get the sound that I'm looking for from that. I was just considering one of these just for kind of a novelty bass to pull out and play on a couple of songs. I just heard from a couple players that there is an issue with the frets being sharp and needing to be sanded at the edges. Sounded kind of cheap to me so I just wanted to get some input. I also heard that there is not much of a thumb rest.
  3. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I have. I play hip-hop and dance with mine.


    The track up there where you can hear it is VH1 Short.

    Mine has a seymour duncan pickup in it and I find it cuts through really well and does some crunchy thumpy goodness.

    With rotosounds or DR high beams I play Red Hot Chili Peppers stuff with it, and it sounds pretty good since the pickup is extremely hot.

    I have found though that this bass absolutely sucks with harmonics so don't expect to play Portrait of Tracy without adding another pickup.

    If you have any questions about the bass, just ask.
  4. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    i loved mine.
    i played rock/prog/metal with it.
    it killed.
    i made a thumb rest for it, and changed out the bridge to a BAIII.
    as with anything, play before you buy. :)
  5. Mike151


    Dec 22, 2008
    Sherman Texas
    Why did you get rid of it?
  6. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The singl coil P Basses seem to be my favorite P.

    I had a couple japan 51's before, now have a custom shop 55. Play hard/heavy rock, and those P's I've always kept strung with flats!
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've had quite a few '51 RIs, Stings, Blue Flowers, and one original '56. Right now I use use my DIY ultralight version for most things.
  8. Wouldn't catch ME with one!
    Oops, my avatar gives me away!

    Seriously, I love my "mango" '51RI.
    Haven't been playing it much lately though.
  9. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    No thumb rest---and that IS an issue (see below). The fret sprout is NOT. Many good basses have fret sprout if they are in an environment that causes it. Get a tech to fix it.

    My advice is to develop a technique that does not require a thumb rest. Yeah, wrong forum and it seems lame.

    Hint: The E string is a thumb rest. :D
  10. Mike151


    Dec 22, 2008
    Sherman Texas
    I'm not too sure I need a thumb rest. I play across the strings with my thumb traveling across the strings so this may not even be an issue. I only plant the thumb when on the E.
  11. I have 'em, but don't use 'em.
  12. I had one. It was awesome, but I was new to bass and it was just too much bass for me. Like literally, it was too big and heavy. Played and sounded great though.
  13. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I got mine 3 years ago. No problems, never touched the truss rod, smooth fret ends, great bass. It was a great bass for the price, but they are going for half again what I paid for mine, so I'm not sure I would buy one now.

    It's the Thump King. Very different personality from other basses, and great to play. Right now it's the only fretted bass at the house, so it gets used for everything that requires frets.
  14. dlegault


    Nov 11, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I have one, and love it. It's not something that fits in every situation, but for hard rock thump, I haven't found much that I like better.

    I play with fingers and a pick, and don't have the pickup cover installed, so I find I can rest my thumb on the pickup while on E, and then use E to anchor for the other three strings. The biggest thing that's taken getting used to for me is the lack of the front contour while playing with a pick, the edge of the body can kind of dig in after awhile.

    I got mine used out of the classifieds, and mine had a fralin pickup in it already, and the frets were pretty much flawless, but I'm not sure if it had any fretwork done prior to me buying it.

    All in all, for what I paid for it, I feel I got an exceptional deal, and this is one bass that I'll always hang onto.
  15. They're ugly, sound terrible, and are very poorly made.

    Please, please don't bid against me on the eBay auction ending in a few hours.
  16. Mike151


    Dec 22, 2008
    Sherman Texas
    May I ask what your exceptional deal price was?
  17. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    I tried one, it was nice enough but the lack of a forearm contour is the deal breaker for me, I just find basses without one too uncomfortable.
  18. I just picked on up from a local mom and pop. Very nicely made instrument! Though about replacing the pickup all the way home. But, once I strung it up with a set of Fender flats, and made some adjustments. . . It's great as is!! Nice and thumpy with a good feel. It suits my country and rock needs very well.
    The only mod I may do is a compensated bridge of the same type, like the Wilkinson with brass saddles. Very different sound than my split p.
    Regarding the fret ends, that is just a natural reaction to the wood shrinking and the fret wire not shrinking. Not a problem, just take it to a competent guy and problem solved.
    Good luck!!
  19. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    I love "Da Blues" and my '51 works just swimmingly for playing it!!


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