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Fender california series basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Andybart, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. I recently just picked up a '97-'98 Fender Precision Bass Special. It is the made in USA California Series model. I can't seem to find a whole lot of information on these but it was cheap and still made in USA. I think it plays and sounds just as good as the American series ones that are super over priced in my opinion. Anybody know anything about them? I did find that they were painted and finished in Mexico but all the parts and assembly were done in Corona, California.
  2. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    The CA Series (included the P Bass Specail, a couple of Strats and a couple of Tele guitars) were made with some work done in Corona and some done in Mexico. Way to keep the price down but use good parts, etc.

    I bought a P Bass Special in January '99. GREAT bass, and the first Precision I even looked at since I got my VS '62 Precsion way back in '83. The CA P Special had a vintage style bridge, anodized guiard, P/J pickup (but I never paid attention to the location of the J PUP, don't know if it was the original spacing or '70s spacing), a neck that was narrower than a P, but not a toothpick at all. Mine had great sounding pickups, they used good pots and jack on it, and the only thing I felt weren't up to gigging standards were the tuning machines. I replace mine with a set of Hipshots tweo weeks after I got it (I've had Bass Xtenders since they first came out) and it was a great bass. In fact, it's one of the very few I've had and sold over the years that I wish I'd kept and would kind of like to get back.

    The only reason I don't have it is that when I went in to the store to pick up my Hipshots, they had a bass they wanted to show me... It was the Lakland Deluxe 4-94 that has been my #1 go-to bass ever since. I eventually traded the P Bass Special for a Geddy Lee (yuck- skinny little neck that was just about unplayable it was so tiny), and the guy I traded with eventually traded the P off...

    These were discontinued and replaced with the MIM P Bass Special. Some say they were identical, but every MIM P Bass Special I ever played had a MUCH less refined feel- sloppy fretwork, mediocre fit & finish, etc. The MIM (at least before they made them active- I never played one of those) weren't bad, but not as good as the California.

    I don't see them pop up often.

  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think the main thing done in Mexico was the painting of the bodies.
  4. Thanks for the info! Yeah I actually really dig the thing. Found it on Craigslist for 400 bucks and ended up getting it for 360 bucks. Not a bad price for what it seems to be.
  5. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    I used to have a '97 Cal. Prec. Spec. Nice bass but the G string was always thinner sounding than the other 3 strings, even with changing to different kinds of strings or even changing out the pickups to S/D Vintage P and Classic Stack J pickups. I eventually sold the bass to a drummer, what would he know about bass, anyway? :D
  6. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I had a black one, maple neck, made in 1997, that I got about 10 years ago for around $400. Very good bass for the price, lots of features I found desirable. Similar to JTE, I sold it to partially fund a '95 Lakland 4-94. I would probably buy another one someday.
  7. KrisHayes


    Sep 30, 2012
    These are a fantastic value. Love these. Very disappointing that they're no longer made.