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Fender PBass '51 Reissue

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ShazzamDood, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. ShazzamDood


    Nov 3, 2007
    Hey guys, I'm on a search for a new bass, and I saw the Fender P Bass '51 Reissue. The seller says its made in Japan between '85 and '86. It looks damn good but... I asked him the following question:
    This bass really caught my eye but I've never actually played a Single-Coil Pickup P bass and I was wondering if it still has the same growl and punch a modern Split Single-Coil Pickup P bass has? How would you describe the tone? And could you please provide the serial # of the bass?

    To which he answered:
    Hello, thanks for the question. It is a totally different bass from the P -bass. Doesn't sound, play or feel similar at all. It was made in japan between 85 and 86 according to fender. thanks.

    That really didn't help me out and he didn't even give the serial #...:help:
    Can any one answer what the difference in sound is between a
    Single-Coil Pickup P bass and a modern Split Single-Coil Pickup P bass? and if it has the same Punch/Growl?

    -Thanks in advance:bassist:
  2. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    It's hard to describe the way a bass sounds. Try to search "SCPB" in the Talk Bass search. There are threads with this very same question out there.

    The split coil accentuates the mids, and really to my ears, sounds like it was designed to fit perfectly in mix. It's like it is "pre-eq'd". Great sound with very little fuss, almost regardless of string choice or where the tone knob is set.

    The single coil is different. More highs, more lows than the split coil. Very different depending on the strings used: flats really thump, and you can get very bright and clangy with rounds. Can be pretty "spiky" if you don't watch it.

    You can play any kind of music on either with excellent results. Buy either with confidence.

    You'll end up with one or more of each. :)
  3. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I currently have a '51 and three (!) split-coil Precisions. They are different beasts: the split-coil is midrangey, with that unmistakable P punch, while the single-coil is the Thump King.

    I almost traded the '51 in on my new American Vintage '57 P, then made the mistake of taking to a local jam where a friend showed up with his early '70s B15N. I was intending to play my 335 that night, but once I plugged the '51 into the Ampeg I was blown away yet one more time with its warmth and how it found its own place amongst the drums and electric and acoustic guitars.

    I really think every P player needs one each of the single-coil and split-coil variants (of course, I also have a fretless Precision as well as a Classic '50s that I'm selling to another friend).
  4. but does anybody make a single coil 5 string bass, that has the same sound at the 51 P Bass?
  5. ShazzamDood


    Nov 3, 2007
    Are you saying that the single-coil doesn't have punch?
    What about growl?

    -Thanks for the feedback everybody.
  6. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    And remember, strings will have a lot to do with it. Flats will give it lots of thump and low range, while range will give it more growl and bite.
  7. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    I've seen some custom-built ones posed in the past (Chef has one, I believe), but not a regular production model.
  8. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    It's a different animal than the split-P sound. A reasonable approximation would be a soloed neck pup on a J bass.
  9. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Far as I know, there were no '51 reissues until 1991. I'd be a bit leery of him not providing the serial number, even a partial.
  10. your idol

    your idol

    Oct 13, 2008
    Murfreesboro TN
  11. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    the SCPB growls for days, but it doesn't have the mid-hump of the split coil. better lows and high though.
  12. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
  13. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    The differences between the two types of Precision arise naturally from their constructions. The single-coil, being the first, was modeled on the Telecaster; it took awhile for Leo Fender to determine the shortcomings he wanted to overcome.
    The single-coil has a sharp attack, little sustain, and (as also noted previously) a full-range, "hi-fi" sound.

    Drawbacks included a propensity to blow out Bassman speakers (this was the Jurassic period of bass amps as well as of basses. after all) and a tendency to 60-cycle hum, a problem typical of single-coils

    The split-coil was designed to reduce these problems, so has pole pieces that straddle each string, and a two-coil, humbucking configuration. These features give it a softer attack and more sustain. Leo's cadre of musicians liked the mid-range bump in the sound, which gives it more apparent presence, and is the reason the split-coil sits so well in the mix.

    So they are two different animals: the single-coil, as a result of the faster attack and shorter sustain, is more percussive; the split-coil is naturally more legato, but as many of us P enthusiasts will tell you, it can be played percussively.

    In my experience, the single-coil sounds pretty good through most amps, but when you find the right one, it kills. The split-coil is more tolerant, in the sense that its personality comes through most rigs I have tried.
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    IME, I've found that due to the single narrow pole per string, the SCPB is very sensitive to string alignment over the poles. I've used care during setup, slotted saddles (2 saddle bridge), 4 saddle bridges, or the SD Quarter Pounder to mitigate that issue.

    It's also very sensitive to the string height from the poles.
  15. ShazzamDood


    Nov 3, 2007
    I know this is a bit off topic but I saw a Deluxe P Bass with a maple neck but it had no gloss or polyurethane protection. Shouldn't it have any? isn't that bad? Would you ever but a maple neck with polyurethane protection?

    -Thanks again for all the feedback:hyper:
  16. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    I'm not quite sure what you're asking. Is the neck completely without any finish? Do you have a link you can share?
  17. ShazzamDood


    Nov 3, 2007
    Its just that the maple fingerboard has no polyurethane protection. Its just bare pure maple and that makes me feel iffy. So my question is whats better a maple neck with, or with no protection? or is a matter of personal choice?



  18. Good examples of the sounds of the ’51 (ish) reissue are Dusty Hill’s grind and Sting’s smooth.
    Surprisingly versatile for a single pick up.

    I’d get the SN, and check the year.
    If the price is right I’d get it.

  19. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Does the auction description say that the neck is raw/unfinished? From the pics provided, it looks more like a satin poly finish, as is/was common with Fenders. I do like the appearance of the maple/3tsb/tort combo. :)
  20. ShazzamDood


    Nov 3, 2007
    Well i asked him this before:
    Thanks for the response. Just to make sure, the fingerboard had no polyurethane finish either, it the pure maple?

    To which he responded:
    Yes, the neck is completely bare pure maple. Very nice satin like feel. Not sticky like polyurethane. Thanks...
    ...He says it has a satin like feel but apparently it is "bare pure maple." idk :confused:

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