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Help choosing a new Precision

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vometia, Mar 26, 2004.

Which new Fender Precision?

Poll closed Apr 2, 2004.
  1. Standard US

    9 vote(s)
  2. US Deluxe

    5 vote(s)
  3. 57 vintage

    8 vote(s)
  4. 62 vintage

    11 vote(s)
  5. 59 Time Machine (very expensive)

    1 vote(s)
  6. Fender 50th anniversary

    4 vote(s)
  7. Another model (please say!)

    4 vote(s)
  1. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    I need a spot of help again! Apologies in advance for starting yet another "help" thread, but I have searched and couldn't find what I was after. Anyway, hot on the heels of getting my new Stingray (pictures still in progress... I'll post them eventually!) which is admittedly the bass to end all basses, I've flogged enough stuff to finance my ongoing GAS...

    I want to get a new Fender Precision. It has to say "Fender" on the headstock for no better reason than I've wanted one since I was at school, and 20 years is a long time to lust after something; and "new" just because I like new things, and I'm always suspicious about "they used to be better". They probably did, but there were still some pretty duff ones out there which likely make up a big percentage of the current "for sale" market.

    It looks like my choices are the standard US model, the US deluxe, the two vintage models or, if I save up quite a bit more, one of the "time machine" series. There's also the Fender 50th Anniversary P, which certainly looks nice with its quilted top, but I understand from reading here that it might not be anything special in terms of quality. Fortunately my hang-ups about maple-vs-rosewood have been sorted out not just by my new rosewood stingray but also noticing that JJ Burnel's hideous greenburst P was a rosewood, so that pretty much ties up any worries about it not sounding bright enough.

    I really like the look of the US Deluxe but I'm quite worried that the extra pickup and all that extra circuitry will adversely affect the P sound.

    I'm also likely to have to mail-order whatever it is that I decide on, so which of the above is likely to be the most "reliable" when it comes to decent craftsmanship?

    TIA for your help!

  2. I voted for the '62 ri, based on your preference for rosewood boards and my distaste for active pickups, multiple switches, and flame maple tops. Of course, I play an off-the-shelf American Standard P that I bought used a couple of years ago.

    I can understand a tiny bit of hesitation on your part on buying a used axe that could turn out to be a lemon. But I think you stand a much better chance of finding a decent used bass locally than you do gambling with mail-ordering a new Fender. Much as I love them, new Fenders display far too much inconsistency in quality for me to recommend a sight-unseen purchase. And there are always TONS of used Fenders around.

    Do you just not have many used gear stores in your area? IMO, there is no substitute for hands-on inspection of a used instrument. Amps? Maybe. Effects? Sure. But personally I could never buy a bass without trying it first.

    I looked for a couple of years until I found my current bass; it was a standard US model, so the price was reasonable and it fit all my prerequisite needs: straight neck, good frets, tight pocket, solid hardware, resonant unplugged tone, and rich, full amplified tone. And hey, it was sunburst!

  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    What I *REALLY* want is either an original vintage from the late 70's or a CIJ 70's RI. :)
  4. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    Hi Honk,

    Is this the start of the "flame maple" backlash? :) About the fretboard, I don't necessarily prefer rosewood (in fact before the Stingray I thought I preferred maple) but I'm in that quite nice position where I really don't mind. As to the '62, I've found myself leaning toward either that or the deluxe lately, although I manage to change my mind every day... :rolleyes:

    I feel a bit clueless when it comes to the second-hand scene. I'm not aware of anywhere in the vicinity that has much that I can play around with; I guess there nearest place is the Bass Gallery in London and I think they'll only have one or two examples.

    And it always terrifies me when someone talks about spending a couple of years looking for "the one". Goes completely against my nature of being a compulsive acquirer!

    Mine has to be red. Which could admittedly cause me some difficulty.
  5. Vintage '62 Rocks!
  6. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    My fave is the American Deluxe P. Mine is a dream to play, sounds terrific, and has a whole bunch of tones. However, it does NOT sound like a traditional P, having a smaller body, active electronics, different pickups, etc. It does a nice P bass tone of a slightly different color. ;) It is also a great bass to gig on- turn a pot and you have a whole new flavor. If you have a Stingray, you might prefer going a more traditional route- the vintage P's will provide more contrast to the 'Ray if that's what you are looking for. Purely in terms of sound and playability I like the Deluxe the best of the P's I have owned... I previously had a '69 USA and an 85 MIJ. As for ordering unseen, I must admit to a certain excitement for doing it this way. I, too, am somewhat of an impulse buyer and do not care for lengthy evaluation-style buying. I ordered the Deluxe, a Reverend Rumblefish, and a Peavey USA Millennium 5 without playing first and I am totally satisfied with all three. No sharp frets, no dead spots, no surprises on any. :) Good luck and I hope you find the right bass!
  7. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    I'm having serious second thoughts about the Deluxe: I think you're right that if I didn't already have a Stingray it'd be the one to go for, but I do, so I want my P sound to be authentic. :)

    So it looks like the 62 is currently the favourite, although surprisingly the Fender 50th is close behind (I say "surprisingly" as I didn't think that the build quality was anything special; unlike the P 50th anniversary which was supposed to be a bit better... sigh, why did they do two completely different 50th anniversary basses? :rolleyes: ) I am tempted by the Fender 50th because it looks nice and I know of a couple that can be had for about £1,000; whereas the 62 will cost me about £1,200 unless I have it shipped from the US (I reckon that even with say $200 shipping and then import tax & VAT I should be looking at under £1,000; but do I want to risk ordering something that'd be a major headache to return if it was in poor condition...?)

    I'm still confused!

  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ive always liked the 57 vintage.
  9. uuuummmm......id take none...there are alot better basses for cheaper...in aus anyway.....

    Hmmmm...looks like winters on its way...i need some firewood :bag: :bag:
  10. If you are looking for the authentic P bass sound, I would suggest the Standard P bass, you can't get more authentic then that!

  11. Amen to the 'Mistress of Smilies'

    My choice as well. :)
  12. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I recently went with a Standard and replaced the stock pickup with a SD Basslines Hot pickup. I have to admit that I really lucked out with this particular bass because it played beautifully right off of the rack at a local music store. It didn't need much tweaking. I've found that brand new Standards usually require a lot of tweaking and adjustments in order to get them to my playing specs. I'm lucky that I found one that will do the job for me. Ofcourse, if your budget allows it, there's nothing wrong with going with the higher priced models if that's what you desire.
  13. I think he used that bass on the first 2 Stranglers albums- Rattus Norvegicus and No more heroes.
    the tone on Black & white, The Raven and La Folie was from a black maple-neck P (I think Gospelaccordingtothemeninblack was a Wal) and is noticeably brighter.

    BTW the last time I was in Vintage & rare guitars in Denmark street they had a very nice mint natural ash/maple neck hot rod Precision (P + J) for £900 IIRC.
  14. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    Thanks for pointing that out. I definitely prefer his playing on B&W and The Raven to the earlier recordings. (I could never quite get my head around Themeninblack but that's another matter entirely...) I also read somewhere that he managed to break the greenburst by his technique of hitting the body to get interesting sounds out of it, until one day it just fell apart.

    I'm still a bit wary about "compromising" the sound of the P pickup with other added gubbins!

    I'm now starting to think that the best bet is to be nice to the bass guy at my local music shop and see if he can find me a good example of a standard US P from somewhere...

  15. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    I think that my rationale was to find a sort of "safe bet" where I'd get a pretty much guaranteed nice-quality bass without having to go and look for myself; the reasons aren't really just being lazy or impulsive, but the places which tend to have bigger selections aren't really entirely practical for me to get to for various reasons and I suppose I don't really trust my own judgement after being a "20 year beginner"!!

    But I guess I'm best off trying my local bass emporium until they get something in that I like the feel of. Besides, I often prefer to give my custom to "local" businesses...

  16. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    Right, I'm off to ye local music shoppe on Friday to see if they can find me a nice US P. They had a sort of metallic grey thing in there last time I looked, but I didn't look closely enough to ascertain exactly what it was. That's one of those funny colours I can never quite make up my mind if I like or not anyway; at the moment I quite fancy a candy apple red with a white pearloid pickguard and maple fretboard. One that plays nice would be an added bonus :). I might see if they'll let me have a bit of a fondle of a vintage or an anniversary model while I'm at it. I'll report back when I've finally made a decision...

  17. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    I would try to order an American series bass without the switch. Not that theres anything wrong with the switch but I found some places were dropping prices on the old American series basses (NOT American standard) to make way for the new ones with the switch. I picked up a brand new jazz black with maple neck for just under $700.
  18. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    Today's planned bass-fondling failed to go ahead due to a technicality with the mountain of paperwork required to renew our car tax. :rolleyes:

    So it looks like it'll be next week. The metallic-grey thing, whatever it is, has sort of grown on me a bit in theory so hopefully they'll still have it and I can see how well it plays. I still suspect I'll have to ask their bass dude to get a bit of a selection in from one of the bigger stores for me to play with first though.

    Bass porn will be forthcoming, although nobody seems to have commented on my lovely sparkly Blue Dawn Stingray pic that I posted elsewhere. Either you're all jealous or you just have no appreciation of beauty, mumble mumble bunch of miserable philistines etc :spit:

  19. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    I could try that but over here they'd probably class both the switch and lack thereof as a desirable added extra. :rolleyes: Remember that even with the strong pound the usual $1 = £1 conversion seems to apply...

    Hmm, black. That's reminded me, since hearing that JJ Burnel's new bass was a black one (and seeing for myself on the Stranglers' vid earlier today) and Phil Spalding's was identical, black with black pickguard and maple neck, and also Roger Waters' being the same sort, I wonder who am I to argue with the taste in colour of no less than 3 bass gods...?

  20. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    Why thank you for the compliment but Im no bass god...! :rolleyes: :D Actually the one I bought had a white guard on it and I put a black one on about two weeks ago. Very nice looking. Good luck with the purchasing!

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