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I'd like to purchase a P bass and I have several questions.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by el murdoque, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    All I know is this: It absolutely must be seafoam green with a maple board, and it must be a P, not a P/J. Plus, being pretty light would be dandy.

    This makes buying something widely regarded as one of the most common basses a lot harder than I thought. Having no prior experience in buying Fender Shaped Objects,
    I thought you choose your color and your fretboard wood and go over to the next shop and try a few that match, selecting the one you like most.

    There are two basses easily found in my reach that match this exact description.
    One is a Fender Custom Shop '59 model, but that one's relic'ed and I kinda hate that.
    It is a beauty, though. A shame they beat this one up on purpose to make it look old.
    The other one is the Mexican Fender Vintera model (of which I don't know the weight). This one is available in stores right now.

    I want to get this right and I don't want a bass that has me longing for an upgrade.
    So my first question would be how the current MiM Fenders compare to current MIA models. The Vintera is just shy of one grand, while the current American models retail around twice of that. Where does that money go in terms of quality, sound and playability?

    When shopping for a used model, are there versions of the P bass in seafoam/maple that stick out?

    Are there other options aside from Fender that are worth looking at?

    I've played a few P basses where the E and G string were pretty close to the edge of the fretboard. So close in fact, that I occasionally pulled or pushed them over. Is this just Fender tolerances or are there necks with more room and ones with less room towards the edges?
    When it comes to necks, I like a lot of string spacing, but I don't like the necks to be too chunky. My muscle memory is trained and accustomed to playing 18mm 6 String basses, so a wide neck is not a problem at all. Does that preference rule out some models and make me prefer others?
    pbass2 and Philip McAdam like this.
  2. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    I have not owned a Fender in over 20 years. My buddy plays one and it is
    such a classic sound.
    Last year I tried 9 P basses at a local shop. They varied a lot in
    tone & setup. The only one I liked was a MIM but 20 mm spacing & blue is not my thing.
    Yamaha may be another option as I find their quality is consistent.
    Good luck.
    Tbone76 and el murdoque like this.
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Lots of bang for the buck here:

    Sire Marcus Miller P5

    (If you don't mind roasted maple. Me, I love it.) :D
    five7, red_bassist, bcbckr and 29 others like this.
  4. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Which versions? On many the strings can be moved at the saddle.

    IME those with the problem you describe are frequently those that do use a saddle with a little bit more flexibility, but with the strings positioned poorly.
    design and Philip McAdam like this.
  5. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I don't really know. AFAIK the standard vintage bridge, the bent plate with the four barrels.
    But it's good to know that this issue can be addressed rather easily.
  6. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I like roasted maple in general, but this one needs to be a blonde.
    bholder and teh-slb like this.
  7. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    I have a feeling you'd like the Vintera. I've been generally impressed with MIM PBasses and they've only been getting better. Sweetwater has one that's 8 pound 7oz and that's fantastic.
    Fender Vintera '50s Precision Bass - Sea Foam Green.

    As for the string spacing it might or might not be wider than you like. If so, with the standard Fender bridge there are countless drop in replacements with width adjustments more solid than just pushing the string one groove over (Vintera has ridged vintage style saddles).

    The one danger point is the neck profile. It's a vintage C and might be too thick for you. Because of that, you really need to find one to play in person before you buy.

    The Sire is a great bass for the money but they tend to be heavy.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  8. Bassclef46


    Feb 1, 2021
    there are not many sea foam green maple board P Basses. So right there you have limited your choices.
    My advice to you is....
    Buy a G&L LB100
    Never buy based on color.
  9. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Oh come on! The bass you rock, including the color is very much an expression of yourself. Finding a bass that you find aesthetically pleasing and matches your own personal aesthetic is half the fun!
  10. Bassclef46


    Feb 1, 2021
    so you would prefer a bass that looks great and sounds like garbage? if you are more worried about color then sound then.....ok
    mngnt and Jason Schulhz like this.
  11. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    You're the one that is talking about settling, not me. Why not work to find the one that checks all the boxes? Or find a way to make it happen?
  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I might say "never buy based on color alone". But yeah, appearances count to many of us. If you can only get part of what you want, sure, go for function over appearance, but the game is to get both (and a good deal too, if possible). ;)
  13. Marihino


    Mar 25, 2010
    Have a look at the fb page called Restauracja Gitar, and their Buzz basses. They have rather decent, to say the least, youtube demos. Basically they use necks and bodies CNC'd in Japan and then finish and assemble the guitars in Poland. The main guy is one of the best techs on the planet imo. To finish they use Fender's pre-CBS formula of super hard grain filler called Fullerplast followed by beautifully cured thin nitro. They can relic if you wish, and are the best at that, too. But their unreliced finished are beautiful. Fretwork, again, second to none. They've become a bit of industry standard in Polish rock scene, and for a reason.
    Kmrumedy, gunai, Swamp_Ronin and 3 others like this.
  14. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    My 5 string has 20mm and I'm in the process of selling a bass that has 16.5mm because that feels too narrow.
    I have yet to encounter a bass with a string spacing too wide. I guess that a 6 string with 20mm could give me trouble playing the B string in the 20th fret ... but I like wide spacings.

    Interestingly enough, the G&L LB100 bass models that are available in Germany soon (and are already listed online) have maple boards and a choice of Shell Pink and Bel Air Green. While I don't particularly care for the Bel Air Green, Shell Pink would be an alternative.
  15. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    You might consider doing a Warmoth build. You can be as specific about colors, weight and features as you like.
  16. Another option: find a P bass with a maple neck that you like. Then have Warmoth make you a sea foam green P body. Transfer all the Fender hardware, electronics, and the neck to the Warmoth body. Sell the Fender body.
  17. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    That's the route I just went - also based on string spacing... though I went the other direction. :D But... no issue with having enough space from the string to the edge of the fretboard... ;)

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
    Nuage420, petch, murphy and 4 others like this.
  18. You beat me to it!
    el jeffe bass likes this.
  19. sonojono

    sonojono Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2013
    Los Angeles/Riverside
    +1 on the vintera P bass

    Neck is a tad chunky but that’s to be expected from a P bass. I currently own an aquatic green (more like seafoam green) Ibanez Mezzo bass but it’s a PJ configuration and 100% of the time I only solo the P pickup.

    You could also look into the Squier Classic Vibe bass that’s in “Surf green”


    If you don’t like the tinted maple neck there’s also a Fender maple replacement neck for $250 from GC.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
    Matty Koff and Erik herman like this.
  20. I recently received a Warmoth roasted maple neck. It is excellent!
    murphy likes this.
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