Identifying a Classic 50s Precision

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tommy TGrip, Jul 2, 2022.

  1. Tommy TGrip

    Tommy TGrip

    Feb 14, 2022
    Australia
    Are there any distinguishing features of the Fender Precision Classic 50s MiM bass? I can see people really like them. How can you tell from visual inspection if it is a Classic 50s versus a stock standard MiM P? I'm watching a 2013 model. It has the weird pg in a gold, also chrome covers and a thumb rest. What if anything should I look for with tuners, bridge, anything else, to confirm that it's genuinely a Classic 50s model? Thanks
     
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  2. elgranluis

    elgranluis

    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    The items that you mention (pickguard, chrome covers, thumb rest) are very popular mods around here.

    I’d look at the decal and truss rod adjustment , the decal is 50s style (most mims will have a 60s style, or variation of that)
     
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  3. Tommy TGrip

    Tommy TGrip

    Feb 14, 2022
    Australia
    Thanks for that. What am I looking for with the truss rod adjustment? Cheers
     
  4. Michael4bass

    Michael4bass

    Aug 20, 2011
    Florence, MS
    Truss rod nut will be at the body end of the neck, not at the head stock. The neck width at the nut should be 1.75 inches (44.45 mm), most of the MIM Ps are 1.65 (41.91 mm). Also, the bridge saddles will be the threaded dowel type, not the single groove in the middle of the saddle.

    Bassically, Michael
     
  5. Tommy TGrip

    Tommy TGrip

    Feb 14, 2022
    Australia
    Great, thanks very much
     
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  6. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    Take this with a large grain of salt because I've never seen or touched a Classic 50's P, but I remember reading somewhere that their necks are very chunky. Knowledgeable folks, please correct me if I'm wrong. The chunkiness is bothersome to some players and loved by others.
     
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  7. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    Make sure the truss rod isn't maxed out from the factory. I know this was a problem with some MIM Classic series basses (but as far as I can remember I've only seen it personally on Classic 60s Jazz Basses).

    The differences between a Classic series and a MIM Standard have already been mentioned by other posters. I think it would actually be easier to mistake it for a current Vintera 50s than a MIM Standard (not sure if the Classic series had 7.25" radius like the Vinteras though?).
     
  8. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    When Fender changed the design of the body in 57 the design of the neck changed as well. The 51-55 necks have a rounded profile and a flat radius. To me they feel like the backside of a baseball bat and the frets are inserted right into the neck. The 57-59 (early) necks are wider and flatter mid 1959 they started adding rosewood fingerboards.
     
  9. Grinderman

    Grinderman

    Dec 21, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Gold anodized aluminum (10 holes)? That would be standard/correct on a Classic 50s.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
  10. Grinderman

    Grinderman

    Dec 21, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Necks from '57, '58 and into '59 (pre-CBS, not AVRI) are typically still of relatively substantial thickness, around 0.9" to .95" (at 1st fret) front-to-back, with a soft V profile/shape, not flat. Later '59 to '60 necks transition to '60s C profile.

    Fender AVRI '57 and '58, Classic '50s, American Original '50s, '50s Vintera, etc don't have front-to-back thicknesses and profiles true to pre-CBS '57, '58, and '59 Fender articles. Many incorrectly believe or assume the front-to-back thicknesses on those FMIC reissues are as thick as the real deal from the Leo Fender days; they aren't.

    The only modern reissues that get the profiles and thicknesses i the realm of period-correct are from Fender Custom Shop.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
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  11. andare

    andare

    Oct 4, 2016
    Krakow
    The Classic Series 50s was replaced by the Vintera in 2018. They all have a one-piece maple neck, 1.75"nut, 7.25" radius, C profile, small frets, truss rod at the heel, threaded saddles, 10-hole gold pickguard on most models and no shielding in the cavity.
    The serial number will tell you which year and series it's from. I think the Vinteras has less yellow tint on the neck. Dakota Red and Honey blonde was available on both. Black was only on the Classic 50s and seafoam green only on the Vinteras.
     
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  12. Grinderman

    Grinderman

    Dec 21, 2013
    Los Angeles
    + If memory serves me right, there were two versions; Classic '50s and Classic '50s Lacquer.
     
  13. Not so much chunky as wide, but you're right, it seems to be quite noticeable and some people find it too big. I think it was 45mm at the nut (I no longer have mine, and I regret it, it was a great bass).
     
  14. garp

    garp

    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    The anodized gold guard was OEM. The guard was drilled for the pickup cover and tugbar, but the bass did not come with covers or tugbar. I added them to mine.
    Correct, but only in certain finishes. I believe that lacquer was only offered on the black and sunburst models.
     
  15. TimboZ

    TimboZ

    Jan 4, 2009
    South of Buffalo
    Mine came with the gold pick guard. It is white with lacquer finish.
     
  16. garp

    garp

    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    I stand corrected: The lacquer option was also offered in the White Blonde finish.
     
  17. Dynacord

    Dynacord

    Jan 1, 2005
    Poland
    On the pre-CBS ones, the '57s (gold guard/split pickup version) I've seen have had V profiles and by '58 rounded to something more like a D. I owned both a '58 and '59 (maple - 4/59 - I've seen both maple and rosewood boards dated that same month) and the '59 was flatter compared to the '58 (not by a lot but still noticeable - the '59 was the one I've liked the most but that's obviously subjective).
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
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  18. Tommy TGrip

    Tommy TGrip

    Feb 14, 2022
    Australia
    I'm looking for chunk
     
  19. Tommy TGrip

    Tommy TGrip

    Feb 14, 2022
    Australia
    Thanks all for info. As always, incredibly helpful. I've read that the Classic 50s RI has "vintage style" frets. I assume this means smaller? Any views on these please?
     
  20. andare

    andare

    Oct 4, 2016
    Krakow
    Narrow and low. They feel almost fretless but IMO they make it harder to fret cleanly. I have them on my main P and before I bought it I was playing a Vintera neck. I like vintage frets but when I play my Mini P or Bronco with medium jumbos, they fret much more easily.
     
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