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Impressions of Fender Precision Sting Signature Model

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chuck norriss, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nothing on the forums specific to this model so I'll put in a hand, beginning from the top down.

    I bought mine used & the seller claimed it was all stock, yet the tuners turned the other way, like a lefty. Curious, but excellent tuners whatever they are, and they appear to be stock vintage type tuners.

    I didn't know or notice anything special about these except for the nut looks like an off white imitation bone and sits at a good height. Unfortunately I don't know if it comes this way or if it was adjusted as such by the first owner.

    Lovely one-piece neck however the Wide-C Precision neck is definitely wide, too wide, & definitely a Precision feel. I can play it but I'm used to playing Jazz necks. My left hand feels stronger; I've exercised muscles that I haven't used before because of this neck. I still prefer Jazz necks. The width of the Wide-C is the reason why I would sell this bass & not keep it for life. Fender did a great job on the finish. It's glassy like the Geddy Lee for those of you familiar with that neck. Accommodates slapping/strumming Abe Laboreal style. Not to say I play that well.

    Vintage (small) frets are too small for my taste. I don't understand why they put these frets on this neck. I have to work harder to get the note(s). Gets even harder to press with flats on it. This doesn't suit my lazy lifestyle.

    Contoured Precision body (not slab Telecaster body) with a canal under the pickguard. The canal doesn't bother me but it might deter some, who want to take off the enormous pickguard and rock their Precision topless.
    I put a chrome pickup cover on mine & took the big white pickguard off because I felt like it. Burnt toast finish is a little ugly & ironically, might look better if it was uglier or worn out & faded like Sting's original.

    '51 style single coil. The difference in sound is the difference in New Wave & hard rock. It sounds good & you can get to that P sound but maybe it's skinnier than a split coil. I don't know what pickup Sting uses but this one sounds like Brit-invasion rock & roll or New Wave, not 90's arena rock, not heavy metal, not Jamiroquai, or Limp Bizkit, not a Jazz Bass. I would suggest a replacement (SD Antiquity) if you have the cash. Base plate is small Tele style. I looked under it--250k pots & not a lot going on under there. The vol & tone are capable of smooth transitions. They don't feel cheap.

    Old-school bent bridge with two chrome saddles (not brass) & body-through piercings whatever they're called. You string the ball-end through the body. I like it, but then I'm not a high-mass bridge guy when it comes to a vintage like instrument. Save the HMB for your modern bass. This bridge is appropriate here.
    When the tilt of the saddle favors one string over another by more than 2mm that string with the lower action will slide a nominal amount, naturally, until it finds its resting place with least amount of tension. There's no groove or notch for the string to rest on. Wilkinson makes a replacement bridge but it's four times the amount of other Fender brass-saddle 4-str replacements.

    Bottom line:
    A joy to play & feel & listen to, but the Wide-C and small vintage frets are not ideal. If it was a regular Precision C neck & medium or larger frets it would be the last P I'd have to buy.
  2. mam1862

    mam1862 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Northfield, Ohio
    I bought one of these used about a year ago and I really like it. The only difference is mine had the Badass Bridge III on it instead of he saddle style bridge. You are right in saying the neck is wide. This is my third bass and out of the three it definitely has the thickest neck. I love the look of this bass and I wanted a Precision and the price was right so I grabbed it. IMO a very underrated bass.
  3. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    I love mine. The PUP I put in was the Duncan basslines model. The original PUP was underwhelming. The nut on mine, as well as the bridge and the reverse tuners are not that great, and are original. I want to upgrade the nut and the tuners first.
    This bass through a small ampeg combo has a really old fashioned sound great for blues. I have had mine a long time.
  4. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    Truth is the neck should be bigger .
  5. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    @mam1862 I wish it was one to keep. I too love the originality & scarcity--not too many on the streets. But that neck! If something has to go--and something does--it would be this one. And it will be. You're right: underrated.
    @lucas vigor so the reverse tuners are stock after all. Thanks for the info. Mine manages to stay in tune rather well. I can live with the reverse rotation. I definitely dig the old fashioned old-er school P sound. I may have to pursue a 51 reissue if it has a narrower neck. I understand Squier makes a butterscotch 51 reissue too. I'm not crazy about those necks.
  6. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    @msb I'd highly recommend this bass to someone wanting a vintage sound & vibe, with a wider P neck.
  7. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    I'll tell, you though, the neck is half the fun!
  8. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    I find the neck to be fine -- pickup too for that matter -- but I have normal, adult, man-sized and strength hands.
  9. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Amen brother!

    That's a nice thing to have!

  10. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    I tried one of these several years ago and I was astonished at how good it played. Moreover, I liked that the pickup didn't sound all that noisy.

    But that Sting signature inlay at the 12th fret is kind of an eyesore. Plus, I tend to stay away from basses with maple fingerboards.

    When I first tried this bass, it was around the time that Fender first introduced the model. IIRC, it was around the time they brought the Geddy Lee bass out, too. And back then this bass was an amazing value. But the prices have really ramped up over the past 4+ years. So if you can score one of these in good condition used, go for it!
  11. I recognize it's a period piece, complete with all the short comings of theoriginal design, including the hum around certain lights or when you take your hands off the strings, the infamous dead spot on the gnstring etc. etc., but I like it the way it is! Well, except for the riduculous pear(ish) sting inlay. Mine currently sits with a set of TI flats on it.
  12. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Now that you mentioned it, this was out at the same time as the geddy lee and I think the marcus miller as well. As I remember, the Sting was around 500 clams, and the Marcus and Geddy were in the 700-800 range. Anyway, thats how long I have had it. My next step will be to get the black tape wounds and go for the full effect! ( i already have foam under the bridge cover) Currently using chromes. Through an Ampeg, this bass has a really creamy mid-range. Good note definition on the lower notes, but a real round tone up top. The nut is definitely cheap plastic. I want to replace it with a tusque nut. The original '54s had a bone nut, correct?
  13. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    I've always had a Pbass and find Jazz necks too skinny . I prefer Stingrays to Sterlings for the same reason .

    Fender slightly narrowed the standard P necks in 69 around the time the TV logos first appeared and the bulletproof poly finishes started , the earlier ones had a little more heft . That's why I was saying they should be a bit larger .

    The various re-issues have the smaller necks .
  14. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    I should try a reissue then. My Sting is up for sale. Unfortunately I have to use THAT online auction house.
  15. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    I love everything about the Sting bass except that foolish 12th fret inlay.
  16. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    I was put off by the inlay at first but it grew on me. No other sig model has that--I wonder why they did it. Maybe because the Lee had the black inlays that really stand out they felt something wasn't special enough about the Sting so they threw that in for compensation.
    If it doesn't sell then I'll just grow another finger & learn to live with the wide neck.
  17. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Grosbeak, Yamaha, Fender, BSX. I’m Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    I owned a very similar bass, the '51 Precision Bass reissue (MIJ) in the sunburst, and it recently got sold. I have a few things to say about it.

    The bass sound is very good IMO, although the hum COULD be much, it never really bothered me. I do, however, prefer the split pickup, as it's a bit more consistent in the sound quality.

    What I did not like was the bridge and the slab body (the latter is not a problem on the Sting model). The bridge had the two saddles, and that really became a big problem when it came to intonation for me. Plus the two saddles didn't really when it came to lowering the action on the strings - it just always felt off. The slab body (again, this is not a problem on the Sting model) was very uncomfortable, especially if you played with a pick.

    I can definitely see the cool factor in the instrument, and I enjoyed it for a period. However, when Leo redesigned the bass through the 50's, he definitely did a service to the bass playing community, and he really made a much better instrument in the end.

    On a side note, funnily enough, Sting used to play other Precisions. Back in the Police days he owned a natural ash fretless Precision from the 70's (which he may have had refinished to red, judging by some videos) and one Sunburst fretted rosewood (I think pre-CBS - see some of the videos for Ghost in the Machine). Not being a solo Sting fan, but a very big Police fan, certainly a lot more of the recordings I remember him playing in featured him on these Precisions.
  18. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    LOL :D
  19. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Yeah it's a period piece but there is a lot good about this design that the later Fender designs lacked, notably the punch of the notes from the single pole piece under each string.
  20. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    Thanks ggvicviper. I'm a Police fan too. I startle over fretless maple board P's.
    Too bad: Sting sig has a Wide-C & tiny vintage frets. 51 has an uncomfortable slab body. It digs into your arm after playing a few hours right? That Leo Fender guy was genius.
    I suppose I can reshape & refret then refinish my neck but that sounds like a good-bad idea.
    Now that you mention it my E string tends to slide down 1mm on the saddle. I can file down a little groove to make it stay. I want to love my bass entirely but she's not quite there yet.

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