NBD: Fender Elite Precision Bass - Unboxing and Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vid1900, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    With the Ultras looming, a month ago they were blowing out the Elites at crazy prices.

    I decided to make my move (alright, I'll admit the giant discount is what really forced my hand...)

    The Elite Precision was Fender's baddest of the bad bass.

    Compound Radius Neck 9.5 at the nut to 14" at the 21st fret (this lets you set the action lower).

    18v active pre-amp (you can flip the toggle if you want to use the traditional passive P-bass sound, or if your batteries die)

    Ebony Fretboard

    Bone Nut

    Ash Body

    Besides the normal humbucking P-bass pickup, it also has the Fender Jazz bridge pickup (a 4th gen noiseless) for a 'best of both worlds' PJ configuration.

    • Body Shape: Precision
    • Left-/Right-handed: Right-handed
    • Number of Strings: 4
    • Color: Natural
    • Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
    • Body Material: Ash
    • Neck Material: Maple
    • Neck Shape: 'C' to'D'
    • Radius: Compound 9.5" to 14"
    • Fingerboard Material: Maple
    • Fingerboard Inlay: Black dot
    • Number of Frets: 21
    • Scale Length: 34"
    • Nut Width: 1.625"
    • Nut Material: Bone
    • Bridge/Tailpiece: 4-Saddle Hi-Mass Vintage, String-thru or Topload
    • Tuners: Fender "F" Light-weight Vintage-paddle Keys
    • Neck Pickup: Fender Elite Precision Bass single-coil
    • Bridge Pickup: Fender 4th-generation Noiseless single-coil
    • Controls: 1 x vol, 1 x blend, 1 x bass, 1 x mids, 1 x treble, active/passive switch
    • Strings: Fender USA, NPS .045-.105
    • Case Included: Hardshell
    • Manufacturer Part Number: 0196902721
  2. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    The bass came double boxed, an Adorama outer box, and the factory sealed Fender box inside of that.

  3. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Inside the factory box, protected by 2 foam endcaps was the Fender molded Elite case:
  4. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    If you haven't seen a molded case lately, they have TSA locks, so the security agents can examine your new bass, without you having to leave them the keys.
    BOOG likes this.
  5. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Unfortunately, the double boxing and foam endcaps were not enough protection to save the ABS plastic case from smashing:

    Even though the case was destroyed, the bass itself was unharmed.
  6. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Fender had some of the worst colors for it's Elite line of products.

    The only non old-man color was Champagne Gold. Everything else was Sunburst, Natural or something from my great-grandfather's era.

    The gold was rather handsome in person:
  7. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Front side detail:
  8. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Here is her backside:


    You can see that the Elite Bass is using a 5-bolt neck now, for enhanced stability and sustain.

    You can string the bass thru-body, or through the tail of the bridge (it came strung through the body).

    There is a battery door seen here also.


    Maybe the best part about the entire Elite bass is that the finish is Poly !!!!

    No sticky fake 'nitro'.

    No taking scrubby pads or Novus3 to try and get rid of the gooey surface.

    No fragile 'nitro' paint that will chip if you look at it sideways.

    Just a tough finish that is ready to be played right out of the case.

    That's friggin' Elite!
  9. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019


    The Bone Nut was cut properly. No ticking or pinging when tuning up.

    The face of the Headstock is finished in gloss, the rest of the neck is finished in matte.

    The chrome foil logo decals are buried under the clear, as they should be.

    Nothing sucks more that when manufacturers put fragile, waterslide decals on top of the finish.

    I know it's **vintage**, but it's a terrible idea, and someone will immediately ruin your decals when they clip a tuner to the headstock.

    Again, Fender did this properly. A bass that is ready to be played, not handled with kid's gloves.
  10. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Back of Headstock:


    Again, entire back of the neck is finished in matte poly.

    Fender lightweight tuners

    Serial number says the guitar was made in 2017, so the wood has had time to settle in 2 years, no doubt.
  11. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Yeah, the stickers say "Streaked Ebony" but I got a very plain Ebony.

    I could have got it from SW and chose my Streaking, but SW was $700 more and would have charged me tax on top of that.

    So for a total of $820 savings, I'll accept my plain Ebony and hang my head low.

    On the left side, you can see the cool Tinkertoy truss adjustment wheel:

  12. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Boring Sydney, boring......
  13. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    The bass ships with a frosted plastic template that shows you what all the controls do.

    Tiny toggle switch on the Right allows Passive or Active pre-amp.

    Other than volume, the knobs have center dents, so you know when you are in the Cut or Boost positions.


    Kids on the internets cry that the Active circuit can be much louder than the Passive.

    Obviously if you actively boost the signal +18db on one of those knobs, it's going to be 18db louder, LOL.

    Kids, you got to love them.....
  14. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Probably a pound of this 9 pound bass is the massive bridge.

    It is a heavy piece of tech.

    You can run the strings through the body or through the back of the bridge itself.
    The original P-bass just used pieces of threaded rod as the saddles.

    You could move the strings between the threads to give yourself a comfortable string spacing.

    In a nod to the original, Fender gives you some **threads** to adjust the spacing.

    The above was the factory spacing.
  15. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Some Neck Pocket action:
    Son of Wobble and teh-slb like this.
  16. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    The Active Pre-amp runs on 18v, so it uses two 9v batteries.

    There is an access door on the back of the bass.

    You can remove the screws using a coin, so you don't need a screwdriver or Allen wrench (good for gigging).

    The screws thread into Brass Inserts, so they wont strip out like if you kept putting a screw into a hole in the wood. Nice touch.

    The bad part is that the screws are not retained by the access door, so on a dark stage, you will lose one of them for sure.

    You can make your own retention system, by using an Internal Toothed Washer:

  17. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Here, you can see that the pots, and the Pre-amp circuit are all mounted on a circuit board.

    This is both a blessing and a curse.

    Players that don't know how to solder, can just plug in any new sets of pickups, so they will love it.

    Players that want to swap out a Pot, will have a slightly harder time finding a matching part.

    Here I've unplugged the Neck Pickup, so you can see how it works.
  18. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Here you can see that the Output Jack has 4 wires, so it can switch off the Pre-amp circuit (by unplugging the cord), even if you leave the Toggle Switch on.

    Fender: saving the earth, two batteries at a time.

  19. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Overhead cavity view:

  20. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Examining her body cavities, it looked as though they were unshielded.

    No sign of black Carbon Paint, or Copper Foil.

    Knowing that many MIM guitars don't have any shielding lately, this seemed very bad if the $2000 flagship was not shielded.

    Using an Ohm Meter, I put one lead on the Bridge, and the other into the Control Cavity. No conductivity, just gold paint.

    I pressed the Cavity Probe lead deeper, through the gold paint, and got a conductive reading!

    So apparently, Fender painted these cavities with Carbon Paint, THEN sprayed the gold over the top.

    Clever. (and reassuring, lol)

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