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New Fender P-Bass Special "Deluxe"--oh yeah!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. PhunkyPants, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    So I'm about to go get a MO to send for a used Ken Smith BSR-J and I stop by the Ford dealership to pick up my wife's truck. And there goes almost all the bass money!!

    But wait, to console myself, I stop by the local music shop and what do I see? A brand new MIM Fender P-Bass Deluxe Special. I've been interested in checking one of these out, simply because it covers several of my "ideal" bass attributes:

    Jazz neck
    Precision shape body
    P and J (noiseless) pickups
    Active electronics

    When you think about it, not too many brands offer that combo. But for me, it's sort of my idea of "chocolate and peanut butter".

    But anyway, this is an MIM bass, so I'm not expecting much in the fit and finish department. You all may remember my proclivity to bash Fender on other threads. The Fenders I've had over the years have included:

    MIA Jaco Jazz Fretless
    MIA 1975 Jazz Reissue
    MIA Deluxe P-bass
    MIA Precision
    MIJ 1975 Reiussue
    MIM Standard Jazz 5
    Squier Affinity P-bass

    All but one of these I turned around and sold within a month. I have torn Fender a new one quite a few times on this board and pretty much never thought I'd go back. Well...I'm speechless.

    The level of fit and finish on this MIM exceeds anything on and of the MIA basses listed above. For one thing, the neck is perfect. There was a hair too much relief so I tweaked the truss rod and it settled down perfectly. There's just the right amount of fallaway, too. No high frets. And even though the neck is maple, someone actually crowned these frets--unlike the trapezoidal frets on most maple-necked MIA basses. The nut was cut as expertly as on my Lull. The edges are rolled nicely. The finish was nicely applied as well, with no glaring gaffes.

    But this is all secondary. I bought the bass on impulse, threw a new set of RotoSound nickels on it, and drove to rehearsal. We had the best practice we've had in months! And all of my band mates were gushing effusively about how the bass sound was "tighter" and "more punchy" than on my Sterling. Though in fairness, if that's true it's probably partly my fault for EQ'ing the Sterling incorrectly. But there's NO denying the incredible tone coming from this bass. The active preamp is quiet and effective. The "noiseless" Jazz pickup is a little on the tame side, but the P pickup roars and you can really get some great "civilized" tones in the middle.

    You know, when I was at the store, when I picked up the bass it was like "ok, this is my bass". No fanfare, no fireworks. Like it had been sitting around my house for years. Amazing. Did Roger Sadowsky or Mike Lull sneak into the Fender plant in Mexico one night or something? How did this happen?

    Attached Files:

  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    MIM Fender has been getting a lot better in recent years. With that bass, you also get the good electronics package that used to be in the MIA stuff. I used to not like fender myself, until I started playing them. Then I found out why they get played so much. I myself have a bottom of the line Affinity P-bass, and I love it. I have modded it with gluing in the neck, EMG pickups, and a good setup, and it sounds amazing. This proves once again that you can get an amazing bass for not a whole lot of money. You just have to play them and find one that works for you.
  3. spekman


    Aug 5, 2004
    very nice bass :bassist:

    what kind of finish is it? it looks like silver or chrome?
    it looks very cool but personally i would replace the pickguard by a black one :cool:

  4. I'm curious about these. Could you post a pic of the frets and the neck? I love my MIA P-Bass but sometimes wish it had a Jazz neck.

    Awesome score!
  5. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    I've been curious about these as well. I used to be a Fender guy but I got burned out on them for quality reasons. I think these show a tremendous amount of promise. Nice buy. Also, I know these have active electronics but what are the controls? Does it have onboard EQ or is it equipped with active pickups and passive controls? Once again..........sweet.
  6. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    The controls are volume, pickup pan, stacked bass and treble, with mids separate. The two pickups are passive, the jazz is a stacked humbucker, to eliminate hum. So, passive pickups, active electronics.

    The color is a silver metallic under a clear coat--there's four colors for this bass...three metallic variants like candy apple red, some sort of blue, and this, pure silver. There's also black. All of these use the same (IMHO so-so) gold vinyl pickguard...and it's probably my least favorite aspect of the bass. But it's not abnoxious, just a little plain. So if I can ever get WD or Pickguard Heaven to make me a new one in tort or even silver paisley, I'll definitely do it. Problem is, right now the bass is still rare enough that it's not a standard guard--full size p-bass with four holes. The usa deluxe P-bass has a smaller guard.

    I'll try to get pics of the frets up. The neck is a satin finish jazz width. Skunk stripe. If you look closely, you can see some vertical sanding marks on the fingerboard, but it's better than having thick finish up and onto the frets like on my MIA P. Again, the fret tops are all nice and round, the angle of the neck is optimal, the truss rod is very responsive. I couldn't be more impressed with a MIM instrument.
  7. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    Ive got that bass!

    But mine is sunburt and rosewood. I do also think that people over look this bass, its really a great one.

    I wish i would have gotten maple and maybe in white. Oh well.

    I took that ugly gold guard off and put a black one on, also i added a BAII bridge.

    this photo is with out the BAII bridge.

  8. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I'm sad to report that as of this weekend--exactly three months since date of purchase--the preamp died. It's under warranty, but still--I guess I made the classic mistake of thinking a new Fender was high quality!
  9. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Nice bass. I dont' care for the PG color, throw a red tort on that thing :)

    Are the frets "small" size?

    Sorry to hear about the pre-amp. I was getting excited about maybe finding one until I read that *lol*
  10. If you fix it will you still be as happy with it?
  11. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    I demoed one of those for a week. Sounded good, played good. Couldn't justify buying a fourth bass, so I took it back. The next week I played a used G&L sb2. It blew me away with the tone and playability. I bought it the next day and its been my main axe for 3 years. It's the best bass I've ever owned hands down. You owe it to yourself to check one of these out. They go used for about the price of a new P special.
  12. I played the old passive model, and it had an amazing neck. I don't understand - I've never been really impressed witht he Standard basses but the Deluxe P and Classic 60s J, both MIM, are fantastic.
  13. Sorry, this is way off topic but... Nice peavey Mark III (? or is it 4?) bass head. My dad used one for years and years and its still going. Sounds pretty good too.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Well, having a preamp fail isn't nearly as bad as a structural flaw. Maybe you could treat yourself to a bart or Aggie pre.

    The bass certainly looks cool. I'd go with a black guard, but I tend to be boring that way...
  15. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Yeah--I slapped a black guard on there and it's WAY nicer looking. Now, if I could just get it to make some noise..... :D

    I love the bass, I'm going to try to get a warranty replacement pre. But if I don't, as you pointed out, it's a good excuse to drop boutique electronics in there--and then WATCH OUT!
  16. spekman


    Aug 5, 2004
    i really like this bass, however i never managed to try one yet
    and the look with the black pickguard must be amazing, it's kind off the bass i have in mind to by within a couple weeks

    could you post some pics plz? :hyper:


    anyway good luck with it :)
  17. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002

    Attached Files:

  18. Nice man! Hope you get it up and running soon!
  19. spekman


    Aug 5, 2004
    woooooow :cool:
    i now i really really want this bass! :cool:

    thnx for the pics
  20. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Some info on getting Chandler to cut a guard:

    The shape is the same as a MIM Standard P-bass, but the holes are different. I was trying to explain that to the guy at Chandler, since they don't have this model listed on the website menu.

    Then I described the cheesy gold plastic guard that was on there to begin with and he was like "OH! THAT ONE! Yeah, I know exact what you're talking about--I just had one of those come in last week. I thought somebody made that guard at home." Evidently Fender tried to sell Chandler a large quantity of this material and they refused. That's some ugly-assed plastic there.

    Anyway, I told the guy I'd be happy to just have a MIM standard guard and drill the 3/8" holes myself, but he did the holes and they were exactly right.