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Opinions re: Fender American Deluxe Ash P-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tocoadog, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. tocoadog


    Apr 10, 2005
    I've played it, I like it, I'm in the market for it. But...what's deluxe about it? Tonal options? Is it worth $1200?

    I've done a search on consumer e-pinions, and nothing, notta, which concerns me.

    Any opinions would be great. Thanks.
  2. telekaster


    Feb 14, 2005
    San Diego
    A friend of mine has one of those. About 99.9% of the time I ever saw him play it, I was on the other side of the stage playing guitar, and you really can't hear much on a typical rock show stage so I can't say much about the sound. I have watched him play bass for another band a couple times and I never really heard it cut through. This could be due to the bass itself or the Ampeg rig he was using. I know I get more cut with my jazz basses and Eden WT550 amp.

    What makes it a Deluxe P? Well, it has an active preamp and that fat dual-coil jazz pickup at the bridge position (my friend told me that he plays mostly on the neck pickup, so that could attribute to the no cut-through factor). The body is also downsized from a typical P bass (I like that). The Ash body could also contribute to less mid frequencies. I never had the opportuninty to play through it for long because I wasn't serious about bass at the time.

    Is it worth $1200? I think it is as long as that's what you want. Other basses to consider in that price range would be a G&L L2000. What I don't like about most active Fender basses basses is that you cannot bypass the preamp. Sometimes a fully passive bass is a beautiful thing.
  3. tocoadog


    Apr 10, 2005
    I checked out harmony-central, but I guess I overlooked that.

    Thanks again.
  4. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I had a '99, and I think I reviewed it on Harmony-Central. The playability and construction were absolutely amazing, but I sold it because I learned I prefer the raw, organic tone of passive Fenders. I also thought the bridge humbucker was pretty weak, and didn't add much to the tone, but the P-pickup sounded decent. I bet the new 18v models are better. I sometimes wish I'd kept it, guttted the electronics, and tossed in some Rio Grande or Nordstrand pickups in a passive setup. That would have been killer, but expensive, and I wasn't willing to take the risk.

    For a hard-hitting, active Fender-esque bass in that price range, I agree the G&L L-2000 is probably better, and I'm considering one now. Actually, I think the American Deluxe Jazz is better. For some reason, the electronics seem to work better with those pickups, and it has excellent tone.
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Best P-bass ever built.
  6. Once again, i have to agree with Munji. They are seriously awesome basses.
  7. saintx


    May 30, 2005
    I agree 100%. I prefer a more vintage Fender P vibe, and I never really liked the P Deluxe sound. The humbucker sucked and I hated the preamp. I loved the build quality and playability, however, so I didn't want to get rid of it. I found a second hand EMG P/J set for cheap so I had a friend (Hey Bill!) pull the original pickups and preamp and add the EMGs. After adding some free Elixirs it is now my main recording bass. No, it isn't a vintage P bass sound, but it always sounds good in the mix live or in the studio.
  8. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    One thing too, you guys are talking about an older model. IIRC, they changed from the John Suhr desinged preamp to some fender no-name stuff around 98. I have one of the last of the Suhr preamps in my 97 deluxe, and it is wonderful. But, I am sure they have improved the preamp from the changeover in the newer models.
  9. The newer preamp is still great. Awesome versatility. My only complaint with it, is that isn't a little to bright and trebley for my tastes.
  10. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I should add that my '99 sounded AMAZING acoustically. It was among the most resonant, lively solid-bodies I've played, more so than the Am. Ser. P that took its place. So the sonic issues were clearly in the electronics, which is why I may have done well to replace them.
  11. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    I've owned an American P, a Japanese P-J, and an AmDlx P.
    I like the AmDlx the best. I sold the other two...;)
  12. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I've have and have owned numerous basses. I own a
    2005 am dlx jazz V. Alder body with Maple neck. Yhe
    build quality is VERY high on these basses. Some of the
    best fretwork I've seen on a low to mid priced bass. Dead
    quiet in the studio, with lots of tonal options. I like the
    newer electronics much more than the older versions,
    but thats just my taste. I was able to have my tech install
    a passive switch in the battery cavity. (just incase) The
    passive sound is identical to the sound of the bass when
    everything is set flat on the bass in active mode. Hope
    this helps.
  13. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND


    It is the only P Bass I have played that I really liked.