So Which Fender P-Bass Was/Is The Best?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ZenG, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. Seems Fender changed the pickups on them many a time.

    Yes ..I know somebody is going to answer "all of them". But if you are that person I would ask which one you would buy if you could only afford one and all the Fender P's (actual P's) they ever made were available to you brand new right now.
    EatS1stBassist and Pbassmanca like this.
  2. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown

    May 1, 2000
    SLC, UT
    I've owned a few American Standards, an American Series, several AVRIs, 2 Custom Shop Time Machines, and the current '63 reissue. The '63 I have now is the best sounding P Bass I've ever owned. It's the best sounding bass period I've ever had.
  3. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    As far as I'm concerned, Leo got it pretty much right the first time...Only change I'd make is a stacked humbucking pickup and also available in a short scale version. :cool:
    Mvilmany likes this.
  4. As a 5 string player it's only been a decade or so they've made a pure P (not a PJ) I want. So it would be an American Standard, or now Professional, 5 string.
  5. Energy


    Jun 20, 2006
    I go with the second incarnation of the Precision Bass, like it was made between 1954 and early 1957: thick round maple neck, single coil pickup, contoured ash body. Huge tone, punchy and growly lows, but also a lot of bite and clarity (when strung with rounds and the mute removed).
    BlueAliceOasis, Pocket4 and jd56hawk like this.
  6. A friend of mine, who I have lost touch with, bought a 1965 Precision in 1972.

    I played this bass many times, and its tone sticks in my mind to this day.

    Warm, and round.

    Thump machine with flats on it, and almost piano-like with rounds.

    And, probably the most balanced-sounding instrument regarding lows, mids and highs I've heard.

    When I try out a bass in a store, hear one in a band or practice by myself, this is the sound I compare all basses to.

    I was very fortunate to be young in the 70s, and know someone who had a Pre-CBS P-bass only seven years after Fender was sold.

  7. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    In my opinion, the American Vintage Reissue line should be in the conversation when discussing a "best P-bass". They really are an excellent all-around bass. You get the design and aesthetic of vintage 1950's and 1960's basses, but the construction technology and quality control of modern times. You get great playability, tone, and weight, but without the high prices of Custom Shop and boutique basses.
    dukeorock and AngelCrusher like this.
  8. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    image.jpeg image.jpeg This one is my favorite. Bought it in '81, could of bought any year pre. It was the most expensive Fender bass available at the time. The neck is a copy of the '61 B neck. Nice balanced bass, perfect for 6 nights a week.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  9. I remember when this ad was in Bass Player magazine!

    Very nice, CaseyVancouver. :bassist:

    I like that yours has a rosewood board. :thumbsup:

  10. ScottfromCalgary


    May 10, 2015
    The latest American Vintage 63 P is the best of the ones I've owned and played. I also have an AVRI 57 that's fantastic but not as good as the 63. I've owned several MIA and MIM P's in the past, albeit none from 2008 and on, which I hear/read are also great. I recently got rid of my original 72 which was a fantastic bass, but just didn't hold up to the 63 reissue. Very subjective of course, especially when you get into playing comfort with different neck profiles, etc.
    AngelCrusher likes this.
  11. AngelCrusher


    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Yes. Exact same here. It is the best sounding PBass and bass I have ever played.

    Does that make it the best? No, there is no best. There are just awesome basses, and the AVRI63 is such a thing.
  12. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    Hands down, the best P I ever ran across, and I’ve gigged quite a few, was one of those ‘59 Relic Jobs from the Custom Shop. That bass was the whole package. I thought long and hard about picking that bass up, even though I am an anti-fan of the whole relic thing. Unfortunately, we were still knee deep in college tuitions; so, the timing wasn’t good. That bass remains on my mind all these years later. One of those.
  13. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    This is also my experience. I've played just about every make, model, and year of P-Bass imaginable and I've not yet found one that competes with a '63 Reissue as an overall P-Bass.
  14. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    What does the shop owner's religion have to do with anything?
    RandM likes this.
  15. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    About as much as the shop being in New Jersey. Or the reference could be ethnic/nationalistic as opposed to religious. Or maybe the poster forgot the guy's name. In any event, all of the referents are useful only to locals: those who in that place and time could correctly interpret them and from memory identify the shop.
  16. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    I could state my uninformed GAs opinion, but I'm still looking for a bargain on that one.
  17. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    I'm going to start by saying that I'm not a P-Bass guy, and that I discovered that three decades ago so my views might be a bit off the chart.

    To me, it would be a toss-up between the original '51 P-Bass in all its unrefined glory - something that I've played on a couple of occasions but never owned - and an '82/83 Walnut Special that I bought brand new and to this day consider to be the best built Fender bass that I've ever owned, and I've owned many.

    If I were to re-visit the Walnut, the original electronics package would have to take a walk just like they did 34 years ago. I fully understand what people like about it, but it's not my cup of tea by any measure.

    My $0.02 only...
  18. AndreasR


    Oct 23, 2012
    The G&L one.
  19. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    I've owned and played numerous different Precision basses, have to say though in my personal and bias opinion was a 1998 MIM Fender Precision I had, thing was stock and just sounded awesome like no other bass.
  20. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    Uhhh, are you possibly referring to Lark Street Music in Teaneck? It's one of the best vintage instrument shops in the NYC metropolitan area, if not the country.

    But what does Buzzy, the owner, being a Jew have to do with anything?!?!?
    Pbassmanca, MrAtomic and 96tbird like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 24, 2021

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