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Tried a 2012 American Standard P...mixed feelings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pocketgroove, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    So, now that the holidays are past, I sat down, looked at my finances, and made a budget to save up for a nice instrument in June. My plan is to go to Sweetwater Gearfest, try a bunch of instruments, and leave with the one that really speaks to me. Barring any tragedies, I should have about $1400 to spend.

    Currently, I have a couple cheaper/parts basses. My most expensive instrument is my Squier VM Jazz. I really want to take a step up, and get a nice, solid instrument that won't constantly have issues like my current fleet does...something I don't have to worry about, but can pick up and go with at any time.

    I've never owned a real Fender and Precisions are my preference, so the first bass on my list was a 2012 American Standard P in 3TS. Yesterday I got to try one out at the local GC, and my first impression wasn't that great. The sunburst didn't look good, at all; it looked pretty cheap. I was expecting more of a vintage, brown tint. The wood under the finish had black marks in the grain, and there were small finish imperfections all over the place. The neck wood was the same way. I also expected the rosewood for the board to look nicer. A skunk stripe on the back of the neck would have looked nicer, as well.

    However, the weight was nice, the tuners were good (although the bridge wasn't as great as expected), it played well despite GC's high action, and it sounded really good...classic and thumpy, but well-defined. Also, despite some of my disappointment, something about that bass is sticking with me.

    Yet, I'm having a hard time knowing if I could part with the money for it. My job doesn't pay well, so it's six months of savings...I didn't immediately get the "I really want this bass right now" feeling that I was expecting, and it would be hard to justify spending the money without that feeling present.

    Anyway, I know this was a long post, but if you made it through, thanks! I'd really appreciate the help.

  2. If you don't feel entirely comfortable spending the money on a bass that doesn't feel like magic the first time you play it, then don't. Wait a bit and try some other bases.

    That feeling of magic may never come, so be prepared to try a lot of basses. Personally, I really like the Classic 50s P. Cheaper than the American Standard, but IMO, it sounds better. If you can deal with an extra chunky neck, I'd give it a shot.

    Good luck!
  3. Hey Sam,
    All I would offer is to echo the thoughts offered before on this subject. Try a few and find the ones that speaks to you. There are great Fenders out there and some average - even since the post-2008 QC improvement drive. Also, GC display models are not generally set-up optimally. If you try a few, you'll get to one that ticks all your boxes. And for that outlay and the effort you'll put into getting the $$ - you deserve a bass that ticks ALL the boxes. They are out there. Good luck and enjoy the hunt.
  4. wilder


    Apr 21, 2004
    Denton, TX.
    I don't have that feeling when I play the American Standards series either. I feel like the Squier CV series is just a pickup, two pots, and a jack away from being just as good. However, I have owned and played a Nash P that felt was worth the $ so they are out there. Maybe I just haven't played the right USA P yet and your plan of trying a bunch of them is a solid one. Stick with it that, but be open minded when you're at Gearfest and try everything you can.
  5. I play parts basses for the same reason, whenever I get my hands on a production model I'm just not that impressed. I would be tempted to modify any bass I had so why bother spending that much for a new fender?
    In that price range you could find a Nash bass, they tend to fill in what Fender leaves out.


    Edit: That's so funny Wilder I didn't even see your Nash post as I was writing mine!
  6. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Well, nobody can make the decision about what's best for you except you. I'm not sure how much we can help, but I'll address a couple of things.

    Finish imperfections won't be present on every bass, and that's why your plan to look at a bunch of basses is good. The skunk stripe is a remnant of the way a neck is manufactured, and will only be present on certain basses as a result.

    The fact that you liked the way the bass sounded is a good sign, so you are probably headed in the right direction. But I think we all appreciate the apprehension at spending money on something and wondering if it will live up to expectations.

    Here are a couple of things to consider:

    A used USA Fender will be less money, and if you shop around and are patient, you might find the bass you've been looking for.

    Try a Lakland Skyline 44-64 if you can get a hold of one in your location. They are great basses that, IMO, are built to a little higher standard. (Others may disagree, this is just one man's opinion. :) )

    Good luck in your quest!
  7. Two words: Shop used!

    Especially for an item as ubiquitous as a Fender P-Bass.
  8. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    i made the mistake of buying a fender to have a fender.
    dont get me wrong i have had some good fender basses, but getting the best isnt always by getting the top of the line.
  9. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    You have $1400, so you have many options.

    However, It would be shortchanging yourself to expect to make one trip to one music store and try one bass and expect it to be "the one."

    These things vary. Different years, different neck profiles, different features, yield different feels. No one has YOUR hands but you, you need to go and wrap them around as many different basses as you can until something clicks.

    An American Fender does not guarantee much in the way of it being the "right" bass for you.
  10. Given your circumstances, I would definitely keep my eyes open for a nice 2008-on American Standard Precision Bass. They can be had for around $800. My 2010 is flawless.
  11. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    You FENDER boys...always looking to mod your toys. I haven't owned a Fender in about 8 years. I don't like to be bothered with having to modify my basses.
  12. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    ....."having to modify?"
  13. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Alien Audio / Mesa Fanatic!! Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    MM flamebait.
  14. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    New Years Resolution: No feeding trolls.

    Starting NOW.
  15. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    No bait here. Sorry if I came off that way
  16. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Keep looking don't judge your experience on one P bass at GC. I play mostly vintage stuff and Gibsons to boot but I am pretty impressed with Fenders overall quality these days. Locally I have tried any number of P basses that I have really liked. The new Antigua finish P I tried was a real winner though I am not a big fan of that finish. Don't buy the first thing you see keep looking something will grab you!
  17. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Alien Audio / Mesa Fanatic!! Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    It's okay. I play both. Currently doing some minor mods to my SR5 and wondering what Sadowsky knobs would look like on it.
  18. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Two words....keep looking. I spent about eight months off and on looking for a 5 string. I must have played and compared about 25 differant basses before I found the one that I felt was made for me. Did just about the same with my latest, an American Standard 4 string Jazz bass. Looked off and on for about 3 months, found one and still did some additional comparing to be sure. I too work very hard for my money, so buying on impulse is out.

    Something else to consider. Don't limit yourself. In the past my basses all had rosewood fretboards just....because. With my last two purchases (both Fenders) I knew I wanted the best players I could possibly find and to my surprise the best players were the ones with a maple fretboard. Your results may vary, but I could feel a differance and was very surprised by this. My 5 string has the Candy Cola finish and my 4 string is black and both have a maple fretboard. It's not that I had to have those color combinations, but they were the best players and that's all that mattered. Yeah...they sound pretty darned good too! No modding needed, either.

    Again, take your time to compare and you'll know when you've found "thee one."
  19. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    Set up makes such a big difference. You really can't judge by a single bass plucked from the wall at GC. If you don't like the 3T finish on the Fender, that's cool. Just keep your eye out for the one with the finish and look that speaks to you. When you find it, plug it in and give it a go. Many retailers will even work with you (if you come across as a serious buyer) to adjust the action while you demo the bass to make sure its to your liking. Only then will you know if you have the right bass for you.

    I have been nothing but impressed with the quality of Fender American Standard basses from 2008 to present. They are built from quality components. Take the time to get the set up right and I think you will be happy in the long run.
  20. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    With many soon to be jumping the "fiscal" cliff quality used instruments should be easy to find.