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USA Hot Rod Precision

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rockin John, Apr 5, 2004.

  1. USA Hot- Rod Precision, £899. Through body strung, Jazz neck profile (Maple / Maple), black body with tortoise-shell style pick guard.

    I popped into my dealer to try this bass. Well, what a disappointment!!!

    I honestly thought Fender had improved their quality issues, but not on this showing. To be honest, it really had a cheap feel to it.

    The frets were sightly proud and felt just a little sharp / rough along the edges of the neck. (The same was true for a regular USA Precision they had in). So much for Fender's 'detailed fretwork', I thought.

    The controls were dreadful. Even budget basses these days have damped potentiometers. But this (nearly £1000) Fender's controls felt like cast-offs from the cheapest, Far Eastern made transistor radio.

    I found the sound (especially on D and G) weak and uninteresting. The overly high (for me) action didn't help and I was amazed to find the age-old dead spot on the neck. It was around B and C, but I thought Fender's graphite neck had irradicated this altogether. Clearly not.


    Little difference between a Squier and this USA. A horrible bass.
  2. Jonki

    Jonki I will not slap my Bee!

    Oct 14, 2003
    Arendal, Norway
    I'm starting to get another picture of Fender now, I thought that Fender was quality crafted :meh:
  3. Mines just fine. One of the best basses i ever played. Thats why i took it home.
  4. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Take into account this bass just might not suit your fancy. If it was badly setup then that can be fixed, and Fenders are sent from the factory with sky high action.

    Finally after all things are considered, then take into account that it could be a lemon.
  5. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    My experience has been 50/50. I almost bought one but it was orange!!! The hot rod precisions were made before the upgrade in 2000 for the "American series" which is a little better as far as construction goes IMO. Another point is that Ive never played a Fender I liked until I set it up myself. Then I judge the bass. :rolleyes: :bassist:

    Edit: Ive played a lot of Fenders and only a few have I not liked after I had a chance to do a setup. The one hot rod p bass I played that I thought didnt feel very good was one I never had a chance to setup. The sound of the hot rod is awesome though.
  6. Hmmm. Interesting......

    OK abark000.

    You have edited much from your original post, I see. I will not, therefore, respond to you in the way I had planned.


    This bass, valued by the dealer at some £900, had a number of features that I felt were:-

    1) Unworthy of a quality instrument of that price.
    2) More likely to be found on a budget Squier.

    Next to the Hot Rod was another USA (regular) Precision which also has the fretwire slightly proud of the edge of the fretboard. That, too, had cheap-feeling knobs, quite a high action, etc.

    Now, these two basses could be the worst Fender have ever made. But, going by the number of guys on these boards who've questioned Fender's quality, I doubt it.

    By comparison, hanging next to it was a £625 ESP. It had controls with a lovely smooth feel. The edges of the fretboard were as smooth as a baby's bum. The action was great. Also by comparison, I once owned a £75 Squier P bass (Chinese) which was almost as good as the Hot Rod in many ways.


    My overriding emotion was acute disappointment. I tried the 'Rod with a possible view to buying if a Yamaha deal fell through.

    Some are great as B'Aces High says. That one isn't, IMHO.

    What more can I say?

  7. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    It's really too bad that such things happen, because there will be those who read about this experience and conclude that Hot Rod Precisions suck.

    Couple of things: wood changes over time, especially when exposed to abrupt or extreme changes in humidity. The dealer in England should be checking ALL his basses for fret edges that have begun to protrude. A friend of mine in Japan told me once that Ernie Ball quality was HORRIBLE; he didn't understand how anyone could play a bass with such sharp fret edges. As it turns out, those basses were being exposed to big environmental changes, and after trying a few MM basses back here in the US, he realized what was what.

    I doubt those fret edges were that way when those basses left the factory. Moreover, any competent shop should have someone capable of performing QC before putting the bass out on the floor. Filing fret ends is not brain surgery.

    Same with high action.

    I know that the quality between two Fender instruments can vary and I do think that FMIC could do better work on QC, but the problems you describe, with the exception of the cheap feel to the knobs, could just as well have happened after those basses left the factory.

    I had a HRP for a short time and thought it was a versatile and well-made bass. The ESP might have some things to recommend it....but my experience with Fenders has been pretty good, overall. Sorry yours wasn't.
  8. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound

    Very well said!
  9. Pleanty of wisdom from Bovinehost.

    I'm 50 years old, have been playing (on and off) since mid teens, and have never owned a Fender. I borrowed an early 70s Jazz, at that time, and fell in love, vowing that I'd own one someday.

    Today could be that 'someday'. But, like the person who might read my opening post and conclude that Hot Rods (Fenders, generally?) suck, I have gained that opinion from this experience.

    I guess I should be old enough and wise enought not to let this (fairly) one-off experience put me off Fenders. But, seeing what I've seen, and feeling what I felt, would I take the trouble to go out looking for another Fender; probably not.

    It is a shame, though.....

  10. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Sorry about that. When I first read your post I thought you were implying that all USA's are only as good as Squires.

    Upon rereading your post I realized you didnt so I changed it.

  11. philthygeezer


    May 22, 2002
    I have owned about 9 basses since first buying my HRP, including a Korean Spector, 2 custom Warmoth/Moses/etc., a Stingray and 2 top-end Godins. In a few months there may be two left: my Stingray and my HRP.

    Several bassists have remarked that I had a gem upon picking it up and playing it. One person wanted to borrow it to record a CD, even offering to let me play one track on it in return for the favour. My bass instructor looked genuinely alarmed when he thought I might be selling it. His advice was not to ever sell it.

    Out of all the basses I have handled, the HRP is one of the best-built(the 'ray and the Godins are built slightly better) and certainly my favourite - sounding of the bunch. And no, it is not for sale.

    Most of the people I have met have quite high praise for the HRP. One bassist said it was the best bass he had played in 40 years. Talking to him for an afternoon was what convinced me to hunt one down. It was a good decision too. :)

    Yes I agree that quality can vary in Fender's offerings, but there are really nice ones in there. I also think that discounting a bass for shrunken frets and a high action is like discounting a sports car because the fuel injectors need cleaning.
  12. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I have an ash/rosewood American series "Hot Rodded" Precision Bass I bought when they were blown out.

    There are some legitimate problems with some of these basses. Some of them (including mine) have severe problems mixing with the dual volume controls. Allegedly, these had the wrong volume pots installed at Corona or the pots were mislabeled by CTS, so they just don't work right at all. Supposedly, replacing them cures the problem. The tiny tone control pot that's placed in the old jack position is fragile and often damaged. Mine was busted on the sales floor.

    There is also the problem of Fender's very peeling-prone polyurethane neck finish. Is is extremely succeptible to climatic checking and starts peeling almost immediately. This is a problem throughout the Fender line, or has been up through 2001, when I stopped buying new Fenders because of it.

    While my pard Bovine is right about climatic problems causing apparent fret faults, that's trivial compared to the climatic neck finish problems.

    Aside from that, this is a great bass. Neck detailing was unusually fine, the neck profile is nice by my standards, and the pickup set, which contains totally unique P and J pickups not used on any other Fender basses, gives quite a remarkable sound with all pickups in full-on position.
  13. Been looking at a couple HRP's on ebay , I was not aware that the neck profile was jazz like is it really only 1.5 at the nut like a jazz?
    If so I guess I can stop looking . Just don't like skinny neck basses.
  14. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I got out a pair of calipers and measured mine across the nut. It is exactly 1.650" compared to 1.615" on my 1972 Precision and 1.675" on my '54RI/"Sting" basses.

    That help? :)

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