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Why did Leo name it a "Precision Bass"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Neveragain55, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. Neveragain55


    Mar 19, 2014
    The Fender Precision Bass is probably one of the most well-loved & iconic basses in existence, and I know there’s a huge flowing.

    When Leo Fender created his basses, and named one of them a “Precision Bass” I think it was a stroke of genius in that he had to know that the word “precision” would evoke images of an instrument above & beyond other instruments.

    Here’s the question:

    What exactly is so much more “precise” about a Fender “Precision” Bass than any other bass, and what inspired Leo to name it a Precision Bass?

    (this is totally not a Fender slam post);)

    What I mean is that every bass made by definition has to be precise.

    The strings have to be perfectly straight - “precise”

    The bridge & nut have to line up perfectly - “precise”

    The pickups have to sit squarely & perpendicular under the strings - “precise”

    The neck has to bolt & line up perfectly to the body keeping the string line perfectly straight -“precise”

    Any guitar or bass by definition has to be precise in every way, and the “precision” of the instrument has to be 100% or else it won’t play properly; these are the parameters that Luthiers slave over to get right.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a stroke of marketing genius on Leo’s part, but if any of you know why he named it a “Precision Bass”…………I’d love to know.

    He stated the obvious, no more, no less......
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    It had nothing to do with build quality - Leo had the idea that a big selling point of the Precision bass would be to give guitarists a chance to play bass as well. The only option was to play upright bass at the time, which takes time to play well and in tune. Compared to an upright bass, a guitar player wishing to double on bass could play the notes with precision in terms of intonation because it had frets - that's where the name comes from.
  3. scourgeofgod


    Aug 17, 2006
    According to American Basses by Jim Roberts, " Leo chose the name "Precision Bass" because the instrument was fretted and therefore produced more precise intonation than the fretless fingerboard of an upright"

    What 20db pad said as well.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    He was differentiating his instrument from the fretless uprights that were prevalent at the time - frets - tonal "precision". Of course, when they started offering fretless basses, Fender wisely decided against calling them "Imprecision Basses" or "Approximation Basses". :thumbsup:
  5. Torn Bassist

    Torn Bassist

    Feb 8, 2013
    I think it was due to the fret design, a player could be more precise....I think I seen that statement on the Fender website.
    gebass6 likes this.
  6. esa372


    Aug 7, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
    joebar, gebass6, Aqualung60 and 2 others like this.
  7. Pocket4

    Pocket4 Supporting Member

    Dec 9, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Which makes the fretless Precision truly a thing of wonderment.
    joebar, Spectrum, petrus61 and 24 others like this.
  8. VWbug


    Sep 11, 2010
    New Jersey
    What he said ^
  9. neckdive


    Oct 11, 2013
    ... or why they didn't mass produce a fretless Jazz bass instead of or in addition to the Precision in the early 70's.
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    It was probably named to contrast it with the intonation and general work habits of upright bassists. ;)
    gsgbass, iualum and SunnBass like this.
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Ob. Bass Joke: Q. What is a "minor second"?
    A. Two fretless bass players playing in unison.
  12. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    It was actually Don Randall who christened the Precision.
  13. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Might even call it a minor first. ("But how can unison / root be major or...... ohhhh, it's a jooooooke")
    cannedveggiessuck likes this.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    Why did Leo name it a "Precision Bass"

    gsgbass and JimK like this.
  15. LowEndWooly


    Sep 3, 2013
    Your mama so fat, she... wait, I thought this was a joke forum.
    Fxpmusic and tfer like this.
  16. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Since he already had the fretted Precision, it's a pity Leo couldn't have launched the Jazz as a fretless "indecision bass." Or put so much bling on it only doctors could afford them, in which case it would be the "incision bass."

    I'll see your joke forum and raise you . . .:smug:
  17. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    Simple as that.

    Why is a "Jazz" bass called a "Jazz" bass?

    LOL - *marketing*!
    scourgeofgod likes this.
  18. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Every time I go to play music that isn't Jazz on my Jazz Bass, it erupts in flames. I may have to start a new thread on this.
    MickyD and comatosedragon like this.
  19. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Actually, Mr. Fender just really liked the sound of "P Bass", but he then had to come up with some reason for the "P".
  20. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    In 1533 a small tradesman by the name of Albuquerque rode for 16 days in a high rain, gunning for the postman while singing rampant over a lonely throne. This, in the land of Pencil, was his high drama. After finding a beguiling confusion, nesting on a large rock, Albuquerque discovered the letter "M." Upon his excitement, he threw up his knives, and began coating the receding coastline with cold butter. His girlfriend, who was the commander of the Legion of Forn, sent him a large crate, bundled with hemp rope, and containing the innards to several office machines that had yet to be invented. It was only then that the world had the tenacity to cement orange peelings with fig marrow. And the rest of the story is self-explanatory.

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