Fender 60th Anniversary P-Bass

Any bass player worth their salt has played a Fender Precision at some point and, whether it was just a fleeting try-out in a music shop, or something tantamount to a lifelong love affair, one thing's for certain - it will have left a lasting impression.

No instrument is to everybody's taste, of course, but the Fender Precision is where the solidbody electric bass guitar as we know it began its life, so it has a relevance to every other model produced since the dawn of the '50s, be it a direct clone, or something trying to be wildly different.

Fender has continued the tradition rather well, but after 60 years in production what can it possibly do to the trusty P-Bass that will have the power to fire the imagination of new bass players, as well as pull at the heart-strings of the hardened anchor man?

Well, one thing is certain: Fender's design team is never short of a few ideas…

Build

When designing any anniversary model, the most obvious approach to use is to faithfully reproduce the original.

Another possible route is to take the various improvements and tweaks made over the intervening years into consideration in order to produce an ageless hybrid.

Fender has gone for the latter here and, on looks alone, it gets the seal of approval from all at MusicRadar. Included are some really nice extra touches such the Fender logo'd tuners, additional string tree for the A-string, satin finish to the back of the neck and the wonderful Fender 'spaghetti' transfer on the headstock.

So this is far from being a 'Telecaster' bass copy (as the earliest Precisions with that distinctive headstock shape are often referred to); instead it's a sophisticated model that oozes class and looks right at home in today's bass market.

As such it features a fully contoured body, maple fingerboard, classic headstock shape, vintage split- coil pickup, both through-body and top-load stringing and an edge-mounted jack socket.

The standout visual feature is the large black scratchplate, as featured on the earliest Fender basses and, set against the 'Thinskin' nitro-cellulose Blackguard Blonde finish to the body, it's the perfect choice.

Sadly, no bridge or pickup coverplates are included in the package and, as the scratchplate is shaped to accept the one that spans the pickup, we feel this is perhaps a serious oversight.

Yes, we know most people take them off, but at this price they really should be included so that you have the choice.

The all-maple neck/ fingerboard, although still with a shallow profile, feels fairly meaty in depth - it also has the benefit of graphite rods for improved stability and a touch of tonal effect thrown in for good measure.

The bridge retains the raised-tail design, but here it's Fender's latest version that accepts the ball ends of the strings and offers an added degree of string spacing adjustment.

Being both solid and sturdy, it's a great choice, as indeed is the special 60th Anniversary neckplate - a subtle yet significant feature for future collectors.

Sounds

The 60th Anniversary model, with its ash body wood and thin classic nitro-cellulose finish has a wonderfully warm and natural sound to it. The through-body stringing helps too, of course, and that warmth is retained in degrees for the first third of the tone control.

Then, as you rotate further towards the treble, it gets funky and then gradually takes on a nasal rasp as you reach the top. All are great, usable sounds and very much in character for a classic Precision, and more so than the slightly tighter and more modern-sounding American Special.

Overall, despite the tweaks, it has a more traditional sound and has to be one of the most significant P-Basses on offer from Fender currently.

It has such a robust delivery regardless of where you are on the fingerboard or whatever tonal choices you make - getting a bad sound out of it is impossible.

For our money, this neck profile has to be one of the very best on any Precision since day one! Forget authenticity, or those classic early versions, this neck shape is excellent.

But the Anniversary edition is something very special indeed, as it really does offer the amalgamation of the old and the new to create the best of both worlds.

However, the old-style coverplates would have been icing on the cake and we would prefer a thinner headstock, but this is all very much a personal thing and should not influence a decision to buy this thoroughly professional bass guitar.

MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars
Pros

Build. Style. Sound.

Cons

Chunky headstock. Lack of included coverplates.

Verdict

This is a seriously good Precision with the right feel, right looks and right sounds. The legend, upheld.

No. of Frets

20

Scale Length (mm)

864

Country of Origin

USA

Weight (kg)

3.4

Fingerboard Material

Maple

Neck Finish

Satin

Neck Material

Maple

Guitar Body Material

Ash

No of Strings

4

Body Style

Twin cutaway, solidbody four-string

Available Finish

'Thinskin' nitro-cellulose Blackguard Blonde

Neck Profile

'60s-style

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.