Fender '70s Precision Bass

Undeniably attractive, the appeal of this over any of the other Precision models lies in its looks and excellent feel

When Leo Fender launched the Precision Bass onto an unsuspecting bass-playing populace in 1951 it was met with a degree of distaste and suspicion.

However, it took little more than a quick go on one to win all but the die-hard traditionalists over. Something so much more compact than an upright bass, with the ability to be amplified, was just too good to ignore.

In both the three-tone sunburst and Olympic white finishes this is a very attractive prospect indeed.

It was almost perfectly designed from the start, but by 1957 with a few modifications to the body, headstock and pickup, the Precision as we know it today was complete. The story does not stop there, however, as over the years Fender has continued to offer the beloved P-Bass in a variety of styles and prices.

So surely, then, there's already something to suit everyone? Well apparently not, for here comes the new Japanese-built '70s P-Bass, and it's actually a welcome addition to this already wide range.

In both the three-tone sunburst and Olympic white finishes this is a very attractive prospect indeed. The black block inlays and binding on the maple neck, used originally on the Jazz Bass, are incredibly eye-catching. Add to that the three-ply black scratchplate and the welcome return of the thumb rest (positioned above the strings), and that 1970s vibe is captured brilliantly.

Other features of this model are the F-stamped neck plate, a vintage-style truss rod system, knurled chrome knobs and the appropriate 1970s-style Fender logo on the headstock. There's also a pleasing tint to the maple neck, which gives it a slightly aged look, while the shallow profile and wide 'board make this bass a real joy to play.

Sounds

With all the usual passive electronics in place, this naturally sounds like a good Precision, which means that the reason for choosing this particular version is all about

looks and feel.

The sound, of course, remains fat and solid no matter what position you set the tone control. There's enough top available to make your speakers spit out the notes, but it's the warmth and depth of the bottom end that gives the foundation for consistently great sounds.

Most players work with the tone control slightly off centre, using a treble bias for the funky or hard rock stuff and a bass bias for the traditional old-school sounds, but with well-defined notes.

This period of Fender basses has been all but forgotten – it was a time of old jigs producing poorly fitting parts. But some good designs also emanated from this period that are worth remembering.

Manufacturing problems are now a thing of the past and this model offers a striking combination of 1970s elements and is a welcome and justified addition to the vast current P-Bass catalogue.

Surprisingly, there are only three current P-Bass models that are manufactured in Japan -­ the other two being from the Steve Harris Signature model and the Sting. In short, if you like the look, the sound and playability won't disappoint.

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MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars
Pros

That neck - the block inlays, binding and that fabulous profile.

Cons

With so many P-Basses to choose from, can you ever be sure you've got the right one?

Verdict

Undeniably attractive, the appeal of this over any of the other Precision models lies in its looks and excellent feel.

Scale Length (mm)

864

No. of Frets

20

Neck Material

Maple

Guitar Body Material

Alder

Country of Origin

Japan

Neck Profile

C Shape

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.

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