The iconic Fender Precision Bass has been around for a very long time, it has been used by the rich and famous and still is, from up incoming musicians to long term stalwarts this bass has managed to last through the decades and still is the bench mark of bass guitars today.
The Fender Precision Bass is an electric bass guitar, so it has a pick up and volume and tone knobs.
Originally designed in 1950 by Leo Fender, Mr Fender then bought this bass to the market the following year in 1951 and the rest as they say is history.
The Fender Precision was the first bass guitar to get widespread attention and use, although Fender wasn’t the first brand to produce bass guitars they certainly we the first to introduce bass guitars to the world.
The body of the Precision Bass is usually made with an alder or ash solid body woods (These come in many colours and sunburst varieties), the neck is maple and the fretboard (Which has 20 frets) can be maple, rosewood, ebony or pao ferro types of wood, with the standard single split coil humbucker pick up.
There are many varieties and finishes to the Fender Precision Bass, these are Standard Series, American deluxe series, American standard series, American vintage series, Highway one series, American special series, Classic series, Deluxe series, Road worn series and the 60th anniversary, this gives you a lot of variation on an old classic and it’s not only the colours that are the variation in these models thee is subtle changes throughout.
Fender Precision Bass History :: A Simple Timeline
1950 :: The Fender Precision Bass was designed as a prototype by Leo Fender.
1951 :: The Precision Bass was bought to the market as a bass counterpart to the Telecaster Guitar.
Features included double cut away body, blond finish, black flat single coil pick up, black pickguard, one piece maple neck.
1953 :: The Bass Guitar received contoured edges for comfort which moved it away from the Telecaster similarities slightly.
1954 :: Some of the features and upgrades include contoured ash body, two colour sunburst finish, white single layer pickguard, black staggered pole single coil pickup, serial number on neck plate.
1957 :: The Fender Precision Bass design was overhauled, the headstock and pickguard were upgraded to resemble the latest released Stratocaster electric guitar, and a rounder neck heel was also introduced.
Also during this time the pick guard was made of a single layer of gold anodized aluminum with 10 screw holes.
The original single coil pick up was changed on the Precision Bass with a new split coil pickup with staggered pole pieces that were connected in a humbucking mode.
Wider peghead’s designs were also introduced.
1958 :: Three colour sunburst finishes were made available.
1959 :: Rosewood fingerboard glued on a maple neck which had clay style dot position fret markers were introduced replacing the original 1 piece maple neck.
1960 :: The pickguard changed to a 13 screw multi layer pickguard which had 3 to 4 different layers.
1962 :: Veneer rosewood fingerboards were made available.
1966 :: The standard rosewood neck wasn’t the only neck on offer as a laminated maple fingerboard capped on a maple neck was introduced in this year.
1968 :: The Telecaster design with a few more updates was introduced to the market and the black Fender decal was introduced.
1969 :: The 1 piece maple neck became the standard feature option with the rosewood as the second neck option.
1970 :: Some Fretless Precision Basses were made available with rosewood, ebony or maple fingerboard, a slightly narrower neck width was also available on some models (Not just the Fretless).
1980 :: New pickups were introduced with and active onboard circuit with a high mass brass bridge, also models were released with split coil pickups with white covers, gold hardware and a 2 band EQ with an active/passive toggle switch.
1983 :: The Elite range was introduced with the above features, also Elite I and Elite II which had special split coil humbucking pickups, a TBX tone circuit with a fine tuner bridge manufactured by Schaller.
1984 :: Japanese models of the Fender Precision Bass were appearing with the same specifications as the American models, the only difference was a smaller body shape, a different c shape maple neck and 22 medium jumbo frets.
1989 :: The Precision Plus bass was introduced with lace pickups, fine tuner bridges, 22 fret necks and passive or active electronics installed on certain models.
1991 :: The Precision Plus Deluxe model was introduced with the same features as the Precision Plus.
1995 :: The Fretless Bass was offered briefly as part of the American standard line which had a rosewood fingerboard, also the American Deluxe Precision Bass models were available.
2000 :: The Fender Precision Fretless Bass was discontinued and the American Series Precision Bass was introduced.
2003 :: The S-1 switching system was introduced to the American Series Precision Bass which allowed the split coil pick up to be wired from series to parallel which changes the tone of the bass.
2006 :: The American Deluxe Fender Precision Bass models were discontinued and the Highway One models were released.
2008 :: The American Series Precision Bass was discontinued along with the S-1 switching system as the new second generation American Standard Series instruments were introduced.
2009 :: The Road Worn Series Precision Bass was introduced.
2011 :: The American Deluxe Fender Precision Bass models were reintroduced into the market.
2012 :: The split coil humbucking pick up was introduced to the American Standard Precision Bass which were available from this year.
2013, 2014, 2015 and beyond….
I’m sure as there is still Bass Players there will be Fender Precision Bass Guitars still available, only a major catastrophe or the evolution to music made on computers will stop these Fender Bass Guitars being made, played, recorded and enjoyed all around the world for decades and maybe even centuries to come.