FENDER | BASS | PRECISION | 1972 PRECISION

1972 Fender Precision bass

Classic Fender bass in black

1972 Fender Precision bass - front view
Model: 1972 Fender Precision bass
Body: Ash(?, maybe Alder) body, 1 3/4" deep, 13" wide, overall length 45 3/4"
Neck: One-piece maple neck, rosewood fingerboard with pearloid dot inlays. 20 frets
Scale: 34"
Width at nut: 41mm, 1 5/8"
Weight: 4.16kg
Hardware: chrome plated
1972 Fender electric guitar and amplifier catalog

Beyond the major revamp of 1957, the Fender Precision bass didn't actually change significantly over the next decades. However there were numerous small cosmetic changes, many lasting a few years only, that can be used to help date these basses.

The early 70s Precision has the larger 'Precision' decal, neck-plate serial number, longer G-string saddle screw, a slightly narrower 1 5/8" width at nut and the finger rest below the strings.

In February 1972, the Precision had a base price (i.e. for Sunburst examples) of $293.50. Black, being a custom color, increased the list price to $307.50. See the Precision in the 1972 Fender catalog.

This is a great playing bass with an absolute classic tone. Check out the demo videos of this bass below.

1972 Fender Precision bass bridge detail
Bridge detail. With the cover removed, the bridge is accessible. The unit is held in place with five screws. The use of flat bridge saddles came in in 1970, replacing the threaded saddles used prior to this. Between 1970 and 1973, the bridge was also fitted with the longer G string saddle screw (49.5mm vs 40mm), allowing a greater degree of adjustability on that string.
1972 Fender Precision bass pickup detail
Again, with the handrest removed, the black, eight polepiece split pickup is accessible. This pickup style was introduced in 1957, and would remain an essential feature of the Precision for many decades to come, despite having no adjustabilty of the polepices.
1972 Fender Precision bass - body detail

1972 Fender Precision body detail. The bass has a three-ply, white/black/white scratchplate, with chrome 'ashtray' bridge cover and handrest, and chrome control knobs. The plastic finger rest is held in place with two screws. In '72, the Precision still had this rest positioned below the strings - by 1974 this would be a thumbrest, positioned above the strings.

1972 Fender Precision bass - body detail showing neck joint and fingerrest
The neck is maple with a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard. Adjusting the truss rod is almost impossible without removing it from the body. Invariably people attempt the adjustment in situ, causing minor damage to the scratchplate.
1972 Fender Precision bass - controls and scratchplate
The Precision bass controls are simply volume and tone, each topped with a metal knurled knob. Scratchplates are prone to cracking, and broken tips, particularly around the output jack

1972 Fender Precision bass - rear view

Reverse body view, underlining the simplicity of the design: no control panels, no body-through stringing; just a contoured body with bolt-on neck.

1972 Fender Precision bass - pickup detail
The neck is mounted to the body using four 1 3/4" bolts through a metal neck plate (2" x 2.5")
1972 Fender Precision bass - control detail
The neck plate holds the basses serial number - in this case 361049 dates the bass firmly to 1972. There are no other markings, and no Fender 'F'.
1972 Fender Precision bass - headstock and decal detail
Headstock detail showing nut, tuning keys and early seventies-style decal, with large 'PRECISION BASS' model designation and patent numbers - this would be reduced in size in 1976.
1972 Fender Precision bass - reverse headstock and tuning key detail
Reverse headstock, without strap button. The clover leaf tuners were produced in house, though by 1976, they would be made by Schaller in Germany.
1972 Fender Precision bass - headstock decal detail

The larger decal of the period 1969-76 was reduced once the serial number was moved from the neck plate to the headstock. Patents numbers listed apply to various Fender innovations, including: the Telecaster's (?) combined bridge / pickup assembly (2,573,254), two electromagnetic pickups - the latter being the Precision split pickup (2,968,204 and 2,976,755), and the adjustable neck (3,143,028).

1972 Fender Precision bass front headstock detail
Early seventies (until 1977) Fender bass tuning keys were marked with the Fender logo, but also the ® trademark motif.
1972 Fender Precision bass nut detail
1972 Fender Precision rosewood fretboard and nut detail. The nut was molded white plastic.

1972 Fender Precision bass video clips

Ampeg B15

This clip shows the 1972 Fender Precision bass played through a 1964 Ampeg B15. Recorded with an Electrovoice RE-20 (left channel) and Shure SM57 (right), through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface - all highly recommended gear! In this clip, the bass is strung with (unknown) roundwounds.

Subscribe to our youtube channel for more vintage guitar and bass demos. Also, check out the longer, high definition demos here

Fender Bassman

Here, the Precision is played through a 1973 Silverface Fender Bassman 100. Recorded as above, though now restrung with Labella Deep Talkin' 760FS flatwounds - great strings - not cheap, but worth every cent!

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