FENDER | BASS | PRECISION

Fender Precision Bass

The mother of all bass guitars?

Fender Precision Chronology 1950s | 1960s | 1970s

Fender precision bass guitar
Fender precision bass guitar
Fender precision bass guitar
Fender precision bass guitar

The Fender Precision is probably the most famous, most used and potentially the most respected bass guitar design of all time. Although the story of the electric bass guitar goes back at least 20 or 30 years before the advent of the Fender Precision, this was the first instrument to gain any commercial sucess, and despite modifications, exists in a very similar form today.

The earliest electric basses were made to appeal to bass players, and guitarists alike; guitarists attempting to play bass often found the scale of an upright bass (42") to large, and imprecise. Not to mention the unweildy nature, and lack of volume. After Leo Fender created the Esquire and Fender Telecaster models in 1950, he moved on to a bass instrument. The Precision dealt with all of the forementioned problems. Its scale was just 34", the frets allowed 'precise' pitch (hence the name), and the amplified nature could compete with the electric guitars and bigger drum kits starting to be employed in the music of the time. It has a wider neck than the Fender Jazz bass; Fenders two-pickup bass launched in 1960. It did of course change over the years...

1955 'slab body' Fender Precision bass Image Heritage auctions

Just like the Telecaster guitar, the Precision started as a square sided slab ash body, one piece 20 fret maple neck, and just one single coil pickup. Note the early features: large scratchplate, Telecaster-style headstock, metal control consul, angular bridge cover, and matching pickup cover/handrest. By the late 1950s, the design was pretty much refined to the bass still made today.

1962 Fender Precision bass Image Heritage auctions

1972 Fender Precision bass - front view

1972 Fender Precision bass

Vintage Fender Precision advertising

Electric bass advertisements originally published from 1953 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Fender advertisements

Fender Precision - Bassmen! Play the original Fender Precision electric bass & Bassman amplifier

Fender Precision - Bassmen! Play the original Fender Precision electric bass & Bassman amplifier (1953)
Early fifties advertisement for Fenders first electric bass, the Precision, and its companion amplifier, the Bassman
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Fender Precision - Instruments get out of date too

Fender Precision - Instruments get out of date too (1953)
Early fifties advertisement underlining the modern features of the Fender Precision bass, and bassman amplifier
[more]1

Fender Precision - Don

Fender Precision - Don't cheat yourself (1953)
Early Fender advertisement featuring three guitar/amp combinations: The Precision bass and Bassman amp; the Telecaster guitar and Twin amp, and the three-neck pedal steel and Pro amp.
[more]2

Fender Precision - Fender fine electric instruments

Fender Precision - Fender fine electric instruments (1955)
Early Fender advertisement for four pedal steels, three amplifiers, and three electric guitars. At this point in Fender history, it is the pedal steels that top the page; electric guitars are still...
[more]3

Fender Precision - The best things don

Fender Precision - The best things don't always need big packages (1958)
The electric bass was always designed as a replacement for upright acoustic basses. This late fifties advertisement demonstrates the Fender prcisions portability in relation to an acoustic bass
[more]4

Fender Precision - From Arbiter the Most Wanted Guitar in Britain Today Telecaster by Fender

Fender Precision - From Arbiter the Most Wanted Guitar in Britain Today Telecaster by Fender (1966)
Mid 1960s UK advertisement for Fender guitars and amplifiers. In the early 1960s, Fender had been distributed in the UK by Jennings, but by the middle of the decade Arbiter had won the contract. Th...
[more]5

Fender Precision - The lowdown on the bass

Fender Precision - The lowdown on the bass (1972)
The pickup is the real secret to the Precision Bass. At the conception of the electric bass, this pickup was designed to simulate the sound of a true bass. Not overbearing or extremely "bassey" but...
[more]6

Fender Precision - The Worlds Favorite Road Machine

Fender Precision - The Worlds Favorite Road Machine (1973)
Part of a larger series of Fender full colour artwork/cartoon advertisements issued between 1973 and 1974, all with a "Worlds Favourite" theme. The Fender Precision was indeed (and probably still i...
[more]7

Fender Precision - In Concert

Fender Precision - In Concert (1974)
The world's favorite performers appear "In Concert." And 9 out of 10 times the electric bass is a Fender. ABC-TV's "In Concert." Far more than entertainment, it's the ultimate experience in the con...
[more]8

Fender Precision - Goldilocks and the three bears

Fender Precision - Goldilocks and the three bears (1975)
...someones playing my Precision bass right now, said baby bear, "and shes's really cookin'!"
[more]9

Fender Precision - The Hearty-Roaring, Wide-Ranging Preecision Bass

Fender Precision - The Hearty-Roaring, Wide-Ranging Preecision Bass (1976)
Found in virtually all musical environments, the Precision Bass is by far the most prolific of the species Basso Electrica. The frequency of the sighting reflects upon the enormous range of the Pr...
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Fender Precision - You Can Take A Fender Anywhere

Fender Precision - You Can Take A Fender Anywhere (1977)
Whatever band you play in, you've got to pick up on a lot of musical styles. But you'll never have to pick up more than one electric bass, Because Fender® gives you Rock Bass, Soul Bass, Country B...
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Fender Precision - Fenders new dimension Precision Bass Special

Fender Precision - Fenders new dimension Precision Bass Special (1980)
The Precession Bass Special was a step up from the regular 1980 P-bass. It featured a new split-coil pickup design, with both active and passive modes; one of the first active Fender bass guitars, ...
[more]12


Fender Precision catalog appearances

The following description is taken from the 1969 Fender lovin' care catalogue

Fender's Precision Bass has become the most well known and widely used electric bass in the world. It's acceptance in all fields of music comes from true performance proven bass tone qualities, size, ease of playing, volume capabilities and mobility on stage or off.

A special split pickup is positioned for excellent string response and each section may be adjusted for custom string balance. Tone and volume controls are conveniently located and permit any desired response the player may choose. Individually adjustable bridges may be set for perfect string intonation and comfortable low playing action. As a result most bass players find their technique improves rapidly and difficult passages are played more easily. With the Precision Bass it is possible to obtain considerably greater volume than with a conventional instrument. It is convenient to carry and store inasmuch as it is lighter weight and approximately 1/6 the size of the old-type upright bass.

The comfort contoured body is finished in beautiful hand polished Sunburst or may be obtained in selected custom finishes and left-hand models.

Fender Catalogues: 1960s


1963 1964 Fender Fine Electric Instruments catalogue

1963/64 Fender catalogue

One of the most popular of modern instrument developments, the Fender Precision Bass has rapidly become the choice of bassists in every field

1964 1965 Fender Fine Electric Instruments catalogue

1964/65 Fender catalogue

Requires only a fraction of playing effort as compared with old style acoustic basses; compact in size allowing freedom of movement on stage

1965 1966 Fender Fine Electric Instruments catalogue

1965/66 Fender catalogue

The fast action neck facilitates playing technique, playing in tune and is extremely comfortable

1968 Fender guitar and amplifier catalogue
1968 Fender Musical Instruments On the Go
1968 Fender catalogue
The Precision bass appears on pages 6-7

Fender's Precision Bass has become the most well known and widely used electric bass in the world

1969 Fender Lovin
1969 Fender Lovin' Care catalogue
1969 Fender bass catalogue

1969 Fender Bass catalogue

The Precision bass appears on page 4

The smooth sound of Fender's Precision Bass has made it the most widely used electric bass in the world.

Fender Catalogues: 1970s


1970 Fender electric guitar and amplifier catalogue

1970 Fender catalogue

The Precision bass appears on page 22

the famous electric bass with true performance proven bass tone quality

1972 Fender electric guitar and amplifier catalogue

1972 Fender catalogue
The Precision bass appears in fretted and fretless versions


Fender Precision technical information

Fender have published regular list of replacement parts for their instruments, along with part numbers. Some of these parts lists are reproduced here

  • 1968 - photo, parts list, parts illustration, wiring diagram. 5 pages.
  • 1969 - just a simple list of parts. 2 pages.
  • 1976 - photos, parts list an prices. 3 pages.

Check out the interview with bassist and collector Bob Daisley, on his Fender basses.

Got an opinion on the contents of this page? Disagree with something written above? Please comment

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Fender Precision bass for sale

1977 Fender Precision Bass user manual hang tag Revision A

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, 37203, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $45

1977 Fender Precision Bass user manual hang tag Revision A $6 USPS Priority insured mailing. And let's understand something. I buy and sell on ebay and am consistently disappointed by shipping times from other sellers. You will not be disappointed by that with me. I promise to ship asap, usually within 12 hours, if at all possible. Check my feedback. I only sell what I like.... more

Vintage Fender Precision Bass Lyte w / HSC Free shipping P-bass lyte

COLUMBIA, TENNESSEE, 38401, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$799

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE... more

1981 1982 1983 Fender Precision or Telecaster Wiring Harness

EASTON, PENNSYLVANIA, 18045, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$129

Nice vintage harness for 1981 1982 1983 Fender Precision or Telecaster. This was removed from a 1983 Precision many years ago. Will include original input jack (not pictured). Great for your restoration project! See my other listing for 1983 Precision Bass pickup. Ships via USPS.... more

1968 Fender Precision Bass beautiful original Custom Color Candy Apple Red

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

£6037

When ordering from the US, parcels may be subject to import tax and duty charges, which the buyer is responsible to pay. WE ARE FLORIDA'S OLDEST VINTAGE GUITAR SHOP ! 1968 Fender Precision Bass a fabulous original Custom Color !! !!! This is 1 of the coolest Basses made by Fender during this late 60’s era, it’s a stunner in it’s slightly faded Candy Apple Red finish over an Alder body, its Rose neck feels great & it has the larger later 60’s logo, finish her off w / a lovely White’gard... more

VINTAGE 1979 USA FENDER PRECISION P BASS GUITAR HANG TAG CASE CANDY

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$149

ALL AUCTIONS PAYPAL ONLY. WINNING BIDDER TO PAY AT AUCTION CLOSE. ANY NEW EBAYERS ( LESS THAN 5 POSITIVE TRANSACTIONS) EMAIL ME BEFORE BIDDING, OR YOUR BID WILL BE CANCELLED. TEXAS RESIDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO PAY 8 25% SALES TAX. PLEASE ASK ALL QUESTIONS EARLY…SOMETIMES I AM REQUIRED TO BE AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. INTERNATIONAL EBAYERS: WE DO NOT USE EBAY'S GLOBAL SHIPPING PROGRAM. BIDDER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY AND ALL IMPORT DUTIES, TAXES OR FEES, (I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THIS). YOUR ITEM WILL BE... more

1965 Fender Precision Bass Olympic White Vintage P-Bass Electric Guitar w / HSC

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA, 91506, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

£3755

1965 Fender P-BassVery Good Overall Condition With Some Wear (See Photos) Olympic White Refinish Is In Excellent Condition Showing Finish Checking And A Few Chips (Please See Photos) No Cracks, Breaks, Or Issues Rosewood Fingerboard Medium "C" Neck ProfileOriginal Frets In Very Good Condition Original Tuners Have Some Tarnish Non-Original Tuners Were Installed At One Point But Have Been Replaced With Original TunersNon Original Bridge Comes With Non Original Hardshell Case Shown In Photos USA ... more

VINTAGE 1980 USA FENDER PRECISION P BASS GUITAR HANG TAG CASE CANDY

RICHARDSON, TEXAS, 75081, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $171

PLEASE READ BEFORE BIDDING-I AM UNABLE TO SHIP TO ANY DESTINATION THAT USPS CANNOT INSURE, SORRY. ALL AUCTIONS PAYPAL ONLY, WILL SHIP TO YOUR PAYPAL MATCHING ADDRESS ONLY, NO ALTERNATE SHIP ADDRESS. WINNING BIDDER TO PAY WITHIN 2 DAYS OF AUCTION CLOSE. ANY NEW EBAYERS ( LESS THAN 5 POSITIVE TRANSACTIONS) EMAIL ME BEFORE BIDDING, OR YOUR BID WILL BE CANCELLED. TEXAS RESIDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO PAY 8 25% SALES TAX. PLEASE ASK ALL QUESTIONS EARLY…SOMETIMES I AM REQUIRED TO BE AWAY FROM THE ... more

Fender Custom 1957 Journeyman Relic Left Hnd Precision Bass Wide Fade 2-Color SB

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, 64161, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$3250

Fender Custom 1957 Journeyman Relic Left Hnd Precision Bass Wide Fade 2-Color SB The Custom Shop 1957 Journeyman Relic Precision Bass takes you straight back to the original era of the bass that started it all. Its lightweight alder body (ash on Aged White Blonde model) features comfortably deep contours and a “Journeyman” Relic lacquer finish, which imparts the appearance of years of aging and light use without heavy wear and tear. The tinted quartersawn maple neck has a finely sculpted ... more

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Anthony Comment left 2nd October 2015 08:08:32 reply
Hi, I've just been to see a fender Precision bass, apparently it's 1978ish. The neck looks old but a bit suspicious, for example the headstock is a different colour of worn to the rest of the neck (maple). The serial number matches up, but I took the scratch plate off and it has a sticker saying "made in Japan". The pots have serial numbers on them but are quite hard to read as they have solder on them. The only number I can make out is R1377846. The fender pot serial number finder can't find anything unless I take off the "R" at the beginning. Have you any thoughts on this? Thanks

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