1961 Vintage Fender Precision Bass ID-5173
1961 Vintage Fender Precision Bass
The fender Precision Bass is one of the most recognized basses of all time... heard on countless classic and modern recordings and instantly recognized for it's "larger than life" stratocaster style appearance. The strat design was adopted to the P-Bass in 1957; the headstock and pickguard were redesigned to closely resemble Fender's recently introduced, ultra-modern Stratocaster, with a rounder neck heel replacing the original square shape introduced in 1951. The headstock and body shape look like oversized, blown up versions of the now famous strat design.
The early adoption of the P-Bass was in part due to Bill Black's ownership of the instrument. Black was beginning to use a Precision Bass during the filming of Jailhouse Rock. Fender also delivered an early Precision to LA session bassist and arranger Shifty Henry. The upright bass was considered difficult to play in tune, physically cumbersome and difficult to transport. It was becoming hard to hear in increasingly large bands or in bands that included amplified electric guitars. With electric pickups, a small body and fretted neck, the Precision Bass overcame these problems. The name "Precision" came from the use of frets (as opposed to the fretless fingerboard of the double bass); players of the electric instruments could play in tune much more easily - they could play with "precision."
The Precision Bass produces a timbre that differs quite drastically from that of the double bass: it is a more focused, harder-edged sound, with less percussive thump and a more clearly articulated fundamental tone. By bringing the sound of the bass up in a band, the bass became more dominant in its role and transformed the beat and rhythm of pop music. The electric bass allowed driving rhythms while still outlining harmonic structures and is essential to the evolution from jump blues and swing to rhythm and blues and rock music, and today the P-Bass is still used regularly in any genre requiring the use of an electric bass guitar.
This 1961 P-Bass features a 4 layer pickguard with a top tortoise shell layer over a three-color sunburst body, which is well checked and oozes vintage style! The pickups are the '57 style split-coil design with staggered polepieces, connected in a humbucking mode, although fender never bragged about this, as the patents for the humbucking pickups had not yet expired at the time. These pickups greatly reduced the magnetic hum of the previous design. The neck features a rosewood fingerboard, introduced in 1959, glued onto a maple neck with "clay" style dot position markers. The rosewood neck replaced the one-piece maple neck used previously and became the standard until '66/67 when laminates were introduced.
As the photos will show, this bass has some wear throughout, though nothing that will affect playability. The finish nicely checked and rubbed off in all the right places. The pickguard has 2 cracked edges and is missing a portion around the screw on the lower bout. The bridge cover is included in the case and has the original foam, although the foam shows a bit of age. 2 Pickguard cover screws have been replaced. There is a crack in the pickguard from the pickup route. The nut has been removed and re-glued. There are approx 37 spots of "brushed on" touch-up. The neck side-to-side is off, due to a tight neck joint... this will not affect playability for most players.
- Body Material: Alder
- Neck: Maple
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Finish: 3 - Color Sunburst
- Pickguard: 13 Screw 4 Layer with Tortoise overlay
- Pickups: '57 Split Coil Design - Staggered Polepieces
- Bolt on Neck
- C Neck Shape
- Reversed Tuners
- 34" Scale Length
- '58 Style Bridge with 4 Saddles
- Finger Rest
- Chrome pickup cover
- Chrome Bridge Cover with Original Foam Mute
- Headstock Logo: Fender Precision Bass Decal
- Nut Width: 1 3/4"
- Controls: Master Volume/Master Tone
- Tuning Machines: Reverse
- Position Markers: Clay Style Dot
- Weight: 8.0 lbs
- Serial: 58128