Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fender '51 Precision Bass Reissue

I am a guitar player. I am a guitar player. I am a guitar player. What's going on you ask? Why does he keep repeating the same thing over and over again? It's because I have to keep reminding myself what it is that I do. For some reason I keep going out and buying mandolins and keyboards and basses and, lately, DRUMS. Why? I just sell them in the end. The truth is that I like to have this stuff around to record with. I can throw a quick, albeit sloppy, bass line down so I can hear remotely how it's going to sound. Keyboards? Well, it's fun to try to add strings and Hammond B-3 organ sounds to just about anything. Mandolin? If you've read previous entries here you already know how embarrassed I am about that. Drums? Don't get me started.

This was a very nice bass. It's definitely not a Squier picked up for cheap to pretend to play on recordings. This is the real deal. And you know what? That probably explains why I sold it. I do have this thing...this complex...about not being good enough for some of the equipment I end up with. And I feel guilty and I sell it to someone who "deserves it" more than I do.

There is no reason in the world for me to own a nice bass.

A $65 Memphis P-bass copy from the late '70s is bass enough for me. Currently I own a black Squier P-bass that I picked up at the Swap Meet for a mere $45. And it plays great and looks pretty good too...well, now that I sprung for the black pickguard to make it look a little less "Made in Korea."

So what about this '51 Reissue? Man, what a nice instrument. I've said it before (just yesterday) and I'll say it again...the Japanese Fenders are the best. They are my favorite. They always "feel" right. I'm no bass expert (but I play one on TV...yuck, yuck), but if I were to buy another good, quality bass, this is what I'd look for. First of all, I love the classic styling. How much more iconic does it get? There is this bass, a sunburst Strat, and a blonde Tele with a black pickguard. There are your three Fender icons. It features a single coil pickup, which probably scares some "real" bassists off. I know the bassist in my band looked a little skeptical when I first pulled it out of the case. But after a few minutes plugged in, he was converted. I know from reading on the internet that a lot of people replace the stock pickup with a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder (I think that's the one), but I left mine stock. The only thing I changed on mine was the cheap black plastic pickguard. I don't know if it was the same as the one from '51, but it just seemed flimsy and cheap to me and I couldn't get past it. I replaced it with a 3-ply BWB pickguard and was much happier. That 3-ply black pickguard always reminds me of Springsteen and his Tele, even on a bass.

This one was a casualty of the black Ehlers Jumbo mission I was on (see below a couple of posts) and I sold it to a dealer who was looking around on Craig's List. He was actually thinking about keeping it for himself, but that could have been a if it mattered to me anyway. If I had the luxury of affording a nice bass I would definitely buy another one of these. If you are looking around yourself, see if you can find one. Maybe not as versatile as some basses, but when it comes down to it, you're just supposed to be back there holding the song together, making me sound good up front. Now do your job!


Mick said...

Your post is the story of my life! Playing in a band and loving basses, but not being made of money, has pushed me to constantly seek out new gear and at the same time having to part ways with what I have. It's often similar to ending a good relationship and does sting a bit. But I usually find something vintage that I must get my hands on. I've had some of the most amazing basses, fixed the action on them, played them for a while and then sold them off to finance the next love affair. Oh, the joy and the pain...LOL!

Orange Rubber said...

What a lovely bass!!!
I'm about to get one soon...oh, yeah: I'm not a guitarist...I actually play bass!!! :-)