This is my favorite bass guitar of all time. It’s such a simple instrument with a simple design and setup that it’s surprising how many things there are to love about it. Body and scale wise it’s the bass version of the Fender Stratocaster. When it originally came out in 1951 it didn’t have the excellent body contouring that it has now. They gave the Precision Bass the comfortable body contouring in 1953. The Precision Bass actually helped spawn the design of the Fender Stratocaster. The Precision Bass was the first Fender offering to have the double cutaway design and the body contouring, both of which went on to be incorporated into the design of the Fender Stratocaster. The P-Bass is still selling today, 57 years after its introduction. It has helped shape the sound of all modern music.
The list of famous bass players is way too long to list. If you want to see a short list of notables, check out the Fender Precision Bass Players Wiki page. I would venture to guess that every famous bass player has a Fender Precision Bass in his collection. Probably one of the most notable P-Bass players and a player that has kept the P-Bass tone very pure is John Deacon from Queen. His Fender Precision Bass has been a signature sound for Queen since the band began. Some great songs from Queen that feature the P-Bass front and center are: Another One Bites The Dust, Dragon Attack, You’re My Best Friend, The Millionaire Waltz, We Are The Champions and Under Pressure. These are all classic Fender Precision Bass Tones.
The reasons I love the Fender P-Bass are several. First, it’s 34″ scale length gives the strings a lot of snap and a little bit of extra brightness. If you play a Rickenbackers 33 1\4″ scale length then you can really feel a difference, especially on the low E string. The P-Bass low E feels snappy and alive while the Rickenbackers will feel mushy. The second thing I love about the P-Bass is the split coil pickup. It’s wired like a humbucker but because of it’s split configuration it has a lot of brightness to it. Since Fender has placed the pickup further away from the bridge you get a nice round tone with the pickup adding enough brightness to still sound tight. Third, all the high end Fender guitar and bass necks have rolled edges which are extremely comfortable on your hand. They feel like a neck that has been played for years. Overall, I just love the way the P-Bass looks and feels when you’ve got it strapped on. The contoured body sits perfectly against your body and the bass just feels like it’s an extension of you. It’s not too heavy and it has an alder body which is a very nice hardwood that Fender has used for years.
So if you’re looking for a great bass that’s versatile, will give you great tone and years of reliable service then you have to get the Fender American Standard Precision Bass.