Fender Precision Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1959)

Fender  Precision Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar  (1959)
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Item # 12311
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Fender Precision Bass Model Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1959), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 38791, white re- finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, tweed hard shell case.

This fantastic sounding Fender Bass wears a recent refinish on the body only but otherwise remains very nicely original, a cool example of the very earliest slab rosewood fingerboard Precision. It was assembled in fall 1959, just as the 1950s one-piece maple neck and gold anodized pickguard had been supplanted by the rosewood fingerboard and tortoise celluloid 'guard over the summer of that year. There is no date mark on the neck heel as is correct for this period; the penciled date on the body is 9/59 in the pickup cavity; the original finish is still intact in this spot. The pots are coded to the 47th week of 1958.

The bass carries the classic pre-CBS features including the clay dot, slab rosewood fingerboard neck with a wide 1 3/4" nut with a noticeably slim profile back-to-front, typical of '59s. The headstock is adorned with the old 1950s "Spaghetti" Fender logo decal, and there is no third "Hootenanny" strap button, something Fender added shortly after. The contoured alder body carries the post-'57 split pickup, the then-brand-new thick tortoise celluloid pickguard, twin chrome covers and plastic finger rest. Originally this bass was (like nearly all of them) finished in sunburst.

This bass was recently professionally re-shot in white lacquer, after apparently spending the last several decades purple. Every part of the bass remains original, down all but a couple of the chrome cover screws. This bass is strung with new LaBella flat wound strings and with a bit of the right foam stuck under the bridge cover gives the original James Jamerson/Duck Dunn thump in spades.

This bass is light for this era at just over 8 1/2 Lbs. and a truly excellent handling instrument. It could be re-finished again if a different color is desired; the current white finish is professionally done but not restoration quality. In any color it remains a wonderful instrument for any style of music, an absolute joy to play, and a prime example of the glory days of Fender.
Overall length is 45 3/4 in. (116.2 cm.), 13 in. (33 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 34 in. (864 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.)., 8.69 lbs.

Apart from the fairly recent finish work on the body only this bass remains in original condition, with the other parts unaltered and complete. The finish on the body is semi-gloss white lacquer, not given a clear-coat overspray which is correct for Fender in this period. There was no Fender custom color chart in 1959; a white bass was possible as a one-off dealer order but would have been a very rare item. There is very minor subsequent wear but really the body finish is very clean. The original finish is intact in the pickup cavity (preserving the date mark) but sanded off in the neck pocket.

The neck finish is completely original and shows some wear down to the wood mostly on the treble side edge, with some fairly minor dings and dents. There are small areas of sanding down to the wood on the sides of the heel, probably relics of the original stripping decades ago. The original small frets show some old recrowning and subsequent wear. The beautiful dark slab rosewood fingerboard shows some minor wear and divoting. The original decal is nicely intact. The neck is quite straight and shows no truss rod distress, in fact the rod does not appear to have been used all that much over 65 years.

The hardware is all intact and original; there is plating wear to the original tuners, bridge, knobs and chrome covers as would be expected and most of the screws have some corrosion. There is a small finger divot in the surface of the pickguard below the strings, but the guard has surprisingly little shrinkage compared to many with no cracked or broken corners. The pickups and wiring remain original; we did add some extra correct style foam under the pickups to raise them higher for better sonics.

Playing this bass is a trip straight back to the early 1960s; the sound quite bright flat out but easily dials back to Motown/Stax thump if desired; we have added a removable piece of foam under the tailpiece to facilitate this! While it lost its original finish long ago, other than that this low-end beauty has survived the years better than many. This is the sort of bass that, if you're only going to own and play ONE, would be a fine choice! Restored to Excellent Condition.