Fender Music Australia | fender.com.au | RRP: $1,699
As a music fan, you’d be hard pressed to find modern music without the presence of an electric bass. Loud guitars and drums are synonymous with rock and roll, but the difference between a good and a great band is the bass. Audiences have been feeling the chest-pounding rhythms of Fender basses since their introduction to market nearly 70 yers ago, with the Precision and Jazz basses offering a variety of tones and retaining high-quality parts that are well-assembled for maximum resonance and comfort.
Prior to Leo Fender starting the company in 1946 and consequently the first electric basses having been built, upright acoustic basses and drums were music’s main source of bottom end – in short, the introduction of the electric bass changed everything.
As such, Fender has chosen to commemorate this anniversary with a commemorative 75th Anniversary Precision Bass, as well as a Jazz Bass, signifying the iconic status of each instruments and their bountiful contributions in shaping contemporary music as we know it today.
The entire 75th Anniversary series are finished in Fender’s new Diamond Anniversary finish, feature an anniversary engraved neck plate for their bolt-on necks and arrive deluxe gig bags. Both basses are an amalgamation of years of consistently more refined incarnations of both models. The 75th Anniversary Precision Bass is an alder-bodied, four-string bass with a split pickup in the middle position, while the Jazz Bass features the classic bridge and middle single-coils for either the deep lows or punchy mids that Jazz Basses are famous for, or any tone in-between – a lethal combination that has been a go-to for players since the start.
If we’re talking paying homage to Fender’s roots, it’s difficult to look past the Precision Bass (P-Bass). While the first electric guitars are hotly contested as to who invented what first, the Precision Bass was undoubtedly the first of its kind. Produced in 1951, the P-Bass borrowed heavily from its six-stringed counterpart, the Telecaster, but instead featured two horns to improve balance overall. The P-Bass has been re- invented and refined over the last 70 years, ultimately culminating in the recent American Ultra and American Professional II basses as the flagship P-Bass for Fender, and commemorated here in this 75th Anniversary Precision Bass.
This P-Bass hangs comfortably across the body, and feels weighty but very well balanced. Even unplugged, the tone remains resonant, similar to even Fender’s top-tier instruments, thanks to the solid and well-crafted four-saddle standard bridge. It features all the specifications and appointments you’d expect from such a classic instrument. A Vintage-Style ‘50s Split Single-Coil pickup amplifies the four strings, and is controlled by a master volume and master tone. Again, the body is alder with a gloss polyester finish, and the maple fretboard offers bright, articulate tones from the bass, while the standard four-saddle bridge controls the bottom end as the strings resonate throughout.
The second act in the all-star lineup of Fender’s greatest inventions is the Jazz Bass. Produced after the success of both the Jazzmaster and the Precision Bass, the Jazz Bass borrows the best of both, with its curved body and unique tonal ability ensuring it was a hit upon launch. This beautifully offset alder body sits comfortably against the player, while the Modern “C” shaped, 34” neck makes paying tribute to players such as Jaco Pastorius, Flea and Marcus Miller an absolute pleasure.
Jazz Basses typically feature dual single coil pickups, and the pair of Vintage-Style ‘60s Single-Coil Jazz Bass pickups featured here are no different. With all pickup volumes set wide open, the Jazz bass offers a full, hum-cancelled tone that thunders in the bottom end and punches through in the highs with a subtle scoop in the middle. The middle pickups allows the Jazz Bass to break through more similarly to a P-Bass, whereas the bridge position provides a rich, deep and subby tone. Independent master volumes and a master tone complete the electronics for this commemorative Jazz Bass.
Electric bass was an innovation that has influenced the trajectory of music more than we understand. Where would we be if bass hadn’t become easier to wrangle, if we were still struggling to fret notes on an upright, fretless, acoustic instrument? Would synthesised bass be different as well?
Where would funk and dance ended up if it weren’t for the boundaries that those early electric bass players broke down? And who can we thank for kick starting this whole journey? Leo Fender himself, initially with the Precision, then the Jazz, with countless innovations since then, and now with the 75th Anniversary series outlined here. These two basses are stellar examples of why Fender has remained a market leader in just about every facet of modern musical instrument production, and their influence is undeniable.
Head to Fender to find out more about the Diamond 75th Anniversary basses.