Review: Fender Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass

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Review: Fender Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass

Fender Vintera Precision Bass
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Fender Vintera II '60s Precision Bass | Fender Music Australia | RRP $1999

The Precision Bass came to life in 1951, at that time with a single-coil pickup in the middle position, Leo Fender’s now infamous “tug bar” or finger rest, the bass finding its way into the hands of forward-thinking bass players looking to do away with the upright basses of the time. Comprised of a solid body, being reasonably lightweight and now including frets, it was a less cumbersome way to add bottom end, rhythm and groove to your band. The late 50s and early 60s saw the Precision, now colloquially known as the P-Bass, refined into a design largely used today, with a split single-coil pickup, and simple volume and tone controls.

The Fender Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass pays tribute to this era, bringing classic designs, neck shape, colours and hardware to the modern day. The Fender Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass is available in a 3-Colour Burst and Olympic White, both models sporting a Tortoiseshell pickguard.

Read more gear reviews here.

The tug bar screwed into the pickguard is an interesting one. Originally added by Leo Fender on earlier Precision designs, he (not a guitar or bass player) assumed players would rest or hook their fingers on the bar and play with their thumb. In reality, players plucked with their fingers more than their thumb, which is why late 60s and 70s basses had the thumb rest relocated to the other side of the bass, providing a great position for walking bass lines.

The Fender Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass is built from an alder body, coated in a gloss polyester that’s typical of the 60s P that brought new life to the rock and roll, swing and pop scene. The 3-Color Sunburst is another nod to the evolving look and feel of Fender, the additional red hue being introduced in the late 50s to blend the simple black and yellow 2-Tone Burst finish that is more typical of 50s basses. The neck is maple, carved to an “early ’60s “C” shape”, and finished in a gloss urethane. The addition of a slab rosewood fretboard is a huge plus, the slab board being a bulkier chunk of rosewood with a stronger connection to the maple neck itself. Slab rosewood is sought after in vintage guitar circles because of its rarity and uncompromising build quality. The Vintera II range sport this specification, the Precision Bass included. The nut is synthetic bone, and the tuners are Vintage-Style Open-Back, offering both quality and tuning accuracy, coupled with classic vintage Fender looks. The pickups are controlled by a Master Volume and Master Tone control, the split single-coil needing little help to holster that classic 60s sound.

The 20 Narrow Tall frets have a 7.25” radius, feeling much like a vintage Fender does, while still being uniquely playable. Modern guitars have a flatter radius, borrowing more from high performance shred-style designs, while the Vintera II series aims to accurately and comfortably re-issue the classics.

The Fender Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass does a great job of giving the unique feel and playability of a vintage Fender bass. The tone out of the box is immediately rich, balanced and controlled, offering weight and heft without being overtly muddy or overkill. With the tone knob wide open, there’s a mid-focused push with plenty of string attack, and just rolling it off a little gives the bass a nice, warm and rounded sound. 

The neck feels nice, the gloss urethane feeling slick enough to glide around while retaining a classy, finished feel. The Narrow Tall frets retain the classic feel of a Fender, nice clarity and accurate tuning, the synthetic bone nut adding a little brightness without the guilt of real bone. The whole bass felt comfortable to play, thanks to the rounded edges of the body that were introduced in the late 50s. Before this, the edges of the body were sharper like a Telecaster. The whole bass stayed in tune well and bolstered a controlled low end, offering music richness right down to its lowest notes.

The Fender Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass pays homage to a model that changed it all. Shifting gears from the cumbersome, weighty upright basses of the 40s and 50s, the first electric bass was released in the early 50s and was refined by the 60s, honoured in the Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass.

Precision Bass

Vintera II offer period correct specs, materials and designs, all in the interest of offering a more accessible playing experience to those wanting the full vintage experience without the (currently inflating) price tag of a used vintage Fender. The Vintera II ’60s Precision Bass is supremely playable above all else, being a comfortable fit against the body, the neck offering comfortable access to frets and a great sound with minimal effort. Its clean sound offers a great base for extra grit and tone via pedals, while the direct signal is balanced, hefty and clear.

The Vintera II series overall are a home-run, speaking to Fender’s ability to listen to their consumers, replicate the best of the best of their 70-something year history, all with unparalleled quality control and build quality.

For local enquiries, visit Fender Australia.