Today we’re going to be looking at and reviewing the Fender Deluxe Precision Bass Special. There are plenty of big-name brands in the music industry, and when it comes to guitars, very few are bigger than Fender.
With their legendary status in the music industry, they have been responsible for some of the world’s most well-known guitars, such as the Telecaster and Stratocaster models. As well as being known for making lead guitars, Fender has built a reputation around manufacturing other musical products like their now-legendary range of amplifiers.
But it’s not their famous lead guitars or legendary amps that we’re here to discuss today. This piece’s focus is one of the many bass guitars Fender has produced over the years, the Deluxe Precision Special.
Its roots can be traced back to the early 1970s when Leo Fender first started the Fender Precision Bass’ mass production (or ‘P Bass’). It was a model that became one of the most imitated bass guitars of all time.
Its success was down to several factors, from its supreme build quality and playability to its rugged durability and classic Fender tones.
In this article, we’ll be giving some of our thoughts on the pros and cons of the Fender Deluxe Precision Bass Special. We’ll also discuss its core features, recommend an alternative we think you’ll be interested in, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about it.
Before we get into all of that, let’s take a look at a top-level overview of the Precision Bass Special.
|Nut width||1.5 inches|
|Scale length||34 inches|
|Number of frets||20|
|Pickups||Fender passive PJ|
|Number of strings||4|
|Price||Check here for the latest price|
Core Features of the Fender Deluxe Precision Bass Special
Fender has built on previous P Bass generations’ success while bringing a modern way of thinking to the design. A result is a fantastic option for many bassists, particularly those who value versatility in their instruments.
PJ Pickup Configuration
The pickups we have on the Precision Bass are a slight departure from tradition. Fender has included a PJ configuration on this version, meaning the overall tones produced are much brighter than on previous models. PJs are usually added to guitars that want a slightly ‘jazzier’ sound, adding brightness, bridge solo tones, or combining the two.
This was a controversial feature when the guitar first launched, simply because the tried and tested design had been successful for so long. Why fix it if it isn’t broken?
Well, as with many Fender innovations over the years, this one proved to be a touch of genius and has received plaudits from a wide range of players who praise the added versatility the PJ setup brings.
The middle pickup is Fender’s Vintage Split Single-Coil Precision Bass with the bridge featuring a Dual-Coil Ceramic Noiseless Jazz Bass with nickel-plated pole pieces.
The two seem to work in perfect harmony to deliver the tones people have come to expect from a quality Fender product, with plenty of playing options for those who like to experiment a little.
Another essential feature of this instrument is the electronics hidden within it. This can sometimes be an aspect of electric guitars that doesn’t get enough attention when choosing a new one. But when you look a little closer at what Fender has included, it’s easy to see why they have helped to make this model such a popular choice.
The electronics are controlled via a well-designed and robust scheme that is home to a three-band EQ. Being able to quickly and easily alter the treble, mids, and Bass that your guitar produces is valuable for any guitarist, but mainly a bass player looking for maximum versatility. Each of the bands even has a boost function, allowing you to mold and shape your tone or cut it out completely, should you need to.
The pan pot wiring works in perfect unison with the pickups and their layout, expertly relaying pitch-perfect tones. There is also a switch that allows flicking between active and passive settings instantly gives the player easy access to both modern and vintage tones.
This was a feature that we particularly enjoyed during testing and one that we think will benefit the majority of musicians thinking about getting one of these.
Comfort Through Design
The guitar’s actual shape hasn’t changed much since the original version first hit the shelves in 1972. This breeds familiarity amongst traditionalists and ensures a certain level of guaranteed quality, given both the brand and the model’s reputation.
However, what Fender has done is to make some subtle yet necessary changes to the instrument that involves bringing modern-day design techniques and marrying them with the tried and trusted shape.
The most obvious of these is the inclusion of a C-shaped neck. This adds to many of Fender’s other features and builds on the idea that the modern Precision Bass is ideal for players who want to be flexible on the sounds and styles they play.
Other areas of clever design see the inclusion of a 1.5-inch synthetic bone nut, 20 medium-jumbo frets, and a fast-playing 12-inch radius fingerboard.
Classically Good Looking
They say some designs are eternal, and that is undoubtedly true for several Fender guitars. The famous Telecaster and Stratocaster models have been copied and imitated hundreds of times since their release and still to this day remain one of the popular electric guitar models on the market.
Although not to quite the same extent, the Precision Bass has seen its fair share of imitations and copies over the years. While they say imitation is the highest form of flattery, nothing will ever be quite like the original. Thankfully, Fender has stuck pretty close to their original design when it comes to the P Bass aesthetics.
Whether in the studio or on the stage, the Alder body shines and looks great under the lights. A double layer of gloss finishing provides the classic look that also helps protect against bumps and scrapes, along with other perils of life on the road.
The hardware on this model is nickel chrome. There are black pickup covers, a 3-ply B/W/B pickguard, and Pearloid inlays. All of these add up to what is one good-looking guitar available in Olympic White, Surf Pearl, and Sunburst color schemes.
Pricing & Warranty
The overall price of the Deluxe P Bass reflects its position as a well-respected and well-built instrument. Sitting in the upper-middle bracket, this is a guitar that will be attractive to the more experienced player looking for quality in all areas of their performances.
Despite what some may consider being a higher price, this guitar serves beginners well too. Due to its superior playability over some of the older versions, the Deluxe P Bass can be picked up and played by virtually anyone.
When paying a premium for a product, you want peace of mind when buying. Luckily Fender provides a two-year warranty on all-electric and Bass guitars that covers any faults caused by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, this does not cover damage sustained whilst playing or storing your guitar, so be sure to invest in a good quality case.
How Does the Deluxe Precision Bass Special Perform?
We are well aware of the reputation that precedes this Bass and expected it to perform well. But was this the case? In this section, we explore how the key features influence the P Bass special’s overall sound and performance.
The electronics on this model are the real talking point here. Quality internal wiring coupled with pickups that focus on sonic properties not often associated with bass guitars and some brilliant in-play customization options means that the performance lives up to the billing.
As we highlighted earlier, the jazz-influenced pickups help promote a brightness to the PB’s sound that you don’t find with other similar bass guitars. This adds a uniqueness that helps it stand out from its direct competitors and the broader guitar market.
These performance highlights are then built on by the onboard EQ. It’s not only easy to use but also allows you to isolate and customize your sound, adding to the already impressive versatility of this instrument.
For some, these quirky elements that Fender has included may put them off. Purists might argue that this versatility takes something away from the raw sound of a bass.
This is a valid point, and for the most die-hard bass players out there, it may ring true; however, the modernization and added playing options were a huge plus. After all, who wants to be limited in what sounds they can play?!
Pros of the Fender Deluxe Precision Bass Special
When you’re on the hunt for a new guitar, there can often be an overwhelming array of specifications and design features to take into account. Here we’ll look at the most important pros you need to consider when purchasing one of these guitars.
It’s a big thumbs up from us in terms of the sound you’ll be able to produce. The brightness that shines through, along with the ability to tweak your sound, is sure to appeal to many players.
More experienced musicians will love being able to fine-tune their instrument until it produces their perfect sound. Likewise, beginners will enjoy experimenting and exploring the different tonal options, and crafting their sound.
Visual appeal is an important aspect to consider when buying a new guitar. Does it look good in your hands? Do you look good while playing? Does it look good on its stand? All of these are essential questions, and if you did decide to go with a P Bass Special, the answer is a resounding yes.
Fender has taken the ever-popular design and made some subtle yet notable changes. These tweaks have helped the playability of the Deluxe PB without taking away any of its charms.
Available in a host of color schemes and designs, including Sunburst, Olympic White, and surf Pearl there is sure to be a design to suit all tastes.
Build Quality and Durability
As you would expect from a Fender product, the build quality is top-notch. Everything from the Maple neck to the solid Alder body and chrome finishing feels authentic and very well built.
The added reinforced truss rod gives the instrument rigidity when playing and feels comfortable enough to push it to its limits without the fear of any hardware failure. If the unthinkable were to happen and any part of the guitar broke, you’ll be covered for up to two years under Fender’s global warranty, so shred away!
Cons of the Fender Deluxe Precision bass Special
Despite how much we like this guitar and its multitude of obvious pros, there are a couple of areas you need to be aware of.
This is not an entry-price instrument. If you’re looking for absolute value for money, then you’ll want to turn your attention elsewhere. While the Fender is well worth the money, it is a substantial amount.
However, if you’re not put off by the higher price point, the Fender P Bass Special is one of the best in class.
Not so much a criticism of this particular Bass than of basses in general, but this isn’t the most accessible instrument to transport. If you are thinking of taking one on the road, you’ll want to invest in a good travel case. Or, if you’re looking for a smaller size guitar to take away on holiday with you, then check out our favorite travel guitars.
What Are The Best Alternatives to The Fender Deluxe Precision Bass Special?
It’s no secret that Yamaha makes great products. From cars and motorcycles to pianos and speakers, you’re assured of good quality. Their guitar range is no different, and they produce some excellent alternatives to the often pricier brands like Fender, Gibson, and Marshall.
The Yamaha BB is one of their most popular bass guitars and is a real contender when head to head with the P Bass. Although we prefer Fender’s offering overall, if you’re looking for a little more value for money, then the Yamaha is well worth investigating.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Precision Bass
Answer: The name comes from its use of frets. The Precision Bass design makes it much easier to hit notes precisely than when playing a traditional upright fretless bass.
Answer: You can easily adjust and change the action on your P Bass. Simply raise or lower either the individual string saddles or the entire bridge. Each design is slightly different, so the specifics will vary depending on your P Bass model and year.
Guitar Space’s Final Thoughts on the Fender Deluxe Precision Bass Special
Fender has once again produced an excellent guitar that will more than live up to many musicians’ expectations. Its overall versatility is what stands out when stepping back and looking at the guitar as a whole. Pair that with the excellent Fender feel, build, and tone that we’ve all come to know and love, and there aren’t many downsides!
The Deluxe P Bass Special has taken something already very good and made it even better, which is not easy to do.
If the price tag doesn’t put you off, then we think this guitar suitable for all skill levels is well worth considering.
Jodie is a trained classical guitarist. She is also a full-time blogger and loves to write about different types of guitars. Just give her 60 seconds of your time, and she’ll tell you all that you need to know about any guitar of your choice.