American Vintage '57 Precision Bass review by Fender

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (21 votes)
Fender: American Vintage '57 Precision Bass

Sound — 10
It sounds terrific, but it has to suit your expectancies: in fact it combines several bright-tone-friendly features such as Ash body, maple neck & fingerboard, aluminum pickguard and the pickup that seems to be a combination of strong alnico V magnets with relatively low number of coils, giving a very detailed and broad frequency tone, with airy highs, nice rough'n'granulous mids and deep reaching lows. The tone knob is an amazing feature here, for it ranges from super-bright to deep sub-bass dub-friend (I saw Jah Wobble play one of these, no wonder he likes it), with lots of tonal possibilities in-between: incredible for a passive simple setup! And when slapped this thing sounds downright awesome too. Played with a pick it's a rock machine and slapped, well I would really recommend to Mr Flea to check out one of these some day. A second opinion would say it lacks some output and the typical P-Bass low-mids oomph: for that one perhaps the Jamersonesque 62 reissue would be the right choice. I guess that is precisely the point for Fender to propose both the 57 and 62 reissues, to suit every school's taste. The low-mids oomph is here flattened to lower smooth infra-bass tsunami for the oomph and high-mids bark for the grunt.

Overall Impression — 10
This baby is a pleasure to play, plus it's on the lighter side compared to other p-basses, which is refreshing after 3 hours rehearsal. The tone knob offers more than the classis closed / half open / open 3 basic settings, and for those who say the P-Bass is not good for slappin', well think again! Thank you Fender for actually proposing this kind of product as an interesting alternative to thecrazy priced real Vintage instruments!

Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't had it for long so I can't judge the reliability, but I would not dear to bang the case around, it's a shame for such a valuable instrument! Fair enough to try and make the case as Vintage as the instrument, but I would have expected a better craftmanship for it. On the other hand, the instrument itself looks well built.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The setup was OK, action a bit high. But most disappointing is that this baby comes with roundwound strings: what a sacrilege! In my opinion the tone is way too bright with roundwounds and then it is not really this beauty's cup of tea. So after putting on a set of flatwounds and lowering the action it became an awesome piece of gear: super versatile, you could play any style on this gorgeous sexy thang. Another good surprise is the neck: it's a bit rounder and thinner than the typical P-Bass neck: it's gotta be the best neck I ever tried.

Features — 9
It's a Fender Precision bass, but made with the particular materials, pickup & hardware from the legendary 1957 model. It features the classic 2 volume and tone knobs, and the split coil pickup with raised A-string magnets. No more no less than the real thing. It comes with a golden colour Vintage case, but I was disappointed of the not so sturdy aspect of this case compared with standard Fender cases that seem more bullet proof. And also, no tools were included like for american standard instruments.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    These rating are way out of wack. This is simply the best bass ever made( no really the best ever) and should be rated higher. It's American made and is supior to any foreign made instrument, including other Fenders.
    my dad has one of these, i think its an 84' model or something, sunburst finish, it plays great
    hey if anyone has any pics of this bass (pref white and gold) could you pm me thanks