Deluxe Active P Bass Special Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 10/22/2012 category: Bass Guitars
Fender: Deluxe Active P Bass Special
The Active P Bass Special has a Jazz neck, a Precision body, one Jazz and one Precision pickup, plus active electronics. Add it all up and you've got a great-feeling bass with worlds of tonal possibilities.
 Sound: 9.2
 Overall Impression: 9.4
 Reliability & Durability: 8.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.6
 Features: 8.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (9) pictures (4) 12 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: Forcemaster, on january 03, 2006
7 of 9 people found this review helpful

Features: Made in 2005, Mexican made (American parts however). 20 frets with a very nice jazz bass (i.e. thin) neck. Alder body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. 1-Ply Beveled Gold Vinyl pickguard. 34" scale. Precision bass body. Satin fnish. American Vintage Precision Bass bridge. Active electronics. Side mounted jack. One Master Volume, One Pickup Selector, Bass, Mid and treble boost controls. P/J pickup configuration. P pickup is standard Fender stock pickup, jazz pickup is Fender vintage noiseless. Standard "Clover" Fender bass tuners. Free, very well padded, gig bag. // 10

Sound: I play hard rock/metal bass (Guns N' Roses, Trivium etc) and due to the versatility of the pickups and pickup selector (that melds between the pickups, rather than just having one pickup or both, this one control can also adjust the tone of both, saving the need for two tone controls). I can get the sounds I want perfectly. I am only using this with a pratice amp and no effects but the quality is crystal clear. I can go from a deep booming growl with just the P pickup or a bright warm sound utilizing the jazz pickup. The boost controls are also very useful, espicially when it comes to bass and treble, I felt that this had not enough bass and mid to begine with, but after a few minutes of twiddiling knobs I found a perfect sound. When the bass is set to just the jazz pickup selected the sound is very tinny and useless, the jazz pickup only shows it's usefullness when combined with some of the P pickup too. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: When I got this bass, the action was set perfect, very low and fast how I like it. the pickups were also set in place very well. No problems with the body or bridge, the input jack was very slightly loose but was easily fixed back into place. The pickup selector makes a slight buzz when switched to the "both" setting. but apart from those two minor details the bess is setup perfect. It also looks very, very nice with a gold pickguard and black body. // 9

Reliability & Durability: After playing this guitar for sometime, it proves to be very dependable in a live setting. The Hardware is very solid and will last for sometime, the strap buttons are very small and my strap keeps falling off at random intervals it would be wise to invest in straplocks for this bass. I can depend on this bass to not let me down unless the batteries go (which is unlikely to happen without me knowing they need replacing). I would, and will, use this bass without a backup. The satin finish seems good enough to last for a very long time. // 9

Overall Impression: This bass is perfect for many styles of music due to it's P/J pickup combination and its pickup selector. If it was stolen or lost I would certainly buy this bass again assuming if I had the same budget, if not I would either get the American Deluxe version, or buy the Aerodyne bass. I love the versatility in this bass the most, the worst thing is the strap buttons, but that is trivial. This bass owns the standard Fender precision basses and Jazz basses I have played, I chose this because of Duff Mckagans (GN'R) use of the P/J combination. And also the jazz neck. My only wish of this product would be bigger strap buttons, and perhaps a humbucker jazz pickup in the bridge like the american deluxe version. This bass is perfect for nearly any style of music. // 10

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overall: 8.4
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: Sixteen_Stone, on march 22, 2006
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Features: My P-Bass is a 2003 Indonnesian-made four-string. It has twenty medium size frets. It has a solid-top. The neck is made from pinewood and since it's hard it has a smooth touch. The finish is satin and the body style is strat. The electronics are passive, The body dials are volume and treble. There are two sets of pickups. I don't know the name of the tuners but they are big, easy to reach and all on one side of the bass. It was a great deal because it came with a gig bag, a strap, cable, tuner, a rumble bass amp, and a dvd on how to play. // 8

Sound: The bass has a great sound with it's amp and without it. It's not too noisy and I have used gear like Pandora with it and it sounds awesome. The P-Bass can be used in rock, jazz, alternative, and even sounda goopd with metal songs. Without gear, theres a normal variety of sound it makes but they are all rich sounds. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I asume it was made in a good factory because all of it's parts fit and no part of it is loose at all. There are no major flaws with the guitar. The nobs and parts are all tight and the entire bass fits. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The guitar is reliable, I've never had to take it in and it doesn't scratch easy. The hardware could need re-sawdered after 3-5 years of playing. The strap It comes with is basic and I sugest getting a better one for only around $15. The finish is nice, I've had mine a while and theres only a scratch or so on the back because I wasn't very carefull with it (wasn't in its bag). // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, It is great for a beggining or professianal band. Iv'e been playing it for about two years and It sounds great and you feel good playing it. If it was stolen I would probably buy an Ibanez because I like trying new things, but hey that's just me. I love the way it sounds and fells but I wish it had more knobs on it. I chose this guitar because Fender is a trustable compony and it's what most people buy when they want a good set for only a few hundered dollars. // 9

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overall: 9.4
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: AkateraxGuy, on november 27, 2006
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: Made in about 2000 in Japan. It has 23 frets with a thin neck. Has a laminated top mahogany and basswood with flamed top finish. Strat body and Tune-O-Matic bridge style. Has active pickup. There are 2 tone nobs and 2 volume nobs. Fender active pickups and non-locking tuners. // 9

Sound: Even though it is a jazz bass, it has a nice deep sound that makes it good for the style of music were playing (grunge). We don't even have to put much distortion on it because of the nice sound, but we usually use a FAB Distortion petal with a little overdrive in it and a Drive Bass amp. It isnt very noisy cus it never squeals on any of the settings. It does not really have a full sound. It has a bright sound and that's what I like about it. The guitar makes many sounds and has a lot of variety. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The set-up in the factory is good. The low action is great. The pickups are adjusted perfect. The top is bookmatched OK. The top bridge is routed only a little off but sounds great still. The guitar has only 1 flaw and that would be the cracks in the paint. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is very tough and has survived many live performances. Everything on this guitar seems like it will last forever, there is no rust or anything and we have never polished or cleaned it. The strap buttons are solid and sturdy and have not given us any trouble. It has a great finish and I would think about not having a backup with it but maybe not just out of common sense. // 10

Overall Impression: We play a mix of metal and alternative, grunge maybe and I think it is a great match. We have had it for 7 years and also own another bass and 2 other guitars. No not really. I think I would track down the guy that took it and light him on fire, but if I didn't find him I would definately buy it again. My favorite feature is it's low tone and low action. // 10

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overall: 9.4
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: Miss G, on february 04, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: My Fender Deluxe Active P Special was made in Mexico. 20 medium jumbo frets, jazz bass neck, maple fretboard. Blizzard pearl polyester finish, with a 1 ply gold vinyl pickguard. Precision bass body, american Vintage bridge, active electronics, 3 band EQ, master volume, pan pot. 1 Standard Alnico Split Single-Coil Precision Bass pickup (mid), 1 Dual-Coil Ceramic Noiseless Jazz Bass pickup with Nickel Plated Pole Pieces (bridge). Comes with a free Fender deluxe gig bag. // 9

Sound: This bass nails almost any style perfectly. Finger style, slap and pop, picking. All sound great. I use a Crate BT50 combo. I didn't like the Fender strings that came on it so I replaced them with Rotosound Swing 66 strings and they sound amazing on it. I get some hum with this bass but I know for a fact it's the amp and not the bass. You can get so many sounds out of this bass. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Came set up fine, action and pickups all adjusted well. No major flaws, though there is a small finish flaw on the back next to the battery cover but is barely noticeable. The picture for the blizzard pearl finish makes it look silver but really it's a nice pearl color which looks better than the picture. The gold pickguard also looks a lot better in person. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This bass defiantly could handle gigging. I will probably replace the bridge because the A string saddle? Not sure what it's called, but it constantly lowers itself. I have to adjust it once a week but it's not a big deal. Strap buttons were fine but I still replaced them with strap locks. I defiantly use this without a backup in from of a million people. It's a nice strong bass, I've knocked the headstock on the wall and dinked the body on a a desk and no flaws from it. // 9

Overall Impression: For any type of music I play or would want to play this bass can handle it all. I've been playing for about a year and I've played a bunch of basses including made in america basses and other fenders and I still prefer this to them. If it was lost or stolen I would defiantly buy this again. I love the maple fretboard and the P/J pickup combo, the pickguard is unique. I hate the bridge and I wish it came with a different one. Anyway for the price this bass is amazing. So many levels above a standard mexican bass. // 10

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overall: 7.6
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: yEsTeRdAy`, on january 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: My Active P-Bass was made in Mexico. It has a maple Jazz neck/rosewood fretboard combo and an alder P-Bass body. The fretboard has 20 medium jumbo frets. The body is covered in a black polyester finish. This bass, although made in Mexico, actually has an American Vintage P-Bass bridge. The Active P-Bass Special has active electronics, which allows for a master volume knob, a pickup pan knob, a treble cut/boost knob, a bass cut/boost knob, and a mid cut/boost knob. There are 2 pickups that come with the bass. One is a Standard Alnico Split single-coil Precision Bass pickup, and the other is a Dual-Coil Ceramic Noiseless Jazz Bass pickup with nickel plated pole pieces. The tuners are just standard tuners and by getting the bass from it came with a nice Fender case. // 7

Sound: My music style is classic rock, blues, British invasion, funk, and much more. This bass fits all these styles well. Partly due to the fact that there's a mix of a P-Bass pickup and a Jazz bass pickup. The active EQ also helps a lot and makes the bass very versatile. I've used this bass with multiple amps, Ampeg's, Rogue's, GK's, etc. It isn't noisy at all and this bass makes a nice full round bassy sound when using mainly the P-Bass pickup, and it makes a nice bright high end sound when using the Jazz bass pickup. As said before you can get plenty of different tones out of this bass and it'll suit almost any genre of music. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: This bass was setup up quite nicely at the factory. The action is nice, the intonation is nice, the pickups are adjusted nicely, and everything else was fine. Except for the master volume. One night while playing the bass, the master volume suddenly stopped working completely. I almost called Fender until I unplugged the bass and plugged it back in. At that point, it started working again. I'm thinking it was the cable or the amp that was messed up because this problem hasn't ocurred since. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I would completely rely on this bass at a gig. Although it wouldn't hurt to have a backup, I wouldn't have to worry about whether this bass would break down in the middle of a gig or not. The hardware seems nice and durable and the original strap buttons seemed solid, but I put in some new strap locks just to be safe. Since I haven't had this bass for more then a few months I can't exactly say if this finish is great but it hasn't gotten chipped off yet so all is well with the finish so far. // 8

Overall Impression: This bass is nicely made and will last you a pretty long time. If you're starting to do small-medium sized gigs then I'd suggest that you get this bass. It's reliable, versatile, nice sounding, and durable. If it was stolen, I'd probably look around at other basses in its price range but I'm guessing I'd get this one again. // 8

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overall: 8.4
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: doublejayy2k, on january 16, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: My specific instrument is a 2003 P-Bass Special, made in Mexico. It has a unique pickup arrangement: a P-Bass split coil on the neck position, and a J-bass P/u on the bridge. From the factory, it comes with a mexican bridge, saddles(Brass, barrel style), and tuners. I'm not sure what kind of wood the body is made of, but the neck is maple with a rosewood fretboard. The finish is glossy, but the new ones are satin, and the gold aluminium pickguard is a cool touch. 3 knobs; one for each p/u's volume, and one for tone. As for the neck, this P-Bass is unique in that it has the thinner, faster Jazz Bass neck. The neck is maple, and gets quite wide as you get closer to the neck joint, and is thick at the nut, a bit beastly for small hands. Mine came with an aftermarket HSC, but the new ones ship with a gig bag. // 8

Sound: I play mostly modern rock and alternative, but I dabble in everything, and I have to say that this bass hasn't let me down. It's an exceptional value for the amount of sound you can squeeze out of it, the unique nature of the pickup arrangement allow you to alternate from fat P-Bass tone to the growl of a J-bass and everywhere in between. I've found that the J-bass P/u is a bit weak on it's own, but with a good dose of the neck pickup, it blends out very well. But since my bass is made in Mexico (some of them are made in Japan, however.) I've found a few buzzing frets. But that's nothing a good shop can't fix. I play mine thru an Ampeg BA-115t and it's great, and there's rarely a sound I can't emulate. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought mine used thru eBay, and the previous owner did a fairly decent job keeping up his instrument. It looked as if the pickguard had never been removed, and the pots were a bit dusty (causing a bunch of buzz, not a problem with a new one though). The pickups were a little high for my tastes, so I screwed them down a bit more, but that's just personal preference. The acton is my only real problem with this instrument. The neck has to be continually retorqued, usually ever other month. After a bit of fussing with the bridge and nut though, I've gotten it about as good as it can be. The finish was overall very solid, nice paint and Shine, and the hardware seems to hold up well. I've replaced the bridge with a Badass Bridge and it's made a helluva difference. That's one upgrade I'd recommend. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Like most Fenders, this rig is a beast, and takes a serious beating. Add straplocks, and you won't hesitate to throw this thing around. I've played small gigs around town with my rock group, and taken it to play with the choir at church. While the pickups seem a bit flimsy, along with the bridge, I would trust this instrument explicitly to take me thru a gig without croaking. For the last year or so playing it, it hasn't skipped a beat. Made like a tank. // 9

Overall Impression: For my musical tastes, which are broad, this rig fits the bill. It's versatility has yet to have been matched in my travels, and it's a looker to boot. Coupled with a low entry price, it's a great buy for an advancing bassist that hasn't yet made the commitment to an American rig. A new bridge (the factory one is way cheap) and pickups (factory ones are noisy) make an inumerable difference in the overall playablity of the instrument, and those would be the only modifications I would suggest, other than straplocks. You don't need any other work done really, it's a workhorse that has pleased me thru and thru. Great buy, good sound, exceptional value. If it was stolen, I'd buy another one immediately, then find the guy and beat him over the head with it. A testament to Fenders durablity. // 9

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overall: 9.2
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: Duncas, on september 02, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 509

Features: This Bass was made in mexico. It has the P Bass split single coils and a jazz bass pickup (Bridge) they are Fender noiseless pickups its the same pickup config as the Duff McKagen signiture I believe, the controls are different to a regular Precision bass as you get the treble, middle and bass knobs (active pickups) the treble is above the bass knob as a stack. The other two knobs are master volume and tone, which is more a pickup selecter. Mine is in the pearl finish with gold pickguard which I was hesitant about at first but looks great. Jazz bass neck (mines in maple but rosewood is available) 20 frets and GREAT tuners. The tuners are fantastic they are not locking but I rarely have to tune it! (I check anyway though) it is extremally well made to a very high quality. It came with a very thick soft cse and tools etc. // 9

Sound: this bass will suit every music style. There has been no tone I cannot create due to the active pickups, the slap tone is to die for! Its forte though is that punchy growl of the really old Precision basses combined with the bright jazz pickup to create a brilliant sound. I use a Fender Rumble 100 (which I wish to replace when funds arrive), a Behringer TU300 tuner pedal and a Ehx Big Muff Pi. My main music style is classic rock/hard rock but I also play alternative muse/RATM to which I cannot fault this bass. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was in tune straight out of the box, the action was good and I haven't had to get it readjusted yet. Flawless finish, no cracks by the pickups etc. The pikcups could do with a raise but I am a perfectionist. Basically this bass was brilliant out of the box and hasn't needed any adjusting so far and I've had it like 8 months. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This reminds me. I need strap locks. The stock ones are the only downfall of this bass. At a gig this bass shines! My backup never leaves its case, the hardware is very sturdy so will last longer than I will! The finish is a little knocked in places but because of the pearly finish they can only be seen close up. Overall brilliantly dependable except the strap buttons. // 8

Overall Impression: I LOVE THIS BASS! When I purchased this bass I had a long list which I narrowed down to this, the active jazz special, geddy lee sig., duff mckagen sig., Epiphone active thunderbird special, Schecter model T, '51 prec. It was a close call between this and the active jazz (which after playing my friends I can tell I made the right choice) I have been playing 3 years and I have several guitars and some cheap-ass basses which are 'projects'. If it was lost or stolen I would probably go for something like the Fender road worn or american series basses. Just because I like change. My favourite feature is the finish/pickup config. Just for the amount of people asking how much my 'custom' bas cost :p // 10

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overall: 9.6
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: Rule Britannia, on january 06, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 770

Purchased from: Blue Mountain Music

Features: My Deluxe Active P Bass was made in 2011 in Mexico. 20 Medium Jumbo Frets on a Maple neck (maple fretboard aswell). Body is Ash. My colour scheme is Blizzard Pearl (white with a gold pick guard). Though the white has a silver touch to it. Gig Bag was included, though I plan to purchase a hard shell case to preserve it better. This bass has standard Precision P Bass pickups in the middle of the body but also a jazz bass pickup next to/infront of the bridge. // 9

Sound: The P Bass is known for being a great all around bass I went from a jazz/blues based Washburn bass to this Fender P bass. I use a Fender Rumble 30 (I intend to get a better amp too) Amp Settings: (from scale -15 to +15) bass: -10 Mid: +10 Treble: -10 It creates a strong tone that allows the higher notes to be heard very loudly but the low notes too (I'm tuned to drop D 90% of the time). This bass has 4 options for changing the sound. Master Volume Dynamic Select Treble Boost cut (main knob) (knob on top of Treble Boost Cut)--> Bass Boost Cut Mid Boost Cut I play lots of Metalcore stuff such as Avenged Sevenfold, Iron Maiden but I do also switch to some Indie rock such as Modest Mouse (they have an Indie sound) as well as some electronic stuff such as Late Of Pier and The Killers. This bass suits the sound I need perfectly for the different sounds those bands produce. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The Bass was set up brilliant in the factory, I found 1 scratch when unboxing but I lost where it went since then no other issues it was clearly put together well no other issues with the bass physically. The pickups are great no problems with them as well as the bridge, no problems there or anywhere for that matter. The finish is fantastic I love the colour when looked at in person the bass has a great silver look to it rather than a blank white you look at on the Fender website. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The bass is a litle heavy so it may become strainuous when playing for a long periods of time, most of the time I play sitting down so I don't feel the weight on my back though it feels a little heavy on my thigh after a long time. // 10

Overall Impression: As I mentioned before this bass can play anything and it still sounds amazing this is a great bass to turn to. I was looking for a primarily metalcore bass (looking at Ibanez, B.C. Rich and ESP) but instead I played a standard P Bass at the store and fell in love with the sound (though it was missing something). I went for the Deluxe for the extra Jazz pickup and that was that. I have been playing bass for two years and 4 months I was previously playing a Washburn XB100 (my first bass) but it didn't have the sound I wanted out of playing (I didn't know back then). If this bass were stolen/lost (dunno how that would happen) I would definitely get a new one. I love the maple fretboard, it's very smooth and my hand glides up and down the neck another thing I love is the anniversary plate on the back of the body marking 60 years of Precision bass as well as the beautiful headstock that all Fenders have. I don't hate anything about this bass. I can only compare it to my old bass; this bass, Fender Deluxe, beats it, hands down, in every area. There is little else I can think of to improve this bass I do need a better amp to improve the sound. // 10

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overall: 9
Deluxe Active P Bass Special Reviewed by: Ecap, on october 22, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 500

Purchased from: Used (private)

Features: Model: 0135762325. Made in Mexico. Maple bolt-on jazz neck (modern "C" shape) with 20 medium jumbo frets and black dot inlays. Truss rod adjusts at the head. The alder P-Bass body with "Chrome Red" finish and gold vinyl pick guard houses Alnico P Bass split pickups at the neck and dual-coil ceramic Noiseless Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge. 1/4" side-mounted jack. Active electronics powered by one 9V battery allow the following controls: master volume, pan (blending signal of pickups) and three-band active EQ with treble boost/cut (+/- 10 db at 8kHz, a shift in the cut frequency, and about a 2dB slope per octave), mid boost/cut (+10dB, -15dB at 500Hz, and a wide band slope) and bass boost/cut (+/- 12db at 40Hz, with a 4dB slope per octave) all with midway notches. - Hardware: Chrome - Bridge: American Vintage 4 Saddle Bass - String Nut: Synthetic Bone - Tuning Machines: Standard Open-Gear Tuners // 10

Sound: I've got it equipped with LaBella deep talkin' bass 0760M flat wounds. The sound is incredible. Between the EQ and pickup blending, I cannot imagine that there is anything this bass can't do perfectly. The sound gets as bright (nearly brittle) and as deep and brooding as you could like. Panning the pickup selection about 65% toward the neck, you get a punch that cannot be beat. Cut the mid completely and you take a lot of the edge that comes with the active system allowing you to sit back in the mix. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Entirely adjustable action (back-forth, up-down, left-right). The pickups are both vertically adjustable too (though not each pole). The frets were not filed properly (I'm assuming these were the originals), so it's rough to slide my hand along the neck, otherwise the finish is flawless. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Not sure of the age of this one, but the mid boost/cut pot was no longer catching at the half-way notch and was crackling when I turned it (but I opened the pot, lubed and fixed the notch). The battery lasted it came with (used...), lasted about one year. Everything else seems perfectly reliable. The tuning holds well, the truss doesn't slip or anything. The knobs are metal. // 8

Overall Impression: A fantastic piece of equipment. If you can't sound amazing on this, it's you - not the bass. A world class instrument for well under $1000, what more can you ask for?! I would buy this again without question. I'm not even sure I would check anything else out. ONE BIG ISSUE is the pickguard. This whole series comes with gold vinyl pickgaurd which does not blend particularly well with any of the bodies. Also, it's harder to replace the pickguard because it's such a specific design. Consider routing your own from blank material. It might be cool if the strings loaded through the body and if the neck were through the body (not bolt-on). Fancier tuners could be cool too. But again, everything highly functions and is of quality.

// 9

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