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NAMM 2013: Four new Fender bass models

Ronnie Dungan
NAMM 2013: Four new Fender bass models

Fender has added new four bass guitars to its American Vintage series, envoking the original models released between the late 1950s and early 1970s.

Available in three-colour Sunburst, White Blonde and Black, the American Vintage ’58 Precision Bass commemorates the first year in which the bass appeared in a three-colour Sunburst finish. Authentic features include a lightweight alder body (Ash on White Blonde model), thick "C"-shaped maple neck with 20 vintage-style frets and black dot inlays, gold anodized aluminum pickguard with lacquer finish, and new American Vintage ’58 split single-coil pickup. It also includes a lower-mounted finger rest, vintage-style bridge with threaded steel "barrel" saddles, flat-top knurled chrome control knobs, reverse tuners, mounted chrome pickup and bridge covers.

The year 1963 marks an important moment in Precision Bass history because that’s when the new round-laminated rosewood fingerboard first appeared. It's also on the new American Vintage ’63 Precision Bass, which also has a slightly wider "C"-shaped maple neck, clay-coloured dot position inlays, three-ply mint green pickguard (four-ply tortoiseshell pickguard on three-colour Sunburst model), new American Vintage ’63 split single-coil pickup, lower-mounted finger rest, vintage-style bridge with threaded steel "barrel" saddles, flat-top knurled chrome control knobs, reverse tuners, chrome pickup and bridge covers, and auxiliary strap button on the back of the headstock. It is available in three-colour Sunburst, Olympic White, Faded Sonic Blue, and Frost Red.

The Jazz Bass acquired an even slimmer "C"-shaped maple neck in 1964, which is on the American vintage ’64 Jazz Bass. It has other authentic features including a round-laminated rosewood fingerboard with 20 vintage-style frets and clay-coloured dot inlays, three-ply white pickguard (four-ply tortoiseshell pickguard on 3-Color Sunburst and Olympic White models), new American Vintage ’64 Jazz Bass single-coil pickups, lower-mounted finger rest, vintage-style bridge with threaded steel "barrel" saddles, black plastic control knobs, reverse tuners, chrome pickup and "F"-stamped bridge covers with vintage-accurate positioning.

Significant changes were afoot in 1974 for the Jazz Bass. The bridge pickup was moved about half an inch closer to the bridge only the year before, and 1974 saw the last of the four-bolt necks for quite a while. Further, the slim "C"-shaped maple neck was re-sculpted with a meatier U-shaped profile, acquired a walnut "skunk" stripe, white fingerboard binding, pearl block inlays made their first appearance, and black pickguards replaced the longstanding tortoiseshell version.

The American Vintage ’74 Jazz Bass encompasses all of the above and is the sole member of the new American Vintage bass lineup to offer a choice of maple and round-laminated rosewood fingerboards, each with white binding, pearl block inlays and 20 vintage-style frets. Other authentic features include a urethane-finished alder body (ash on Natural-finish model), three-ply black/white/black pickguard (three-ply white/black/white on Black model).

It also has  American Vintage ’74 Jazz Bass single-coil pickups, an upper-mounted thumb rest, vintage-style bridge with single-groove steel "barrel" saddles, ‘70s-style "Fender"-stamped open-gear tuners, four-bolt "F"-stamped neck plate, chrome pickup and "F"-stamped bridge covers with vintage-accurate positioning. It is available in three-colour Sunburst, Olympic White, Black, and Natural.

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Tags: Fender , American Vintage , American Vintage ’58 Precision Bass , American Vintage ’63 Precision Bass , American vintage ’64 Jazz Bass

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