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looking for a Fender Precision Bass alternative
Old 6th January 2017
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
GrabtharsHammer's Avatar
looking for a Fender Precision Bass alternative

Hey,

I am looking for a good bass for up to $500-$700. I love the sound of Fender Precision basses but have read on many forums that their cheaper product range is quite bad quality wise.

Can someone recommend a P style bass in the mentioned price range that doesn't suck?
Old 6th January 2017
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrabtharsHammer View Post
I love the sound of Fender Precision basses but have read on many forums that their cheaper product range is quite bad quality wise.
Where, exactly, have you read that?
Old 7th January 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
 
sleepyhollos's Avatar
A friend of mine plays a Japanese Precision that he paid £500 for and it looks, plays, feels and sounds pretty decent. I'm more of a Jazz bass kinda guy myself but when I want something a little more aggressive or driven then I play a modern Bison. The Bison covers a million bases (no pun intended) and looks the business. I wouldn't quite say it does a precision sound but it is a very versatile instrument. Don't believe the hype about modern Fenders being rubbish etc. Try some for yourself and you decide.
Old 7th January 2017
  #4
Lives for gear
 

You read the wrong reviews. Some of the best sounding P Bass out there are the Squier Classic Vibes. Go on Youtube and check Ed Friedland's review of the Squier Classic Vibe Jazz and Precision which he compares them to USA made Fenders. You can find a used one for about $300. They are really good and look dope too. They were so good they are now discontinued because everyone was asking why should I shell out $1,200 on a new Fender USA when this $450 instrument sound as good.
Other option is a used Lakland Skyline
Old 7th January 2017
  #5
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrabtharsHammer View Post
Hey,

I am looking for a good bass for up to $500-$700. I love the sound of Fender Precision basses but have read on many forums that their cheaper product range is quite bad quality wise.

Can someone recommend a P style bass in the mentioned price range that doesn't suck?
they really do make poor quality guitars. Look at Peavey or Schecter The Peavey grind is an incredible bass for the money (about $250- $300 used). Far superior to a p-bass, vintage..new or other wise

Another option is the Schecter stiletto elite. You can find them at GC.com for $250. They are light years more professional sounding compare to a pbass.

Essentially you need to avoid bolt on necks and the cheap woods like Fender uses. They sound horrible.
Old 7th January 2017
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
Essentially you need to avoid bolt on necks and the cheap woods like Fender uses. They sound horrible.
Nonsense.
Old 7th January 2017
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Nonsense.
Outside of their top line strats and tele's i've never heard a modern fender instrument that didn't sound like a piece of garbage. Would totally go with an Ibanez or Yamaha anything before buying just about any modern Fender piece of equipment so long as it doesn't come with active pickups. That said, I don't think the bolt on neck is at the root of the issue. The plywood bodies may be though. They honestly probably dampen sustain more than if they chose not to include a body at all.

Modern P-basses are muddy as hell, jazz basses are even worse. Don't get me wrong, I've tried P-Basses from the 60's and they were definitely 'dark' instruments, but there was still note clarity. Old P-Basses simply had a flavor of their own. New ones sound like mud.

Squier makes garbage instruments. Mexican Strats have garbage pickups. There is no reason not to get a Yamaha which is just as well-built and throw in some nice pickups. Cheap Tele's and Thinlines sound ridiculous. Like literally among the worst electric instruments I have ever heard in my life. The piercing unyielding honkyness of these things blows my mind. Play with tone at zero or else.

Every new Hot Rod and Deluxe I try sounds just about nothing like the originals at all. Basically, compared back to back with a cheaper all-tube Peavey they sound like utter ****. I know Fender has never been known for definition, but jeez man this is getting brutal. Saw a handwired vintage reissue of a Bassman 3 days ago that was defective 2 weeks out of the factory. Though I will say their vintage reissues sound kinda accurate (but still thinner!) they are sorely overpriced, and you may as well have bought the original.

So yea, I'd basically go with the cheapest instrument you can find from Japan and just throw in some passive pickups, or if you love slapping and being Les Claypool (definitely a blast) pickups that can switch between active and passive if you're savvy with electronics. If you really do love the P-bass can find a Squier from years ago, people may not really recognize that they were quality instruments and you can get a deal. Fender is simply becoming a company who's only talent is increasing their profit margin.
Old 8th January 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrabtharsHammer View Post
Hey,

I am looking for a good bass for up to $500-$700. I love the sound of Fender Precision basses but have read on many forums that their cheaper product range is quite bad quality wise.

Can someone recommend a P style bass in the mentioned price range that doesn't suck?
Don't believe every "opinion" you read on the innernutz.

In reality, even a $200 Squier P-bass is quite serviceable if you replace the pickups.

Go visit some stores and try out basses in your price range until you find one that says "I am your bass!". Then buy it. Avoid active models - Fender's inexpensive active electronics leave a lot to be desired.
Old 8th January 2017
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
they really do make poor quality guitars. Look at Peavey or Schecter The Peavey grind is an incredible bass for the money (about $250- $300 used). Far superior to a p-bass, vintage..new or other wise

Another option is the Schecter stiletto elite. You can find them at GC.com for $250. They are light years more professional sounding compare to a pbass.

Essentially you need to avoid bolt on necks and the cheap woods like Fender uses. They sound horrible.
Poppycock!

An ignorant andf prejudiced opinion.
Old 8th January 2017
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by untitled73 View Post
Outside of their top line strats and tele's i've never heard a modern fender instrument that didn't sound like a piece of garbage. Would totally go with an Ibanez or Yamaha anything before buying just about any modern Fender piece of equipment so long as it doesn't come with active pickups. That said, I don't think the bolt on neck is at the root of the issue. The plywood bodies may be though. They honestly probably dampen sustain more than if they chose not to include a body at all.

Modern P-basses are muddy as hell, jazz basses are even worse. Don't get me wrong, I've tried P-Basses from the 60's and they were definitely 'dark' instruments, but there was still note clarity. Old P-Basses simply had a flavor of their own. New ones sound like mud.

Squier makes garbage instruments. Mexican Strats have garbage pickups. There is no reason not to get a Yamaha which is just as well-built and throw in some nice pickups. Cheap Tele's and Thinlines sound ridiculous. Like literally among the worst electric instruments I have ever heard in my life. The piercing unyielding honkyness of these things blows my mind. Play with tone at zero or else.

Every new Hot Rod and Deluxe I try sounds just about nothing like the originals at all. Basically, compared back to back with a cheaper all-tube Peavey they sound like utter ****. I know Fender has never been known for definition, but jeez man this is getting brutal. Saw a handwired vintage reissue of a Bassman 3 days ago that was defective 2 weeks out of the factory. Though I will say their vintage reissues sound kinda accurate (but still thinner!) they are sorely overpriced, and you may as well have bought the original.

So yea, I'd basically go with the cheapest instrument you can find from Japan and just throw in some passive pickups, or if you love slapping and being Les Claypool (definitely a blast) pickups that can switch between active and passive if you're savvy with electronics. If you really do love the P-bass can find a Squier from years ago, people may not really recognize that they were quality instruments and you can get a deal. Fender is simply becoming a company who's only talent is increasing their profit margin.
So you'd rather replace the pickups on a Yamaha than on a Fender?

Don't make me laugh - it hurts.

Let me guess - you don't like Fender/Squier because you're a "rebel" and you want to be "different", or because the styling isn't "modern" enough? Or just because you see Fender as "the establishment"? Let me tell you, Yamaha is a MUCH huger multinational corporation and a far bigger profit machine.

Do you really want your bass made by a motorcycle company?

Yamaha - the sound of Japanese industry laughing at America!
Old 8th January 2017
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
So you'd rather replace the pickups on a Yamaha than on a Fender?

Don't make me laugh - it hurts.

Let me guess - you don't like Fender/Squier because you're a "rebel" and you want to be "different", or because the styling isn't "modern" enough? Or just because you see Fender as "the establishment"? Let me tell you, Yamaha is a MUCH huger multinational corporation and a far bigger profit machine.

Do you really want your bass made by a motorcycle company?

Yamaha - the sound of Japanese industry laughing at America!
If laughing makes you hurt, why would I stop?

But yea, when's the last time you bought a Squier instrument?

Yamahas stay in tune and have decent intonation. I don't give a **** what kind of company they are. I know plenty of people who's first guitar is as nice as the nicest of Les Pauls and Strats. It doesn't exactly take an engineer to build one (unless what you're trying to do is build one as cheaply as possible, an area in which I'm sure fender does a wonderful job).

If I'm going to replace pickups it's going to be in one of those and not the garbage intonation, garbage tuners, garbage bridge and cheap sharp frets that is a Squier anything today. Actually, I'll probably just buy a nicer, older instrument.

Ibanez is a great company for the price, probably the best bang for buck. The only problem I have with Japanese companies is they tend to use active pickups. Gretsch also makes some wonderful instruments at lower prices. Fender is not what it used to be even ten years ago. They are the McDonalds of modern instruments. Seriously, go to a guitar center or some dumb place and check out the bass selection. You'll cry.
Old 8th January 2017
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
So you'd rather replace the pickups on a Yamaha than on a Fender?

Don't make me laugh - it hurts.

Let me guess - you don't like Fender/Squier because you're a "rebel" and you want to be "different", or because the styling isn't "modern" enough? Or just because you see Fender as "the establishment"? Let me tell you, Yamaha is a MUCH huger multinational corporation and a far bigger profit machine.

Do you really want your bass made by a motorcycle company?

Yamaha - the sound of Japanese industry laughing at America!
By the way, Yamaha began as a musical instrument company. Shouldn't all the bikers be laughing at the dude who purchased their hog from a music company?
Old 8th January 2017
  #13
Hey, the Japanese Fender Jazz I had was the best bass I ever owned! I so regret selling it. So that was the best of both worlds.

OT but TBH I have found the overall sound quality and QC on Japanese music goods (acoustic and electric instruments, synths, headphones, turntable carts etc.) to be way higher than their American and European counterparts of a similar price. I lived in Japan for 12 years. They know their QC and customer service like no other!
Old 8th January 2017
  #14
Gear Nut
Some of the $400-700 stuff Ibanez has been approved by me for sounding quite nice and similar to a P-Bass. I'd at least check it out man.
Old 8th January 2017
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal 9000 View Post
Some of the $400-700 stuff Ibanez has been approved by me for sounding quite nice and similar to a P-Bass. I'd at least check it out man.
My go-to P-style bass these days is an early 80's Ibanez (look for either a Blazer or Roadstar II, same except for the bridge). I also have a 70's Ibanez Challenger (lawsuit P) that's outstanding. But I've probably owned 20+ Fender J's, P's and Mustangs and never had one that was even close to a dog.

I have owned two different neck-thru Rickenbackers and quickly got rid of them. Both had terrible neck dive. The first one was a very early 4000, single pickup, incredibly heavy. The second was a 4001, gorgeous looking, very dead both in my lap and plugged in.

This whole thing about bolt-ons being "garbage" is simple misinformation. If you can't get a good sound out of a decently made P- or J-style instrument, it's because you can't play.
Old 8th January 2017
  #16
Gear Maniac
still love my 80s Ibanez Roadstar II 30 years later.
Old 8th January 2017
  #17
Lives for gear
 

It's not rocket science to make a guitar (or bass), too many acceptable options in that price range to really narrow it down...mostly down to personal preferences. I've never really liked the feel of Fender basses myself, but tons of choices to get the sound. Seriously go to a store and play through...you may walk out with a Fender or Squier, you may find you prefer a Yamaha or Ibanez or Schecter...etc.
Old 8th January 2017
  #18
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

I'd wait just a bit, and try to pick up a 2nd hand or "B" stock Fender American Professional Precision bass.
Old 8th January 2017
  #19
My experience is that today it's becoming more and more a case of hit or miss, even in the higher price ranges and throughout a lot of brands.

If you really want the P-Sound I'd try to find a used Nate Mendel Signature. I found those are really good, liked 'em better than the current USA Standard models.

My main bass is a P-bass similar to the Mendel which some dude frankensteined together from an early 80's Japanese Ibanez-body, a new Fender-neck, a Seymour Duncan Quarterpounder and a badass bridge and sold it for 450 Euros. Awesome bass.

If you want an affordable and really versatile all-around bass I'd highly recommend the Ibanez ATK, preferably one of the original series (they were discontinued for a few years). With the triple coil and the active EQ (no passive version afaik) you can get anywhere from StingRay-territory to Fender-growl.

Anyway, go in a store, play those suckers and take the one you like best - and take exactly the one you played: Some years ago I bought a Squier Vintage Modified J-Bass, as I needed a cheap and fast backup for live gigs at the time. Checked it out in the store, played and sounded great. Told the guy I'll take it and he got me one from storage still in the box. I insisted to try that one and guess what - looked the same, but played and sounded like crap. I convinced the guy to sell me the one I played on. To this day it's one of the best J-basses I played on and it cost me about 350 Euros.
Old 8th January 2017
  #20
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If you just trust your ears, go to a large music store, try every P Bass type of instrument, you may realized that everything you've been told were usually BS that people came with, based on their experience with one particular instrument. (usually because of a bad set up or bad strings)

Same as the previous poster, after owning 10 different Fender Jazz Basses, Japanese, Mexicans, US Deluxe or Am Std, I someday realized my favorite Jazz Bass sound was from a $300 Squier VM. Everyone who heard my Squier VM will confirm it sounds amazing. I actually don't know if they all sound like that or if I got lucky. So don't ever trust what anyone says about a perticular instrument and just try everything.
Old 9th January 2017
  #21
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

A budget Fender or Squire will have the P-bass tone you're after, but they will require a decent setup to play their best, and still aren't really the greatest playing instruments. If you are more into technical playing, the Ibanez SR series offer some incredibly well playing instruments in your price range. But for throwing down the bottom end in a rock song, a budget Fender or Squier is more than adequate.
Old 9th January 2017
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post

Essentially you need to avoid bolt on necks and the cheap woods like Fender uses. They sound horrible.
LMAO..you're kidding, right?

....Bunch of total garbage.
Old 9th January 2017
  #23
Gear Addict
 

If you're looking to base a purchase on anyone else s opinion - then you don't know enough about basses to worry about whether a good one or bad one will suit you. just buy one - learn it -learn to set it up - it inside out, max out your capabilities, then you deserve to give an opinion about just that single bass you own. Then go get another one and do it all over again. There's so much garbage on this and most any other site based on peoples opinions. The truth is - a musician isn't only as good as the gear in his or hers hands, but a good musician will make each instrument they spend any time and effort with work, and work well. If you're smart - you'll spend 25 cents on the dollar for any instrument or piece of gear that will take you to your next level. You will become an expert over time - and learn to keep your opinions to yourself.
Old 9th January 2017
  #24
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBHan View Post
If you're looking to base a purchase on anyone else s opinion - then you don't know enough about basses to worry about whether a good one or bad one will suit you. just buy one - learn it -learn to set it up - it inside out, max out your capabilities, then you deserve to give an opinion about just that single bass you own. Then go get another one and do it all over again. There's so much garbage on this and most any other site based on peoples opinions. The truth is - a musician isn't only as good as the gear in his or hers hands, but a good musician will make each instrument they spend any time and effort with work, and work well. If you're smart - you'll spend 25 cents on the dollar for any instrument or piece of gear that will take you to your next level. You will become an expert over time - and learn to keep your opinions to yourself.
Except maybe he isn't a bass player, and is just looking for a bass for the studio that he has listed in his profile.
Old 9th January 2017
  #25
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Jantex's Avatar
 

IMHO from 2012 on Fender makes probably the best and most consistant instruments they have made in their history. I played quite few new American Standard P-Basses and Strats and they were some of the best guitars I have played, and have owned numerous Custom shop and vintage instruments. Some of them required a better setup, but after that they had very consistend sound and played equally as good. They also had consistend weight among different pieces. And the pickups there are really great sounding vintage pickups.

Tried few American Standard P-basses and they slayed Squire Classic Vibe as well as Japanese versions and also many vintage P-basses. So I think there is alot of bull**** going on about new Fenders being ****ty.

If you want a great P-bass, that will give you THE P-bass sound, get a new American Standard (now they are discontinued and followed by Pro series, which I believe is equally good, I just haven't heard them yet so cannot give any opinion about their new pickups).
Old 9th January 2017
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrabtharsHammer View Post
Hey,

I am looking for a good bass for up to $500-$700. I love the sound of Fender Precision basses but have read on many forums that their cheaper product range is quite bad quality wise.

Can someone recommend a P style bass in the mentioned price range that doesn't suck?
I don't know where you heard the quality was bad. I have a cheaper one for recordings, it was so good I went out and bought another one. I couldn't believe the quality for that price. Recently I even went for a squier bass and 10 years ago I would have been afraid to do that.

Fender has really upped its game in the past few years. With basses and guitars. I've recently bought two Fender Strats, MIM, a Squier Jaquar bass, and a Jackson Adrian Smith SDX. I'm really impressed with the quality.

I believe whatever they are doing in Mexico has better quality control than Gibson nowadays. Every Gibson I've bought almost had some fretwork that needed to be done, the wiring wasn't top notch. Fender is over there selling 500 dollar guitars that are immaculate.
Old 9th January 2017
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
they really do make poor quality guitars. Look at Peavey or Schecter The Peavey grind is an incredible bass for the money (about $250- $300 used). Far superior to a p-bass, vintage..new or other wise

Another option is the Schecter stiletto elite. You can find them at GC.com for $250. They are light years more professional sounding compare to a pbass.

Essentially you need to avoid bolt on necks and the cheap woods like Fender uses. They sound horrible.
That's insane, I own set necks, neck thru's and bolt ons. My favorite guitars are the bolt on strats. Alder and maple neck is what gives it that Fender tone we all love. It's sparkly for cleans and if you have one with a humbucker you can really cut with shredding as well, (can be done with single coil also,)

I owned some Shecters when I was younger, but they look like kids guitars. As you get around 30 years old stuff like that is less appealing and you just want the original for looks and sound.

You realize that probably 90% of all the best shredders out there are using bolt on necks right? As far as bass players go, as far as I'm concerned there is nothing better than the Fender Bass. You don't have to get an American one either.
Old 9th January 2017
  #28
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

Bolt on necks reduce sustain a bit and give more snap and punch. Definitely a factor in giving Strats and Teles their percussive twang, and what gives the P-bass its punch.

I have an expensive neck-through Warwick 5 string. A dream to play, fantastic for chords, busy scale runs, slap and 2 hand tapping....has a killer harmonic resonance and sustain for days. And it SUCKS for recording in the pocket rock stuff.
Old 9th January 2017
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Don't believe every "opinion" you read on the innernutz.

In reality, even a $200 Squier P-bass is quite serviceable if you replace the pickups.

Go visit some stores and try out basses in your price range until you find one that says "I am your bass!". Then buy it. Avoid active models - Fender's inexpensive active electronics leave a lot to be desired.
This is really good advice! I can't think of anything better in it's price range than a passive Squier with upgraded pickups (although to REALLY bring it up to another level I would also replace the pots and possibly also the tuning heads).

I have been a bass player for nearly 30 years, have owned LOTS of basses of different brands and models. There's only two basses that I will NEVER sell: a Fender Precision AV '57 reissue and a Squier Affinity P-bass with upgraded pickups/pots.

Having said that I have tried a few less than perfect Squires in shops so I guess QC may not always be the best. Try before you buy and find one that sounds good acoustically and has a neck that feels good. Upgrade the pickups and pots and you've got a great instrument for an AMAZING price.

The MIM Fenders are also very nice instruments but then we're getting into a price range with far more competition IMO. It's not that the Fenders are bad at all, just that there's more on offer. Fenders are not right for everyone, it's all down to personal taste.
Old 9th January 2017
  #30
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ARIEL's Avatar
Here is my thoughts on the squire issue Squire Affinity PJ Bass Vs Japanese PJ from 1990
I will add that the squire played incredibly well and I think that the pickup change would make a difference as the issue mainly for me the pickup issue. I loved the neck on the squire. I dont have time to do a pickup swap and then I would have to find out what would equal my Japanese model from the 90's Fender P bass tone is awesome and only that bass does that thing. Great sounding through a cranked 70's Ampeg. I think price point is to get the squire and swap out the pickups if you have the time.
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