1970 Fender Precision Bass Fretless Electric Bass Guitar

Whenever I see an old Fender like this, my first thought is to raise a hairy eyeball and guesstimate how much of the instrument has been replaced. The answer in this case is: very little! It's been through all sorts of bar wars, judging by its looks, but the only replacement parts are that crazy brass pickguard (and many of its mounting-screws), the strap buttons, the nut, and the two knobs from my parts-bins. The heart of the beast -- its pickups, wiring, and essential hardware -- are the real deal. I was relieved, to be honest.

However, all that playing-time left a bass that was simply not playing correctly. It had a great sound as-is, but it "fretted out" (hah, hah) just shy of the neck joint. A fretboard plane was in order, and that's just what it got -- followed by a good cleaning and a setup. The board now plays and feels like a brand-new fretless Fender, but the shallow, C/D neck profile (it's amazingly-fast) of the old-school neck leaves no doubts about when it was made.

Apparently, this was the first year of production for fretless Ps, and it (thankfully) has no position lines to detract from the board. I like the look of this way better than the lined ones.

The finish has aged and yellowed like mad on this bass. The "black" bits are a dark-green-grey color and the middle of the sunburst feels like the hazy after-effects of a North Korean missile crisis. The discoloration of the pickguard, however, looks wonderful.

The nut is 1 5/8" across.

Not only did this board have a bad "fretting-out" issue near the joint, it also had worn-in grooves that needed planing-out.

As you can hear in the soundclip, the pickup sounds excellent paired with the flatwound strings.

I compensated the saddles just a bit -- enough to counteract the way my hands were sharping/flatting across the neck as I judged off of the side-dots. On a fretless, these adjustable saddles are entirely just for player-preference.

An original, lefty Fender hard case comes with it. It's pretty beat, however.

Them Lions of Zion must've been protecting this poor bass creature over the years.


Unknown said…
Lovely neck had this on a bass build but I need to shift some gear to raise some funds! The neck was bought with no tuners etc so they are non original but some great Schaller ones installed. Has some faint signs of wear as its a vintage neck! The previous owner said the neck had been re finished.