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The Fender Precision Bass MIM (Made in Mexico - the cheaper of the Fender range) was my first expensive bass and before trying it out in the shop I was very sceptical of expensive instruments being noticeably superior to mid and low range guitars. After trying several Squier Precisions I thought I'd give the Fenders a go, just to see if there was a difference. Turns out there is... quite a large one!
The pickups gives a much bassier growl than the squiers and there are some obvious improvements to the aesthetics, particularly on the scratch plate and machine heads. The Precision was the first mass produced electric bass and is a classic design, with a single pickup - making it easier to find the perfect tone when compared to dual pickups like those found in the Jazz bass.
For those looking for a first bass, maybe switching from guitar I would highly reccomend this instrument. However, it may also be worth checking out the Fender Jazz bass, particularly if you have smaller hands (the jazz bass neck is thinner), are in a three-piece band (many believe the Jazz cuts through the mix better in smaller bands) or want to find a wider variety of tones, as the Precision has just the one volume and tone control, whereas the Jazz has two pickup controllers and a master tone.
I was a guitarist before moving into the realms of bass. I had a pretty good idea of guitar makes...but not bass. I admit, to begin with, I was only looking at colours that I liked. That was until I found the Fender Precision bass. I got it in a deep red. It played like a dream, couldn't have asked for more from a first bass. It has quite a long neck (in my experience anyway) but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The frets are big enough, which is expected on a bass, and the sound is great. Of course, if you aren't with the sound, you can always use the toggles to deepen your sound or make it more treble orientated. I was in a three piece band, so a lot relied on me and my bass. It didn't disappoint and stood up to the task perfectly. I would recommend this to anyone, beginner or otherwise, who is needing a new bass.
I bought this, my first bass, in January 1999. I never looked back. This bass takes some serious beating - and sounds phat after you've bounced it off the walls, eaten it, crapped it out twice and then burned the bottom half. This was my first bass and, with any inexperienced player, i went with what was cheap. Normally a problem - but not here. The P-Bass is designed so that no matter how good or bad a player you are, there is something for you here. The idiot-proof controls allow even the clumsiest of teenagers to turn it up loud and play (the simple volume/tone configuration) - and play it does The neck fits nicely into even the smallest of hands - the frets are dotted on both the fingerboard and on the side. Nice - good for beginners. The pickups are easily adjustable - and sound cool (especially for the price), particularly when on low tone with a good amp. Very rock. Very rock indeed. I have no regrets as to buying this bass - a £130 well spent. Learn the bass - get a squier.