Fender American Professional Precision Bass Review – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: May 8, 2021

In the world of electric bass guitars, there is probably no model as famous as the Fender Precision.

The legendary P-Bass has found its place on so many records since the dawn of modern music and it’s still considered as a must-have piece of gear for every bass player out there.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with the classic C neck shape
  • Equipped with the passive pickup configuration
  • A split single-coil bridge installed
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History of Fender Precision Bass

Soon after the success with the Fender Telecaster guitar, Leo Fender thought about reinventing another instrument used in live bands - double bass. As a matter of fact, the Precision body design was later used for the most famous Fender guitar ever made - Fender Stratocaster.

And since there were no speakers that could handle the sound of the electric bass guitar without blowing up eventually, Fender made another product - the legendary Bassman.

When Was the Precision Bass Invented?

Fender Precision Bass was invented back in 1951, but it’s pretty much safe to say that the current model was defined in 1957.

It was until the 1960's that Fender Precision earned their worldwide affirmation and the first four years of this decade are considered to have the best ever made Fender Precision models, especially 1963. Used models from this year have probably the best neck ever made for a bass guitar.

Countless musicians played on these models and even more, records have been recorded. All the best players in the world played Fender Precision Bass at some point.

Unfortunately due to the buy-in from the CBS in 1965, Fender Precision Bass quality significantly dropped down as they were thinking more about profit and less about the instrument quality, so, from the post-CBS era in 1984, Fender is trying to provide new and upgraded models of their legendary bass guitar instrument including active pickup models introduction, five-string versions, and Custom Shop manufacturing as well.

Why is it Called a Precision Bass?

Fender Precision Bass was made as a substitute for the double bass. It was made with an idea to be more portable and louder at the same time and unlike the double bass it came with the frets which provided a more precise tone and that’s how it got its name.

Fender American Professional Precision Bass

Fender American Professional Precision Bass with Rosewood Fingerboard Olympic White

PROS

  • Several Hardware Tweaks
  • New Fender V-Mod Pickup Onboard
  • Classic ‘63 Neck Profile and Upgraded Frets
  • Excellent Shell Fender Elite Hard Case Included
  • Neck Reinforcement With Posiflex Graphite Rods

CONS

  • A Bit Expensive For the Average Player
  • Doesn’t Sound Like the Original Precision Bass

American Professional Precision Bass Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Bass Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Double cutaway solid body

  • Tonewood: Alder with Gloss Finish

  • Number of Strings: Four strings, available as five strings model

  • Orientation: Available in right and left hand models

  • Neck Profile: Maple 1963 C neck shape with Satin finish

  • Fretboard: Rosewood with 20 Narrow Tall frets

  • Scale Length: 34 inches

  • Color: Olympic White, available in 3 more colors

  • Pickup Type: Fender V-Mod split single-coil passive pickup

Pros

The following are some pros of this kind of guitar:

New Fender V-Mod Pickup Onboard

Many older models shared the same pickups, but American Professional pickups are upgraded to the Fender V-Mod split single-coil pickup and deliver to you a warm vintage sound without compromising the crips and clear aspect of the typical Precision Bass. 

Classic ‘63 Neck Profile and Upgraded Frets

Unlike some older models, American Professional has the neck made upon the classic 1963 C-shape model which is considered to be an ideal neck profile for Precision Basses. Frets are more comfortable to play and feel easier to bend or perform a vibrato while keeping the intonation perfect. 

Neck Reinforcement With Posiflex Graphite Rods 

Posiflex graphite rods are new with this model and those rods reinsure you against any unwanted movement that can occur because of environmental sudden changes. Those rods are placed beneath the fingerboard and they will really.

Several Hardware Tweaks

First of all, it is equipped with the HiMass Vintage bridge for increased sustain and improved attack thanks to the brass backstop and chrome saddles.

Next, it comes with the real bone nut which results in having a brighter and more resonant tone, and on the headstock, there are tapered shaft tuning machines that force the string windings downward. This results in much better tuning stability and increased sustain thanks to sharper and consistent break angle.

Also, this model is available in four different colors.

Excellent Shell Fender Elite Hard Case Included

Fender really wanted to emphasize the value of American Professional Precision Bass, so at this price, you’ll get their premium Fender Elite hard case. It is reported to be even bomb-proof. The interior is soft and incredibly well-padded so it will be a real mystery if something happens to your guitar during the transport.

Cons

However, it comes with some drawbacks, including:

A Bit Expensive For the Average Player

The price seems to be quite alright, it’s just that not every single bass player can afford such an instrument. We feel that Fender could drop the price a bit and make it more affordable to all users, but guess such mass production isn’t an option anymore. 

Doesn’t Sound Like the Original Precision Bass

You may get misled by the Professional part of the name and expect the sound of the original instrument. Unfortunately, while there’s nothing wrong with this instrument sound, you will have to go to the used market if you want that sound.

What Recent Buyers Report

The response about the 1963 neck shape model is extremely positive and most of the buyers are professional or semi-pro players who have a lot of playing mileage behind them.

They tend to compare it to the original models and even those who have the original can confirm that it’s pretty close. It’s often described as fast and comfortable. Same goes for tonewood and control layout. And while color options are fine, pickguard color for this specific Olympic White is a hit and a miss, though.

They also report that this is probably the best Precision Bass model made in this millennium and that it got many things put back how it should be.  The response is, even more, overwhelming from those who have switched from other brands to the Fender Precision for the first time. They can’t recommend this model enough and they are amazed how durable the Fender Elite hard case turned out to be in real-life situations.

The only letdown came from the people who got used to the new modern neck shape coming at American Standard Precision Bass. Also, the factory setup might not be the best so you will have to fix occasional fret buzzing on your own.

What Are the Components of the Fender American Professional Precision Bass?

This model comes with the solid Alder tonewood with the Gloss finish and the Maple neck with the Satin finish. If available, there is an option to select either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard. 

Neck is equipped with the graphite rod which provides additional protection from environmental changes and a Himass vintage style bridge that generates more sustain and provides you with the option to string it to the back of the body or the back of the bridge. 

Fender V-Mod split single-coil pickup is equipped with the basic volume and tone knob layout and it delivers vintage-like sound while preserving modern clarity.

What Types of Music is the Fender American Professional Precision Bass Best For?

Frankly, it’s easier to find a genre where Fender Precision Bass won’t sound so good as we could find Precision Bass recorded well in any genre. It has all the features required to sound good in all kinds of music you want to play.

It will sound terrific in a live band situation, especially for those louder ones and rock-oriented. All kinds of rock are fine - punk rock, prog rock, 70’s, 80’s rock, even heavy metal. 

In case you need a more precise and defined tone, consider playing with the pick to get that extra treble from your instrument.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Fender American Professional Precision Bass Suitable For?

This instrument is definitely oriented toward professional players and it will fit both studio and live environment. Thanks to the graphite rod installed, it will be a perfect touring instrument as it will endure all the environmental changes that may occur on the road.

Its neck width might be too wide for younger players and the same goes for the weight. But, if you have a budget, it will also be a wonderful investment no matter your current skill level. We know it's blasphemy, but this model can easily become your only bass guitar in the arsenal. Okay, your only 4-string bass guitar!

What Makes the Fender American Professional Precision Bass Stand Out From the Competition?

Fender Precision Basses are an industry standard and this model follows up the quality series has had for the last 70 years.

Objectively speaking, we could find a better sounding bass guitar instrument at a similar price, but, while it may sound counter-intuitive, most of the time, it’s not about recording the best sound - it’s recording the sound that suits the song most.

Fender P-Bass has been used on countless records and it almost became a synonym for a bass guitar sound. That’s why your clients, producer, or bandmates may easily pick Fender over any other model - they are familiar with that sound and they expect to hear it.

Comparison Overview 

Let’s see how American Professional stands out against other Fender Precision Bass models:

Fender Standard Precision Bass vs. American Professional

First of all, Standard Precision Bass is a discontinued model, so if you’re looking to buy a brand new instrument, American Professional is your only option.

But, regardless of this sidenote, soundwise, American Professional is a follow-up model which luckily comes with different pickups that will generate more volume, especially in that deep thump sound that reinforces whole band performance. Also, it is a bit lighter which will definitely come in handy for longer performance.

Fender American Professional Jazz Bass vs. Precision

First important difference is that Jazz bass has an offset body that is more suitable for players who are playing in a sitting position while Precision comes with a Strat-like body. 

Jazz Bass comes with a single coil pickup and it’s more suitable for those who play a lot of slapping as it will provide you with much more mid-to-treble sound while Precision comes with Split-coil one and it will favor plectrum playing a lot.

Fender Player Precision Bass vs. American Professional

While the Professional series is meant for touring musicians and other professionals, Player is a stripped down model suitable for both semi-pro players or for professionals who are on a budget or looking for a spare instrument.

The thing about American Professional is that it’s a flagship model, it simply has premium all over it from the finish, fit, and playability. Also, headstock tuners are not vintage-styled and the bridge doesn’t provide you the option to string it up to the back of the body. Also, the Player model is made in Mexico, while American Professional is made in the USA.

But, soundwise, it won’t be that much of a difference as they have the same pickups.

Conclusion 

If you’re looking for the best Fender Precision Bass available, American Professional is the model you could look at first. It holds all the pros of the P-Bass series combined with new pickups and it will be durable enough so you can rely on it in any situation.

People Also Ask

Now that we have covered all the info about Fender American Professional Precision Bass, let’s cover some basic information about maintenance see where those models are made of and who are the most famous bass players that use Fender Precision Bass in general. Also, let’s break the myth about slapping sound on a Precision: 

Where Are American Professional Precision Bass Guitars Made?

As you may suspect by its name, the word American indicated that those Precision models are made in the USA, more precisely California. And, perhaps not so fun trivia about it - the place is called Corona.

Can You Slap on a Fender Precision Bass?

You should slap on a Precision, definitely. While it is a technique mostly used on a Fender Jazz Bass, slap on Fender Precision Bass will sound even fatter, more aggressive sounding when compared to the sound you would get on other models, so based on the song structure it might be hit and a miss. 

Is the Fender Precision Bass Hard to Play?

This bass won’t be harder to play than any other bass guitar and if you have any kind of a problem the best would be to take it to the tech or luthier and set the action lower. 

But, if you find a neck width too wide, consider Fender Jazz Bass, too.

How to Care For an American Professional Precision Bass Guitar

Cleaning a bass guitar is not a complicated task. You will need a cloth for taking care of the finish and a contact cleaner with a needle applicator to place the lubricant on the electronics. Also it’s completely fine to hand tight screws as they don’t have to be secured firmly.

What is the Fender American Professional Precision Bass Made of?

The tonewood is made from the solid Alder and the neck is made of the Maple combined with the Rosewood fretboard. It also comes with chrome-sttuneryled vintage bridge and tuners.

Who Plays Fender Precision Bass?

Fender Precision Bass is an often played model, so here’s a list of most famous musicians:

  • Sting (Police)

  • Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)

  • Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)

  • James Jamerson

  • Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters)

  • Mike Dirnt (Green Day)

  • Dee Dee Ramone (the Ramones)

  • Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses)



I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.