One of the best of being Fender Custom Shop Dealers is that we get access to the best instruments that are built by this brand. We usually go for classic basses that are reissu einstruments made in a particularly significant year. Case in point here, this one being a perfect replica of a 1959 P Bass.
1957 was a really important year in the development of the modern electric bass. The original Precision bass was released by Fender back in 1951 in its orginal shape, sharing lots of specs from the Telecaster guitar (contour-less body, small headstock, one saddle at the bridge for every two strings and Single coil piclups (one in the case of the bass). The original P Bass was needing some refinements, and these all came in 1957 with the change to a Split pickup wired in Series for a much warmer and punchier sound, 4 bridge saddles and larger headstock.
This instrument carefully recreates a bass from 1959 that was made using the non split pickup so it could be considered to be a "transition" instrument.
The sound of the original P Bass from '51-'53 was in the mild side of things and then got much beefier in 1957 with the split pickup, but in this case the pickup has been wound recreating a pickup from '55 which definitely sounds fuller and more aggressive than the original P Bass.
It sounds as you'd expect from a really good P Bass: big, bold, aggressive and warm. The Tone control is actually very musical. open wide you get all the attack and aggressiveness that sometimes P Bass are associated with. Turn it down a little bit and you enter a much warmer and all round type of sound that's perfect for just anything. Roll it down completely and you'll be in Motown territory, with an almost flatwound type of sound but still definition. Amazing.
The Opaque 3 Tone Sunburst finish over nitro lacquer and tortoise pickguard make it simply irresistible.
There's always some debate about the Relic finish, but there are some obvious advantages:
1.- It looks plain great. Authentic. Just like a bass that's been used for more than 50 years except the neck is straight, frets are new, there are no issues anywhere, etc.
2.- The back of the neck has a really nice worn out finish to it that makes playing a joy. You get an instant familiar feeling from the first second that you play it.
And remember, it is a lightweight P Bass (3.7kg)