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uk_lefty

Telecaster bass

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So the precision or jazz thread got me thinking... What happened to the telecaster bass? Being left handed I Kay never get a go on one, though I have lusted after them and even the Squire that was out a few years back... So, were these any good? What is the sound like? A classic bass or something that just wasn't on a par with the p and j?

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Effectively a prototype to the P. I use them as my main bass and have done for years. The pickup has it's own charm. Maybe like marmite but they work for me in any band I'm in.

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[quote name='BurritoBass' timestamp='1464202745' post='3057574']
Effectively a prototype to the P. I use them as my main bass and have done for years. The pickup has it's own charm. Maybe like marmite but they work for me in any band I'm in.
[/quote]

Definitely Marmite, I had one of the Squier Telecaster basses, it played as well as any other Fender I have played, I just couldn't stand the muddy sound from the pickup, long since sold on now, I have replaced it with a Mike Dirnt Precision, Telecaster looks with a Precision sound....perfect!

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Two versions - one with a single coil, quite agressive. Has a certain charm. The later version with the heeeeowge Seth Lover-designed humbucker can, IME, only be heard by moles and earthworms.

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[quote name='wateroftyne' timestamp='1464203288' post='3057584']
Two versions - one with a single coil, quite agressive. Has a certain charm. The later version with the heeeeowge Seth Lover-designed humbucker can, IME, only be heard by moles and earthworms.
[/quote]

And to be clear I only use the single coil versions for that reason. I roll back the tone which I can't imagine Roger would like :)

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[quote name='BurritoBass' timestamp='1464203459' post='3057588']


And to be clear I only use the single coil versions for that reason. I roll back the tone which I can't imagine Roger would like :)
[/quote]

I have several basses to choose from, My primary basses for gigging are my 2 single coil Tele basses.

Blue

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So is the single coil Telecaster bass pretty much an early p (e.g the "sting" p bass) In terms of pickup placement and tone? Or is there a difference?

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Yes I think that pretty much sums it up, early P's had that single coil job. I think the humbucker vs was favoured for a while by country bands looking for a thud to match the bass drum. I've tried both in shops, maybe one was the Squier version, but never been tempted to buy.

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Both versions are glorious instruments in their own way, great shame Fender never combined the two in one bass :)

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I have a home made tele (profile pic) , it has a modern P pickup but I'm thinking of going for a single coil. They have a unique sound, nice and punchy but perhaps lacking the extreme bottom end of a modern P.

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Those early single coil pickups are prone to damage. I had a paisley pink one and the E string got caught under the rim of the pup and snapped it in half.

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[quote name='Hobbayne' timestamp='1464213739' post='3057713']
Those early single coil pickups are prone to damage. I had a paisley pink one and the E string got caught under the rim of the pup and snapped it in half.
[/quote]

I've always worried about doing that and I'm a bit surprised that the reissues - as well as the aftermarket PUPs - don't use a slightly different construction or case to prevent it. I guess that back in the day the problem was largely countered by the PUP cover, and perhaps different playing styles, but yes, I can imagine that Flea would get through a few PUPs is he was using an SCPB live!

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Isnt that sort of thing why gaffer/duct tape was invented?
Now if only they would do a tortoise shell version and TCSB version....,

Edited by ivansc

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The squier VM Telecaster bass and the Modern player Tele bass (with two pickups) both seem to have bitten the dust very early. Hard to find them knocking about second hand though - with either I'd be tempted to do a very simple conversion to lefty (strap pin, nut and strings switch around only)
I find the big chrome pickup really visually striking, but if the sound is just mud that sucks. I have seen original telebass on eBay with a jazz pickup butchered in probably to put some more character in the sound.

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I have a modern tele bass from Status , Mines active which allows you to shape away some of that mud and give you much more usability


Propper looker she is too ;-)

[url="http://smg.photobucket.com/user/synthaside/media/IMG_01803_zpseqcjqngc.jpg.html"][/url]

bear in mind be careful some of the modern player Telebass'es were 32 " rather than 34" Scale

Edited by synthaside

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I have both types! I think of the single coil P as an early precision, which I think is essentially what the first Tele basses were- 50's parts being used up a decade and a bit later with a different name. I use flats, pickup cover, and a wodge of foam under the strings, but even so the single coil version is bright and brassy with, oddly enough, a broader and flatter sound than the Precision's which followed.

The one with the big humbucker (which I presume is what the thread is actually about) is the Squier version and I've added a Kent Armstrong split-coil P pickup and Dimarzio Ultra Jazz to it. Of course it is quite versatile, but the Humbucker alone is obviously big and deep. It has a muted top end and quite full roaring mid-range, with fulsome lows. In the mix it has a lovely pillowy sound, although that depth can make some notes boom, with others being a little weak, partly in the instrument itself and also thanks to room resonances. Opportunities to use it are fairly few and far between both stylistically and in terms of having a good enough connection with the drummer. It really leaves room for the kick drum to 'lead' the notes, so can lay bare any mis-matches. If you need to take any rhythmic authority (which ideally is never, but well, you know...) then it's not the sound to use, but when the drummer is laying it down and you can just lock in it's a wonderful deep neck pickup sound, but still with the taughtness of a long scale instrument. I always dug the look of the Tele II basses and loved the sound too, but objectively, they are something to be used judiciously!

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When people refer to a Telecaster Bass, are they referring to the pre-57 Precision? If that's the case I take it that's because of the headstock shape? I always think of the Telecaster Bass being the 70s one with the humbucker as that actually had 'Telecaster Bass' on the headstock, whereas the one with the single-coil was just the proto-Precision.

It's funny this came up as I've been looking at the Squier 50s Precision a lot over the last few days. I read somewhere that the pre-57 pickup was quite rough on speakers due to the polepieces being directly under the strings which is why the post-57 pickup has 2 polepieces per string with the string sitting between them. I don't know how much mileage there is in that theory though.

Is there a reason why the Squier 50s CV Precisions don't often come up for sale? Is it because they're great and no one wants to get rid of them or was no one buying them to begin with?

Edited by Jono Bolton

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[quote name='Jono Bolton' timestamp='1464259884' post='3057949']
When people refer to a Telecaster Bass, are they referring to the pre-57 Precision?
[/quote]

Sometimes, but erroneously I think!

Don't hold me to it, but I think this is the chronology...

Pre '57 the Precision was 'The Precision Bass', single coil and all. After '57 the model was updated and continued as The Precision Bass. In the late 60's the earlier version was re-released as The Telecaster Bass, some with those psychedelic wallpaper finishes. Around '72 the single coil was replaced with the monster humbucker, and these basses were treated as a different model, The Telecaster II bass.

So right from the step two there was confusion built in- perhaps initially you could talk about the old Precision and the new one, but of course that doesn't work out nowadays! The 60's Tele and 50's original were essentially the same, perhaps hence the originals being called Tele's sometimes, but additionally the Telecaster 'II' bass name hasn't really come into regular use, so they just get called Teles too.

I think Fender must like the confusion, as they also released the [i]other[/i] Telecaster guitar shape Tele bass, just to lob another spanner into the works!

So, I believe that officially we have...

The original P, which we never quite know how to differentiate, although SCPB seems to do in most cases

The standard post 57 P-bass

Telecaster Bass (SCPB mkII)

Telecaster II Bass (humbucker)

And then the guitar shaped Tele bass.

Jury is still out I guess!

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I think both 51-57 and actual telecaster bass look cool beyond words so I'd love to try either

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[quote name='uk_lefty' timestamp='1464249708' post='3057831']The squier VM Telecaster bass and the Modern player Tele bass (with two pickups) both seem to have bitten the dust very early.[/quote]

It's strange but 50s style kit never seems to stick around too long. People rave about things like the 51RI bass but they just don't sell.

[quote name='Hobbayne' timestamp='1464213739' post='3057713']
Those early single coil pickups are prone to damage. I had a paisley pink one and the E string got caught under the rim of the pup and snapped it in half.
[/quote]

I'd never heard this and it's certainly not my experience. I don't doubt it happens but maybe not *that* common?

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I had a sunburst/maple 72 , humbucker version. At the time I was playing a fair bit with a pick and couldn't get a sound from it so I converted it to fretless with a replacement neck. In the end I sold it in bits and made more than it was worth. These days my stage bass is a 90's cij Blueflower single coil version - though I did put a quarter pounder in it , changed the reverse pegs and added a baddassIII. I also put an extra screw in the clear pickguard. Beer bottle labels under that - dice knobs - job done !!

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[quote name='Jus Lukin' timestamp='1464261264' post='3057965']
Sometimes, but erroneously I think!

Don't hold me to it, but I think this is the chronology...

Pre '57 the Precision was 'The Precision Bass', single coil and all. After '57 the model was updated and continued as The Precision Bass. In the late 60's the earlier version was re-released as The Telecaster Bass, some with those psychedelic wallpaper finishes. Around '72 the single coil was replaced with the monster humbucker, and these basses were treated as a different model, The Telecaster II bass.

So right from the step two there was confusion built in- perhaps initially you could talk about the old Precision and the new one, but of course that doesn't work out nowadays! The 60's Tele and 50's original were essentially the same, perhaps hence the originals being called Tele's sometimes, but additionally the Telecaster 'II' bass name hasn't really come into regular use, so they just get called Teles too.

I think Fender must like the confusion, as they also released the [i]other[/i] Telecaster guitar shape Tele bass, just to lob another spanner into the works!

So, I believe that officially we have...

The original P, which we never quite know how to differentiate, although SCPB seems to do in most cases

The standard post 57 P-bass

Telecaster Bass (SCPB mkII)

Telecaster II Bass (humbucker)

And then the guitar shaped Tele bass.

Jury is still out I guess!
[/quote]

Early 50's were slab bodies, they then moved to contoured bodies mid-50's. 60's and 70's were all slab bodies, both MK1 and MK2. The necks on the MK2's were to die for, one of the best necks Fender have made

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