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Fender Pbass American ? Worth it ?


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I currently use a very nice and well set up Player Series PBass 

 

I like it a lot but often wonder if the current American PBass which are at least twice the price would gain anything in sound ? 
 

They do look really nice and I’ve come close to buying one recently but stop myself and ask myself do I really need one ?

Convince me ? 

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Difficult, are the US ones better, definitely. Is the price difference proportional to how much better, probably not. But used they’re anywhere from £900 - £1200 depending on series & condition. That makes them a goer imo, and if you’re not keen you can then move it on for the same money shelled out. I’d def take the plunge (I have to say that, I have a good few, though will be putting 2 up soon).
 

 

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No, you don't need one. But if you want one, crack on.

 

I don't think you'd gain much in terms of sound. What you might gain is an increase in care and attention applied to the bass's construction, hardware, fit and finish. Whether or not it's worth the price premium is really up to you.

 

In G&L land, I have a USA CLF L-1000 and a Tribute LB-100. They are both fine basses which I am more than happy to gig. The USA G&L cost approx 4 times what the Tribute did. It is not 4 times better than the Tribute. If G&L did a Tribute L-1000 I would have bought that.

 

What I do appreciate is the little differences - like the side dots on the USA made bass being installed into the neck exactly half way between where the fingerboard wood ends and the neck wood begins instead of being pre-installed as part of the fingerboard. The better tuners. The hard case vs. no case/bag at all.

 

Although my situation is slightly different in that USA was the only way to go for an L-1000, I certainly don't need it - it was purely a want thing and there's nothing wrong with that. Just stay away from the Koolaid...

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In my experience, some MIAs are better than MIMs and some really aren't. I'd say they tend to feel more pleasingly tactile, but playing and sounding better is not so consistently the case.

 

I reckon the trick is to buy the one you've convinced yourself will be an 'upgrade' without selling or trading in the one you think you'll be bettering. It's only after the initial excitement wears off that you're going to really work out whether you've achieved what you hoped, and it's a massive drag when you realise it's not gone your way and you've just lost the best one you ever had... and paid for the privilege of losing it. The best I had was a MIM Standard from right after they made their comeback (2009ish maybe?) and it would knock anything I've owned since with Fender written on it into a cocked hat - including a couple of MIAs. Sadly I traded it in to get a MIJ which I'd convinced myself would be so much better. I have very few selling regrets, but that's one.

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I went from a MIM Standard Jazz to a MIA Professional Jazz (v1) and I don’t reckon there is much of a difference in sound. The MIA jazz does feel much nicer to play and of generally higher quality.

 

I couldn’t have justified it buying new, but s/h wasn’t so bad and it was worth it to me. I will probably keep the MIA instrument for the rest of my playing life and never feel tempted to upgrade.

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I really like my Player Series and know how to setup get the best from it and also how  to spot a lemon ( had a few of those over the years that went back ) 

Its a great working bass I feel and I guess I should be happy it does it’s job very well 

At rehearsals I’m often using my Classic vibe 70’s and that’s a half decent bass too ( soon to have new Dimarzio P pickups fitted ) 

 

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I have owned everything from a Affinity P to a US Standard and most things in between. Sound wise, it`s a P bass and they all sound like a P bass.

 

Where the US wins is in the build quality and the quality of the parts used. There is also the prestige in owning a US Fender if that is important to you but like all Fenders some are good, some not so good at all price points.

 

As Lozz says, a second hand US model is a good call as buying a new US Pro 2 is stupidly expensive imo.

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5 years ago I bought a USA Fender Elite Precision, my first USA Fender, which cost just under £2000 (the only bass I've ever bought new).

 

I owned, at the time, a Japanese Fender Precision and a bitsa Precision (Classic Vibe body,Japanese Fender neck, old USA 80s pickup).

 

The USA bass is very well put together and is a beautiful thing, it sounds great and is very versatile, as it's a P/J with and active pre amp and it plays really nice too.

 

But the Japanese Precision plays really great too and sounds fantastic, as does the bitsa.

 

There was no logical reason to buy the Elite, as my other Precisions were more than capable. I just had an emotional urge for a USA Fender. My warped logic was that a USA Fender is the 'Real Deal', and all others are (however good) imposters.

 

 

 

 

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@BassAdder27 I’m not qualified to answer your original question as I don’t have much experience yet, but all the MIM instruments I’ve played have been good, with some very good. I assume your Player Series is MIM.

 

I do have a question though about differences between MIA and MIM instruments. What are the differences regarding electronics and pickups? The reason I ask, and I know it’s comparing apples and oranges, is that my ‘73 Precision has a lot more authority, depth, tone and volume than my 2017 MIM Roadworn series Jazz. I’ve tried adjusting the pickup heights and got them fairly close, but I’m wondering if this is an area where cost savings are made in the manufacturing. 
 

Rob

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I'm in same position with jazz.

I would say if you can get a US P for well under a grand (800-900)on here then do it.

I had a player jazz and have played an am pro ii, not enough of a difference to warrant £1699 new. Lovely colour though, mystic surf green 🙃

Keep an eye on gumtree, there's US fenders all the time around 1k.

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I do love the satin finish to the maple neck on some MIA. If you have plain poly then that's probably the biggest point of difference. You could probably take off the neck and give it light sand for a painter to shoot it with satin poly and be good to go.

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13 hours ago, horrorshowbass said:

You're bloody right it dose! 

 

I have exactly the same bass (bar that cover) on my lap as I'm typing this. The quality of this bass is superb and the most comfortable and fastest neck I've had on any US or MiJ Precision I've owned. I have the action lower than I normally would as it's so easy to play. I don't usually like lower actions as I hate string noise but even with round wounds on, this plays great for me. The build quality and finish is top notch and on the few occasions I venture up the dusty end of the neck the reshaped 5 bolt neck joint make it much easier to access the 19th and 20th frets. These are expensive new but the second hand prices like the one above are well worth the money in my opinion. 

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18 minutes ago, bigthumb said:

You're bloody right it dose! 

 

I have exactly the same bass (bar that cover) on my lap as I'm typing this. The quality of this bass is superb and the most comfortable and fastest neck I've had on any US or MiJ Precision I've owned. I have the action lower than I normally would as it's so easy to play. I don't usually like lower actions as I hate string noise but even with round wounds on, this plays great for me. The build quality and finish is top notch and on the few occasions I venture up the dusty end of the neck the reshaped 5 bolt neck joint make it much easier to access the 19th and 20th frets. These are expensive new but the second hand prices like the one above are well worth the money in my opinion. 

Enjoy

Yeah the US jazzes are kinda like high spec cars, worth the extra but I wouldn't be buying new! 

Love that miami blue colour BTW.

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28 minutes ago, miles'tone said:

It needs a new nut too. That one has been cut terribly, every slot too far to the right. Really poor form if it's the original nut on such an expensive bass.

 

It very much looks like it has going by how close that G string is to the edge of the fingerboard. I remember having a Stingray years ago that was the same if not, worse. 

IMG_1690.jpg

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I have a Fender Ultra, and a cheap Squier I bought for £60. I have also had MiM in the past. The ultra is quite simply the best I have ever played. No one thing jumps out but everything is better and the sum of those parts just make it a delight to play. Is it 30x better than the Squier? That would be hard to argue. Do I regret splashing out on it? Nope, not even for a second. I tried American Pros at the same time and they were very nice as well but the ultra had the edge as you would hope.

 

If you buy second hand it’s not even much of a risk as they hold their value well. If you can afford it without going into debt I would go for it.

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My fave bass is a £170 Squier with EMG GZRs and a Gotoh bridge. It plays beautifully and sounds great. Does it look like a US Fender… no.

 

But, if you fancy a super-duper US Fender and can (almost) afford it, I’d say go for it. I had a US Jazz in the past and it was beautiful in all kinds of ways. I only sold it because I decided to go short-scale, but I wish I still had it… just ‘ cos.

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23 hours ago, BassAdder27 said:

I currently use a very nice and well set up Player Series PBass 

 

I like it a lot but often wonder if the current American PBass which are at least twice the price would gain anything in sound ? 
 

They do look really nice and I’ve come close to buying one recently but stop myself and ask myself do I really need one ?

Convince me ? 

I haven't played an American P bass but I can only imagine it would be noticeably better not in terms of sound but feel.

 

I have a Classic 50s p bass, I don't think Fender still makes them but I believe that when they did they were around £200 more expensive than the player series.

 

Anyway I had the chance recently to play several player series P basses and they weren't bad basses but my classic 50s p bass was miles better than ever single player series bass that I tried.

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I think in some cases it depends how well a bass has been set up ( or not ) to how it feels first play

 

This could mislead folk into thinking a particular bass is not as good as another but the setup makes it appear that way. 
 

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12 minutes ago, BassAdder27 said:

I think in some cases it depends how well a bass has been set up ( or not ) to how it feels first play

 

This could mislead folk into thinking a particular bass is not as good as another but the setup makes it appear that way. 
 

Experienced this with numerous basses and learnt the lesson the hard way letting some go when all they needed was proper set up and fresh strings 😥 

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Posted (edited)

I had a USA P bass, probably about 10 years ago. It was a great sounding bass and lovely to play. Alas, the GAS consumed me and I traded it for a Warwick. Only other P bass I’ve really played was a Squier, and I think the USA def had something about it that made it feel better. I recently tried an American Ultra P bass, and have to say, I was blown away by just how good it was. The gas is back 

Edited by ern500evo
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7 hours ago, bigthumb said:

 

It very much looks like it has going by how close that G string is to the edge of the fingerboard. I remember having a Stingray years ago that was the same if not, worse. 

IMG_1690.jpg

Sorry, not quite sure what you mean... do you mean that it's had a new nut that's been cut badly, or that yes it's been cut badly at the factory? 🤔

 

Either way, yours looks perfect and I think that the Miami Blue finish is absolutely killer 👌

 

 

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9 minutes ago, miles'tone said:

Sorry, not quite sure what you mean... do you mean that it's had a new nut that's been cut badly, or that yes it's been cut badly at the factory? 🤔

 

Either way, yours looks perfect and I think that the Miami Blue finish is absolutely killer 👌

 

 

I looks to me that the nut has been cut badly at the factory as it looks original. I'd be a bit peeved if it were mine. 

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