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Fender Bass Guitars

Clarence Leonidas Fender, more commonly known as Leo, developed the first solid-body electric bass guitar, the Fender Precision Bass, in 1951. Fender developed the guitar in response to requests from acoustic bass players who could no longer compete with the volume of other instruments. Called the Precision Bass because of its fretted neck, this bass guitar had a four-magnet single-coil pickup that allowed the instrument to be played at higher volumes without feedback.

Other electric bass guitars followed. In 1960, the Fender Jazz Bass was released. This bass guitar had a slimmer neck and offset waist body as well as two single-coil pickups. The Fender Bass VI was released in 1962. This bass guitar is now known as the Jaguar Bass. The Mustang Bass, introduced in 1966, was the last electric bass that Leo Fender designed before he sold the Fender company to CBS in 1965.

Fender bass guitars produced before 1977 can be identified by the serial number, but it is important to note that Fender serial numbers are not precisely chronological. There is some overlap between years. The dates on the body, neck, and other parts must also be examined to achieve an accurate date of manufacture.

Quick Facts

  • Fender designed electric bass guitars to match his electric guitars. The original Precision Bass was designed to match the Fender Telecaster electric guitar
  • In 1962, James Jamerson, bass guitarist for many Motown classic hits, named his famous Fender Precision Bass guitar The Funk Machine
  • The holy grail of electric bass guitars is the 1960 to 1962 Fender Jazz Bass with custom colors. These models are valued at $25,000 to $38,000

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