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Fender Bass Guitars

Fender is one of the best names in bass guitars. Fender is a company that designs and manufactures bass guitars and many other stringed instruments. Fender was founded in 1946 by Leo Fender as the "Fender Electric Instrument Company." Leo Fender sold his interest in the company in 1965, but during a span of less than twenty years he established Fender as one of the leading names for guitars and bass guitars.

Fender bass guitars can be divided into two core types: the Fender Precision Bass and the Fender Jazz Bass. The Fender Precision Bass first appeared in 1951, and was one of the first widely available electric bass guitars. The Fender Jazz Bass traces its origins to a 1960 model. The Fender Jazz Bass places less emphasis on the fundamental harmonics, and has a slightly brighter tone and more richness in the middle range.

Current Fender Bass Guitar Models

There are several models of bass guitars made by Fender. Here are some of the more common ones that you will encounter:

  • Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass - First sold in the USA in late 2004, this is a four-string bass guitar with two pickups, one of the P Bass variety in the mid position, and one of the Jazz Bass variety at the bridge position. This is a very light bass guitar, weighing about 7 lbs., and it has a slim neck.

  • Fender Jaguar Bass - A four-string bass guitar first produced in 2005. This model features a C-shaped maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, pearloid block inlays, and vintage-style chrome tuners. The Fender Jaguar Bass is one of the instruments of choice for Colin Greenwood, the bass guitar player for Radiohead, as well as several other prominent bass guitarists.

  • Fender Jazz Bass - One of the earliest models made by Fender, the Jazz Bass was first introduced in 1960. The Fender Jazz Bass places less emphasis on the fundamental harmonics than some other models, and has a slightly brighter tone and more richness in the middle range. Many famous bass guitarists played a Fender Jazz Bass, incluyding Stanley Clarke, John Entwistle, and Darryl Jones.

  • Fender Mustang Bass - First manufactured in 1966, this four-string bass guitar is one of the last models that Leo Fender worked on before his departure from the company. It has a 30 inch scale, one volume control, one tone control, and a single split pickup similar to the P Bass. Some of the famous musicians who have played a Fender Mustang Bass include Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

  • Fender Precision Bass - One of the first widely available electric bass guitars, it originally appeared in 1951. Frequently referred to as a "P-Bass," there are many series of this model, and the design has been continually updated since 1951.

  • Fender Bass VI - This is a six-string bass guitar that was originally produced from 1961 to 1975. It was reintroduced in 2006 as a custom-shop model. The extra strings and electronics of this model make it more suited to soloists than for use in rock bands. The Fender VI is very similar to the Fender Jaguar Bass in terms of body and electronics. It was originally known as the "Fender VI," and some bass guitarists still refer to it by this name.

  • Fender Zone Bass - First manufactured in 2001, the Fender Zone Bass is slightly smaller and lighter than many other models of bass guitar.

Recommended Fender Bass Guitars

These are some of our favorite Fender Bass Guitars. Try playing one!

    Fender Standard Precision Bass - This bass guitar is noted for its thick tone and unmatched reliability. The Standard Precision Bass incorporates the best of the old and new, offering a modern single-coil pickup, shielded body cavities, medium jumbo frets, and vintage style Fender Bridge. New features include a tinted neck, parchment pickguard and a '70s-style logo. Click here to buy a Fender Standard Precision Bass

    Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass - This bass guitar is an upgraded Deluxe Active Jazz Bass that was designed with the gigging bass player in mind. This bass offers a classic styling and modern features such as a comfortable "C"-shape neck, active electronics, and vintage noiseless pickups. Click here to buy a Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass

Vintage Fender Bass Guitar Models

Fender has been making bass guitars for a long time. Vintage models are either discontinued lines or were made prior to Leo Fender leaving the company in 1965. The high quality, association with famous musicians, and nostalgia assoicated with vintage Fender bass guitars continues to make them popular and often highly prized. Here are some of the more common vintage models that you will likely encounter:

  • Fender Bass V - A five-string bass guitar that was originally produced in 1965. The design is considered quirky, as it is about three inches longer than most P basses, but it only has 15 frets.

  • Fender Bullet Bass - First produced in 1982, Fender intended this bass guitar as a model for "students." These bass guitars had either 30 inch or 34 inch necks.

  • Fender Performer Bass - Only produced during 1985, this bass guitar had four strings and a very slender 34-inch maple neck. It was designed by John Page.

  • Fender Telecaster Bass - Introduced in 1967, this four-string bass guitar was essentially a reissue of the original 1951 Precision Bass (or "P Bass"). The design was changed over the years, most notably the pickguard and the single-coil pickup.

Further Reading

Where to Find Bass Guitars for Sale Online - Discusses the best online musical instrument stores for bass guitars and other gear.

Beginner and Cheap Bass Guitars - Find out what you need to know before buying an inexpensive bass guitar.

Bass Guitar Resource Guide - Learn more and improve your bass guitar playing ability with online lessons, books, DVDs, CDs, and private lessons.

Beginner Online Bass Guitar Lessons - No Bass Guitar Required - Start learning the bass guitar right now, without an actual bass guitar, by studying music and notes. If you have a bass guitar, you can use these lessons to begin practicing as well.

Guide to Amplifiers - Learn how amplifiers and other sound equipment make the bass guitar sound louder and better!

Fender Standard Precision Bass

An excellent Fender bass guitar for beginners and intermediate players