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A 'Holy Grail' P-Bass

The Fender Precision Bass entered production in 1951. During those first few years, the bass underwent several design improvements that stabilized by the end of the decade. These included changes to the headstock, body cutouts for comfort and playability, and the split pickup design we know today. 

EBay currently has this 1958 P-bass for auction. The description says it's 100 percent original except for a hand-carved bone nut. The bass features a maple neck and fingerboard with a soft "V" shape, not quite as sharp a "V" as the earlier years, but not quite the more modern "C" shape. The body is alder. Overall weight is just over 8.5 pounds. The electronics and finish are all original. This is a sixty year-old instrument that has been played and has the patina that shows it. It's not a museum piece. One of the telltale signs of a great instrument is that it has been played. Sometimes, not always, the most perfect specimens of vintage instruments are the ones that didn't play well to begin with. They got locked away in a case, in the closet and never came out to play. This one has been played and enjoyed.

The finish and hardware are all original and show the evidence of years of playing. Yes, there is belt-buckle rash on the back and some scratches on the south side of the strings where fingers or picks have left their mark. The original finish is checkered and has the patina of the years. The original bridge and pickup covers are included, but not attached. Set up with flatwound strings, the original thinwire frets are holding their own. If you have never played a P-bass with flats, with the tone control dialed down, you haven't really experienced bass yet. It is a luscious, "pillowy" tone that just sits beautifully in a track.

This exemplar is available with a replacement tweed case at a current price of $20,999.