Pick of the Month - May 2000
1965 Fender Precision Bass

Every guitar player deserves a bass, and what better instrument could there be but Fender's faithful work-horse, the Precision. Many different options have appeared in recent years, but the most popular and successful spec is the one illustrated, still in production and virtually unchanged since 1957.

This bass comes from the cross-over period in Fender's history after CBS bought the company early in 1965. It's dated July, so some of the parts are leftover Fender stock and others are CBS-sourced. Its neck-plate sports a late "L"-series number.

The body is finished in 3-colour sunburst, complete with tortoise-grain pick-guard, thumb-rest and metal covers. It has a huge "C" neck, slightly wider than normal at the nut, and is a real hand-full (Sting didn't like it!)

The tuning machines lack the Fender stamp, and work backwards. The head-stock retains its strap-toggle on the rear! The sound is everything you'd expect from a Fender bass deep, almost piano-like timbre with plenty of percussion from the split single-coil pick-up units.

I found this in a little store in Portland, Oregon in November 1980 during XTC's second U.S. tour supporting the Police. Colin Moulding was so impressed he bought one just like it a few weeks later (much to the band's relief!) I've never once considered trading it for anything else... it's perfect.

Recording debut: Colin's Hermits Strawberry Fields Forever (September 1985/June 1990)
Features on: Third Stone From The Sun (David Dreams, 1990) most of Cud's Leggy Mambo album (1990); Sunburnt (Martin Phillips & the Chills, 1996); plus virtually all my home recordings from 1981 onwards.