Up for sale, a 1956 Fender Precision Bass in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. Rare in any condition, this Precision Bass is a remarkably well preserved example, extremely original save for a body-only nitro lacquer refinish and a pair of period correct pots.
Extremely resonant and soulful, this bass is a particularly lightweight example at 8lbs 3oz ("fully clothed" with the ashtray bridge/pickup covers). A rare contoured alder-bodied example, the body wood is notable as Fender switched to alder in 1956 and the model would be completely redesigned in 1957, offering a particularly narrow window for this final iteration of the early Precision Bass feature set.
The bass has a lively fundamental thump with the sweet, dry thud of flatwound strings. There's a dry acoustic snap and presence to the tone, with a subtle growl when you dig in hard and a nice midrange push, offering enough authority and punch to anchor a mix yet still be present. The pickup balances articulation and fullness nicely, and rolling back the tone control delivers a rounder, meatier sound. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Precision Bass is dialed in with fresh D'addario Chromes flatwound strings.
The maple neck has a deep V profile carve with inviting, lightly rolled fretboard edges, filling out to more of a traditional C in the higher registers, measuring .930" deep at the 1st fret and 1.005" at the 12th. The original nitro lacquer gloss is intact on the profile and fretboard, with palm wear through the nitro on the profile edges from frets 1-7, extending a bit further up the treble-side edge. The original slender frets are intact on the lacquered maple fretboard, recently leveled and crowned and currently showing no wear. The nut has been upgraded to a hand-carved piece of bone for optimal note clarity and sustain, measuring 1 3/4" in width. On the headstock, the original "Precision Bass" waterslide decal is intact and in remarkable shape, with plenty of silver left in the Fender font and almost no wear to the text. The stock string tree is present as well, along with the original tuning machines with clover buttons, reverse gears, and flathead screws anchoring the tuner shafts. The neck heel retains its original 11-56 grease pencil date.
All of the electronics work as they should, with the original pickup wired to a matched pair of late 1955 Stackpole pots, complete with original paper-in-oil tone capacitor. The pickup cavity retains the original 11-56 pencil date, matching the neck heel. The original control plate, knurled knobs, string ferrules, and early serialized neck plate are intact and in great shape, and the pat. pending bridge retains the stock pair of saddles. The chrome-plated pickup cover is original to the instrument, while the bridge cover is also a vintage Fender component, likely dating later than the bass. The original single-ply white pickguard is positively gorgeous and remarkably clean, showing the circular marks common around the original painted maple finger rest and light pick scuffing.
The body features an expertly executed two-tone Sunburst nitro lacquer gloss finish, highlighting the grain of the alder body, exhibiting one spot of light, targeted buckle rash just south of the neck plate on the treble side, and a couple spots of broad isolated lacquer checking on the back treble side of the body as well. Beyond that, there are just a few naturally occurring minor marks and scuffs on the body post-refinish, matching closely with the patina on the original neck gloss. Wear on the neck profile includes some scattered shallow marks on the carve, certainly nothing “fresh” or distracting to the palm while fretting and all muted by decades of subsequent contact with the palm. The bass does also have a subtle smokey smell.
An older Fender-branded tweed reissue G&G hardshell case is included.