About 8 weeks ago now I bought a new bass guitar. I have had my previous bass since 1999 – a Squier P-Bass Special. It had a black body and white pick guard (later I replaced this with a mirror one) and served me pretty well over the years. It wasn’t perfect – I had to replace the socket, the socket plate, both volume
I was happy with the body shape and weight, the playing action and tonal range so I was happy to replace it with a similar unit. Back in 2001 I thought I might upgrade to a newer style bass with more tonal range, so I bought an Ibanez EBD500. This bass wasn’t even made out of wood, it was made from a lightweight plastic/composite material called “luthite”. This bass had “active” electronics, which mean that it has a 9V battery inside it to run an onboard EQ, which has the added bonus of boosting the signal down the lead to your amplifier. This bass was nice, but different, so after a couple of years I sold it to my brother, who is still happily using it today. Truth be told, the bass was probably too good for how talented I was at the time.
But the time had come to upgrade from my $500 Squier to something a bit more reliable, a bit more respectable and hopefully something that would improve with me. In the end I decided to buy a Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special. From the blurb:
Fender invented the electric bass and its two styles. The Fender Jazz Bass® and Precision Bass® have constituted the essential choice for bass players over decades. Until now, players had to choose one or the other. The new Deluxe P-Bass Special features a “best of both worlds” combo with an alder Precision Bass body, satin finished maple Jazz Bass neck, and a P/J pickup configuration. A U.S. vintage bridge, gold anodized pickguard and deluxe Fender gig bag complete the package.
To kind of decode that a bit: Precision compared to a fretless or double bass, you play the exact note when you press down on a string. Special has both a precision bass (split) pickup at the neck and a jazz bass (bar) pickup at the bridge. Deluxe mainly refers to the active electronics which this bass also has.
In the flesh the bass looks a lot darker than in this picture, almost black in colour. This bass was manufactured in Mexico in 2006. It plays nice and has been a joy to have a reliable instrument again that gives me more flexibility and control over the music I play. On the Squier I used to have to use the neck pickup almost exclusively as the bridge one had a hum (the neck one is a humbucking design – the coils are counterwound to eliminate any feedback from the environment) with tone mostly rolled off to give a round, fundamental sound.
With the new bass I am able to use both pickups, so can get a bit more balance if I choose. My current pan setting is about 60% neck, 40% bridge. As far as the 3 band EQ goes, for the standard rock/pop sound I usually have I find leaving them centred can be a bit noisy with counter slap, so I’ve been cutting the treble maybe 20% and the mid about 30% and leaving the bass on the detente. I’ve found the bass has had a more natural, tonally rich sound with these settings on my new bass rather than the ‘not noisy, going to offend someone or get in the way’ settings on the Squier.